Ship's passengers stranded in bomb alert

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The Independent Online

Nearly 150 ferry passengers and 101 crew were stranded on ships in the River Mersey today after a large bomb was seen floating in the water.

Nearly 150 ferry passengers and 101 crew were stranded on ships in the River Mersey today after a large bomb was seen floating in the water.

The 500lb device, thought to be a Second World War relic, was reported to HM Coastguard near the entrance to Twelve Quays Dock in Birkenhead at around midnight.

Two ships, the Mersey Viking and Dublin Viking, were ordered to wait further up the River Mersey when they arrived at 3.40am and 4.30am respectively.

The Mersey Viking has 64 passengers and 55 crew on board. The Dublin Viking has 81 passengers and 46 crew.

A Royal Navy bomb disposal team is liaising with other agencies to tackle the problem.

Craig Sim, watch assistant with HM Coastguard Liverpool, said: "The likely plan is that the Navy will move the bomb to deeper water and detonate it somewhere safe, where it is not close to shipping lanes, underground power cables and the like.

"They probably wouldn't start that until low water, which is at 8.18am in Liverpool."

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