Britannia accidents and incidents

Britannia cruise ship


Length (LOA)
329 m / 1079 ft

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CruiseMapper's Britannia cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 4406-passenger vessel owned by P&O UK (P&O Cruises). Our Britannia 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • ship collision - 2016 (with SeaDream 1 in Bridgetown Barbados), 2023 (with an oil tanker in Palma de Mallorca)
  • structural - 2017 (Atlantic storm)
  • deaths - 2023 (drowning)
  • injuries/crimes - 2019 (robbery in St Johns, Antigua), 2019 (mass brawl)
  • boat rescue - 2017 (North African refugees), 2023 (sinking boat)

27 August 2023Ship Collision / Allision

On August 27, 2023, at ~10 am UTC, the docked in Port Palma de Mallorca cruise ship broke its mooring lines. Britannia drifted away from the quay (within the harbor) and made contact with the moored nearby cargo ship Castillo de Arteaga (2019-built oil tanker, IMO 9871012).

The collision was due to adverse weather conditions/storm and resulted in minor hull damage (primarily to deck 5, "no structural compromise" as announced by the Captain) and no water ingress/pollution. Several passengers were treated at the ship's Infirmary for minor injuries. The cargo ship also sustained minor damage but both vessels remained seaworthy.

The severe storm caused the ship to break the mooring ropes (connecting it to the dock) as well as the water hoses and the walkways/passenger bridges which fell into the water. The drifting liner was very close to the breakwater but luckily, it didn't contact the rocks.

With the assistance of tugboats, Britannia was secured/anchored outside the harbor for damage assessment and awaiting clearance to re-dock, board the disembarked passengers and continue the voyage.

Unfortunately, the conducted third-party inspection found that one of the lifeboats was damaged and couldn't be repaired while on the ship. To meet the maritime regulations and to be able to secure the safety of all on board, Britannia disembarked a total of 321 people (passengers and crew). From Palma de Mallorca Airport they were flown back home.

The accident occurred during the 14-day "Mediterranean Cruise" (itinerary Aug 18 - Sept 1, roundtrip from Southampton, England) with call ports in Spain (Cadiz-Sevilla/Aug 22, Cartagena/Aug 24, Ibiza/Aug 25-26 overnight, Palma de Mallorca/Aug 26-27 overnight) and Gibraltar UK (Aug 29).

The current itinerary was affected as the ship remained in Palma until August 28th (left at 19:20 UTC) and the scheduled call at Gibraltar was canceled.

Note: Reportedly, the weather in the Balearic Islands was marked by torrential rain and up to 120 kmh/75 mph gusts. Numerous flights to and from Palma were canceled.

28 March 2023Boat Rescue

On March 28, 2023, the ship assisted in a search and rescue operation for saving passengers of a boat that capsized and sank off St Kitts Island's northeastern coast. At the time of the operation, there were 3 dead and 13 missing people.

Reportedly, on the boat were a total of 32 people, of whom 16 were rescued. The overcrowded 30-ft/9-m-long boat was en route from Antigua to St Thomas USVI. It got into trouble ~12 NM (14 mi / 22 km) off St Kitts and was spotted at ~3 am by a passing luxury yacht.

The operation was conducted by the Antigua and Barbuda Coast Guard. Most of the rescued were from Cameroon.

The incident occurred during the 14-day Caribbean and Transatlantic voyage from Bridgetown Barbados to Southampton England (repositioning itinerary Mar 24 - Apr 7) with call ports in St Lucia (Castries/Mar 26), Basseterre (St Kitts/Mar 27), Antigua (St Johns/Mar 28), and Portugal's Azores (Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island/Apr 3).

27 March 2023Crew / Passenger Deaths

On March 27, 2023, while the liner was docked at Port Zante (Basseterre, St Kitts Island), a male passenger died during a snorkeling excursion (at Peninsular Cove). The man (British) was traveling together with his family (wife and daughter).

He was pulled from the water by fellow travelers and was given CPR, but the attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Later he was pronounced dead by St Kitts' District Medical Officer.

The incident occurred during the 14-day Caribbean and Transatlantic voyage from Bridgetown Barbados to Southampton England (repositioning itinerary Mar 24 - Apr 7) with call ports in St Lucia (Castries/Mar 26), Basseterre (St Kitts/Mar 27), Antigua (St Johns/Mar 28), and Portugal's Azores (Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island/Apr 3).

27 June 2021Other Incidents

On June 27, 2021, Britannia became P&O UK's first liner to restart operations following the 15+ months hiatus due to the Coronavirus crisis. The ship left at 6 pm (London time/ 1 pm EST) roundtrip from homeport Southampton on a 4-night "Short Break" (cruise to nowhere).

The special occasion was celebrated with horn-blowing by the anchored in Tor Bay fleetmates Arcadia, Aurora, Ventura, as well as by the Cunard's boats Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria.

26 July 2019Crew / Passenger Crimes

In the early hours on July 26, 2019, while the liner was en-route from Norway (Bergen) back to UK (Southampton), an emergency announcement via ship's PA system called the security staff to attend The Epicurean (restaurant on deck 16 forward-portside) where family groups were involved in a mass brawl.

The bloody violence resulted in 9 injured passengers. Families were forced to flee to their staterooms or hide under the tables as the drunken passengers used plates and furniture as weapons. The brawl was sparked by a male passenger taking offense at another man dressed as a clown. Ship's security team intervened and arrested all involved in the fight, and confined them for the last day of the cruise. Ship's medical teams were dispatched to help the injured.

