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Update 31 May: I gather that Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Ocean Countess’ operator, are hoping that she will be able to sail from Holyhead  early this afternoon. In the meantime passengers have been enjoying complimentary tours of the Welsh countryside and of of course experiencing the bright lights of Holyhead. Well, they’re probably brighter than the lights were on board during the power outage! As regards the itinerary it seems that calls at Aberdeen and Leith have been cancelled, but that the rest of the cruise will happen as scheduled.

Update 30 May: Unfortunately, just hours after being centre stage in Liverpool, Ocean Countess suffered an electrical failure which resulted in a total loss of power for some three hours during the night. Power was restored, but she diverted to Holyhead, Anglesey, for checks today. I understand that the 700 or so passengers have been advised of a revised itinerary.

The rather blurry image on the left is Ocean Countess, moored at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal, preparing to start her first cruise from Liverpool of 2012. The significance is that this is the first cruise to start from the new cruise terminal. It follows last weeks decision by the DfT to allow Liver pool to use the cruise terminals for turnarounds instead of just day visits, in return for a repayment of £8.8m or thereabouts of public money that Liverpool received to fund the construction of the landing stage. (I ought to say that I grabbed the image from the ‘WirralCam’ webcam, and it remains their copyright.)

Commentators in other parts of the country are arguing that Liverpool is acting prematurely. Even though they’re received permission from the UK government that isn’t enough, is their view: there was a lot of money received from the EU and that ought to be repaid as well. Daniel Hannan, Conservative Euro MP for Hampshire has been quoted (here) as saying that if Liverpool go ahead with its first turnaround (i.e. the one that’s happening today…) without a Fair Competition ruling from the EU “it will be breaking the law”. And Southampton’s Labour MP John Denham said (in his WordPress blog) “I think Liverpool may be jumping the gun starting new sailings so quickly and taking EU approval for granted. It’s important that the laws on fair competition are upheld“.

I’ve also read a report that MEPs from the south-east and north of England have set up a meeting with the EU’s competition commissioner.

This one is going to rumble on….

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