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Marchioness disaster: Thames historic vessels 'still not modernised'

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The night of the Marchioness disaster
The "most basic" safety recommendation made after the Marchioness disaster has yet to be implemented, the Port of London Authority (PLA) has said.On 20 August, 1989, 51 people died when the Thames riverboat sank after being struck by two dredgers near Southwark in the early hours of the morning.An inquiry into the disaster ordered historic vessels on tidal rivers be brought up to modern safety standards."It is high time this was acted on," the PLA said.
The boat sank after being struck by two dredgers
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has put forward safety proposals on boat buoyancy in historic vessels after a collision.
Modern vessels' hulls are required to be divided into watertight compartments, so any flooding resulting from a breach can be more easily contained.It has been claimed introducing these measures for historic boats that sail on the Thames - some of which were used in the Dunkirk evacuation of World War Two - could reduce seating and cost smaller commercial vessels revenue, forcing them off of the river.
The Marchioness Disaster and its aftermath
On 20 August 1989, 131 people were on board the Marchioness when it was hit by the dredger Bowbelle
51 people died
Coroner Dr Paul Knapman decided to cut the hands off more than 20 victims for identification purposes
A public inquiry held in 2000 said poor lookouts on both vessels were responsible for the collision
The captain of the Bowbelle, Douglas Henderson, had drunk six pints of lager on the afternoon of the collision
The Metropolitan Police were "ill-prepared" and had no contingency plan for such an event, the inquiry found
January 2002, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution introduced four lifeboat stations on the River Thames.
The inquiry into the Marchioness disaster, held in 2000 with a report published in February 2001 by Lord Justice Clarke, made 30 river safety recommendations.They were all accepted by John Prescott, the then deputy prime minister. Requirements to introduce an air-traffic control style system to track vessels and flashing lights on bridges have since been introduced.
Serious incidents involving passenger vessels on the Thames
Source: Port of London Authority
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River Thames
RNLI
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