Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Locals furious as 'monster' 60,000 tonne cruise ship docks into tiny Cornish tow

A tiny town home to just 2,300 people is playing host to a luxury cruise ship about 22 London buses long – and locals aren’t exactly pleased.

The Spirit of Adventure, operated by Saga Cruises, cruised into the southern Cornish port town of Fowey at about 6am on Friday.

Harbourmaster Paul Thomas told the BBC that it’s a ‘big deal’ for local tourism – literally too, given it weighs some 60,000 tonnes, stretches 775ft long and can carry nearly half of Fowey’s population (999 passengers).

‘What we are trying to do is attract this size of the ship, which is just on our limit, but it means we can have those passengers going to visit the town and nearby destinations,’ he said, adding that it is the longest and heaviest ship to ever pull up into the town’s harbour.

Polruan Coastwatch station manager Ray Wrigg added: ‘I can’t see many of the houses immediately opposite. That gives you an idea of how high she is.’

After casting a shadow over St Fimbarrus, Fowey’s parish church, for most of the day, the Spirit of Adventure soon set sail for Weymouth, Dorest, at 5pm.

But the anger on social media towards the vessel docking didn’t go with it.

Locals fumed about the ‘awful’ Spirit of Adventure looming over the bobbing yachts, even claiming that the pollution it pumped out impacted local air quality.

Sasha Swire, wife of former Tory House of Lords minister Hugo Swire, said the sight of the ship was ‘awful and ‘shouldn’t be allowed’.

‘How awful,’ posted Londoner Toria Redfern on X, formerly known as Twitter.

‘It’s so horrible when you find someone’s parked one of those floating blocks of flats, blocking the view, never mind all the pollution they chuck out.’

Another added: ‘What on earth are the authorities thinking to let this hellish monster sail there! Talk about two fingers up to the aquatic life!’

‘That’s a lot of filth being pumped into the atmosphere in the heart of Fowey then,’ said Cornish local Matthew Pitt. ‘Impressive scale, though.’

The boat’s mooring comes amid an ongoing property ownership crisis rattling the area, with figures published last year in Cornwall Live showing that Fowey has just 1,461 homes.

Of them, 239 (16%) are being used as someone’s second home – with some homes going for more than £1,000,000.

Locals began being priced out of their neighbourhoods – and fast – with The Sunday Times naming the area as one of eight where house prices have risen by more than £100,00 in just one year.

The rising anger led to residents voting to ban newly built houses sold as second homes in a 2020 referendum.

Under new rules, homeowners must prove they actually use the property as their main residence, rather than a spare house for holidays.

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