Stena Europe’s Captain Richard Davies

Shark trapped in Fishguard Harbour – rescued by the Captain

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It was just another December Monday and Stena Line crew member Daniel Williams was on the quayside tying up the Stena Europe who had just docked in Fishguard. That’s when he saw something moving in the water. Something big, Really big, it turned out to be a shark!

Daniel Williams is from Fishguard and has worked for Stena Line for eleven years and he’s never seen anything like it – that’s not surprising. This type of shark, known as a thresher shark, normally tends to stay 40 to 50 miles offshore. They have a very distinct look with a long caudal fin that can be as long as the body of the shark itself. Therefore, they are also known as fox sharks. These weaponised tails allow the sharks to stun baitfish like anchovies, larger fish like herring, mackerel and salmon, as well as squid and other invertebrates. The most plausible reason for the shark ending up alone, stuck between the Stena Europe and the dock in the Fishguard Harbour is that it was in pursuit of schooling fish.

When Daniel saw this big thing moving in the waters he didn’t know what to think. At first he thought it was a seal, and then a porpoise until he realised it was a shark and that it was trapped between the quayside and the ship. Here’s Daniel’s video of when he discovered the shark.

As soon as the Stena Europe’s Captain Richard Davies was informed about the thresher shark he stopped the engines hoping the shark would swim under the ferry and back out to sea, but the shark still couldn’t find its way out.

“When Captain Davies realised the shark was trapped, he eased the bow of the Stena Europe away from the quay wall, which allowed it to escape!” says the team at Goodwick Sea Trust, noting that the animal swam away in seemingly good condition.

Juvenile threshers do show up in coastal waters, and it’s possible this one came into the harbour in search of food. In any case, we’re glad to see the shark managed to manoeuvre its way to safety!

What’s the biggest fish or sea mammal you have ever spotted? /Ylva.