The chief executive of the Steam Packet Company has apologised to passengers who faced severe disruption over the bank holiday weekend - but says staff faced abuse from some passengers.
Mark Woodward said: '‘I would first of all like to apologise to all passengers affected and thank many of them for their understanding and patience as we first attempted to resolve the issue to allow the sailing to leave and then tried to assist with transfers and overnight accommodation.
'Unfortunately there was a small number of passengers whose behaviour was atrocious, who both physically assaulted and verbally abused shore staff in Liverpool, as well as damaging fixtures and fittings in toilets and the main departure lounge.'
He praised staff who were working in difficult circumstances 'and in the face of some very unpleasant and threatening behaviour'.
Mr Woodward said: 'I believe they did everything they could to protect passenger safety and assist as much as possible. The police in Liverpool should also be thanked for their prompt and professional response, helping to calm passengers and safely escort them to the accommodation, including closing the busy main road at one point to allow a safe crossing.’
And he said passengers were kept fully up to date with developments.
Monday evening's seacat sailing from Liverpool to Douglas had to be cancelled when an engine could not be started. It meant Tuesday's Belfast service was also cancelled. Specialist engineers have now repaired the Manannan and it is back in normal service.
Mr Woodward said: 'Every attempt was made to keep passengers on board informed as the situation developed, with the captain making nine announcements, and to communicate with those whose travel was affected by the cancellation. This is a further example of why it is so important to give us a current mobile phone number when booking, so we can inform passengers of any changes to the schedule.'
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