A new Manly ferry suffered another steering failure near the entrance to Sydney Harbor less than two months after a similar incident forced the operator to urgently withdraw the catamaran and two sister vessels from service.
Multiple sources said the Fairlight’s steering system failed near Sydney Heads on Saturday morning while carrying passengers from Manly to Circular Quay.
Steering control was eventually restored and the ferry continued to Circular Quay, but the ship has since been withdrawn from service and moored at Balmain shipyards.
The second-generation Emerald-class ferry had just been cleared to resume passenger services early last week after nearly two months out of operation.
The Fairlight had a steering failure near Fort Denison in late September, a day after a sister ship, the Clontarf, suffered the same problems, forcing the French company Transdev, which operates the fleet of ferries owned by of the government, to withdraw the three new Manly ferries from Service.
Transdev confirmed that the Fairlight experienced a “system issue” while carrying 42 passengers on Saturday morning, saying an investigation was underway to determine the root cause of the problem.
“Fairlight returned to service last week after obtaining clearance from Australian Maritime Safety. [Authority]. At this stage, there is no evidence that this issue is related to previous steering issues that occurred in late September,” the company said.
Labor transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen said the government and security authorities needed to determine the cause of the steering failures before a serious security incident occurred.