Video: P&O Cruise Ship Breaks Away From Moorings and Drifts Into Tanker

Britannia (P&O file image)

Published Aug 27, 2023 4:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday, the P&O Cruises ship Britannia broke free of her lines in sudden gale-force winds, and she drifted up against the side of a moored oil tanker while docked at Palma de Mallorca.

AIS data of the event is limited. At about 1100 hours local time, it appears Britannia drifted across the harbor at about 0.5 knots. The direction of motion was towards the 37,000 dwt tanker Castillo de Arteaga, which was moored at a receiving pier on the southeastern jetty. Photos taken by passengers aboard Britannia made contact with the tanker at low speed, resulting in limited damage to the cruise ship. Images apppear to show damage to one liferaft launch station aboard the cruise ship. 

Tugs assisted Britannia as she briefly departed the port, away from close-in hazards. She later re-entered and moored at a different cruise terminal on the south side of the harbor. 

Some of the cruise ship's passengers were left behind on the pier when the vessel was blown off the dock, and they were returned safely to the ship when the Britannia re-moored at her new berth. Only a small number of minor injuries were reported, and the ship was not compromised beyond superficial damage, according to passengers on board. 





Spain's Aemet weather agency predicted additional storm throughout Sunday. In an apparent precautionary measure, Castillo de Arteaga departed the inner harbor and headed out to an anchorage just offshore; Britannia remains at her new berth. 

“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," operator P&O Cruises told British media in a brief statement. 

The breakaway was one of more than 80 storm-related incidents in Mallorca on Sunday, local emergency response services reported.