When I heard the news this morning I couldn't believe my ears! Over 450 passengers have spent a second night stranded in Madeira onboard their cruise ship, caught up in a cash row surrounding their travel company.
The Van Gogh has been held by port authorities since Tuesday in the port of Funchal due to a row over the alleged debts of former operator Travelscope, which went bust last December.
The stranded holidaymakers, who were due to arrive back in Falmouth, Cornwall, on Saturday, are said to have believed this was a April fools prank, but soon realised the severity of the situation. The managing director of Van Gogh Cruise Line issued a statement published in the Gloucestershire Echo that suggested lawyers were arguing for the release of the vessel.
It seems that Travelscope's administrators are behind the detention of the ship, making "alleged claims" relating to previous charter agreements, and refusing to allow the ship to continue on journey.
Lawyers are currently liaising with the authorities in an effort to prevent further delay by requesting this matter to be handled on return to Falmouth, to minimise further distress to the passengers.
It seems the mood of the passengers is mixed, with some feeling it is very unfair that they are being held up in this dispute. Others have held a more positive outlook suggesting there is no better place to be held ransom.