Portsmouth passengers stuck on Jersey-bound ferry for 24 hours

STUCK The Commodore Clipper
STUCK The Commodore Clipper
Daniel Williams as King Charles I at Portsmouth Car Ferry Terminal, Gunwharf. Picture: Byron Melton

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A FERRY which left Portsmouth over 24 hours ago has finally arrived in Jersey, after being unable to dock amid a violent storm.

Passengers on-board the Commodore Clipper arrived at St Helier just before 2.40pm today, having boarded at Portsmouth Harbour at 12.50pm yesterday.

The captain decided it was too dangerous to dock the ferry due to a rough storm carrying gale force winds and waves of over 30ft.

Instead it spent the evening sailing along the sheltered east side of the island.

The 125 people on-board were offered free food and drinks, including a fish and chip dinner.

One passenger described the trip on Twitter last night, writing: ‘Absolutely horrific. Anchoring off East Jersey overnight and may not dock till midday. Just Hell.’

Others said many passenger were falling sea sick on the journey which usually takes just nine hours.

The ferry, which carries freight as well as passengers, arrived Guernsey at 10.30pm last night and left for Jersey shortly before midnight.

Passengers for Jersey were told they could get off at Guernsey, but many stayed on-board thinking it would be a short trip.

Captain Andy Wyatt, operations manager of Condor Ferries, said: ‘The passengers on board have now disembarked and freight units are being unloaded bringing fresh supplies to the Island, before the ship is loaded once more and resumes her passage to Guernsey and onward to Portsmouth.

‘Condor Ferries is proud to provide a lifeline link to the Channel Islands using the conventional ferries Commodore Clipper and Commodore Goodwill.

‘The atrocious weather conditions have been more persistent than in recent years, but we know that delivering this kind of vital service can sometimes be challenging.

‘Throughout this voyage the safety of passengers and crew is our highest priority.’

All Condor ferry services are cancelled today but should be back to normal tomorrow. There have already been several days of ferry cancellations and disruption since the weekend.

Capt Wyatt added: ‘We expect the weather to moderate tomorrow and are not currently anticipating any disruption to the fast ferry sailings’

There are likely to be further changes to Commodore Clipper’s schedule because of the delays.

See condorferries.com for more