The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained the 1972-built cruise ship Discovery at Portland Port in late February after the crew were unable to launch lifeboats in a pre-cruise safety drill. The passengers, whose cruise was cancelled, were paid around £250 each and offered a large percentage reduction if they rebook on the ship. They spent around 24 hours on the ship before being informed the cruise would have to be cancelled.
The ship, which was built as Island Venture, has remained in the port while urgent maintenance work is carried out to the satisfaction of the MCA, who also required that the crew receive extra training of life boat safety drills. Only once ‘the owners and crew undertake revisions to their safety management system’, according to the MCA, will she be allowed back to sea.
Discovery was to undertake a cruise to Norway from Avonmouth, but was rerouted to Portland due to poor weather conditions, and hundreds of passengers had to be bussed to Portland from Avonmouth. Cruise and Maritime Voyages, who have only just acquired the cruise ship, ensured the vessel was able to undertake her next cruise, and she left Portland on 15 March.