Watch: Passengers disembark from Stena Line ferry held in Birkenhead
A Stena Line ferry was held overnight in Liverpool on Tuesday after six crew members tested positive for COVID-19.
The ship, which was filled with 322 passengers and 55 crew, was prevented from travelling to Belfast on Tuesday night.
Video released online showed passengers being let off the ferry at Birkenhead on Wednesday morning. They were due to be transferred to a different vessel.
None of the crew members who tested positive are customer-facing so passengers will not need to be tested, but all crew members will receive PCR tests, Stena Line confirmed.
In total, 15 close contacts of the crew members who tested positive have been told to self-isolate.
Passenger Alan Cogan said the atmosphere was tense when they were told at 3.30am they would not be moving.
They had been due to depart more than five hours earlier.
He told the BBC: "I know there were a few irate people this morning.
"We all had visions of what had happened to the cruise ships around the world when passengers had tested positive and were left stranded and not allowed off.
"That would be a nightmare. It's not the most comfortable boat."
A Stena Line spokesperson said on Wednesday: "Stena Line can confirm that six members of the crew of the Stena Edda have tested positive for COVID-19 last night.
“In line with our safety protocols we alerted the Port Health Authorities, who advised us to hold the vessel in Birkenhead as a precaution.
“322 passengers and 53 crew are onboard. The six crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 are being cared for and are doing well, with only mild symptoms. 15 close contacts have been identified and are self-isolating.
“Stena Line is liaising closely with public health authorities on this matter who have advised us that we should disembark the vessel in Birkenhead.
“The welfare of our passengers and crew is paramount at this time. The passengers are being catered for and we will assist them with alternative travel arrangements.”
Watch: The COVID dos and don’ts of Christmas this year