Stolen ferry retrieved after 'high-speed' chase

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The Independent Online

A man was being quizzed by gardai in Ireland last night after a passenger ferry was stolen off the north-west coast.

The vessel was taken in the early hours of the morning from the pier at Arranmore Island - three miles off Co Donegal and beached on the mainland.

A lifeboat crew was rammed after they took to the water in a dinghy to try and stop the boat.

Seamus Boyle, owner of Arranmore Charters which runs the fast ferry service, said the badly damaged ship was recovered on the island's beach.

"I know that they did hit the rocks and beached," he said.

"The fibreglass hull has been ripped and other damage but we won't know until we get in and inspect it."

"It will be out of action for a while."

A crewman with Arranmore Charters saw the boat in harbour at 5am, but when he checked again at 6am it was gone.

Gardai said the man in custody was arrested at Burtonport, on the mainland, and was being held at Glenties Garda Station.

It is understood he is a local man.

The ferry company, based on Arranmore, has been operating since June 2007 and introduced the fast ferry, which cruises at thirty knots, to meet demand from locals.

Likened to a water taxi service, it covers the three mile journey from Burtonport to the island in just over five minutes and holds up to 12 passengers.