One of the welds directly below the Laguna Pool deck cracked open during a rough crossing across the Bay of Biscay, leaving a two-inch gap width-ways across the deck, according to passengers posting onboard. The area was immediately taped off and, according to posts from passengers onboard, people on Deck 14 were told not to use their balconies.
A spokesperson for P&O said the crack had no “structural…or safety issues,” and that the mini-cruise would set sail as planned tonight.
The incident first came to light on the Cruise Critic message boards when davedex wrote: “Just read that Ventura has suffered a crack width wise by Breakers Bar.”
drewlin wrote: "Just noticed on the P&O forum that a major problem has occurred on Ventura -- "Currently on Ventura and after a rough passage into the bob one of the deck welds on deck 17 overlooking the Laguna pool has split open leaving about a 2 inch gap across the deck. The area is now taped off."
Thejuggler added: “I suspect this has been a problem joint since it was built, but it has only just manifested itself. Stress fractures on steel are not unknown and there's no way every weld can be checked during construction. It's due for a refit, looks like an extra job is required.”
The 116,000-ton, 3,080-passenger Ventura, which was launched in 2008, will go into dry dock on March 22 next year, for scheduled repairs for 15 days.
The incident is also being talked about extensively on the P&O Facebook page where Peter Smith wrote: “Ventura is now 4cm longer than Azura. Seriously, there is a 4cm gap across the whole starboard side of deck 16 which has caused a window pane to lose support. There is no other damage and no risk. The fact that the gap didn't close up after the ship stopped flexing shows that the welded joint must have been under considerable tension.”
P&O made the following statement: “Repairs will be made to an aluminium deck on Ventura upon arrival in Southampton today. This has no structural strength or safety implications. Ventura will leave Southampton later today as planned for a two night cruise.”
--Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor