There have been three separate fire incidents on ferries this week. The massive Rootes Group photo archive will be made available online. Russians get down in their latest road safety ad. The future of the French Ecotax truck toll system will be decided at the end of May (meanwhile weekly rest inside vehicles is banned). Dover maintains its positive momentum, D-Day road closures have been published online while the tragic incident on the M20 overnight has a mysterious link to Formula One.
GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: delays peaked at two hours at lunchtime, settled down to less than an hour by late afternoon then topped 2h30 by late evening.
A SPATE OF FERRY FIRES.
Three incidents this week.
Ten people – three firefighters and seven crew members – were injured, none seriously, in a fire aboard DFDS Dieppe Seaways yesterday afternoon.
Fortunately the ship was approaching Dover Eastern Docks, at 14:12, when the blaze started, in the boiler room. All 316 passengers safely disembarked.
The fire was initially said to be small and controlled however it was still burning at 22:30. Fire fighters eventually left the scene at 02:03 this morning.
DFDS hopes to have Dieppe Seaways back in service at 05:15 on Monday 5 May. Until then all its services have been cancelled though the other ships on the route continue to operate as normal.
Also yesterday afternoon, a failed fuel pump on a classic car sprayed fuel which then ignited aboard Condor Ferries Vitesse. The ship was alongside at Weymouth at the time. No injuries or damage was sustained and services were unaffected.
It has been a bad week for DFDS. As well as announcing that it will pull out of the Harwich-Esbjerg route in September, there was another incident on one of its ships at sea.
According to reports in The Copenhagen Post, there was an engine failure and explosion on DFDS Crown Seaways as it sailed between Copenhagen and Oslo on Sunday evening. There were no injuries and the boat arrived on time the next morning.
ROAD SAFETY RUSSIA: Check out this new Russian road safety ad which, to our geeky, old eyes, is actually quite cool. It’s the latest in a recent series of big budget productions aiming to embed road safety as a ‘Russian value’. This one tackles pedestrian visibility at night. More than 27,000 people died on Russian roads last year, approximately 190 fatalities per million population, over twice the worst result in the EU. Road Safety Russia takes heart that the rate has dropped by a fifth in the last decade. Interestingly, apart from safer cars and better roads, one of the driving forces has apparently been Russians driving abroad.
roundup: FRANCE. A final decision on the Ecotax main road truck tolls will be made after the European elections on 22 May. Suggestions include making it applicable to foreign trucks only, as in the UK, cancelling the system entirely in favour of a new tax on road operators, or increasing fuel duty. Ecotax was suspended last October after widespread protests. Meanwhile, in an effort to tackle ‘social dumping’ from eastern European drivers, from June it will be illegal for truckers to take weekly rests inside a vehicle. DOVER. More good news for the UK’s biggest ferry port – the number of cars grew by 5%, coaches by 2.3% and freight by almost 10% this Easter compared to last. D-DAY ANNIVERSARY. Traffic and access for vehicles will be tightly restricted during the ceremonies on 5-6 June. The British Embassy has published details here, or see the official D-Day website. M20. The incident that kept the M20 London-bound closed J11-10 until late morning today involved the ‘Spygate’ former Ferrari chief mechanic Nigel Stepney. According to the police report he parked his silver VW Caddy on the hard shoulder at 01:28 and was then in collision with a truck on the carriageway. The complete circumstances are unexplained.