Clown did not cause cruise ship chaos as Chigwell pair released
PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 July 2019
PA Archive/PA Images
A clown was not the cause of a "mass brawl" which broke out on a British cruise ship leading to the arrests of two people from Chigwell, P&O Cruises has said.
The large fight broke out at a restaurant buffet on the Britannia cruise ship in the early hours of Friday, July 26, causing other passengers to hide and flee to their cabins.
Plates and furniture were said to be used as weapons during the chaos in which six people were hurt, with some receiving significant bruising and cuts.
Announcements were made on the ship, summoning staff and paramedics to the restaurant at around 2am.
After the Britannia arrived in Southampton on Saturday (July 27), a man, 43, and a woman, 41, both from Chigwell, were arrested on suspicion of assault.
The pair were released from custody on Sunday (July 28) but remain under investigation.
Early reports said the violence erupted after a passenger dressed as a clown interrupted a black-tie party held in one of the ship's 13 restaurants.
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According to a female entertainer who works on the Britannia, the clown crashed a black-tie party held in the 16th-floor restaurant, prompting anger from the other passengers.
Richard Gaisford, a reporter for ITV's Good Morning Britain, was on board and said staff were told the incident was sparked by the appearance of the clown by a member of a group involved in the brawl.
He added: "The buffet area was immediately sealed off as medical teams went to help the injured.
"Staff told me they'd never experienced anything like it and those behind the violence were confined to a cabin for the last day of the cruise, waiting for police here in Southampton."
However, P&O confirmed there was no clown on board and said this was supported by ship staff and confirmed by Hampshire Police.
Hampshire Police said: "There was no clown on board or involved in this incident.
"Officers are investigating following reports of a public order incident on board P&O's Britannia.
"If anyone has any information, including phone footage of the incident, they should call Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting 44190262605."
The Britannia was returning from Bergen, Norway, following a week-long cruise.