Lorries topple over during extreme weather aboard Scotland-bound ferry

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Six lorries and other vehicles were toppled over on a Scotland-bound ferry by “severe conditions” in the North Channel.

Ambulances and fire engines were sent to meet the ferry on arrival in Cairnryan from Larne in Northern Ireland, but no-one was found to be injured.

Several ambulances were sent to the scene along with police, the fire and rescue service and the coastguard, after six vehicles shifted on board the ferry, causing damage. Picture: Andrew Millligan/PA Wire

Several ambulances were sent to the scene along with police, the fire and rescue service and the coastguard, after six vehicles shifted on board the ferry, causing damage. Picture: Andrew Millligan/PA Wire

Images showed lorries toppled against each other and cars crushed by the impact, with some passengers confined to their vehicles.

Police were alerted shortly after 7:30am yesterday to vehicles having overturned aboard P&O Ferries’ European Causeway during the crossing.

Lorry driver Niall Mcerlean told BBC Scotland: “We got on the ferry about half four and it was a wee bit rough and choppy coming along.

“About halfway across, it sort of went into a big dip and came back out of it and that is when all the wrecking took place.

“After that the boat was sort of capsizing over a wee bit, leaning over a wee bit.

“It happened that quick that people didn’t know what was taking place and everybody was nervous and afraid if we were going on over.

“There was a lot of panic going on.

“I don’t know why P&O sailed last night because it was giving out for a storm.

“Maybe they shouldn’t have sailed.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “During a choppy sailing, there has been a movement of vehicles on the car deck and this has caused around six vehicles to tip over onto their side.

“Due to the movement on the deck, there are a number of passengers confined to vehicles.

“We are able to confirm all 52 passengers and 56 crew on board are safe and well and no-one has any injuries.”

Damaged vehicles were later lifted from the ferry.

A spokesman for P&O Ferries said: “We can confirm an incident took place on the European Causeway.

“In extreme weather conditions, a number of vehicles have moved position on the decks causing damage onboard.

“All passengers and crew are safely accounted for. There are no reports of injuries and the emergency services are in attendance.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) sent four appliances to the scene and crews remained there until around 3pm.

A spokesman said: “The SFRS was requested to assist our emergency service partners with an ongoing incident involving vehicles upon a ferry berthed at Cairnryan ferry terminal.” A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said five ambulances were sent to the scene and crews checked over passengers.

He said: “No injuries were reported and no-one was required to be taken to hospital.

“Our specialist operations response team was also dispatched to support our emergency service partners.”
The incident comes almost exactly ten years after 200 people were stranded on a Stranraer-Belfast ferry after a lorry broke free and burst through the ship’s rear door.

The Stena Line service was forced to sail back to Stranraer with the lorry hanging out of the back after the incident. Those aboard were not able to disembark for more than 24 hours because the ferry could not berth. The lorry’s cab remained on the deck while the trailer hung out of the stern and the rear door was damaged.