Ferry stranded in docks after person tests positive for Covid-19

A P&O passenger ferry remains stranded at Liverpool Docks over the weekend after a crew member tested positive for coronavirus.

The Norbank sailed into Seaforth with passengers on Friday, but the vessel was taken out of service after the Covid-19 discovery was made.

The crew member was placed into self-isolation, but the development meant the ferry could not sail back to Ireland.

The Norbank was moved to a lay-by berth while the necessary health checks and precautions were carried out.

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It remains at the Port of Liverpool still.

While one member of crew has tested positive for Covid-19, other crew were self-isolating and are being supported with tests and accommodation.

A spokesperson from P&O Ferries said: “The health and well-being of P&O Ferries’ passengers and crew is the company’s foremost priority.

"If any employee tests positive for Covid19, then the relevant authorities and employees are informed through the company’s robust internal procedures and to support UK track and trace systems.

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"Last week, one member of crew on our Liverpool-Dublin route tested positive for Covid19 and is now self-isolating.

"P&O Ferries is supporting self-isolating crew and they are being provided with test kits.

"We are cooperating with all the relevant authorities and taking all the necessary precautions stipulated in government guidance.”

A Peel Ports spokesperson said: “We can confirm that last week a crew member onboard a vessel which arrived at the Port of Liverpool tested positive for Covid-19 and was removed and placed into isolation.

The Liverpool2 container terminal. centre left, and the Port of Liverpool

“The Port followed the appropriate strict national guidelines for handling Covid-19 cases on vessels and is liaising closely with the owners and Port Health and Public Health authorities to take all necessary precautions.”

In April, the Norbank was unwittingly caught up in a high-profile business bust-up which meant another detained ferry carrying key supplies back and forth across the Irish Sea was stranded in Liverpool.

It followed a dispute between P&O and Peel Ports, who own and administer the dock facilities of the Port of Liverpool, and who demanded a cheque for nearly £600,000 of what they claimed were outstanding fees.

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P&O disagreed with that figure, believed it was two thirds that amount, and asked for flexibility to pay the bill at a time when they were losing many tens of thousands pounds a day in revenue due to the global pandemic lockdown.

It meant the Norbay was stuck in Liverpool.

On the other side of the Irish Sea, two freight ferries, including the P&O-owned vessel in Dublin – the Norbank – was fully loaded and ready to depart when the incident unfolded in Liverpool.

As the company hastily tried to pursue alternatives, the Norbank was seen in the northwest conducting ‘berthing’ trials at the Port of Mostyn in Flintshire, further up the coast.

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