Azura accidents and incidents

Azura cruise ship


Length (LOA)
290 m / 951 ft

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CruiseMapper's Azura cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3737-passenger vessel owned by P&O UK (P&O Cruises). Our Azura accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • propulsion/power loss - 2015, 2016
  • mooring lines failure - 2018 (Civitavecchia-Rome)
  • pollution - 2018 (Marseille France)
  • deaths - 2016 (bus crash Dominica)
  • Norovirus - 2015 (150+)

16 March 2020Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On March 16, 2020, after visiting Antigua, Azura's current cruise was cancelled and the liner returned to homeport Bridgetown (Barbados). The 14-day Caribbean itinerary (March 7-21) was a Bridgetown roundtrip that visited only Fort-de-France (Martinique), Basseterre (St Kitts), Philipsburg (St Maarten), Road Town (Tortola BVI), Cockburn Town (Grand Turk) and St Johns (Antigua), while the remaining two planned call ports - to Castries (St Lucia, Mar 17) and St Georges (Grenada, Mar 18) - were dropped.

Reportedly, on the previous day (Mar 15) a male passenger was medevaced from the ship via rescue helicopter.

On March 20, the ship docked in Bridgetown for debarkation and provisioning. On March 21, the disembarked passengers were flown to the UK (Southampton). The liner started a Transatlantic crossing passenger-free (with only the staff-crew), with planned docking in Southampton for provisioning and relocation to Isle of Portland (permanent berthing during the no-cruising period).

28 September 2019Other Incidents

On September 28, 2019, the cruise liner anchored as scheduled in Monte Carlo and disembarked/tendered ~1170 passengers. However, due to bad weather, they were unable to embark the ship and remained stranded ashore for ~24 hours. At ~10:45 pm, they were all accommodated in a basketball court to spend the night sleeping on foldable beds. Food and beverages were provided by the cruise company. On Sept 29, all of them were bused from Monte Carlo to Villefranche-sur-Mer (Nice) where at ~10 am were tendered onto the ship and continued the voyage.

The incident occurred during 14-day Mediterranean cruise (itinerary Sept 21 - Oct 5) roundtrip from homeport Southampton (England) visiting Spain (Cadiz, Barcelona), France (Marseille), Monaco (Monte Carlo, port stay 7 am - 7 pm), Corsica (Ajaccio), Spain (Cartagena), and Gibraltar.

31 March 2018Other Incidents

(mooring failure) On March 31, 2018, while docked in port Civitavecchia (Rome, Italy), due to extreme weather conditions the liner broke its mooring ropes (connecting it to the pier) and became adrift in port.

With tugboat assistance and using its own thrusters (propulsion units), the vessel was safely re-docked (on another berth). Over 1000 passengers remained stuck on the pier after the gangway (mobile bridge for passengers) collapsed and they had to move to the other dock for boarding. No injuries were reported.

The ship was on the 14-day UK to Mediterranean cruise (itinerary March 23 - April 6) roundtrip from homeport Southampton, England. The remaining call ports after Civitavecchia were Cartagena and Gibraltar.

29 March 2018Sea Pollution

In April 2018, ship's 58-year-old Captain (Evans Hoyt) was sued by a French Court for "violating fuel standards" during liner’s call at port Marseille (France) on March 29, 2018. The fuel (900 tons) was loaded in Barcelona on March 28. The cruise vessel loaded heavy fuel oil (HFO) with sulfur content 1,68%, which exceeded port's (and EU's) 1,5% limit.

The Captain (former NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line employee) admitted the “crime”. He could be arrested the next time the ship visits Marseille, facing 1-year imprisonment. High-sulphur bunker fuel is cheaper than cleaner diesel, but produces more soot particles and SOx, thus contributing to acid rains (oceans acidification). In 2020, IMO (International Maritime Organization) enforces a new fuel sulfur content regulation globally, lowering the limit to 0,5% for all marine vessels.

(law news) On July 9, 2018, Marseille's Criminal Court started Captain's trial on air pollution charges. This was the European shipping industry's first such case (based on a violation of EU's 2008-issued "Directive on Ambient Air Quality and Cleaner Air"). Carnival Corporation (P&O Cruises' parent company) was also charged with air pollution, facing fine of up to EUR 200,000 (USD 230,000).

(law news) On October 8, 2018, Azura's Captain faced trial in Marseille, being accused of using fuel with sulfur content above the EU-designated limits. Carnival Corporation is fighting the fine, arguing that the European Union’s sulfur limit applies only to passenger ships with regular cruises (or ferry crossings) to EU destinations or homeports. As Azura is classed "cruise ship" (not ferry with regular EU services), the vessel is exempt from EU's Sulphur Directive. It also means that cruise ships must comply only with the higher limit (3,5%) applied to cargo vessels.

