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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 January, 2005, 15:03 GMT
Passengers stuck on ferry
P&O Ferry
The ferry was pushed into shallow waters by strong winds
Passengers stuck on a ferry which ran aground on rocks at Cairnryan Harbour in Scotland will have to stay on board overnight.

The ferry ran aground in winds of up to 100 miles per hour at about 0700 GMT on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for ferry company P&O said a tug would not be able to get to the scene until Sunday morning.

There are 43 passengers and 57 crew stuck on the ship, which set sail from Larne, County Antrim, at 0415 GMT.

No-one was injured and there was no risk to the passengers and crew, the company said.

It expects a tug to be in place to float the boat at the next high tide on Sunday morning.

Clifford Alexander, a lorry driver from Waringston, said the crossing was not too rough.

"It was only when she turned round in to Loch Ryan that you felt the wind was bad," he said.

Contingency plans are in place to evacuate passengers or crew quickly if required
Stuart Atkinson
Clyde Coastguard Watch Manager
Mr Alexander said some of his fellow passengers, who were not used to rough seas, had been scared.

Clyde coastguard John Griffiths said the ferry, the European Highlander, said the vessel was sitting on a shingle shoreline with its anchors out.

"It's a fairly serious situation given the weather conditions," he said.

"There are 100 people on board including the crew. We are monitoring the situation closely - there is no immediate danger."

Stuart Atkinson, Clyde Coastguard Watch Manager, added: "Tugs have now been sourced and will arrive on scene tomorrow.

"We are currently discussing the well-being of the passengers onboard with P&O, but at the moment, the safest position will be to keep the passengers onboard.

"Contingency plans are in place, however, to evacuate passengers or crew quickly if required."



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