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Harwich Harbour Ferry badly damaged in gale-force winds

media captionHarwich Harbour Ferry half submerged in gale-force winds

A ferry has been badly damaged by gale-force winds that battered the east of England.

The Harwich Harbour Ferry in Essex was wrenched from its moorings at Ha'Penny Pier and found half-submerged on Saturday morning.

Chris and Lucy Zemann, who own the ferry which connects Harwich with Felixstowe and Shotley Gate in Suffolk, said they were devastated.

A ferry has linked Suffolk and Essex since 1912.

image copyrightHarwich Haven Authority
image captionThe boat sustained "significant damage" but did not sink, Harwich Haven Authority said

The latest one, a 40ft (12m) former lifeboat, has been in use since 2015.

A spokeswoman for Harwich Haven Authority, which manages the pier, said: "The severity of the weather meant that we were not able to recover the ferry by sea, or secure her lines from the pontoons. It was too dangerous."

The authority confirmed the vessel had "sustained significant damage but she is still afloat".

image copyrightHarwich Harbour Ferry
image captionChris Zemann and his wife Lucy have operated the ferry since 2015

Mr and Mrs Zemann said: "We have started assessing the damage, but it is clear we can't operate for the rest of the season, which was due to last for another month.

"We are determined to resume our ferry operation next season, save our livelihood and continue to serve the communities of Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe.

"Local reaction to this terrible incident has yet again brought home to us how much the Harwich Harbour Ferry is loved by these communities."

The ferry service reopened in May after closing due to lockdown restrictions.

The couple said: "We were excitedly planning for the future, so the damage caused by the storm has come as a huge blow, but we fight our way back."

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Related Topics

  • Ferries
  • Felixstowe
  • Shotley
  • Harwich