Sirena Seaways ferry damaged hitting Harwich dock

Ferry after it hit quayside
Image caption Eyewitness Chris Vincent said the ship was coming in at "quite some speed"
Ferry hitting quayside
Image caption The DFDS ferry struck the quay as it arrived from Esbjerg
Ferry hitting quayside
Image caption Lifeboats were launched after the ferry collided with the dock
Damage to ship and quayside
Image caption Chris Vincent said he felt the ship judder as it struck the quay
Helicopter hovering over ship
Image caption An RAF Search and Rescue helicopter was despatched to the scene

Almost 500 passengers were stranded on a ferry for more than two hours after it struck the quay while docking and started to let in water.

The DFDS ferry Sirena Seaways, with 489 passengers on board, hit Parkeston Quay, in Harwich, Essex, just after midday.

Eyewitnesses said the ship was listing after the accident, which holed the vessel beneath the water line.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service said no-one was trapped or injured.

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Media captionThe DFDS ferry was carrying 489 passengers

The fire service said the ship's crew plugged the hole from inside and built a compartment with watertight doors to stem the leak.

There had been no pollution, a spokesman added.

A Department for Transport spokesman said a team from the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch was at the scene investigating how the accident happened.

'Very successful outcome'

The Walton Coastguard rescue team, the Harwich RNLI lifeboat, the harbour launch boat, and an RAF search and rescue helicopter from Wattisham Airfield attended the incident, along with a number of other nearby vessels and tugs that went to assist.

At 14:45 BST the ferry was brought along the quayside and all the passengers on board started disembarking.

Aimee Rampton, watch manager at Thames Coastguard, said: "We had a very successful outcome today: 489 people onboard and no injuries incurred."

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Media captionGert Jakobsen from DFDS: "There was no danger to passengers"

The 23,000-tonne vessel had just arrived from Esbjerg, Denmark.

It is described on the DFDS website as a "modern cruise ship with a real focus on passenger entertainment and comfort".

Eric Chalmers, who was at quay when the crash happened, said the ferry was "only just" upright in the water following the collision.

Mr Chalmers said: "I heard a horrible, really loud crumpling, thundery noise.

"I snapped my head around and there she is, ploughing straight into the docks bows-on."

Chris Vincent, 50, was on board the ship having returned from a motorcycle tour to the Arctic Circle and said the ship "juddered" as it hit the quayside.

'Heard a bang'

"We were coming into the port at about 11:45 BST and were due to arrive at 12:00. The ferry seemed to be coming in at quite some speed," he said.

Image caption Passenger Chris Vincent said he heard a loud bang

"We heard a bang and some metallic noises. We looked out of the cabin window and could see the ship had hit a hydraulic boarding ramp and some metal bollards. The front of the ship ploughed into the quay."

"The crew were quite good and kept everybody calm. They put tea and coffee and soft drinks on for everybody."

Mr Vincent, a salesman from Syston, Leicestershire, said messages over the ship's public address system told passengers what was happening.

Ch Insp Nick Lee, of Essex Police, said: "We worked closely with DFDS, the Port of Harwich authorities and the coastguard. The boat was redocked and the passengers were able to disembark."

Gert Jakobsen, vice-president of communications for DFDS, said it was "difficult to say" why the ship had struck the quayside.

"There might have been some wind, we don't know why, but it hit the quay," he said.

"A ship is very heavy and it caused some damage to the quayside. There was also some damage to the ship in the front at the starboard side.

"It took in a little water but not much. The ship was fully able to handle it so it only took in water for a short period of time."

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