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Major search and rescue over fears man has fallen overboard from Stena Line ferry

A major search and rescue operation has been launched in Northern Ireland over fears a person fell overboard from a Stena Line ferry last night.

Multiple emergency services rushed to the scene in the Lough area of Belfast late on Saturday night and are still there this morning.

At about 9.30pm last night, when Superfast 8 was in Belfast Lough approaching the terminal, the crew was alerted by a passenger to a man overboard, Stena Line told The Mirror.

The coastguard were alerted and the ship’s Fast Response Craft was launched.

Police have asked members of the public to avoid the area while the operation is ongoing.

The Lagan Search & Rescue team confirmed at around 10.30pm last night that it was on a callout in the area.

Online Boat and aircraft trackers show that an RNLI lifeboat, a Pilot Boat, the Lagan Search and Rescue vessel and harbour police boat appear to be searching an area close to Green Island.

A Rescue 199 helicopter from Prestwick in Scotland also appears to be involved in the operation.

In a short statement issued shortly before 2am on Sunday morning, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: “Police and other emergency services are currently involved in an ongoing search of the Belfast Lough area.

“There are no further details at this time and we are asking members of the public to avoid the area.”

Stena Line is one of the world’s largest ferry companies which provides services throughout the UK and Ireland, as well as Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea.

One of its routes includes Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast and Belfast to Liverpool Birkenhead.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The search has resumed this morning (30 October), following new information, for a man who is reported to have fallen from a ferry which was docked in Belfast harbour.

“Bangor, Larne and Port Muck coastguard rescue teams along with Donaghadee and Larne RNLI lifeboats and Lowland Search and Rescue teams are continuing the search which resumed just before 8am.”