Accident: Ferry Herald of Free Enterprise

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Accident: Ferry Herald of Free Enterprise Gender: N/A
born on 6 March 1987 at 19:05 (= 7:05 PM )
Place Zeebrugge, Belgium, 51n20, 3e12
Timezone MET h1e (is standard time)
Data source
News report
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Michiels
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 15°38' s_mo.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 07°25 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 21°48'


MS Herald of Free Enterprise was a roll-on roll-off (RORO) ferry which capsized moments after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on the night of 6 March 1987, killing 193 passengers and crew.

The modern 8-deck car and passenger ferry, owned by P&O, had been designed for rapid loading and unloading on the competitive cross-channel route, and there were no watertight compartments. When the ship left harbour with her bow-door open, the sea immediately flooded the decks, and within minutes she was lying on her side in shallow water.

The immediate cause of the sinking was found to be negligence by the assistant boatswain, asleep in his cabin when he should have been closing the bow-door. But the official inquiry placed more blame on his supervisors and a general culture of poor communication in the ferry company P&O European Ferries, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

Since the disaster, improvements have been made to the design of RORO vessels, with watertight ramps, indicators showing the position of the bow-doors, and the banning of undivided decks.

This incident caused the highest death-count of any peacetime maritime disaster involving a British ship since the sinking of the RMS Empress of Ireland in 1914.

Link to Wikipedia biography


Source Notes

News reports - Wikipedia


  • Mundane : Disasters : Accidents