Police hire cruise ship for G7 summit accommodation

About 1,000 police officers being drafted in to protect the G7 summit in Cornwall next month are to be accommodated on a 3,100-capacity cruise ship (more realistically described by owners Tallink as a ‘cruise ferry’).

Sky News says that Devon and Cornwall Police has hired the MS Silja Europa, which has more than 1,150 passenger cabins.

The ship, currently docked in Tallinn in Estonia, will be moored in Falmouth for 10 days and used by police for accommodation, catering and other “essential facilities”.

But the Daily Mail says those staying aboard the MS Silja Europa can look forward to visiting its several restaurants, a spa, beauty salon, discos and nightclubs.

5,000 police officers are being brought into Cornwall to boost its existing 1,500 force.

“We will be deploying over 6,500 officers and staff to this event and we are supporting a vast range of local businesses and suppliers as part of our extensive logistical arrangements,” says a Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson.

“This includes using over 4,000 rooms at almost 200 venues across Devon and Cornwall which will support local communities and accommodate police officers and staff deployed from across the UK.

“In order to secure further essential capacity, we reviewed a number of options and recently agreed to hire the MS Silja Europa, operated by Tallink; taking into account impacts to the environment, community, the operational needs, and those of our officers and staff.”

Bars onboard the cruise ship will not be open – with only the restaurants available to officers. The theatre will possibly be used for daily police briefings, says Sky News.

“We are working closely with the vessel owners, ports authorities and health partners to ensure the safe use of this accommodation,” says the spokesperson.

“Those staying onboard will strictly follow all the applicable cover safety guidelines, enhanced by daily testing – consistent with staff staying at all other accommodation sites across the force area.”

The G7 summit is in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, from 11-13 June, and is the first time leaders have met face-to-face for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ship has a colourful history, says the Daily Mail, as in 1995 it ran aground near the coast of Finland.

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