Wednesday 9 February 2011

ARTICLE: The "Herald of the Free Enterprise" Disaster (1987)

Vessel: "Herald of the Free Enterprise"
Year: 1987
Place: Zeebrugge, Belgium
Incident: Sinking
Loss: 193 lives (passengers and crew)
Cause: Crew negligence, insufficient safety procedures, bad vessel design

Just after 6pm on 6 March 1987 this Ro/Ro ferry left the port of Zeebrugge headed for Dover. A crewmember had fallen asleep and the crewmember who was supposed to check on him did not. THe ferry had left port with its bow doors open. Just minutes after leaving the port the ship began taking on large amount of water. Within 45 seconds it had sunk, leaving 193 passengers and crew dead.

This was the worst disaster on a British ship since the Titanic.* The incident helped bring about the ISM code to attempt to ensure that something similar never happened again.

* Not including wartime events.


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