‘Heavy landing’ for cruise ship Oriana as gales disrupt Southampton shipping

Gale force winds this morning disrupted the arrival of a cruise ship in Southampton.

P&O Cruises’ Oriana returning from a two-week cruise to witness the Solar Eclipse, was unable to berth as scheduled at Ocean Terminal and was diverted to the nearby Queen Elizabeth II terminal.

Despite being assisted by two tugs, the 1,800-passenger vessel is believed to have made a “heavy landing,” touching the quayside while manoeuvring in 60-knot winds. Passengers are being held on board until winds drop and the ship can be moved to her intended berth.

It is also reported by returning passengers that Oriana has been struck by an outbreak of norovirus, a short-term gastro-intestinal illness common in schools and hospitals at this time of year.

A P&O spokeswoman said: “Whilst coming into port this morning in high winds Oriana touched the berth and is now alongside at QE II terminal. As soon as the winds drop Oriana will reposition to Ocean Terminal and passengers will disembark.”

An update has been issued, including information for passengers due to embark today for Oriana’s 4-night cruise to Guernsey and Zeebrugge. If the severe weather conditions continue, it is unlikely the ship will be able to tender passengers ashore in St Peter Port.

TWO crewmen were rescued from Southampton Water last night when a tug based at Fawley oil refinery capsized and began to sink. One jumped clear and was able to swim to safety. Another who was trapped inside the vessel was rescued by a refinery safety worker who jumped into the water from a pontoon and smashed a window to release him. Two RNLI crewmembers also jumped into the water to assist the casualty and his rescuer. Three men were treated in hospital.