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London Assembly publishes report on Duck Tours fire

A committee set up by the London Assembly to make recommendations in response to the recent fire on board a London Duck Tours amphibious vehicle has published its report.

London Assembly publishes report on Duck Tours fire

The London Assembly established a special Thames passenger boat investigation committee to examine how the emergency services responded to a fire on board the Cleopatra amphibious vehicle on Sunday 29 September.

Last month the cross-party committee heard evidence from the London Duck Tours company and the various public agencies who responded to the incident and has now published its findings.

London Duck Tours' fleet of rebuilt World War II DUKW amphibious vehicles have not carried passengers on the Thames since the fire.

"The Thames is a fantastic resource for London and it is important the reputation of the river is not undermined by this rare incident," said Baroness Borwick AM, chair of the committee.

"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."

The committee's report praises the work of the emergency services and recommends that London Duck Tours should consider whether there is a case for passengers to wear life jackets as a matter of course on the water part of the tour.

The report also makes recommendations about evacuation procedures and distress calls.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch's separate inquiry into the cause of the fire remains under way.

While the investigation continues London Duck Tours continues to operate land-based tours with passengers transferred to a conventional vessel for the Thames portion of their journey.

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