AN INVESTIGATION into a collision between a ferry and a yacht has revealed that the ferry master became “cognitively overloaded” due to high stress.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) launched a probe into a collision between Red Funnel’s Red Falcon and a moored yacht Greylag.

The report has revealed that on October 21, 2018, the Red Falcon vessel left Southampton for East Cowes at around 7am.

At 8.11am the master of the vessel was navigating in “severely reduced visibility” in Cowes Harbour and he lost orientation when his vessel swung out of control, departed the navigable channel and was spun around through 220°.

The master then drove the ferry in the wrong direction resulting in a collision with the moored yacht Greylag which was sunk on its mooring as a result.

During the investigation, MAIB highlighted key safety issues which led to the collision.

It said that the master became “fixated” on the information displayed on his electronic chart and operating engine controls, and “ignored” information displayed on other electronic equipment.

He then became “cognitively overloaded due to high stress”.

As well as this, it highlighted that the bridge team became “disengaged from the operation” due to a lack of “clear communications” and emergency scenario training.

It added that the hazard to people sleeping on yachts in Cowes Harbour had “not been sufficiently mitigated within risk assessments”.

MAIB made safety recommendations to Red Funnel asking to conduct regular assessment of ship-handling capabilities including pilotage by instruments alone, and to review the shipboard method of determining orientation displayed on the ship’s electronic charting system.

They also suggested that Cowes Harbour Commission and Cowes Yacht Haven review their risk assessments for collision between a commercial vessel and raft of yachts moored at their marinas detailing mitigating measures that are within their control to implement.