Widow criticises British cruise ship Marco Polo operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages after death of husband

Daily Echo: Widow man killed on cruise ship hit by freak wave criticises 'badly maintained' vessel Widow man killed on cruise ship hit by freak wave criticises 'badly maintained' vessel

The widow of a man killed after a freak wave hit a cruise ship in the English Channel has criticised the ''badly maintained'' vessel as she paid tribute to her ''lovely husband''.

James Swinstead, 85, died ''almost instantly'' after water rushed on board the British cruise ship Marco Polo as it was battered by waves during severe storms.

The 22,000-tonne vessel, operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), was heading for its home port of Tilbury in Essex at the end of a 42-night voyage when the incident happened on Valentine's Day.

Water crashed through a window, injuring a number of the 735 passengers, who were mainly British.

A female passenger in her 70s was airlifted off the ship, while 14 people were treated for minor injuries.

Mr Swinstead, a father-of-two from Colchester, Essex, was on the cruise with his wife Helen.

Speaking in Tilbury after the ship docked, she said: ''I think it killed him almost instantly.

''With our insurance I think I'm entitled to £2,000, which won't even cover getting him home to Colchester.

''I think the shipping company should give some sort of compensation. The ship was badly maintained. Four windows blew.

''I said to my husband, because my father used to make paint, that's going to leak because there was a rusty puddle on the window sill. I expect to hear from the Marco Polo.

''He was a lovely husband.

''The crew have been fantastic. I think the ship is improperly maintained. It had come from Madeira before we got on it in January and they had bad storms then.

''There's so much paint on the outside you can't see the rust, they just slop some more on when they get to port.

''It was quite dreadful. I was sitting next to him and this window came in and the sea with it.

''We were all very, very wet. I think a woman was taken to hospital and my husband was going to get on the helicopter but he died before they could get him on it.

''He's never made headline news. He'll be sitting on his cloud chortling.''

The wave caused damage to the ship's Waldorf Restaurant.

The vessel, which has been to the Amazon in South America and to the West Indies, arrived back at Tilbury late last night.

Passengers began disembarking the ship from 7am this morning.

Linda Kogan said: ''It was horrendous, I've never been in storms like it. The waves were coming up almost over the ship.

''The ship was at an angle. Some people reported the drawers were falling apart and the wardrobe doors falling off.

''A lady was actually thrown out of bed with the force. We weren't in the restaurant when the windows broke but I think it was really scary.

''One lady said it was just like the films with the foamy water and being swept across the restaurant.

''Some people were stunned but on the whole people were quite stoic. The crew were fantastic. Some of the crew were actually injured as well.''

Following the incident, CMV said: ''CMV regrets to advise that earlier today their cruise ship m/s Marco Polo, en-route to her home port of Tilbury from the Azores, was hit by a freak wave during adverse sea conditions in the south western approaches of the English Channel.

''One elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance. The vessel sailed from Tilbury on January 5 and is carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew.

''Our thoughts are very much with these passengers and their families during this difficult time.''

Following repair work, the Marco Polo is due to set sail this evening from Tilbury on a scheduled 14-night cruise to Norway and the Land of the Northern Lights.

A spokesman for CMV said it would not comment on Mrs Swinstead's remarks.

Passengers leaving the ship spoke of their ''terrifying'' experience onboard.
Heather Gratland, from Worcestershire, was in the 6th floor restaurant when the water entered the ship.

She said: ''All I remember was one minute I was sitting there and the next my head was under water.

''The lights went out momentarily. Immediately they were ushering us out.
''I was trying to find my shoes and my husband lost his glasses.

''We were very lucky, the ones sitting low, because we were less injured than the people higher up.''

Anna Matheson said: ''It was frightening. Things were rushing off shelves in the cabin.

''People were really hurt. A man died. It's a shame.''

Asked what was going through her mind during the severe sea conditions, she replied: ''Are we going to survive? You can't help but feel that.

''The sea was just amazing to watch. It was white all over. It was pretty terrifying.''

Jerry Bart said: ''We came through the Channel in the most horrendous gales anyone has ever experienced.

''We rode the storm like a bucking bronco.

''I'm just surprised more people were not injured."

Comments (13)

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10:37am Sun 16 Feb 14

News Fanatic says...

I do not know about the state of repair of the ship but surely the captain should have sought shelter in a harbour. The ferocity of the storm was forecast for several days. Sailing on with a ship full of mainly elderly passengers, any one of whom could have fallen over or downstairs, was surely asking for trouble. I believe that P&O's Oriana and Oceana spent the night of the storm berthed in Southampton rather than set sail.
I do not know about the state of repair of the ship but surely the captain should have sought shelter in a harbour. The ferocity of the storm was forecast for several days. Sailing on with a ship full of mainly elderly passengers, any one of whom could have fallen over or downstairs, was surely asking for trouble. I believe that P&O's Oriana and Oceana spent the night of the storm berthed in Southampton rather than set sail. News Fanatic
  • Score: 25

1:54pm Sun 16 Feb 14

southy says...

