THREE people were injured and 41 cars were damaged on board a Condor Ferry as it travelled from Weymouth to the Channel Islands.
The incident happened on board the Condor Vitesse on Sunday afternoon as strong winds and rain from ex-hurricane Bertha swept through the English Channel.
Passengers on board were left shaken following the incident and the injuries suffered by the three crew members are only thought to be minor, with the owners of the cars that were damaged now working with the ferry company to get them repaired.
The firm was criticised for sailing in rough conditions on social media and one passenger, Andy Grant, tweeted: “Travelled on the condor 4.30 JSY-GSY-POL. Horrendous journey. Got off at Guernsey, youngest daughter terrified.”
Captain Fran Collins, ports and guest services director of Condor Ferries, said conditions were within the set safety limits.
She said: “Localised, adverse weather conditions during a crossing from Weymouth to the Channel Islands caused minor injuries to three crew members and damage to 41 vehicles on board the Condor Vitesse on Sunday, August 10.
“Items in the duty free and restaurant areas were also affected.
“At the time Vitesse set sail wave heights were within externally set safe limits and this remained the case throughout the journey.
“The vessel was prepared for sea in accordance with all company procedures for heavy weather, however, as the vessel approached the waters around Casquets Lighthouse, a patch of unforeseeable and highly localised high waves developed, aggravated by tidal conditions in the area which cause the vessel to move heavily in the seaway.
“The ship’s Master immediately reduced the vessel’s speed to minimise this but unfortunately some damage had already occurred.”
Captain Collins added: “Safety is always our highest priority and I’d like to thank the crews of all our ships including Condor Vitesse, who worked extremely hard in difficult conditions to make the journey as comfortable as possible for our guests.
“We are working with those passengers whose vehicles were damaged during the crossing to ensure a swift resolution to their claims.”