Ship master fined £3,000 for wind farm collision

The ship master of a wind farm support vessel has been ordered to pay £3,000 after colliding with a wind turbine off the Norfolk coast in 2012. Geoffrey Whinfrey, who […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The ship master of a wind farm support vessel has been ordered to pay £3,000 after colliding with a wind turbine off the Norfolk coast in 2012.

Geoffrey Whinfrey, who was in charge of Island Panther before the crash at Sheringham Shoal wind farm, pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrates Court.

The wind farm operator Scira Offshore Energy had requested Mr Whinfrey to take off-duty employees ashore due to the worsening weather conditions.

He attempted to navigate through the wind farm using the safety lights on the turbine towers, which is against company policy, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

As one of the turbine towers’ lights was not lit, he hit it head on which left some of those onboard with minor injuries and the vessel was “considerably damaged”.

Captain Peter Maynard, MCA Surveyor based at the Norwich Marine Office said: “He displayed poor seamanship by failing to keep a proper lookout by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances. It was very lucky that no one was seriously hurt.”