P&O Cruises sends hundreds of passengers home early after collision

More than 200 passengers are having their holiday cut short after their cruise ship, P&O Cruises’ Britannia, collided with an oil tanker on Sunday (August 27).

The ship broke free from moorings and hit the tanker during a storm in Mallorca, Spain.

A small number of people were cared for onboard after sustaining minor injuries, said reports.

Photos and videos posted on social media from passengers onboard showed the vessel struggling in stormy conditions.

P&O Cruises said in a statement: “Following inspections, our third-party surveyor has confirmed that one of Britannia’s lifeboats has sustained structural issues and cannot be repaired onboard.

“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 guests and crew on board have been advised that they will be leaving the ship and will be returned to Southampton (or their starting point) by flight and transfer.

‘The guests remaining on board will be able to enjoy the entertainment and activities scheduled for the remainder of their trip.”

A total of 231 passengers will be returned to Southampton, or their starting point.

Britannia can carry 3,647 passengers and was “close to capacity” at the time of the collision, so guests were asked to “kindly volunteer to disembark”, according to the BBC.

“Together they made up the total of people who needed to leave for the ship to be able to sail safely within maritime law, given the damage to one of the lifeboats,” a cruise line spokesperson told the BBC.

Holidaysplease agent Jenny Jackson said she had nine clients on the ship and said they were all “fine” after the collision.

In a social media post, she said: I have three families on this cruise and I have just called them to make sure they all ok, it appears it was a freak storm that came from nowhere that caused the ship to break away from the dockside and crash into an oil tanker. Passengers now going back onto the ship.”

Britannia departed Palma last night (August 28) and is expected to reach Southampton on Friday morning (September 1).

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