23rd August 2003

Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm

At 10.55pm, one of the ferries that connect Guernsey and Herm ran into rocks in Percee Passage, a channel between Herm and Jethou. She had 179 passengers and three crew on board and was badly damaged in the collision. Three sections of the hull were pierced and started letting in water but, fortunately, nobody was hurt.

It was a late crossing, bringing back diners from a night out on Herm. They had boarded at Rosiere Steps, and the captain was attempting to manoeuvre around Jethou at the point of collision. Visibility was reduced both by the darkness and the thick fog that surrounded the boat.

Trident V, which was used for daylight trips to Herm, was immediately dispatched from St Peter Port to collect the passengers, accompanied by the lifeboat. One of the passengers used their mobile phone to call the police and tell them what had happened.

When Trident V arrived, she pulled alongside her grounded sister vessel and the passengers stepped across. Once they were safely off, the crew attached a rope to the lifeboat, which pulled Trident VI free of the rocks a couple of hours later. She returned to St Peter Port under her own power. The lifeboat accompanied her the whole way and stood watch while she was beached in the harbour.

A report on the accident attributed several causes to the crash. These included reduced visibility, over-reliance on a single navigational aid, travelling at unsafe speed in fog and the vessel’s poor handling characteristics. It noted, “Trident VI had a history of poor and unpredictable steering qualities, which could take the less than very experienced skipper by surprise.”

The Trident VI

Trident VI was 12 years old at the time of the collision. A 22.25m-long catamaran built in Gravesend in 1991, she had a maximum speed of 10 knots.

This was not the first time she had been damaged. The Trident VI had previously been hit by another vessel while at moorings, requiring a rebuild at St Sampson. That collision had happened in June 1994. Almost exactly a year later she hit a rock in Corbette Passage and was holed in two places. Again, she required repair at St Sampson. Corbette Passage is on a direct line from Percee Pass, heading towards Guernsey.


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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st