A P&O cruise packed full of British people has crashed into an oil tanker, leaving passengers “in tears” as they feared for their own lives.
The cruise ship snapped its moorings off the coast of Palma in Mallorca after ferocious gale-force winds “suddenly hit” the Britannia, sending it hurtling into the tanker in the Balearics, according to passengers on board the ship.
The huge £473m vessel is understood to be anchored less than a mile from the shore following the accident. Passengers were told to assemble at emergency points as they were warned “this is not a drill” by the captain.
The instruction came after a loud bang was heard and debris was seen floating in the water.
One woman, aboard the ship with her partner and two children, told WalesOnline: “We have now been told we’re allowed to leave our cabins but we can’t do anything on the ship and all the crew are in their life jackets and doing all of their emergency things.
“The side of the boat is battered.”
‘This is not a drill’
She added: “We were docked overnight in Palma and the wind was so strong our anchors broke and we blew out into another ship.
“We were up browsing on our phones in bed and heard the big horn after the bang. It was panic stations, I was bawling my eyes out.
“We went out onto our balcony and could see debris in the ocean and all the damage to the side of the boat and our lifeboat. The captain said: “Everyone to their muster stations, this is not a drill.”
“Lots of people were running around looking panicked. Then they came around again and said everyone needs to get back to their cabins. We’re still none the wiser. I can’t see how they’ll be able to sail it again after this.”
Poolside furniture was strewn across the deck as staff ran around trying to keep customers calm. It’s reported thousands have been kept waiting in the cabins of the 140,000 tonne ship awaiting further updates.
The ship, it appears, fell victim to a brutal storm which saw flights grounded as a result.
The collision came as flights across the islands have experienced cancellations and delays because of the extreme weather.
The Britannia, a 330-metre high ship able to carry up to 3,647 passengers, left Southampton on August 18 for the Mediterranean cruise trip, which stops at Cadiz and Ibiza.
A spokesperson for P&O Cruises said: “We are aware of an incident involving Britannia on Sunday morning while the ship was alongside in Palma de Mallorca.
“We are working to assess the situation. The captain is keeping all guests updated.”