When the Stena Sailer came to Holyhead she left a great deal to be desired. A difficult ship, she was notorious for her technical problems and to have all four engines running at the same time was, in the early days, something of a bonus.
Her bow thrust was useless, being described by one master as having less power than a pea-shooter. Names should as 'The Clockwork Orange' and 'Metal Mickey' were bestowed on generators and other gear. Her gyro would swing wildly and who could forget the tendancy of her whistle to jam until it ran out of air! She was certainly unique.
But despite these issues, the ship became a favourite with her crews. As the months passed so she received much needed TLC. Her eventual purchase by Sealink British Ferries improved things no end and with a new Holyhead 'name', St Cybi, and two dedicated crews, the ship came into her own.
The purchase of Sealink by Stena Line and the arrival of the Stena Cambria from Dover brought the inevitable end of the St Cybi. Kept on for the 1991 season, the ship was eventually sold was service in Greece. It was perhaps a little premature for in 1992 the company had to charter the German RoRo Auersberg to meet demand for freight capacity.
Place of the occurance
5° 4'W 53° 19'N
Entries required by Regulations made under Section 68, Merchant Shipping Act 1970
2127 Engine Room fire alarm sounded - ship en voyage Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, Course 089° (T), 086° (gyro). Wind West 6, moderate sea and swell. General cargo trailers + ro-ro - no hazardous cargo on board. Ship's staff on normal sea routine running. Immediately on hearing engine room fire alarm - 2nd officer of the watch reduced the pitch to zero + rang "Stop" on bridge button telegraphs. Master on the bridge seconds after the alarm. No traffic in immediate vicinity. Main Engine + Accommodation vent fans stopped, emergency stop button for all ventilation stopped. Approx 2127½ emergency generator cut in + emergency power restored. Engine room reported to bridge a fire in the vicinity of the starboard outer main engine.
Ship now begins easing round beam on to the swell. Not Under Command lights switched on. 2129 crew at fire stations, previously despatched lookout + bridge messenger reported funnel dampers on "A" + Upper Car Decks closed. Chief Officer on station in Car Deck with fire party with B.A. + hoses awaiting instructions Chief + Engineer Officers in engine room. Master contacts HMCG Holyhead + informs them of the situation + ship's position etc.
2133 Chief Engineer Officer reports to bridge "fire extinguished". Ship rolls heavily at times in beam swell, two trailers + a jeep damaged. Chief Engineer advises master that a lube oil pipe joint had blown, causing a fireball which was extinguished by 3rd Engineer Officer, and that he, (Chief) was happy that no further outbreak was likely +that power would be restored to port main engines.
2140 Master advises Ship Manager by Cellnet phone of situation. Also advised HMCG Holyhead that no further assistance was required.
2147/2148 Port main engines started up, ship brought round to resume course for Holyhead at 8.25 knots. Chief Engineer requested funnel dampers be opened. NUC lights extinguished.
2202 Master advises HMCG Holyhead of ship's progress.
2230 Starboard inner main engine restarted + brought into use.
2354 berthed at Salt Island, Holyhead - tug assistance. Port main engines only, limited use of starboard inner main engine, and no bow thruster unit.
© Justin Merrigan
The day of rest! © Judi and Lee Brown.
© Justin Merrigan
At Dun Laoghaire with the Stena Cambria, 1991. © Justin Merrigan