Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Gonzalo blows cruise off-course

MV Funchal

High winds and heavy seas caused by the remnants of ex-hurricane Gonzalo have created havoc for a cruise ship in the Irish Sea.

MV Funchal, on charter to Cruise & Maritime Voyages, was returning from a 15-night voyage to Norway. Having seen the weather forecast, the operators decided it would be unwise to follow the original schedule, which would have meant sailing through the worst of the weather to reach port at Avonmouth, Bristol.

Plans were made to berth in Liverpool on Monday evening, and to transfer the 414 passengers by coach on Tuesday morning.

However, sea conditions made it impossible for a pilot to board the vessel and the local authorities decided it was unsafe for the ship to enter port.

Funchal took shelter off the Isle of Man to ride out the worst of the storm, and waited until calmer seas allowed her to enter the Mersey this morning (Wednesday).

Arrangements have also been made to transfer passengers joining the ship’s eight-night cruise to the Canary Islands later today.

Chris Coates, Commercial Director of CMV said: “In liaison with our agent and port authorities we have done everything we can to expedite Funchal’s arrival into Liverpool with the comfort and safety of our passengers our top priority. 

“We took the decision yesterday to re-route Funchal and finish the cruise in Liverpool to seek shelter and avoid the very heavy seas on our final passage to Avonmouth. Our passengers have been fully updated of the situation.”