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Irish Ferry ‘Hits Whale’

August 1, 2006

Whale Tail” Thousands of passengers have had travel plans disrupted after a ferry struck a whale just off Holyhead in north Wales.

Irish Ferries have confirmed its Dublin Swift service would be grounded for two days following the incident at 1400 BST on Tuesday.

The ‘soft impact’ collision happened as the vessel approached the port of Holyhead. No one was injured.

The company’s sales manager Declan Mescall said: “We’re not too sure exactly what happened.

“We certainly hit a submerged object this afternoon, about half an hour out from Holyhead port.

“The Jonathan Swift hit something big and soft and the suggestion is that it’s some kind of sea mammal.”

He said the vessel was travelling at about 40 knots at the time of the impact. “

I would love to know what the other ‘suggestions’ were for something ‘big and soft’ in the middle of the Irish Sea. Maybe they thought they’d had too much Guinness and were imagining things again…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. mark permalink
    August 8, 2006 11:47 am

    i was on the ferry at the time it hit.did not seem like a “soft impact” as it felt more like hitting something very hard.there was a very loud bang and the whole ferry jolted.seconds later the engines slowed down and the captain said they was going to check what had happened.about 10/15 minutes later the captain came back on the intercom and said that they had hit something at sea and had sustained “minor damage” and was going to continue to Holyhead under slow speed.
    may i just add that the emergency exit doors to the liferafts were manned all the time it took to get to Holyhead and another thing was we was sat in our van before the ferry had actually docked and was waiting for the doors to open(unsure if standard procedure).
    i have travelled by irish ferries back to Ireland since this happened and i have asked one of the deck crew while aboard what actually happened,his reply was very short in saying “all i know is that it was a whale” which prompted my on my return crossing the next day i asked the same question to a police officer that was in the customs area and he gave the same reply in very much the same tone.
    on the whole was pretty scary considering we had just hit something and the engines had slowed down right in the middle of the irish sea but on a lighter note , there was a few times i heard “titanic” mentioned !

  2. mark permalink
    August 8, 2006 11:50 am

    forgot to mention that originally they said the ferry would be out of service for 2 days,it was actually out of service from the tuesday it happened until the following sunday.

  3. August 8, 2006 2:13 pm

    A conspiracy theory… Excellent 😀

    ‘All I know is that it was a whale’
    More likely, all they were told to tell the passengers is that it was a whale while they try and work out what it REALLY was.

    Probably was a whale because if it was anything more substantial there would have been more damage.

    If it had been a submarine, then we would probably have heard about it because it would either have sunk or been written off.
    If it had been a rock, then the ferry wouldn’t be back in action a week later.

    It’s possible it could have been a large piece of flotsam which the authorities don’t want to admit to for some reason, but I expect some of the passengers would have seen it in the water if that was the case.

    Thanks for providing you eye witness account – always adds a bit more to the story.

  4. mark permalink
    August 9, 2006 9:36 pm

    i found the following at

    The ferry remains off service.
    My Irish mole tells me that Jonathan Swift is waiting in Holyhead for a drydock to become vacant in Liverpool. In addition to a leak in a small compartment, she has a problem with her ride control system. Whether she hit a whale or not has yet to be confirmed. She may have experienced mechanical failure of an external T foil.

  5. August 9, 2006 9:44 pm

    The one part from your account that makes me think it might not have been a whale is ‘there was a loud bang’.

    What part of a ‘soft impact collision’ with a ‘whale’ causes ‘a very loud bang’ ???

    If the ferry really had hit Wales instead of whales, then it would have more than ‘a leak in a small compartment’.

    Regardless of whatever spin they put on it, the length of time it is in drydock will tell its own story…

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