A P&O Cruises ship, Britannia, was involved in a collision with an oil tanker off the coast of Spain on Sunday. The incident occurred when the cruise ship broke free from its moorings due to strong winds in Palma de Mallorca, according to the Balearic Islands Port Authority. The collision happened around 11 a.m. local time.
A spokesperson for P&O Cruises acknowledged the occurrence of a “weather-related incident” but did not confirm the collision. The spokesperson also reported that a “small number of individuals sustained minor injuries” and were treated at the ship’s medical center. The region experienced severe thunderstorms on Sunday morning, with wind gusts reported between 60 and 70 miles per hour, according to AccuWeather.
The Britannia was visiting the port as part of a two-week, round-trip cruise from Southampton, England, which began on August 18. The cruise itinerary also included stops in Cadiz and Ibiza. Following the incident, a third-party surveyor confirmed that one of the ship’s lifeboats had “sustained structural issues” and could not be repaired onboard. As a result, maritime regulations required the ship to return to Southampton with fewer passengers.
A limited number of guests and crew members were advised that they would be leaving the ship and would be returned to Southampton or their starting point by flight and transfer. The remaining guests were assured that they would be able to enjoy the entertainment and activities scheduled for the remainder of their trip. Guests who were asked to leave will receive a pro-rata refund for the days they missed and a 20% discount on a future cruise.
The collision resulted in a hole in the oil tanker’s hull, but the Balearic Islands Port Authority confirmed that there was no discharge into the water. This incident follows similar occurrences where cruise ships broke from their moorings due to strong winds, including Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 in Italy and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Prima in Belgium.
Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry expert, stated that such incidents are “very rare” but can occur in extreme weather conditions. He added that cruise lines continuously monitor weather conditions at each port for safety before arrival and take appropriate action if conditions are deemed unsafe.
The Britannia, P&O’s flagship, was near capacity at the time of the collision, with thousands of passengers onboard. Some passengers reported injuries from falls or flying debris due to the storm. Following the incident, a technical assessment found that a lifeboat was damaged and could not be repaired. As a result, 321 guests were flown home early as the ship returned to Southampton with fewer passengers onboard, as required by maritime law.