Bungled training exercise blamed for bomb scare that disrupted downtown Sydney transport hub

A bomb scare on a ferry that caused major disruptions in downtown Sydney was a training exercise gone wrong, an official said Friday.

The transport hub of Circular Quay, between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, was shut for two hours Thursday afternoon after the crew of a moored ferry found a suspicious package.

Bomb squad police were called to examine the package, which was described by Australian Broadcasting Corp. as two bottles containing liquid and nails with protruding wires.

Steffen Faurby, chief executive of Harbour City Ferries, which operate the Sydney fleet, on Friday described the package as "a training device, which was not recognized as a typical training device by staff."

He said in a statement that there had been "no intentional hoax."

An employee brought the devise on board for training, but staff did not know what is was and called police, the statement said.

The bomb scare triggered nerves as it comes after a gunman took 18 people hostage in a cafe in nearby Martin Place a month ago. The gunman and two of his hostages were killed when police rushed the cafe to end a 16-hour siege.

On Thursday, ferry services were cancelled, a nearby street was closed and trains and buses passed through the quay without stopping. Thousands of commuters were disrupted.