Day 2 --Van Gogh's Still Impounded in Funchal!
April 2, 2008
As we reported yesterday the 15,400-ton, 500-passenger Van Gogh has been impounded at Funchal, Madeira; as a result of a financial matter.
Rumours are flying rampantly about the ship, the cruise line, passenger morale and the circumstances surrounding the matter but there's one thing we all know: Van Gogh is still stuck in Madeira.
Still, here is what we know so far:
As of 3:30 p.m. U.K. time, the ship was still docked in Funchal; take a look for yourself via the port's webcam.
Van Gogh hasn't issued any further statements yet today. But yesterday, in a statement, Van Gogh Cruise Line managing director Mark Horwood said: "Currently Club Cruise’s lawyers are liaising with the authorities in an effort to prevent further delay by allowing this matter to be handled on return to Falmouth, to minimise further distress to our passengers. However, the Administrators have so far refused to allow this."
Club Cruise reportedly owes Travelscope's administrators £1.5 million (or £2m as some news reports have said).
Cruise Critic was told by the Association of British Travel Agent's that a letter had apparently been given to passengers this morning from Club Cruise saying that the ship would leave later today or tomorrow. A cruise line spokeswoman was unable to confirm, however.
Passengers reportedly have drafted a request for repatriation letter to ABTA. However, ABTA really can't help. The association told us that the matter is in the hands of Portuguese authorities.
Here's something that was kept quiet: According to the Gloucester Citizen, Van Gogh was reportedly delayed in Cape Town following last month following another dispute.
However it does seem at least that the passengers are dealing with the situation it pretty well. The BBC reported that actress Shirley Anne Field, who appeared in Alfie with Michael Caine, is onboard.
She told the BBC: There was a "fighting spirit" on board.
"They are exceptional, the British people, when thing like this happen."
Van Gogh is currently on a three-month world cruise which was due to end in Falmouth on Saturday.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor and Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief