The storm gates on Cape Clear Island in West Cork have malfunctioned and the island ferry has been stranded inside the harbour.
"We are undergoing a bit of a crisis at the moment as a result," according to the islanders who are dependent as a result on small boats to provide transport or supplies until the situation is resolved.
"We have received every possible help and support from our local fellow operators and service providers which is greatly appreciated but it is nevertheless a very difficult situation," they say.
The Cape Clear Ferry Company has issued this statement about the Storm Gates malfunction:
On Wednesday morning, 18 April the Cape Clear Ferry, Dún Aengus was berthed at her overnight station inside the recently installed Storm Gates, designed to protect the inner harbour. Unfortunately, during the opening of the gate, operated hydraulically one of the stainless steel pipes burst leading to a loss of oil pressure and the gates remained closed, thus trapping the ferry inside. Given the nature of this marine standard equipment, sourcing spare parts and replacement oil will take some days at the earliest.
At this time of the year the Island’s main Ferry, Dún an Óir 11 is undergoing her annual survey and is not available for service.
We are very grateful to our good friend Nic Slocum of West Cork Whalewatch who agreed to provide an unofficial relief service on Wednesday at extremely short notice and arrangements have been made to provide an emergency service from today, Thursday 19th using our own 12 passenger vessel, Deep Star. Since this vessel has very limited passenger capacity, multiple trips will be required at peak times, possibly leading to delay’s and lack of cargo capacity is obvious. We are very grateful also to the Ro Ro service operated by Vince Ó Driscoll which will make a run to Cape Clear at 2pm today bringing both heavy and light cargo and with a license also for 12 passengers.
Intending passengers are asked to contact us by text or email, especially at peak times where lists of bookings will be taken for multiple trips. By doing this, we hope to avoid or reduce long delays. We ask all service users to check our Facebook page and website regularly for sailing updates and where possible, trips that can easily be postponed would be a great help to us.
We also thank the wonderful staff at Fields Supermarket for their legendary cooperation and forbearance and indeed to all the wonderful local people on the Island and elsewhere who have offed every possible help and assistance to us and to one another.