A new London Assembly report expresses hope that the popular Duck tours will be able to return to the River Thames.
The report follows an Assembly investigation into the handling of the incident on September 29th in which a London Duck Tours vehicle caught fire and passengers had to be evacuated.
Passengers and crew were assisted by a London Fire Brigade boat, Metropolitan Police helicopter, 2 Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats and other passenger vessels.
Today’s report praises the work of rescue services and the crews of other river craft for the way they responded to the incident.
It also expresses hope that London Duck Tours will be able to resume “a full and safe service” once a separate investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch is concluded.
But Assembly Members say those concerned with river tourism and safety should consider implementing a number of measures “to review and refresh safety on the river.”
AMs want the Mayor’s London Resilience Forum to “reassure themselves” that there is sufficient level of co-ordination between emergency services to cope with serious incidents involving river craft.
They also want London Duck Tours to consider whether passengers should wear life jackets “as a matter of course” while on the water part of the tour and for the company and Maritime and Coastguard Agency to “reassure themselves” that crews are proficient in evacuation procedures.
In November AMs were told that that travelling along the Thames was one of the “top five” attractions for visitors to the capital and therefore an important part of the tourism economy.
The investigation was chaired by Victoria Borwick AM who today said: “The fire on board the dukw Cleopatra should act as reminder to all Thames river craft operators that maintaining the highest standards of safety, including equipment and staff training, must be their number one priority.
“We hope that together London Duck Tours and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency can find a safe and satisfactory way for business to resume on the Thames so that these great historic vessels from World War II can continue to play a full part on London’s tourist trail.”