Ferry fiasco

… first hand!

Porto Santo Ferry performing a U turn upon arrival

No blog earlier today due to yours truly being the guest of Porto Santo Line on the ferry that turned round just metres short of the harbour on the Golden Island.

Whatever the ferry operator is saying about wind being stronger than expected is a cover-up for somebody making a monumental mistake. The simple fact is that normal procedure – recounted to me by several residents – in the rare occasion of a cruise ship actually docking rather than anchoring just out at sea, the port is left clear in order that the ferry can enter and turn round to be in a position to unload.

This morning the ferry arrived to find that somebody had authorised the cruise ship Hanseatic Spirit to to dock first – there is no problem if the ferry gets in and turns around, then the cruise ship can dock alongside.

Port blames ferry operator

JM now reports online that the Madeira Port Administration reported today that any clarification regarding the “reason for the ‘Lobo Marinho’ not docking”, recorded during this morning at the Port of Porto Santo, must be made “by the respective company” of the ship.

In any case, APRAM deduces, in a statement, “that the basis of the Commander’s decision was the worsening of weather conditions, with sea agitation and a lot of wind”, noting that “since 04:00 in the morning, a warning of bad weather issued by the Captaincy”. Unfortunately, this is not the case – there were a lot of seasoned old hands aboard who pointed out that the wind was in the most favourable direction at an acceptable strength.

At another point, the same entity clarifies that “the call on the ship ‘Hanseatic Spirit’ has been authorized for a long time, as reservations are made well in advance”, and emphasizes that “it is not the first time that the ‘Lobo Marinho’ has divided the pier with a cruise ship or a cargo ship” – correct – but see the explanation above about which order they should arrive in!

APRAM later reveals that for today’s operation, Porto Santo Line even requested the assistance of a tug that ended up not being used.”

Passenger anger!

Ferry fiasco 1
Passengers leaving ferry back in Funchal

JM later reported that they do not understand the options they were presented with and regretted that they did not even receive water or a sandwich on board during the several hours of the journey.

The majority of passengers travelling aboard the Lobo Marinho who saw today’s trip interrupted, with the ship returning to Madeira when it was already close to the port of Porto Santo, are angry (me and 499 others!). The mood at reception was getting very excitable immediately after the ferry turned round, with forty or so increasinglyvocal passengers demanding an explanation.

They told JM that the trip was normal, without major waves and that the information provided when the ship began the return journey was that the docked cruise ship prevented the Lobo Marinho from docking. Especially because there was some swell upon arrival.

Still, they do not understand this situation, since Porto Santo Line already knew about the existence of that cruise ship.

Furthermore, they complain that they did not receive water or a sandwich.

Information about a replacement trip was only passed to the passengers half-way back to Funchal. The first they knew about the change of plan was when the ferry did an abrupt “U” turn upon arrival.

16 thoughts on “Ferry fiasco”

    • Maurice, Accepting the company should have handed out some water and sandwiches, when ever anything like this occurs my first thought is why would anyone make an unpopular decision such as this.? The professional who has to make the unfortunate decision that all the amateurs decry, in this case the Captain of the ferry. The only reason for this decision would have been on safety grounds. I’m certain he would have loved to have berthed the ferry, instead he followed his training and experience. A pat on the back for doing what he believed was the right thing, no way.

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      • George, I am not blaming the ferry captain rather the wally that let the cruise ship tie up first making it impossible for the ferry to dock against the go-to ramp.

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  1. Once again HORRIBLE customer service. Admins should have better control as they have all the records/requests/timetables. She was probably busy having a coffee when the issue first came to light this morning.
    What about people returning home (PS) after having been to Dr. or Hospital for procedures who needed recuperation. Where should they stay for another and how will they pay for it.
    As far as refreshments the captain should have made an announcement about a ferry in its place, why couldn’t they do like the airlines and circle for a bit. Refreshments when he should have made the announcement he could have included with my apology we are offering, blah blah blah for each passenger.
    One again rewards for “turtle pace” and “no” respect for customers

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    • “What about people returning home (PS) after having been to Dr. or Hospital for procedures who needed recuperation. Where should they stay for another and how will they pay for it.”
      I consider the Captain made the decision on safety grounds, whether the cruise liner should have been there is immaterial to the decision made at the time. If the Captain had tried to berth and an incident happened then some of those people returning home from the hospital may have had to make their way back there.

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    • Compensation from whom? The Ferry Line who made a decision on safety grounds or the Port Authority for allowing the Cruise liner to dock. As to the Information about a replacement trip was only passed to the passengers half-way back to Funchal, once the decision was made to turn round and go back to Madeira what difference does it make when the announcement was made as long as it was made to prior to docking in Madeira? Jeeze.

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  2. Agree with everything it seems the Porto Santo port did give priority to the Cruise Ship and that isn’t right at least they cruise ship should should have docked elsewhere or even give way to regular boat .

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  3. The other blog tells us that these two vessels were berthed together here two years ago and that the the Tug could not be used to help the Ferry as the Ferry could not enter the harbour because of the high winds.

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  4. Well at everyone around where don’t want to happen is Porto Santo become a infestation of cruise ships constantly docking in the port it is good for the local economy but if not careful will be destroying the unspoiled island . There is a need of a control of cruise ships docking in the island over the year if not will be a big problem in the future .

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      • Many thanks for the information what no one wants is a excess of them . Years ago Porto Santo was an island that few people know about and I still remember when I was a teenager going in holidays over there with my family and school trips great place ans still is lets keep that way not spoiled .

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  5. Isabel, you are the first to acknowledge how tourism has improved the living standards of Madeira and I fully agree with you but it seems a bit churlish to deny those advantages to the locals of Porto Santo.

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    • I didn’t deny the benefits of the small cruse ships what I did want to say there is a need to be a balance o number of them during the year if not will be happening more of that situations and also no one wants mass tourism in excess .

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