Hundreds of passengers looking to get overnight ferries from Britain to Ireland were told to turn back last night as a 48 hour ban on UK travel was announced yesterday evening. The final docking of passengers and private cars arrived in Dublin just before the midnight deadline.
A new variant of coronavirus discovered in parts of the UK has led to the introduction of bans on flights and ferries coming into Ireland. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put London and parts of the South East and East of England into a two-week Christmas lockdown, as he said the new strain is up to 70% more transmissible than the first strain.
The ban has seen huge disruptions with around 250 Irish trucks stuck at British ports due to the UK travel ban imposed by many EU countries.
More than 14,00 passengers, who planned to sail into Dublin and Rosslare today and tomorrow, are being offered refunds by Stena Line. Due to the ban, spokesperson Simon Palmer said the ferry operator can only carry haulage for now.
“We’re afraid so, if you’re due to sail out of Holyhead or Fishguard over the next 48 hours, we’re afraid we will not be able to take you unless you are listed as an essential worker on the list that the Government has published.”
“We will be allowing refunds, we will be allowing rebooking, or we can accommodate them on other services. But at the moment, we cannot take [passengers] on Holyhead into Dublin or Fishguard in Rosslare.”
Stena released a statement saying passenger travel is not permitted on their services from the UK into the Republic of Ireland for “at least the next 48 hours” from midnight. The ban excludes essential supply chain workers such as Deck Officers, Engineering Officers and ETOs, Contracted technicians, etc.
The announcement of the bans on flights and ferries from the UK came yesterday evening and will run for 48 hours. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland have also halted incoming flights from the UK.
An Post has said the travel ban will seriously hamper last-minute post between Ireland, Britain and the rest of Europe. Deutsche Post DHL has halted all deliveries of parcels to Ireland and the UK to halt the spread of the new strain of COVID-19 that has been identified in Britain.