Harwich-Esbjerg ferry sailings cancelled after crash

Ferry hitting quayside
Image caption The ferry was damaged after striking the quay on Saturday

Sailings from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark have been suspended after a ferry with 489 passengers on board hit a quay while docking on Saturday.

Sirena Seaways hit Harwich International Port in Essex as it arrived at about 12:00 BST.

Owner DFDS said the vessel would probably be out of service until at least next Saturday.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch said a team was at the port conducting preliminary inquiries.

A spokeswoman for DFDS said the ferry was being repaired in a dry dock.

Loud bang

"As a result, it is likely that the vessel will be out of service until at least Saturday 29 June," she said.

"We would like to apologise to passengers for any inconvenience caused during this time.

"Our customer services team is working hard to find alternative transportation routes for all passengers booked on to the cancelled sailings."

Eyewitnesses spoke of hearing a loud bang as the vessel hit the quay at the port.

The 23,000-tonne ship started to let in water and began listing to its port side.

Its crew plugged the hole in the vessel's hull from inside and built a compartment with watertight doors to stem the leak.

Lifeboats and coastguard vessels were launched and an RAF search and rescue helicopter was sent to the scene.

Police, firefighters and ambulances also attended but there were no injuries reported and no pollution.

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