THE Riverdance incident should make the Government rethink the siting of windfarms, says a master mariner.
The cargo vessel went straight through the proposed site of the Shell Flat windfarm three miles offshore.
If turbines had been in the way the accident could have been much more serious.
Even before the incident, Stena Line, which operates from Fleetwood, had expressed concern about proposed farms near Barrow.
Now head of Fleetwood Nautical Campus, John Matthews, has underlined the potential risk to shipping.
"People should be concerned about this," he said. "As you put windfarms out there the master of a ship can only go through the alleyways that they leave. If the wind is blowing on to the beam – sideways on – then it introduces rolling. If the cargo slips, you get a situation like the other night. It's compounded when they lose power, like the Riverdance did.
"If you come into contact with these windfarms it would be devastating for the windfarms and to the people on board a ship.
"The windfarms they are proposing for Rossall and at Barrow could have far reaching consequences."
Mr Matthews said vessels frequently took dog leg routes to account for the weather.
He added: "If you are restricted by windfarms you can't do that. They should build windfarms, but they have to be in agreement with companies like Stena and P&O who have been trading these water for years and know about dangers.
"I think it's being bulldozed through at the moment without very much regard to the shipping angle."
Stena had talks with windfarm developers because routes out of Fleetwood can go via Barrow during severe weather.
The 10sq km Barrow windfarm has been producing electricity since March 2006. To that will be added the Ormonde site, also off Barrow, of a similar size.
Shell Wind Energy is hoping to develop 90 turbines at Shell Flat, just three miles off Fleetwood, and a further wave of developments, Walney and West Duddon, could bring a further 242 turbines covering 137sq km.
Other windfarms are also planned.