Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 28th June 2013
The firm that runs amphibious vehicle tours in Liverpool has sunk to new lows and been placed into administration.
Pearlwild Limited, which runs the Yellow Duckmarine attraction, has appointed Milner Boardman Ltd as administrator.
The company is renowned for its sightseeing tours of the city in amphibious vehicles and only last year the Queen and Prince Philip sailed on one of the crafts during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
However, the business has been struggling to stay afloat and it recently suffered a massive financial blow when the Yellow Duckmarine sank in Albert Dock. Over 30 people, including children, were on board the craft when it submerged over a week ago. No-one was seriously injured but 27 tourists were treated in hospital.
A dumped tyre was reportedly to blame for the sinking as it resulted in “severe damage to the hull” of the vessel but it was the second incident involving one of the crafts in just three months.
It seems that the firm has been brutally affected following the investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), as well as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) withdrawing its certification on all four vessels back in March.
Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, told the public that the fleet should not be allowed back in the water, however three vehicles were declared safe again two months later.
Since the attraction first set sail 13-years-ago, the Yellow Duckmarine has carried almost two million passengers.
It’s not the first time though that the business has been scrutinised. Pearlwild is currently being investigated by the North West Traffic Commissioner over operational concerns. The inquiry follows an investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) last year which found systems to be “unsatisfactory”.
Amphibious DUKWs, otherwise known as ducks, are six-wheel-drive trucks that were originally made in the US and used in World War II. They were designed to move men and materials ashore when no port facilities were present, and all four Duckmarine vehicles that have been operating in Liverpool were built nearly 70-years-ago.
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