A Barton-le-Clay woman whose ferry was stranded at sea for hours as Storm Barra prevented her from docking is relieved to be home.
Lilly King, 24, believes the ship should never have sailed in these conditions after what should have been a four-hour crossing took 23 hours.
Ulysses of Irish Ferries was due to dock in Holyhead, Anglesey, at 5 a.m. on Wednesday 8th December.
Lilly, who was traveling from Dublin with her 76-year-old father, uncle and grandmother, believes the Irish Ferries ship’s staff could have done more to reassure passengers as the ship attempted to dock and failed failed to dock before docking Wednesday night at around midnight instead.
She said: “The ferry was supposed to leave 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 5 am, but we didn’t give birth until midnight, we were on the ferry for 23 hours.
“When we got on the ship everything was normal, but when we got near Holyhead at 5 am and they tried to dock we were told the weather was too dangerous. The water levels were too high and the winds too strong.
“We were told we would return to sea and float until we could safely dock. At around 9am they made an announcement that they were attempting to dock again, but again that failed and we went back to sea.
“We were thrown on the ferry, as soon as you got up you were knocked down, it was horrible, I was seasick – a lot of people did.
“They said they would try again at lunch time, but I don’t think they did because the weather was too bad. They waited until 9pm and said they would try again, it took until midnight to dock safely.
“It was a huge relief to get off. I had no hope of docking after the previous two attempts. You end up thinking you never get down, it was a nightmare.
“Everyone was happy to come down, it was horrible there. My 76 year old grandmother was constantly seasick, from 5am until midnight she couldn’t get out of bed. She was seasick. is still in such bad shape.
“My dad, uncle and I started to wonder if the ferry could handle a weather like this, and if it had enough fuel to break down for that long, the crossing was only supposed to take a few hours. , and ended up lasting 23 hours.
“There was no assurance from the managers and the customer service was really bad. First of all, I don’t think they should have been sailing. I think someone made the wrong decision there- low.
“They knew there was a weather warning, and they knew the weather was bad. During the delay, I was sitting in the van and it was shaking, I thought we shouldn’t go on the water. when it’s like that.
“But you trusted them and someone let us down. I think they made the wrong decision to make the trip. The fact that they sailed they could have done more when we were on the ferry .
“There were no announcements – other than the ones where they said we would attempt to dock. They should have done more to reassure the passengers
“The staff could also have checked the people in the cabins, my grandmother and I were quite sick so we stayed in the cabins for quite a while and we were lucky my dad and uncle were fine and could get us food and drink.
“But what about those people who were traveling alone. They offered free food and drink, but that was not all, only some things, a member of staff took things from the plate of someone and said it wasn’t free.
“In addition, communication with the families of the passengers who were on the boat should have been better.
“A girl tweeted me back saying her elderly uncle was on that boat and they couldn’t reach him because he didn’t have a phone – they had no idea what had happened on the boat for almost 24 hours!
“The Irish Ferries phone lines were closed at the time, so they couldn’t know 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 I can message them to make a complaint.”
In a tweet to Lilly, Irish Ferries has since offered “its sincere apologies for the disruption”. When Luton Today approached them, they said they would not comment. They said information regarding travel disruptions can be found on the Irish Ferries website www.irishferries.com/uk-en/sailing-updates