View footage of nightmare Irish ferry crossing as Barton woman's four-hour trip ends up as taking a sickly 23 hours thanks to Storm Barra

The 24-year-old says the ship should never have sailed in those conditions

Friday, 10th December 2021, 11:01 am

A woman from Barton-le-Clay whose ferry was left stranded at sea for hours as Storm Barra stopped it from docking is relieved to be home.

Lilly King, 24, thinks the ship should never have sailed in those conditions after what should have been a four-hour crossing took 23 hours.

Irish Ferries' Ulysses had been due to dock at Holyhead, Anglesey, at 5am on Wednesday (December 8).

Lilly and her uncle were relieved to finally get off the ferry

Lilly, who was travelling from Dublin with her dad, uncle and 76-year-old nan, believes staff on the Irish Ferries ship could have done more to reassure passengers as the ship tried, and failed to dock before eventually docking on Wednesday night at around midnight instead.

She said: "The ferry was supposed to sail at 10pm but it was delayed so we had to sit in the van for a few hours, we ended up leaving at 1am Wednesday morning.

"We should have docked at Holyhead at 5am, but we didn't dock until midnight, we were on the ferry for 23 hours.

"When we got on the ship everything was normal, but when we arrived near Holyhead at 5am and they attempted to dock we were told the weather was too dangerous. The water levels were too high and the winds were too strong.

"We were told we would being going back to sea and would float until it was safe to dock. At around 9am they did an announcement to say they were attempting to dock again, but again it was unsuccessful and we went back to sea.

"We were being thrown around the ferry, as soon as you stood up you would get knocked down, it was horrible, I had sea sickness - lots of people did.

"They said they would try again at lunchtime but I don't think they did as the weather was too bad. They waited until 9pm and said they would try again, it took until midnight to safely dock.

"It was a massive relief to get off. I was not getting my hopes up of docking after the two previous attempts. You end up thinking you are never getting off, it was a nightmare.

"Everyone was glad to get off, it was horrible on there. My 76-year-old nan was persistently sea sick, from 5am until midnight she could not get out of bed. She's still in such a bad way.

"My dad, uncle and I started to think about whether the ferry could handle weather like this, and if it had enough fuel to be out this long, it was only supposed to be few hours' crossing, and ended up being 23 hours.

"There was no reassurance from anyone in charge and the customer care was really bad. First of all I do not think they should have sailed. I think someone made the wrong decision there.

"They knew there was a weather warning, and they knew the weather was bad. During the delay I was sitting in the van and that was shaking, I thought we shouldn't be going on the water when it's like this.

"But you put your trust in them, and someone let us down. I think they made the wrong decision to make the journey. The fact they did sail, they could have done more when we were on the ferry.

"There were no announcements - apart from the ones where they said we would be attempting to dock. They should have done more to reassure the passengers

"The staff also could have done checks on people in the cabins, me and my nan were quite ill so were in the cabins for quite a while and we were lucky that my dad and uncle were okay and could get us drinks and food.

"But what about those people that were travelling alone. They did offer free food and drink, but it wasn't everything, only certain things, one member of staff took things off someone's plate and said that wasn't free.

"Also, the communication with families of passengers who were on the boat should have been better.

"One girl tweeted me back saying her elderly uncle was on that boat and they could not get hold of him because he didn’t have a phone - they had no idea what had happened to the boat for nearly 24 hours!

"Irish Ferries' phone lines were closed at that time so they couldn’t find out what had happened and if he was okay. Irish Ferries should have provided updates on their website for people at home to check!

"Irish Ferries replied to my tweet and said that I could direct message them to make a complaint."

In a tweet to Lilly, Irish Ferries has since offered "sincere apologies for the disruption". When Luton Today approached them they said would not be providing any comment. They said information regarding travel disruption can be viewed on the Irish Ferries website www.irishferries.com/uk-en/sailing-updates