P&O Princess liner damaged in shipyard fire
By Josephine Cumbo
Published: October 1 2002 16:15 | Last Updated: October 1 2002 16:15
P&O Princess, the cruise ship operator at the centre of a merger battle, suffered a setback on Tuesday when one its new liners suffered "significant" fire damage during construction in Japan.
P&O Princess said there had been a major fire at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki where the Diamond Princess is being built.
The cruise operator said the damage to the vessel, which was due to be delivered in May 2003 and start service the following month, was not yet known, but appeared to be "significant".
Despite the setback, P&O Princess said it did not expect the incident to dent its 2003 earnings.
"It should be noted that the company has in place contractual arrangements with the yard and insurance policies that it believes, irrespective of the extent of the damage and any consequent delay, will be sufficient to ensure that there will be no significant economic impact on the group nor any adverse impact on its 2003 earnings," P&O Princess said.
Shares in the group were down 5p at 441p in late afternoon trading in London.
The fire came as the group awaits the outcome of the US Federal Trade Commission's decision, expected within the next two weeks, on its merger with Royal Caribbean and a rival £3.4bn hostile bid from Carnival.
The incident is also a setback for Mitsubishi Heavy which became the first Asian shipbuilder to receive orders from European cruise companies after winning the contract to build two cruisers from P&O Princess.
I remember when Monarch of the Sea's had a serious fire while in the yard and suffered major inside damage. That caused a 6 month delay. I hope the Diamond is ready by August as I am booked to Alaska on her.
David, your not going anywhere in August (not on this ship anyway). According to a cruise newsletter I get by email this fire took 19 hours to extinguish and wiped out 80% of the Diamonds' interior. Apparently Princess has another ship that does the same itinerary with a one day difference. I'd get my TA all over that if you still want to cruise the same itinerary and time frame. According to the letter I just read, the whole inaugural season for the Diamond could conceivably be in jeopardy. Good luck
I talked with a supervisor at Princess this morning and Princess says the Diamond Princess will be delivered on time from the yard to Princess. I think I'll wait and see how the repair and completion goes before rebooking. I wanted to see how this yard did to begin with....