UK weather: Widow says cruise ship was ‘badly maintained’


The widow of an elderly man who died on a cruise ship during a storm on St Valentine’s Day has criticised maintenance aboard the boat.

Helen Swinstead said her husband, James, 85, died when windows on the Marco Polo blew out and struck him on the head while he ate in the ship’s restaurant.

An elderly woman also had to be airlifted to hospital after the British-owned vessel was hit by a freak wave at the conclusion of a 42-night voyage as it headed back to its home port at Tilbury in Essex.

Mrs Swinstead praised the crew but said: “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.”

Christian Verhounig, chief executive of operator Cruise and Maritime Voyages, said: “The safety and comfort of our passengers is and will always be of paramount importance. Marco Polo undergoes stringent and rigorous surveys and is inspected regularly including a recent annual dry docking survey and certification.”