Southampton cruise ship hit by sudden storm in Spain

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Passengers on a cruise ship said it broke free from moorings and collided with a freight ship amid a storm.

Passengers on Britannia, a P&O Cruises ship based in Southampton, Hampshire, said it happened as a “huge storm rolled in” at Palma, Mallorca.

One man on board said they were “being pushed ashore by tugs whilst confined to our cabins” and another that the cruise ship had sustained minor damage.

A company spokesperson said that the captain was keeping guests “updated”.

Gavin McCoy

People aboard the ship recorded videos and images of the incident.

Passenger Gavin McCoy said the “unexpected drama” happened while “the local fire service and crew were carrying out an emergency drill”.

He said that at about 11:00 BST “a sudden rain and wind storm ripped us away from our dockside moorings, breaking tethering lines, water hoses, and causing the walkway to fall into the sea”.

“Ingy and I were sitting by the window in the coffee shop, and the first thing we saw were the blue dockside reception marquee tents blowing through the air,” Mr McCoy added.

“We’ve drifted well away from the berth and collided into a nearby freight/cargo ship.”

The storm is likely to be one of the severe thunderstorms, affecting the Balearic Islands.

Debris in the water from lifeboat

Gavin McCoy

The captain informed passengers that “there’s no structural compromise, but deck 5 has sustained a small amount of damage” on the PA system.

P&O Cruises spokesperson said they were “aware of an incident involving Britannia on Sunday morning” and were “working to assess the situation”.

Mr McCoy said that everyone was safe and there was “no problem on the ship apart from a few scrapes and bumps to one or more lifeboats that project from the ship”.

“The many people on coach excursions will be able to get back on again,” he added.

Britannia has headed back to port to pick up passengers who had been ashore.

The cruise started in Southampton and is due back on 1 September.

This is the second time an emergency has happened on a Southampton ship due to bad weather in recent weeks, with the Queen Mary 2 breaking free from its bow mooring line and drifting off the quay on 4 August.

View from Britannia after the collision

Gavin McCoy

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  • Cruise ships
  • Southampton

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