P&O cruise ship returning to UK after hitting tanker in Majorca storm…& hundreds of Brits won't even get to stay onboard | The Sun

A P&O cruise ship with thousands of holidaymakers on board is heading straight back to its base in Southampton from the Majorcan capital Palma after a collision yesterday with a moored tanker.

The 1,080ft Britannia suffered the accident during heavy rain and 75mph hurricane-strength winds when its moorings were snapped.

A number of people on the vessel suffered minor injuries although they did not need to be taken to hospital.

Today a spokesman for P&O Cruises confirmed the ship would head straight back to Southampton from Palma instead of docking at Gibraltar beforehand as part of its scheduled trip.

It also said a number of holidaymakers would be leaving the ship and returning to the UK using alternative transport.

Company chiefs did not say how many people would be taken off the cruise line to “comply with maritime regulations” – but it is thought to be around 320.

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A well-placed source said there had been no structural damage to P&O Cruises Britannia but some lifeboats and life rafts had been affected and the ratio of such boats needed for the number of passengers on board was covered by strict maritime regulations.

Local reports earlier today had said the cruise liner was still awaiting permission to leave and the possibility of taking around 400 of the more than 5,000 people on board was being considered as an option so it could set sail.

A P&O Cruises spokesman said: “On Sunday 27 August, P&O Cruises Britannia was impacted by severe weather in Palma de Mallorca.

“Following inspections, our third-party surveyor has confirmed that one of Britannia’s lifeboats has sustained structural issues and cannot be repaired onboard.

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“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.”

The cruise ship collision was just one of hundreds of weather-related incidents in the Balearic Islands yesterday as parts of Majorca were battered by winds of more than 75mph and torrential rain.

Holidaymakers and locals were filmed trying to run for safety as missiles including parasols and bar chairs were lifted up in the air by the gusts of wind.

More than 300 flights into and out of Palma were affected, with the chaos continuing today after many tourists were reportedly forced to sleep in the airport terminal because they were left with nowhere else to spend the night.

A terrified passenger on a flight from hell through an 80mph storm smashing Majorca has told how she thought the plane would fall from the sky.

Estela Orts feared for her life as the passenger jet passed above the Balearic holiday islands yesterday during the ferocious hurricane-strength weather front.

The performer was on her way from Alicante in Spain to Magaluf where she works in the resort's famous Pirate show when the jet ploughed head-first into the storm.

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