London, May 15 (IANS) Liverpool’s world famous ferries across the River Mersey resumed operation as Britain relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions.
The ferries, which transport commuters across the river, have been anchored since the lockdown started.
Operators Merseytravel said demand is expected to increase as people return to work with the ferries providing an important option for cross-river river travel for those that need it, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
But social distancing must still be observed, and government guidance followed, including face coverings where appropriate.
Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We are already seeing more people starting to travel and expect that to continue to increase following the Prime Minister’s announcement. So now is the right time to reintroduce ferry services.”
A ferry service between Liverpool and the shoreline opposite first started in the 12th century by monks rowing passengers across the river and has continued ever since.
During the First World War, a number of the Mersey Ferries were commissioned to carry troops during a naval raid on Zeebrugge in Belgium. The ferries had a shallow draft, allowing them to skim over the mines floating beneath the surface, and were robust enough to approach the heavily defended area.
King George V, British monarch at the time of the war, rewarded the heroic actions of the Mersey ferries by granting them to use the word Royal as part of their names. Ferries such as Royal Daffodil and Royal Iris have been in use ever since.