Birkenhead firm to help put blaze-hit iconic Windermere ferry back on the water

SeaKing Electrical will make vital repairs to Mallard, a car ferry which suffered a fire in its engine room in March which led to the evacuation of 80 passengers and crew. Tony McDonough reports

Mallard, which operates as a car ferry on Lake Windermere


Wirral maritime engineering firm SeaKing Electrical has been tasked with getting a famous Lake District ferry back on the water after a crippling blaze on the vessel.

Mallard, which operates as a car ferry on Lake Windermere, suffered a fire in its engine room in March following a hydraulic leak, causing the evacuation of 80 passengers and crew.

Now Birkenhead-based SeaKing has secured a tender with the vessel’s owner, Cumbria County Council, to repair the electrics so it can be put back into operation. Mallard has capacity for 100 passengers and 18 cars and is a vital transport route on the lake.

New engine

SeaKing Electrical managing director Dave Gillam said following a damage inspection of the vessel it was clear a complete rewiring job was required together with the installation of a new engine.

He added: “SeaKing understands what a vital role the ferry plays, and our team is working now to fix the electrics so it can get back to sailing and supporting the local community as soon as possible.”

Mr Gillam explained the electrical works required are extensive and a whole new electrical system has been designed to meet inland waterways regulations and an inspection by the Maritime Coastguard Agency.

Global experience

SeaKing has considerable experience of repairing fire damage on ships worldwide ranging from Royal Fleet Auxiliary naval vessels to large commercial vessels in the Mediterranean,” he said.

“On this job we are undertaking afloat repairs removing all existing cabling and installing new electrics through-out the ship including the switchboard, control room, wheel-house, propulsion systems, lighting and the engine room.

“A new fire detection system will be installed to protect the wheel-house, engine room, secure room and passenger accommodation.”

Mr Gillam also said a PA system is being put in place to allow messages and safety announcements to be broadcast in the passenger accommodation and car deck. 

Local community

Karl Melville, senior manager at Cumbria County Council’s highways and transport service said:The Windermere ferry is an iconic and important part of the local community and a ferry has served the Lake District for centuries.” 

This latest job marks a busy year for SeaKing Electrical. The company has worked across the UK and Europe on naval ships, superyachts and ferries. SeaKing presently employs more than 100 engineers, including a vibrant apprenticeship programme and has a turnover of more than £8m.

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