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20/4/10 -Little volcano’ means big business for ferry firms
By Dan Buckley - Irish Examiner

"IT’S mad busy," says Margaret Hegarty, spokes-person for Fastnet Line, which runs the Cork to Swansea ferry service.

"It hasn’t stopped all day. It’s amazing what one little volcano can do."

That little volcano means big business for ferry companies which have seen bookings soaring.

Conor Buckley, chairman of the recently launched Cork/Swansea Fastnet Line, said yesterday the previous 72 hours had been "the busiest since the service was launched last month".

The Government emergency task force had contacted ferry operators on Sunday asking them to review their schedules and look at increasing capacity.

Stena has carried an additional 30,000 passengers on its Irish Sea routes, which serve Belfast, Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Rosslare over the past four days.

The busiest routes out of Ireland yesterday were from Dublin and Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead, but Stena Line spokesman Eamon Hewitt said there was spare capacity in Rosslare. He added the HSS from Belfast has capacity for 1,500 passengers with three sailings a day.

P&O Irish Sea services on the Dublin-Liverpool route are operating on schedule. Available remaining spaces can be booked by calling 01-4073434, or www.poirishsea.com

Services operated by Stena Line and Irish Ferries were booked out for the weekend. Irish Ferries spokesman Don Hall said the firm had a car ferry with capacity for 1,875-foot passengers and fast ferry with capacity for 800, making two return services daily to Holyhead.

Meanwhile, 50 American tourists, due to fly into Cork from Britain, were rescued by the PaddyWagon private bus service. The company sent a coach to the Lake District to bring the travellers to the south west of Ireland.