Cruise ship fails port safety checks

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A luxury cruise liner has been detained in port after failing to complying with international safety regulations, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said yesterday.

MCA surveyors visited the 59,000 tonne MSC Opera on its arrival at Southampton on Wednesday to undertake a routine port state control inspection.

A spokesman said: “Various defects were found which meant that the ship was not fully compliant with international maritime safety regulations.

“As a consequence the MCA decided that it was necessary to detain the vessel in Southampton until such time as the owners were able to demonstrate compliance.

“MCA surveyors have made a number of follow-up visits to the ship to assess progress although the ship continues to be detained at this time.”

The vessel is offering cruises this summer to Amsterdam, France and Spain as well as the Norwegians Fjords and the Baltic operating from Southampton, according to the company’s website.

The Panama-registered vessel is able to carry up to 1,712 passengers and 720 crew and has nine passenger decks with the usual amenities such as pools, restaurants and theatres.

It had been due to leave Southampton on Friday evening for an eight-day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords.

But a spokeswoman for the company said yesterday it “was not true” the vessel had been detained.

“They are doing the checks now and the ship is supposed to leave this evening. This is just a rumour,” she said.

On the company website the ship is described as “classic, grand and opulent just like an opera should be”.

“A true sense of grandeur and spaciousness prevails both inside and out.

“Her staterooms, many with private balconies, are roomy and comfortable.

“Her public areas feature a sweeping marble reception area and airy open spaces with walls of windows overlooking sprawling decks.”