Over 300 Stranded Aboard Ferry After Six Crewmembers Test Positive

Stena Edda (file image courtesy Stena Line)

Published Dec 17, 2020 7:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

Over 300 passengers were stranded overnight aboard a ferry at the port of Liverpool after crewmembers tested positive for COVID-19.

On the night of December 15, the Belfast-bound ferry Stena Edda was held at the Birkenhead terminal by health authorities after six members of her crew returned positive results for coronavirus. 322 passengers and 53 crewmembers were kept aboard overnight.

The passengers were allowed to disembark the following morning. According to operator Stena Line, all were rebooked on a different Belfast-bound ferry. 

"I went to my cabin and went to bed. We were not informed of any problems until 0330 in the morning," one passenger told BBC. "We had no further updates until 0745 and that's when we where told that we would be moving to another ship to sail to Belfast."

The six crewmembers who tested positive are showing mild symptoms but are doing well, Stena said. 15 more individuals who were in close contact with the positive cases are now in self-quarantine. 

The delay for Stena Edda had a knock-on effect at the port of Holyhead, a stepping-off point for Dublin-bound ferries located about 65 miles to the west of Liverpool. Combined with extra traffic volume from the holidays, along with a rush of freight cargo due to the impending border regime changes from Brexit, redirected truck traffic from Stena Edda contributed to multi-mile tailbacks on the highway into Holyhead's ro/ro port.