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More than 300 passengers were stranded on a ferry overnight in Birkenhead after six crew members tested positive for Covid-19.
The Belfast-bound Stena Line ferry at the company’s River Mersey Birkenhead terminal was advised by Port Health Authorities not to let passengers disembark or to leave Birkenhead after six members of staff were found to have coronavirus.
The 322 passengers and 53 crew have been told by public health authorities to stay put, while Stena Line confirmed it was helping passengers find alternative travel.
Alan Cogan, a passenger on the ferry, told the BBC he was waiting for a replacement ferry to take him home to Northern Ireland, but said the delay meant he had to cancel a work video conference meeting.
The 47-year-old, who is an area manager for a heating company, said passengers “had resigned themselves” to being stuck and “were waiting to see what happens”.
He said: “We all had visions of what had happened to the cruise ships around the world when passengers had tested positive and were left stranded and not allowed off.
“That would be a nightmare. It’s not the most comfortable boat.”
A spokesperson for Stena Line said: “Stena Line can confirm that six members of the crew of the Stena Edda have tested positive for COVID-19 last night. In line with our safety protocols we alerted the Port Health Authorities, who advised us to hold the vessel in Birkenhead as a precaution.
“322 passengers and 53 crew are onboard. The six crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 are being cared for and are doing well, with only mild symptoms. 15 close contacts have been identified and are self-isolating.”
The company confirmed of those six crew members who tested positive for coronavirus, none of them were in passenger-facing or onboard services roles.
PCR tests have been distributed to the rest of the crew members to check for coronavirus, according to Stena Line. It said the ship would be sanitised after.
It added: “Stena Line is liaising closely with public health authorities on this matter who have advised us that we should disembark the vessel in Birkenhead.
“The welfare of our passengers and crew is paramount at this time. The passengers are being catered for and we will assist them with alternative travel arrangements.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Ferry passengers stranded overnight at Birkenhead after coronavirus outbreak | Coronavirus