News State New South Wales Ferry McFerryface crashes into Sydney Harbour wharf
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Ferry McFerryface crashes into Sydney Harbour wharf

Ferry McFerryface has crashed into the wharf at Balmain, with 60 commuters on board.
Ferry McFerryface has crashed into the wharf at Balmain, with 60 commuters on board. Photo: Instagram
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The controversially named Ferry McFerryface has crashed into a wharf on Sydney Harbour.

The ferry suffered minor damage to its bow when it collided with Balmain Wharf on Wednesday morning, shortly after 11am.

A Harbour City Ferries spokesman said about 60 commuters were on board, travelling between Watson Bay and Pyrmont Bay, but nobody was injured.

The ferry – which will soon be renamed the May Gibbs, after the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie author – was taken to a shipyard for repairs.

The incident is currently under investigation and the crew is undergoing mandatory drug and alcohol testing, the spokesman said.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance named Ferry McFerryface in late 2017 in an ill-fated “captain’s call”.

He announced it would be renamed in January, on the same day he was accused of lying about public support for the joke title.

Ferry McFerryface was said to have won a Sydney poll to name the ferry, but freedom of information documents revealed it attracted just 182 votes. It was ineligible under the New South Wales government’s own criteria, according to the Nine Network.

The documents revealed the criteria for the ferry-naming competition, drawn up by Transport for NSW, recommended “mitigating the risk of satirical naming campaigns” and avoiding “the highly publicised mishaps in the naming of ships in other jurisdictions”.

Mr Constance reportedly signed off on the plan and later went ahead with naming the vessel Ferry McFerryface.

“It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the people voted for it so we listened,” Mr Constance tweeted in November last year.

The documents revealed environmental campaigner Ian Kiernan, of Clean Up Australia, received the most votes in the poll that cost taxpayers $100,000.

Hours after the documents were released, Mr Constance announced the vessel would be renamed. He said it was branded Ferry McFerryface for the summer only.

“We always intended this vessel would be named for the kids,” Mr Constance said in a statement.

“After a summer on the harbour, Ferry McFerryface will now be renamed after prominent Australian author May Gibbs. This will retain the vessel’s appeal to our youngest customers while also recognising an Australian icon with a long connection to Sydney.”

Mr Constance said Ferry McFerryface came from the first open call for public nominations where people could vote for any name without stringent criteria.

“In this round, Ferry McFerryface received 229 nominations and Ian Kiernan received 17,” Mr Constance said in January.

The second round of public voting included set criteria and did not include Ferry McFerryface as an option, he said.

The embattled transport minister has had a long start to the year, following repeated chaos on the Sydney Trains network. A dispute over the enterprise agreement with NSW and Sydney Trains is yet to be solved.

-with AAP

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