Marine Log

May 17, 2006

U.K. detains cruise ship

U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency surveyors today detained the Maltese flagged Vistamar passenger ship at Tilbury Docks in London after numerous faults were identified on board including unusable port and starboard tenders; a dirty engine room and various oily hazards.

The vessel, with its passengers on board was allowed to move to a different mooring by the Tower of London before all the passengers will be disembarked tomorrow.

The vessel has 178 passengers booked on board.

The 1989 built, Bureau Veritas classed, 117 meter length, 7.478 GT ship with is not allowed to travel further before any deficiencies are corrected and MCA surveyors have re-inspected the vessel.

Bryan Hopkins, Surveyor in Charge from the MCA's Orpington office said:

"The owners of the vessel in Almeria, Andalucia in Spain have been informed of our decision to detain this vessel. Our concerns were raised when items such as fire dampers were clearly inoperative; both lifeboats were damaged; escape signs were missing and various means of escape were not marked clearly."

"Other issues raised during our inspection included out of date publications on board; life saving signals were out of date and charts remain uncorrected," noted Hopkins.

"The MCA takes passenger safety extremely seriously, and we will not allow vessels to traverse our waters where clearly international standards of safety are being breached.," said Hopkins. "We apologize to any passenger who may have been inconvenienced by this action, but we hope they understand this detention has been undertaken in their best interest."