The violence occurred during a black-tie (formal) dinner and following an afternoon deck party during which large amounts of alcohol were consumed. The "clown" upset one of the passengers because they had specifically booked a "cruise with no fancy dresses".

After docking in Southampton (July 27) the arrested were handled to the Hampshire Police. The incident occurred at the end of 7-day Norwegian Fjords cruise (itinerary July 20-27) roundtrip from homeport Southampton England to Stavanger, Flam, Skjolden, Olden, and Bergen.

28 January 2019Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On January 28, 2019, while the liner was docked in call Port St Johns (Antigua), a male passenger was beaten and robbed ashore. The man (Michael Maycock, British citizen) was sightseeing around St John the Divine (cathedral) when was attacked by a man armed with a piece of wood. The robber first hit him several times, then pushed him to the ground and took his wallet (containing debit cards and cash / USD 100).

The incident occurred during 14-day Caribbean cruise (itinerary Jan 19 - Feb 2) roundtrip from homeport Bridgetown (Barbados) and visiting Curacao (Willemstad), Bonaire (Kralendijk), Kingstown (St Vincent, Grenadines), Martinique (Fort-de-France), St Lucia (Castries), Antigua (St Johns), St Maarten (Philipsburg) and Dominica (Roseau).

23 October 2017Boat Rescue

On October 23, 2017, while in the Mediterranean, approx 50 km / 30 ml off Spain's coast (southwest of Almeria), the ship altered its course, taking a sharp U-turn to rescue 10 migrants struggled on an inflatable boat.

The incident occurred ~ 1 am. The boat was spotted by the crew. The ship made an abrupt 180-degree turn and sailed back approx 2 ml / 3 km to pick up the refugees (from Northern Africa).

A Salvamento Marítimo (Spanish Coast Guard) helicopter was dispatched to hoist the people out of the water. On the cruise ship, they were given food, drinks, cabins, and medical care. A coastguard vessel was sent to take the migrants ashore and hand over them to the Spanish authorities.

The ship was on 14-day Mediterranean cruise (itinerary October 13-27) roundtrip from homeport Southampton UK to France, Spain, and Italy, visiting call ports Cartagena, Barcelona, Marseille, La Spezia, Ajaccio Corsica, Gibraltar.

March 2017Structural and Technical Issues

(CruiseMapper-emailed report from Mr J. and Mrs Y. Cornish), email received on Sep 25, 2023 at 7:02 PM

We are surprised that you don't appear to have a report from P&O ship Britannia badly tilting at sea in the bad storm of Wednesday22nd March 2017.

FROM THE SHIPS LOGS OF ….CRUISE B705 Transatlantic “22nd March 2017…..

Britannia remained on the same course for the day experiencing strong winds and rough seas as she continued en route to Southampton. With the help of her two stabilising fins Britannia remained reasonably steady despite experiencing winds gusting to 80 knots [90 mph / 150 km/h] and a heavy sea swell…Passing heavy squalls and heavy rain throughout the day with very rough seas and heavy swell. Wind North Westerly force 9-11 temperature up to 10C” CRUISE B704 CARIBBEAN -25th February 2017/-CRUISE 705 TRANSATLANTIC 11th March 2017 Britannia left from St Maarten on 14th March 2017 to return to Southampton arriving on 24th March on her final voyage of the season with 5 days at sea to with final stop on 20th March at Ponta Delgada Azores

On leaving the Azores in the evening of 21st March to Southampton, the gales in were increasing and the sea swells getting higher, Britannia’s Captain announced the worsening storm, and said he would be moving North to try and miss the worst of the winds, He ordered all open decks were to be closed and every one return to their cabins for safety, which was a good job they did as the loose bottles glasses etc on the bars on the top Atrium floor had tipped off, rolled over the floor, under the barriers and crashed down to the ground floor where people had been sitting earlier. Thank goodness for once people had done as they were told and returned to cabins, or the outcome could have been horrendous.

Most of the cabins, ours included, reported damage, in our cabin, a balcony on A deck forward port side we had just made a cup of tea when the ship tilted well over to starboard and the tray with cups and Kettle of hot water glasses etc slid across the cupboard top & ending up all over the pillows of my bed and on the floor. Fortunately, I had just got off the bed to go to the bathroom, but had ended up behind the cabin door! After what seemed like an age the ship righted itself.

It was reported later the stabilisers on Britannia worked!! …Thank goodness for Britannia’s stabilisers, and the expertise of Captain Paul Brown, Officers and Crew of Britannia. Yvonne Cornish (Mrs) (Back to Back Cruise B704 Caribbean and B705 Transatlantic- 25th February 2017 to 24th March 2017 Barbados - to Southampton)

18 November 2016Ship Collision / Allision

On November 18, 2016, in the morning, the P&O liner was struck by the mega-yacht SeaDream 1. The collision accident happened in Port Bridgetown Barbados, where MV Britannia was docked and about to disembark its passengers. SeaDream 1 hit the liner while maneuvering for berthing. A tugboat was sent to assist the yacht and edge it away.

No injuries were reported, and both cruise vessels' itineraries were not affected.

The Britannia ship sustained only minor hull damage (scuff marks, next to the anchor).

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