(law news) On November 26, 2018, in Marseille, the Captain was fined EUR 100,000 (GBP 88,500 / USD 113,000) for loading unauthorized bunker fuel, which he knew was illegal. However, the judge specified that Carnival Corporation should pay EUR 80,000 (USD 90,500) of the fine.

09 November 2016Crew / Passenger Deaths

On November 9, 2016, a male passenger (of British origin) was killed and 9 others were seriously injured in a bus crash accident in Dominica. The bus (carrying 10 cruise ship passengers) crashed while operating on P&O Cruises sponsored shore excursion from Port Roseau. The ship was on 14-night Transatlantic repositioning cruise (itinerary Oct 28 – Nov 11) from Southampton to Bridgetown Barbados, visiting Sao Miguel Island (Azores), St Maarten Island, St Lucia Island, Dominica, Grenada.

01 November 2016Structural and Technical Issues

On November 1-2, 2016, due to technical issues, the vessel stayed overnight in Ponta Delgada (Azores). Ponta Delgada was the first call port on a 14-night Transatlantic repositioning cruise (itinerary Oct 28 – Nov 11) from Southampton to Bridgetown (Barbados).

October 2015Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On October 30, 2015, passenger embarkation in homeport Southampton UK was delayed by ~5 hours due to deep cleaning procedures. The inconvenience was caused by a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) affecting an unknown number of passengers and crew on the previous voyage.

The illness incident occurred on 14-day Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from Southampton to Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Monte Carlo, Livorno, Civitavecchia-Rome, Ajaccio and Cadiz.

On October 29, a P&O UK statement was posted on the company’s FB page informing about the GI illness outbreak caused by Norovirus (symptoms – severe vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps). All booked passengers were given GBP 20 per person in shipboard credit for drinks.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

May 2015Propulsion / Power Loss

In May 2015 were reported a series of incidents during the 7-day Norwegian Fjords cruise from Southampton England. On May 4, the ship experienced tendering problems in call port Geiranger Norway. Some passengers were disembarked in the early morning. However, tendering operations were soon canceled due to loss of anchor, leaving the offloaded passengers temporarily stranded ashore.

On May 6, while docked in call port Flam Norway, the ship experienced engine problems (several electrical faults) leading to ~5 hours late departure and itinerary change (call port Stavanger Norway was dropped).

Unofficially, passengers reported that the vessel briefly ran aground and that the attempts to free the vessel caused the following issues. Right after leaving Flam, the ship continued to experience electrical system faults, forcing it to dock overnight for repairs in Bergen Norway.

These incidents resulted in a 24-hour late arrival in homeport Southampton England, plus itinerary changes on the next scheduled itinerary (14-day Mediterranean roundtrip from the UK). It was shortened by 2 days (reduced to 10-days), and leaving on May 10 (instead of May 8) with call port Cadiz Spain being dropped.

09 June 2013Other Incidents

On June 9, 2013, the vessel’s scheduled departure from call port Venice Italy was delayed by ~4 hours due to civil protests. The departures of MSC Fantasia and Costa Fascinosa were also impeded, as the port’s waterfront area was blocked by numerous small boats with local protesters. They argued that the growth of big cruise ships stopping in Venice had a negative impact on the city as a travel destination.

Environmental issues were also raised by the No Grandi Navi group (translated “No Big Ships”), claiming that large-size cruise vessels stopping in Venice impose potential risk (damages or accidents) for the city’s fragile foundation and historical monuments. The issue grew louder since the Costa Concordia sinking (January 2012).

05 September 2012Other Incidents

On September 5, 2012, an unattended laptop bag left on Gibraltar cruise terminal sparked a bomb scare. Spotted by UK Borders & Coastguard Agency personnel, the suspicious bag was reported to local police and the bomb squad was dispatched. The terminal’s area was cordoned off and controlled explosion procedures were carried out via a wheelbarrow robot (remotely controlled bomb disposal tool).

Subsequently, the manual search established the bag had only personal belongings. During the incident, the ship remained docked, with its hatches closed. All passengers and crew remained on the vessel’s port side. The boarding of those returning on the ship after spending the day ashore was delayed by ~2 hours until the bomb threat issue was resolved.

November 2011Other Incidents

In November 2011, the vessel’s flag-state (registry) was changed from Southampton (UK) to Hamilton (Bermuda) to enable cruise wedding ceremonies at sea. Since then, onboard wedding ceremonies are carried out by the ship’s Captain, while marriage licenses are issued by Bermuda's Government.

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