Panic stations on P&O Ferry as captain announces this is not a drill

A cruise ship has crashed off the coast of Mallorca, leaving thousands of British passengers panicked.

The P&O Britannia Ship was set to arrive in Palma, Mallorca earlier today (August 27) before it crashed.

Although the cause of the incident is currently unknown, witnesses believe two vessels collided due to the untypical and difficult weather conditions.

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It is understood that a storm “suddenly hit” the island shortly before the incident – including heavy rain, hail, and strong gusts of wind.

A family from Wales, who were on board the ferry at the time of the crash, spoke to WalesOnline following the collision.

The unnamed family member told the publication that the ship was anchored less than a mile from the shore.

Images of the aftermath were shared, showing the damage to the passenger decks, along with tables and chairs in disarray. Debris could also be seen floating in the water.

Staff warned passengers “This is not a drill” as they assembled the guests at the emergency zones on the ship, known as muster stations.

One Welsh woman, who is on the ship with her partner and two children, said: “We have now been told we’re allowed to leave our cabins but we can’t do anything on the ship and all the crew are in their life jackets and doing all of their emergency things.

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“The side of the boat is battered. We were docked overnight in Palma and the wind was so strong our anchors broke and we blew out into another ship.

"We were up browsing on our phones in bed and heard the big horn after the bang. It was panic stations, I was bawling my eyes out.

“We went out onto our balcony and could see debris in the ocean and all the damage to the side of the boat and our lifeboat. The captain said: ‘Everyone to their muster stations, this is not a drill.’ Lots of people were running around looking panicked.

“Then they came around again and said everyone needs to get back to their cabins. We’re still none the wiser. I can’t see how they’ll be able to sail it again after this.”

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The Britannia set sail from Southampton on August 18 for the Mediterranean cruise including stops at Cadiz and Ibiza and had been due to leave Mallorca on Sunday afternoon. It can carry up to 3,647 passengers and is 330 metres in length. She has a crew of 1,398 and cost £473m.

“They’ve pulled us out to sea now after checking there were no fires on the ship and anchored us,” a passenger explained.

“They’ve said we can leave the cabins now and we’re waiting for further updates from the captain. I think we’ll probably get off the ship now and fly back. I won’t be sailing back. As soon as this is over I’m getting off and looking for a hotel.”

A spokesperson for P&O Cruises said: “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.”

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