'Ghost ships' which have been anchored in Torbay start to leave

  • Cruise ships leaving Torbay

The fleet of 'ghost ships' which have been anchored in Torbay for much of the coronavirus pandemic are about to leave for the final time.

Since June last year, Torbay and Babbacombe Bay in Devon have become a safe haven for dozens of the world's luxury cruise ships awaiting orders to sail.

But from Monday 17 May, cruises from England will be allowed to resume.

Vessels will be allowed to depart from and return to UK ports. While they can operate beyond UK waters, they will only be allowed to carry residents from the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

It means the enormous cruise liners which have become such a popular and familiar sight to so many in Torbay may not remain for much longer as it can take weeks to bring them into full working order.

Demand is expected to be high once cruises resume in both the UK and across the world.

"I don't think it will be difficult to persuade passengers back on board," said Bob Sanguinetti, boss of the UK Chamber of Shipping.

"Cruise companies are doing their utmost to ensure that risk is kept to an absolute minimum."

He added: "The pandemic has had a massive impact on the industry, not just cruise companies, but tour operators, ports and other destinations where they visit.

"The UK cruise sector contributes about £10bn to the UK economy every year and supports over 80,000 jobs. A lot of those will have gone."

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