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Friday April 28, 2000

Arriving at the Sea Terminal at around 07:00, the vehicle marshalling area and the booking hall looked rather busy. Taking my seat in the departure lounge it was obvious that with the May Bank Holiday weekend looming things were going to be quite busy. Perhaps I should have picked a quieter day, but it is often interesting to observe things working at nearer capacity.

Whilst I waited in the lounge people appeared to arrive constantly and it was obvious that it was getting quite full. However, one advantage with the Liverpool terminal is that if the lounge gets too congested on the morning sailing passengers can be boarded early providing the on board crew are ready. This what appeared to be done with loading commencing at around 07:20. On quieter days boarding often commences 10 minutes or so later.

I quickly made my way up to the quiet solitude of the Blue Riband lounge which of which I was one of the few occupants on the outward journey. However on the return it turned out to be busier.


Boarding commenced


Howard Smith Tug Trafalgar entered Alfred Lock


Let Go

569 passengers and 87 vehicles




Crosby Light Float


Formby Light Float


Q1 let channel - notified Mersey Radio of return ETA of 16:00




Point Lynas


Passed west bound coaster


Passed east bound freighter




South Stack


STENA CHALLENGER passed east bound


BRAVE MERCHANT passed east bound


ISLE OF INISHMORE passed east bound




HSS STENA EXPLORER departed Dún Laoghaire


SAGA MOON loading at Merchant Ferries terminal with JONATHAN SWIFT loading at birth 49 for the afternoon sailing to Heysham.

12:02Ropes on

On arrival at Dublin vehicle drivers and their passengers were called first as is usual practice. However, given the large number of foot passengers with baggage, foot passengers appeared to be held back whilst the luggage was off loaded from the baggage trolleys. 

When foot passenger disembarking commenced, passengers were allowed off in batches. Not much fun if you end up having to wait in the company of those who are rowdy and drunk to much. Being a bank holiday weekend there was a few of this sort around! However, those in the know realise that there is a way to get to the top of the stairs in front of the rest of the foot passengers! 

 The reason for this became apparent when entering the baggage reclaim area. There were bags laid out everywhere. The small luggage carousel in the south side terminal which was provided for Sea Containers services in June last year is woefully inadequate to cope with large numbers of foot passengers. This was never a problem with the vastly superior facilities which that are offered at the main Dublin Passenger Terminal at berth 49 and which Sea Containers were forced to quit with the introduction of the Dublin Swift. 

With only one sailing per day operating at present, perhaps a slight adjustment of the timetable could allow the berth 49 terminal to be used. Irish Ferries JONATHAN SWIFT departs shortly after the SUPERSEACAT arrives. Though slotting in the Douglas to Dublin sailings at berth 49 might be a little more difficult.

With so many bags laid out one had to wonder about the security of passenger's baggage. Whilst the carousel arrangement is not fool proof in this respect passengers usually gather round en-masse and concentrate on grabbing just their bags. However,  in this case, with groups of passengers being let through in batches I could imagine there would be some scope for the dishonest to take advantage of the situation.  

Proceeding round to the check in it was obvious that the terminal was rather busy to say the least. There was a long queue of passengers still waiting to buy tickets as well as a long queue to check in. Having checked in it was obvious that the departure lounge was rather full. Many people just standing around as virtually all the seats were occupied. 

Since Sea Containers services were forced to vacate the main terminal at berth 49 last year the new facilities provided on the south side of the river appear poor by comparison. Though built of more substantial material than a "portakabin" these prefab buildings are not as well fitted internally, and appear to get much more congested that the Liverpool "portakabin"

By 12:40 an announcement was made that no further ticket sales would be made for the 13:00 sailing. Looking back there still appeared to be a queue at the counter, so presumably there were some disappointed latecomers. However, to ensure a prompt departure such action is un doubtedly necessary. 

A few minutes later boarding commenced.


Let Go

539 passengers




South Stack




Lynas - Overtook east bound freighter SNOWDON


Overtook inbound tanker. Notified Mersey Radio Bar ETA at 16:25


ARKLOW VIEW heaved to waiting off the Bar


Passed Bar


Q1 - entered Channel

C15 Overtook freighter SWALLOW




SEA WALKER departing from Alfred lock as SSCIII approached Seacombe. INGRID GORTHON noted in Alfred basin.

17:00Ropes on

At Liverpool SSCIII was met by a detachment of the port police who appeared to arrive to keep an eye on things. The Bank Holiday  weekend probably resulting in a bigger detachment than usual, however, I had overheard some crew complaining about the lack of security presence on board and that some pilfering had gone on in the shop. Whether anyone had their "collars felt" I don't know for as usual I was one of the first off! 

I think for the benefit of the majority of travellers at busy times there should be a visible security presence, even though operators might not think it such a necessity now that duty free has gone. 

I have always felt strongly about having a pleasant travelling environment and, though one can escape by being a member of the Blue Riband Club or buy paying for an upgrade, I think it is something which everyone should be able to expect. High profile security acts as a deterrent to the livelier elements and a reassurance to crew and other passengers.

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