“No-Brainer” – Get the ducks out of the dock

And where better place to return to than one of the stories I last featured. The Liverpool Yellow Duckmarine.

Three months after one of Liverpool’s iconic yellow bus/boats sank in the Albert Dock, this weekend saw a “disaster” unfold. All in front of hundreds of people who watched from the dock walls of the freezing water below. Another one of the fleet sank. This time, full of passengers and tourists.

The incident unfolded just after 4pm on Saturday 15th June when “Quacker 1”, the same vehicle The Queen had travelled in, entered the waters of the Albert Dock in the “splashdown” finale. On board, terrified passengers have been quoted as saying that the vessel almost immediately began to sink into the waters just seconds after it entered. It remains unknown as to what caused the sinking, although a loss of power or the impact of the water as the bus entered is being considered.

Tourist Terror - Passengers jump to safety as the craft goes down.

Tourist Terror – Passengers jump to safety as the craft goes down.

Amateur video footage has also been released (see below), showing the “duck” filling with water and eventually tipping, becoming nearly completed submerged. The footage, filmed by one of the many onlookers, shows the passengers leaping to safety into the dock waters, whilst tourists on dry land threw down life rings in concern of the safety of those left perishing in the waters. As the bus becomes nearly fully submerged under the water, one onlooker shouts “there’s still people in there”. All of those on board had a lucky yet damp escape.

All of the fleet have been grounded. On Sunday (the day after the incident), a popular tourist day in Liverpool, there was no sight of any of the amphibious vehicles in the city centre or at the tourist drop off zone, close to the Albert Dock complex. In a statement, the Yellow Duckmarine have insisted that the vehicles were carrying valid certificates to hold passengers and that “following the incident involving Quacker 1, we are working closely with our regulatory body, The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Merseyside Police.” All of the vehicles are now in storage whilst an investigation takes place.

The Final Haul - The Duck is raised from the water. But will it be for the final time?

The Final Haul – The Duck is raised from the water. But will it be for the final time?

So are we likely to see the return of the duck to the streets and waters of Liverpool? Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, thinks not. He says: “It is absolutely a no-brainer after this accident that these boats don’t go back into the water at all.
They can argue they’ve got safety certificates and had their checks, but for two to sink in the last three months, it’s just not good enough.”

When asked what was next, Mr Anderson suggested the vehicles should be mothballed and put into a museum, adding that if the company wants to continue, they must invest in new vehicles.

The investigation continues.

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Liverpool’s duck submarine

On Dry Land: The "Duck" tours Liverpool.

On Dry Land: The “Duck” tours Liverpool.

That sinking feeling: One of the fleet sinks. Original Photo by Roger O'Doherty

That sinking feeling: One of the fleet sinks. Original Photo by Roger O’Doherty

Dramatic images have been released of an iconic Liverpool vehicle sinking in the waters close to the Albert Dock.

The “Yellow Duckmarine” as it’s known allows tourists a unique opportunity to tour the city, on the road and in the waters, in the converted amphibious war vehicle. Yesterday, Saturday 30th April, tourists on board the vehicle had to be evacuated from the Salthouse Dock, as water started to fill the cabin.

Images, from Roger O’Doherty, show how the iconic vehicle became fully submerged shortly after passengers were safely evacuated onto a nearby pontoon. It remains unknown at this point how the incident occurred. Having been on the “duck” myself, the speed of entering the waters may have created a powerful force onto vehicle, causing subsequent damage.

Paul Furlong, Sales Manager of the company which owns and runs the tour guides, praised the work of staff in the evacuation process. He added: ““We are looking into what happened. Our crew are incredibly experienced and they acted very quickly.”