A LIFEBOAT charity has called on Red Funnel to review the way it counts passengers on and off its vessels.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution said the company should conduct the review after a full-scale search for a missing passenger was launched in the Solent yesterday, only to be called off when the man was found safe and well on the Isle of Wight.

Amy Ross, RNLI spokesman for the south-east, said: "This is definitely a matter for Red Funnel to look into. These rescues cost a huge amount of money due to the number of services involved.

"Red Funnel needs to look into the way it counts passengers on and off its ferries."

The man, in his 20s, got on the Red Osprey ferry at 7am yesterday in Southampton but appeared not to disembark on arrival in Cowes at 8.06am.

Solent Coastguard was alerted after a search of the Red Funnel ship.

A coastguard helicopter and lifeboats were scrambled, but the search was called off when he turned up on the Isle of Wight.

It appears he went on as a foot passenger, met a friend on board who had a car and disembarked in his vehicle.