Fire stops Mersey Ferries soon after return

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Ferry across the Mersey. Photo: Ida Husøy

Ferry across the Mersey. Photo: Ida Husøy

Local commuters were frustrated as ferries returned to the River Mersey after a six-week absence, only to be stopped again almost as soon as the service resumed.

A fire broke out on The Snowdrop ‘Dazzle Ferry’ yesterday, once more leading to the cancellation of Mersey Ferries.

The fire service was called to Seacombe Ferry Terminal at around 10.45am to deal with reports of a small fire inside the engine room.

The Snowdrop ‘Dazzle Ferry’ had passed a number of electrical and sea trials in order for it to be deemed fit to travel on Monday.

But the Mersey Ferries have now been halted again and is not yet known at this stage when they will be back on the river.

A spokesperson for Mersey Travel told JMU Journalism: “There have been technical issues with the engine yesterday morning which resulted in an overheating problem, which caused a small fire.

“This incident was dealt with immediately and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service was in attendance. At no point were the passengers in danger and they were evacuated immediately.

“We cannot fully investigate the cause of this issue until we allow the engines to cool down.”

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The Snowdrop was to be used as the main ferry commuter service between the Wirral and Liverpool until work on the Royal Iris ferry is completed.

Initial technical issues saw the Royal Iris being taken off the Mersey on October 13th, with its return date still unknown at this stage. However, the ferry is said to be progressing through a range of gearbox and alignment engineering tests.

Gary Evans, who has overall operational responsibility for the Mersey Ferries, told JMU Journalism: “We know that people want to see the ferry service back in operation and we have been working round the clock for the past few weeks with specialist engineers to do this.

“Works with the Royal Iris are progressing. We are committed to ensure the problems she encountered in October 2016 are fully understood.”

About Matthew Noonan, JMU Journalism