Freak wave, good grief. It was a multiple Tidal surge waves that hit them
Freak wave, good grief. It was a multiple Tidal surge waves that hit them southy
  • Score: -12

2:25pm Sun 16 Feb 14

IronLady2010 says...

My thoughts go out to this lady and others that witnessed this.

Sadly, it's easy to try and blame something for a loss of your loved one, but it just prolongs the agony.

I hope she finds the strength to grieve without trying to find blame.
My thoughts go out to this lady and others that witnessed this. Sadly, it's easy to try and blame something for a loss of your loved one, but it just prolongs the agony. I hope she finds the strength to grieve without trying to find blame. IronLady2010
  • Score: -4

3:55pm Sun 16 Feb 14

St.Ray says...

The "Marco Polo" is a ship that is 50 years old! I think she was built in East Germany & run by the Russians for some years.. The storms in the Bay of Biscay are notorious for their violence & when hit by one of these all ships leak. But you get what you pay for, cheap cruise, crappy ships
The "Marco Polo" is a ship that is 50 years old! I think she was built in East Germany & run by the Russians for some years.. The storms in the Bay of Biscay are notorious for their violence & when hit by one of these all ships leak. But you get what you pay for, cheap cruise, crappy ships St.Ray
  • Score: 4

5:24pm Sun 16 Feb 14

eurogordi says...

While my sympathies are offered to the widow of the deceased man, we have been experiencing unprecedented weather. In such circumstances such tragedies are likely to happen and, although I do not personally know the vessel concerned, the owners cannot be blamed.
While my sympathies are offered to the widow of the deceased man, we have been experiencing unprecedented weather. In such circumstances such tragedies are likely to happen and, although I do not personally know the vessel concerned, the owners cannot be blamed. eurogordi
  • Score: 6

7:12pm Sun 16 Feb 14

southy says...

eurogordi wrote:
While my sympathies are offered to the widow of the deceased man, we have been experiencing unprecedented weather. In such circumstances such tragedies are likely to happen and, although I do not personally know the vessel concerned, the owners cannot be blamed.
Very true you can't blame the owners really on this, not for an act of nature, there was not a lot the skipper could do also apart from ride the storm out, Shipping warnings did go out about the tidal surges being push up the channel and being in the channel you don't have any where to run to unless your going to broad side the storm which would of been the worse thing to do
[quote][p][bold]eurogordi[/bold] wrote: While my sympathies are offered to the widow of the deceased man, we have been experiencing unprecedented weather. In such circumstances such tragedies are likely to happen and, although I do not personally know the vessel concerned, the owners cannot be blamed.[/p][/quote]Very true you can't blame the owners really on this, not for an act of nature, there was not a lot the skipper could do also apart from ride the storm out, Shipping warnings did go out about the tidal surges being push up the channel and being in the channel you don't have any where to run to unless your going to broad side the storm which would of been the worse thing to do southy
  • Score: -3

7:17pm Sun 16 Feb 14

southy says...

News Fanatic wrote:
I do not know about the state of repair of the ship but surely the captain should have sought shelter in a harbour. The ferocity of the storm was forecast for several days. Sailing on with a ship full of mainly elderly passengers, any one of whom could have fallen over or downstairs, was surely asking for trouble. I believe that P&O's Oriana and Oceana spent the night of the storm berthed in Southampton rather than set sail.
He could not, not with out broadsiding the storm and some thing a lot worse could of happen like the ship capsizing, with condition like we been getting just of late all ships can do is run with the storm or go against the storm.
I have seem what can happen to a bridge of a ship when hit with a full force of a wave it can leave it in a mess
[quote][p][bold]News Fanatic[/bold] wrote: I do not know about the state of repair of the ship but surely the captain should have sought shelter in a harbour. The ferocity of the storm was forecast for several days. Sailing on with a ship full of mainly elderly passengers, any one of whom could have fallen over or downstairs, was surely asking for trouble. I believe that P&O's Oriana and Oceana spent the night of the storm berthed in Southampton rather than set sail.[/p][/quote]He could not, not with out broadsiding the storm and some thing a lot worse could of happen like the ship capsizing, with condition like we been getting just of late all ships can do is run with the storm or go against the storm. I have seem what can happen to a bridge of a ship when hit with a full force of a wave it can leave it in a mess southy
  • Score: -1

7:26pm Sun 16 Feb 14

X Old Bill says...

