A ferry to Dover, which had failed on Sunday to leave Calais harbour with 313 people on board, due to strong winds, was permanently secured.
A ferry bound for Dover , which had failed on Sunday at noon to leave the port of Calais with 313 people on board, due to strong winds, was finally brought to safety in the evening after hours of delicate towing.
By early evening, four tugs, two of them stepped in, maneuvered the boat prior refloated although partly damaged engines, to bring it back to dock.
“The 208 passengers were able to disembark and traffic resumes at progressively”, said at a press briefing at the port terminal Prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Fabien Sudry.
Most passengers, who have been supported by a medical and psychological cell should embark directly onto another ferry to Dover.
The accident occurred shortly after boarding, to 11:35 am (10:35 GMT), while the ferry was on an exit manouver.
“When they leave their berth, boats are out here in reverse. This is retreating as the Pride of Kent has probably taken a flurry “and ran aground near a dock, detailed Jean-Marc Puissesseau, port president.
Since Saturday, the region is on alert for strong winds and extremely strong wind blowing along the coast.
Should he leave the ship from under these conditions? “Calais is a port that is accustomed to exceptional climatic conditions,” responded Mr. Sudry, stressing that “the other ferry left the port without difficulty in the morning.”
“This is an event quite exceptional,” he added.
For the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, “this is not a safety issue.” “This is the only event (like this) we’ve had,” said she said.
An administrative investigation was opened to determine the cause of the accident.
“There is no problem, no injuries,” had previously stated the spokesman of the company, Karine WARNAULT, adding that the passengers inside were supported, informed and fed.
On board the “Pride of Kent”, there were 313 people, 208 passengers and 105 crew members. The ferry, which was enroute to the British port of Dover also embarks with 74 trucks, 36 light vehicles and a bus.
In the accident, two waterways “reduced” occurred “without affecting the building’s stability,” according to authorities.
By early evening, traffic, interrupted since the beginning of the afternoon, gradually regained after two ships, P & O and DFDS could leave port at 6pm.
On site, thirty onlookers braving the storm, participated in rescue operations from the opposite pier near the beach.
“I had never seen ferry crashes like this,” commented Bernard Calaisien 50, explaining that the wind was already blowing extremely strong at noon, around 30 knots.
“It’s amazing that they (the port) to have let out” is also surprised Stéphane, 47, bundled up in his parka.
The port of Calais is one of the largest in Europe in terms of passengers, with more than nine million passengers in 2016, according to official figures.