CMV is confident that cruise ship Discovery will be cleared to sail on her next voyage, due to depart from Avonmouth on March 15. But the company remains cagey about the reasons the ship’s February 28 departure was cancelled.
The ship, operated until late 2012 by Voyages of Discovery, had just completed a lengthy refit in an Italian shipyard prior to its return to the UK last week.
An inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at Portland – to where the vessel had diverted following delays caused by bad weather in the Bay of Biscay – resulted in the ship being prevented from sailing on its planned 15-day cruise in search of the Northern Lights.
An MCA statement issued today said: “Following inspections on Friday 1 March, the MCA has issued a Detention Notice on the passenger ship Discovery, preventing the vessel from sailing at this time.
“This will remain in place whilst the owners and crew undertake revisions to their safety management system.”
Pressed for further information, a spokeswoman added: “There were concerns over crew training and how familiar they were with the ship’s emergency procedures.
“It is now with the owner and operator to ensure they sort out the issues. It is a Bermuda-flagged ship, so once they are satisfied along with our surveyors, that’s when the Detention Notice will be lifted.”
Discovery’s technical and engineering operation is sub-contracted by CMV to Monaco-based V Ships, which provides crew for more than 140 cruise vessels, ferries and super-yachts.
A CMV spokesman said: “Notwithstanding the extensive dry docking, the vessel was found, after departure to the UK, to have various technical issues which it became apparent could not be dealt with without cancelling the cruise.
“The technical staff at the ship manager and their contract staff are working very hard with all interested parties to ensure these issues are resolved and the vessel in good shape for the next cruise. Once the operations have been completed we will be in a better position to provide further details.”
Passengers who boarded the ship for its aborted voyage reported finding unfinished work in the cabins and a lack of running water in some bathrooms. Pictures sent to me by one show rolls of carpet on deck, missing ceiling panels, and uncarpeted stairs.
Paddy O’Hare, of Mansfield, who was travelling with his son, told me: “It was clear, listening to messages on the PA, that some of the crew were not arriving at the correct muster station, or crewmembers did not arrive at all. This was far from satisfactory. We watched a second drill and it was very clear the drill was a farce.”
Another passenger commented: “Quite honestly, we were glad to get off
CMV said: “We apologise profusely for the disappointment and disruption caused to passengers and are determined to ensure that Discovery is in top condition for the cruise commencing March 15.”
Passengers whose March 1 cruise was cancelled will be receiving a full refund of their fare, plus compensation of £250 per person and a discount of 40 per cent on a future Discovery cruise if booked by 30 April 2013.