MS Marco Polo was en route from the Atlantic and in the Western Approaches.
Very unlucky to be in that position (between Ushant and Scilly) with nowhere to take shelter.
They was effectively running before the storm so no chance of even turning safely.
Really tragic that someone lost their life but it could have been a whole lot worse.
The Widow is hiding her grief very well.
She complains that the ship was rusty and the rust had just been painted over. What did she expect on a ship that age?
MS Marco Polo was en route from the Atlantic and in the Western Approaches. Very unlucky to be in that position (between Ushant and Scilly) with nowhere to take shelter. They was effectively running before the storm so no chance of even turning safely. Really tragic that someone lost their life but it could have been a whole lot worse. The Widow is hiding her grief very well. She complains that the ship was rusty and the rust had just been painted over. What did she expect on a ship that age? X Old Bill
  • Score: 3

7:35pm Sun 16 Feb 14

Reality-man says...

St.Ray wrote:
The "Marco Polo" is a ship that is 50 years old! I think she was built in East Germany & run by the Russians for some years.. The storms in the Bay of Biscay are notorious for their violence & when hit by one of these all ships leak. But you get what you pay for, cheap cruise, crappy ships
Maybe it's all a couple in their 80's could afford. n0b
[quote][p][bold]St.Ray[/bold] wrote: The "Marco Polo" is a ship that is 50 years old! I think she was built in East Germany & run by the Russians for some years.. The storms in the Bay of Biscay are notorious for their violence & when hit by one of these all ships leak. But you get what you pay for, cheap cruise, crappy ships[/p][/quote]Maybe it's all a couple in their 80's could afford. n0b Reality-man
  • Score: 2

7:36pm Sun 16 Feb 14

Reality-man says...

St.Ray wrote:
The "Marco Polo" is a ship that is 50 years old! I think she was built in East Germany & run by the Russians for some years.. The storms in the Bay of Biscay are notorious for their violence & when hit by one of these all ships leak. But you get what you pay for, cheap cruise, crappy ships
Maybe it's all a couple in their 80's could afford. n0b
[quote][p][bold]St.Ray[/bold] wrote: The "Marco Polo" is a ship that is 50 years old! I think she was built in East Germany & run by the Russians for some years.. The storms in the Bay of Biscay are notorious for their violence & when hit by one of these all ships leak. But you get what you pay for, cheap cruise, crappy ships[/p][/quote]Maybe it's all a couple in their 80's could afford. n0b Reality-man
  • Score: 1

11:12pm Sun 16 Feb 14

Eric_Cartman says...

Very sad, I really do feel for the lady.
There is probably not much wrong with the ship though. If you think about it, the window is made of glass and the sea weighs over a tonne per cubic metre. With waves like that, most ships' windows would break. Imagine dropping a small car on a pane of glass; it would break. As for rusty puddles on the window sill (or port box to use the correct term), I've worked on five year old cargo ships that have weeping windows and because the water has gone past steel, it will be rust coloured; perfectly normal.
With hindsight, a slight alteration of course and/or reduction in speed with the precaution that in heavy weather, all passengers avoid being close to windows for extended periods of time may have prevented the poor bloke's unfortunate death.
Ships, by the nature of the medium in which they operate will roll, pitch and encounter heavy weather. They are not static hotels; they have to be handled with care, to help prevent this sort of thing happening or to lessen the effect if there is an incident.
Very sad, I really do feel for the lady. There is probably not much wrong with the ship though. If you think about it, the window is made of glass and the sea weighs over a tonne per cubic metre. With waves like that, most ships' windows would break. Imagine dropping a small car on a pane of glass; it would break. As for rusty puddles on the window sill (or port box to use the correct term), I've worked on five year old cargo ships that have weeping windows and because the water has gone past steel, it will be rust coloured; perfectly normal. With hindsight, a slight alteration of course and/or reduction in speed with the precaution that in heavy weather, all passengers avoid being close to windows for extended periods of time may have prevented the poor bloke's unfortunate death. Ships, by the nature of the medium in which they operate will roll, pitch and encounter heavy weather. They are not static hotels; they have to be handled with care, to help prevent this sort of thing happening or to lessen the effect if there is an incident. Eric_Cartman
  • Score: 4

9:43am Mon 17 Feb 14

Shoong says...

southy wrote:
Freak wave, good grief. It was a multiple Tidal surge waves that hit them
Surely that's of great comfort to Mrs Swinstead and her family.

How very ignorant of her not to know what kind of wave killed her husband as she no doubt enters a period of grieving.

We should all brush up on what type of waves we might encounter before crossing the treacherous and unforgiving seas.
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: Freak wave, good grief. It was a multiple Tidal surge waves that hit them[/p][/quote]Surely that's of great comfort to Mrs Swinstead and her family. How very ignorant of her not to know what kind of wave killed her husband as she no doubt enters a period of grieving. We should all brush up on what type of waves we might encounter before crossing the treacherous and unforgiving seas. Shoong
  • Score: 4

5:02pm Mon 17 Feb 14

elvisimo says...

southy wrote:
Freak wave, good grief. It was a multiple Tidal surge waves that hit them
Penis
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: Freak wave, good grief. It was a multiple Tidal surge waves that hit them[/p][/quote]Penis elvisimo
  • Score: 2

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