What should have been a half-hour journey for Sydney ferry customers has turned into an almost three-hour ordeal after their vessel broke down frustratingly close to shore.
The 6pm Circular Quay-to-Manly service suffered “mechanical issues” with the Queenscliff anchoring near Manly Wharf around 6.25pm on Thursday.
Passenger Patrick Clarke said an alert siren went off before the boat, which can hold more than 1000 people but was not packed at the time, began to drift.
He said it was anchored around 200 metres from its destination.
“They had to anchor us otherwise we were going to run into other boats,” Mr Clarke told AAP after getting off the boat on Thursday night.
“There was just growing frustration because, you know, you’re so close.”
Mr Clarke said two separate rescue attempts were made but staff could not be sure it was safe enough for passengers to move from the damaged ferry to a working vessel pulled up alongside.
He said a spare part was eventually brought via water taxi, before passengers disembarked around 8.40pm
“They tried really hard. They offered everyone coffee and everything,” Mr Clarke said of the ferry staff.
“At the end of the day they just said it’s all about the safety of passengers.”
Harbour City Ferries apologised for delays in a statement issued on Thursday night.
Buses were called to help customers get home as quickly as possible and a detailed investigation will be conducted, they said.