Some Britannia cruise passengers to fly home after Mallorca storm crash

17 minutes ago
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Watch: Two ships collide as storms hit Mallorca

By Charlotte Andrews
BBC News

Some passengers on board a cruise ship that crashed in a storm in Mallorca have been told they have to fly home.

The P&O Cruises vessel Britannia broke free from moorings and collided with a freight vessel on Sunday.

Inspections revealed a lifeboat was damaged and could not be repaired on board, the cruise company said.

P&O said maritime regulations meant the ship would have to return to Southampton with a reduced number of passengers.

A technical assessment was carried out on the cruise ship in Palma, where experts found “structural issues” to one of the lifeboats.

Passengers on Britannia described how after it broke loose, the ship “floated away like a paper boat”

P&O said the decision to remove the passengers was down to “maritime regulation”.

A spokesperson said: “We are so sorry but these extraordinary circumstances mean that the ship is required, by maritime regulation, to return to Southampton with a reduced number of people on board.”

A “limited number” of passengers will be returned to Southampton, or their starting point, by flight and transfer.

A small number of people were also being cared for on board after sustaining minor injuries, P&O previously said.

The captain earlier told passengers there was “no structural compromise”.

People aboard the ship recorded videos and images of the incident, showing an emergency response and debris floating in the sea

Russ Dawson, from East London, was asked to leave by cruise staff earlier on Monday, but said he refused to leave the ship.

“We got a phone call to the cabin and they told us to bring our passports to reception because we were going home at five o’clock but I told them I wasn’t leaving.

“I assumed people would have been asked to leave the ship based on whether they were in the same muster station as the damaged boat, but that didn’t seem to be the case because we weren’t,” he added.

Mr Dawson was taking photographs from his balcony when the collision happened

Mr Dawson was watching the weather from his balcony when the crash happened, as weather had suddenly become stormy and the sky had “turned black”.

“I saw this boat start to turn around and I said ‘that’s going to crash into us’,” he said.

“There was a bang when it hit the boat and there was screaming and shouting and panic.”

Mr Dawson said P&O had offered him 20% off his next cruise as a gesture of goodwill, but he said that it “didn’t come close” to making up for the situation.

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