More than 40 cars were left high and dry for 13 hours yesterday on a RoRo ferry docked at Portsmouth Harbour. The failure of the hydraulic system for an onboard ramp on the Commodore Clipper meant that drivers could not drive their vehicles off the vessel.
The breakdown occurred at 07:00 and just after the ferry had arrived from Jersey. Foot passengers were able to get off but operator Condor Ferries said the mechanical failure had left 44 vehicles stuck on the boat. The 110 passengers who were affected could get off but had to wait for a special crane to be brought in to hold up the broken ramp
Condor later released a statement saying that the last vehicle to be freed had left at 20:00. Russell Kew is the executive chairperson of Condor Ferries and, in a statement released on his behalf, he apologised for the inconvenience passengers had endured and thanked them for their patience.
One of the passengers whose vehicle was stranded on the Commodore Clipper was Kit Ashton. In regular Twitter posts Mr Ashton described the whole experience as a nightmare that began when he was supposed to sail on the Condor Liberation to Poole.
Two technical failures on this vessel prevented it from sailing. Mr Ashton said he and a few other passengers were transferred to the Commodore Clipper sailing as a result. He noted that he should have arrived in Poole at 23:00 on Sunday but instead was allowed to leave Portsmouth 26 hours after his original checkin.