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Belfast ferry collides with vessel

A passenger ferry has been involved in a collision with a vessel at the entrance to Belfast Lough, authorities in Northern Ireland confirmed.

Police are assisting the Maritime and Coastguard agency in an investigation into the incident.

The Stena ferry has docked at its terminal in Belfast. There are no reports of injuries.

Police said the collision took place close to the Fairway buoy near Bangor, Co Down.

The second vessel remains close to the buoy under the instructions of Belfast Harbour while damage is being assessed.

The ferry left Birkenhead on Wednesday morning and was on the final stretch of its sailing to Belfast when the collision took place. There were 51 passengers and 47 crew on board.

A spokesman said there were no reports of injuries and everyone on the ferry had safely disembarked in Belfast.

Passengers on the ferry recounted the force of the collision and initial fears they might have to abandon the vessel before it was confirmed the ferry could safely complete its journey.

Ulster Unionist representative Roy Beggs said: "First and foremost there will be a great deal of relief that this incident did not result in casualties as we could have been dealing with a tragedy and there will also be concern as to how this was able to happen in the first place.

"Many people will rightly be asking just how two modern vessels with state of the art navigation equipment can collide in a major shipping lane. This question must be answered in order to maintain public confidence and to ensure that the excellent safety record is maintained."

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