A P&O Ferries’ passenger ship which operates between Scotland and Northern Ireland was stranded in the Irish Sea for two hours on Tuesday, following a mechanical failure.
The European Causeway, which sails between Cairnryan and Larne, lost power before arriving at the Northern Irish port.
The ferry, which can carry up to 410 passengers and 53 crew, left Cairnryan at about 12.00 BST and had been expected to reach Larne at about 14.00.
The coastguard was alerted to a mechanical failure on the vessel at approximately 13.30. A tug was sent to the ferry’s location, while local coastguard teams and lifeboats were put on standby.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the European Causeway restored power and was escorted to the port. It docked at Larne port shortly before 16.00, according to data from vessel tracking website Marinetraffic, nearly two hours after its scheduled arrival.
During the incident Jonny Wilson, a passenger who said he was onboard the European Causeway, had tweeted that the ferry had been “sat stationery [sic] for over an hour with no power about 30 mins out of Larne…”.
P&O Ferries said the ship had experienced a “temporary mechanical issue”, a spokesperson said, before continuing on its “scheduled journey to the port of Larne under its own propulsion”.
The company said there were no reported injuries on board the ferry, and that all relevant authorities had been informed. A “full independent investigation” would be undertaken in port, the spokesperson added.
The ferry, which P&O said was specially designed to serve the Cairnryan-Larne route, originally entered service in 2000.
All of P&O’s ferries stopped sailing following the group’s mass sacking of 800 workers in March.
The European Causeway was prevented from re-entering service in March by the MCA, which detained it after an inspection uncovered reported “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training”.
The ferry was later reinspected and was cleared to sail on 8 April.
Mike Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) said it found reports that the European Causeway was adrift off the coast of Larne “deeply concerning, not least for the agency crew and passengers onboard.”.
“The list of offences is now as long as your arm and the government has to step in and protect ferry safety and jobs,” Lynch said, calling on ministers to strip P&O Ferries of its licence to operate its ships.