60th anniversary of MV Princess Victoria tragedy

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services will be held in Scotland and Northern Ireland to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the MV Princess Victoria.

The Princess Victoria, one of the first roll-on roll-off ferries, sank in the North Channel in hurricane winds on 31 January, 1953.

A total of 133 passengers and crew lost their lives when the ferry, which had left Stranraer in the early morning, sank in the North Channel as it attempted to sail to Larne.

The sinking, in which all the women and children on board were lost, is described as the worst maritime disaster since the Second World War.

Captain James Ferguson, 55, who had worked on the route for 17 years, went down with the ship and the other 132 passengers and crew.

Shortly after clearing the mouth of Loch Ryan, the ship turned west towards Larne and huge waves damaged the low stern doors, allowing water to enter the car deck. The vessel was swamped and went down.

Among the victims was the then deputy prime minister of Northern Ireland, Major Maynard Sinclair.

Services are planned for Stranraer and Larne in Northern Ireland to mark the anniversary.

There will be a service at the disaster memorial in Agnew Park, Stranraer, followed by a service in the Town Kirk. The service in Larne will take place at the Princess Victoria Memorial.