Hauliers were stuck on board a freight ship in the Irish Sea for three days after a P&O freight ferry broke down.

The ship, travelling from Liverpool to Dublin with five drivers on board, suffered “technical difficulties” late last week and became stranded a mile out from the Irish coast.

Yvonne McArdle, director at Kildare-based Zeelantic Transport, said there had been a “huge cost” to the business due to the breakdown, but that things were now back on track.

She said: “They finally discharged the vessel at 2pm on Sunday [15 December] and everyone came off OK.

“We were very lucky just to have one lorry on board. We do Liverpool to Dublin and Dublin to Liverpool 99% of the time; normally we have two or three on at any one time.

“That would have had a serious knock on effect for us.”

McArdle said it was struggling to find out exactly what happened to the vessel and it was looking into compensation for the delay and she added: “It’s very strange because all of a sudden on Sunday morning the lights came on and the heating came on and drivers were able to have a hot shower.

“It’s lucky the ship broke down where it did, rather than in the middle of the deep sea. I was very frustrated but also anxious for the driver.”

A P&O Ferries spokesman said: “Owing to technical difficulties and poor weather at Dublin, a freight ship travelling from Liverpool with five drivers on board [has been] safely anchored off the port since Thursday morning.”

He added that passengers were provided with food and beverages throughout.