Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Ferry passengers wait for rescue

Video of the lorry hanging off the back of the ferry

Attempts are underway to secure and remove a lorry which has been hanging out of the rear doors of a HSS ferry in Stranraer since Wednesday night.

The vessel had just left for its journey to Belfast when the lorry and a trailer broke free. A crane large enough remove the lorry is on its way.

More than 150 passengers have been stranded on the ferry for 17 hours.

Mickey Barr from Londonderry, who is on board, said spirits remain high amongst the passengers.

"We've been here from 10 o'clock last night but there's been no threat at all and we've been well catered for by cabin staff.

"A few people are getting frustrated at being in so long but in general it seems fairly good.

If the boat had taken in water, it could have been a tragedy
Peter McCrory
Passenger
"Everybody's talking and mingling, and we're just waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Hopefully in the next few hours we'll get this crane and get off," he said.

The alarm was raised after a loud bang was heard by passengers.

Peter McCrory from Dungannon said the ship then came almost to a standstill.

"However, we discovered on looking out the rear doors there was a lorry hanging out through the back, it had burst the rear doors."

Mr McCrory said it had been a frightening experience, adding: "If the boat had taken in water, it could have been a tragedy."

The emergency services were alerted to the incident on board the Stena Line HSS Stena Voyager Fastcraft at 2130 GMT on Wednesday. The vessel had left Stranraer at 1950 GMT.

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said an articulated tanker broke free and seriously damaged one of the stern doors.

The ship was quickly stabilised and none of the passengers or crew on board was injured.

Lorry on ferry
The lorry hangs out of the ferry doors

The Voyager sailed back to Stranraer where the stricken motor lorry will be removed by crane, before the vessel can be properly berthed to allow passengers and vehicles to disembark.

The tanker was laden with non-hazardous ferrous sulphate powder. Police said the load was fully intact and none of the substance had leaked.

Stena spokesman Nigel Tilson said: "The ship was quickly stabilised and no-one on board was injured - the hole in the back of the vessel was 30ft above the water line."



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