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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 19:48 GMT
Stricken ferry docks safely
Stena Europe
The Stena Europe lost power off the Irish coast
A ferry which was left drifting off the coast of Ireland following engine failure has docked safely at a west Wales port.

The Stena Europe ferry, with 220 passengers and crew on board, was heading from Rosslare to Fishguard, west Wales, when it lost power in 40mph winds at 1230 GMT on Thursday.

Map showing scene of ferry going adrift
The ferry was en route to west Wales
After regaining power in both engines at about 1400 GMT, it headed back to Rosslare.

But because of bad weather, the ferry was diverted to Pembroke in west Wales, where it was being checked over.

Lost power

The boat is expected to be back in action for the 0900 GMT sailing from Rosslare to Fishguard.

The Irish coastguard had to activate its marine emergency plan as the Swedish-built ferry drifted five miles off the Irish coast.

A Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey, north Wales joined helicopters from RAF Chivenor in Devon and from Dublin in the rescue operation.

An RAF Nimrod also took part in the operation and lifeboats were sent the scene.

Speaking during the operation, Tom McLoughlin of the Irish Coastguard said: "We have activated the marine emergency plan and we have masses of resources on scene.

"We are satisfied we have the assets on scene to deal with any evacuation, but we are confident it will not come to that."

Further sailings between Wales and Ireland have been cancelled because of bad weather.

Stena is operating a hotline for people seeking information on 08705 421197.

See also:

20 Dec 01 | Europe
16 Oct 00 | Scotland
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