Wednesday, 2 August 2017

STRANDED thumbnailCarlingford Ferry

A number of people were left stranded on the shores of Carlingford Lough last week, after the new ferry from Greencastle was sensationally suspended for several days.

Last Tuesday (25 July), the evening sailings of Scenic Carlingford Ferry had to be immediately cancelled after a fault was found with the ferry's hydraulic system.

However, this meant that many could not use the ferry for the return leg of their journey.

Scenic Carlingford Ferry said "passengers were kept updated on progress as regularly as possible via our website and Facebook page".

Despite this, several people have told The Outlook this was "not the case".

One couple had arrived at Greenore after travelling over on the ferry from Greencastle at around 4.30pm. When they arrived at Greenore port for their 7.30pm sailing back to Greencastle, they said there were no staff members at the port.

They explained how they waited, along with many others, for approximately an hour before they were informed by Carlingford Lough Pilots that the ferry had been cancelled.

Indeed, the pilots had themselves ferried people across the Lough who had been left stranded at Greencastle by the ferry's sudden suspension.

One of the main selling points of the ferry is its time-saving option, enabling passengers to take advantage of the shorter journey available.

However, this couple and others who were left stranded at Greenore had to travel back along the roads through Newry, Warrenpoint and Rostrevor.

This journey back to Greencastle would take approximately 90 minutes.

The couple said that despite the fact they had been left stranded by the ferry company, it would not put them off using the service again.

They said they had thoroughly enjoyed their crossing over the Lough. However, they did criticise the company's "organisation and managerial skills".

"I do not want anyone to be put off sailing because of this, because the views are sensational when you are half-way out on the Lough but an improvement is needed," he said.

This latest problem with the ferry came on what was its fifth day of service. The ferry service has not been without its difficulties.

It had initially been due to launch on Thursday, 1 June this year but did not set sail until Friday, 21 July. Then the maiden voyage was postponed due to the weather, but did sail later that day.

A spokesperson for Scenic Carlingford Ferry told The Outlook they are "committed to providing the best possible service to both locals and visitors to Greencastle, Greenore and the surrounding areas who will benefit from the transformational new service".

"We regret that due to a problem with the ferry's hydraulic system, Scenic Carlingford Ferry was forced to suspend sailings for a period between Tuesday (25 July) evening and Friday (28 July) afternoon while the issue was addressed.

"We are deeply disappointed this issue occurred and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by this disruption.

"Our team worked tirelessly to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and passengers were kept updated on progress, as regularly as possible via our website and Facebook page, as well as crew members at both Greenore and Greencastle terminals during this time.

"We apologise for any delay in getting crew from Greencastle to Greenore after the ferry ceased sailing. This was facilitated as quickly as possible and we would like to thank the Carlingford Lough Pilots for their assistance," said a spokesperson.


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