Hundreds stranded on ferry

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The Independent Online

A rescue operation was under way last night to evacuate almost 200 people stranded on a car ferry in the port of Stranraer, after a lorry broke free and burst through the ship's rear doors when it was halfway across the Irish Sea.

The regular Stena Line service to Belfast left the western Scottish port on Wednesday night but was forced to turn back after the incident, which left the vehicle hanging from the back of the ship. Once it reached Stranraer, the ferry was unable to moor safely with its rear doors blocked, so the 156 passengers and 33 crew were unable to disembark and had to wait most of the day to be rescued.

Last night, they were being removed one by one by firemen from Dumfries fire brigade, using a hydraulic lift platform.

Some of the first passengers to reach dry land said they had been relaxing in the HSS Stena Voyager's main lounge when they heard a loud bang to the stern of the ship, before it ground to a halt at about 9pm.

It is still unknown how badly the ferry's doors have been damaged, and how long repairs the might take.