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Video: Ship on which James Swinstead from Colchester died, is passed fit to sail

17:16 17 February 2014

The Marco Polo cruise ship. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Marco Polo cruise ship. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The cruise ship on which a passenger from north Essex died when it was hit by a freak wave has been passed fit to sail after police and port authority inspections.

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James SwinsteadJames Swinstead

James Swinstead, 85, from Eight Ash Green near Colchester was killed and several other people were injured when water crashed through restaurant windows on the British ship Marco Polo in the ultra-stormy English Channel on Friday night.

Disembarking from the 22,000-tonne, Panama-flagged vessel at Tilbury in Essex yesterday morning, Mr Swinstead’s widow, Helen, from Colchester in Essex, said the ship was “badly maintained”.

But a spokesman for the ship’s British operator, Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), said today that the 49-year-old vessel, originally built for the Russian cruise market, had been given the go-ahead to continue.

It left Tilbury last night for a 14-night Norway and Northern Lights cruise with a full complement of around 790 passengers on board.

CMV spokesman Paul Foster said: “Police and Port Health Authority people came on board yesterday and conducted their own investigations.

“They had the power to detain the vessel if they considered it was unseaworthy or if regulations were not being followed. “

He went on: “The next cruise is under way. We had two senior CMV directors as well as representatives from the owners (the Global Maritime company of Greece) greeting passengers.

“Some passengers needed reassurance but no-one has cancelled and there have been no cancellations for the next two cruises which are also 14-night Northern Lights voyages.”

Mr Foster said the damage to the vessel had been limited to four smashed windows and carpet damage. The one seriously injured passenger, a woman in her 70s, was recovering after being airlifted to hospital.

The ship, originally named the Alexander Potemkin and operated at one time by Norwegian Cruise Line, was in the south west approaches to the Channel when the wave hit. The vessel had been returning to Tilbury after a 42-night voyage which included Caribbean ports

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High water at Felixstowe Ferry. Archive image. Photo: Stephen Squirrell/citizenside.com

Flood alerts are in place tonight along the Essex and Suffolk coastline.

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