Ferry passengers smelled sewage

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The Independent Online
PASSENGERS using the ferry in which two children died after inhaling toxic fumes had complained on earlier voyages about the smell of sewage. The Celtic Pride sailed again last night on the Cork-Swansea route after repairs to her waste-storage system.

The latest revelations follow the findings of an investigation by Irish officials that the tragedy was a one-in-a-million chance. The ferry operators confirmed last night that they had received a written complaint from a passenger about strong sewage smells after a voyage in April 1991.

Steve Brenman, of south-west London, told the Swansea-Cork Ferry Company the stench from the bathroom in his cabin had been 'worse than a sewer'. A spokesman for the company said similar complaints were received 'from time to time' either in writing or orally to the crew.

Yesterday a number of passengers who had travelled on earlier crossings reported problems with the Celtic Pride's sewage system. Martin Appleby, of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, who travelled to Cork with his family on 17 July and returned on 1 August, said he had experienced foul smells in the bathroom of his cabin on both crossings. On the outward voyage he had reported it to a ship's officer and to gardai in Cork. He said the incident had been recorded in the ship's log.

Last night the Dublin government called on all ferry companies serving the Irish Republic to review their ships' waste systems.

The official investigation concluded yesterday that the two children who died had inhaled toxic sewage gases. Katherine and James Tomlins were found dead in their cabin by their parents when the ferry docked in their home city of Cork on Wednesday after a stormy 10-hour voyage from Swansea.

The Celtic Pride returned to Swansea last night with more than 400 passengers. They included Denis Murphy, Swansea-Cork Ferry's non-executive chairman. He promised that the company would implement any modifications recommended. 'I can assure you this will never happen again.'

Safety questions, page 2

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