The British super-liner collided with a petrol tanker.

The British cruise ship, Britannia, which snapped its mooring lines during the freak storm on Sunday remained in Palma port this morning with about 300 passengers having to disembark and checks underway to establish the extent of the damage. As a result of damage to life-boats and other life-saving equipment, which can't be repaired on board, some passengers had to leave the ship and return home to the United Kingdom in accordance with British maritime law.

Passengers on board the ship said they had been told to muster at their emergency points within minutes of the ship breaking its moorings with the captain saying on the tannoy system "this is not a drill...."

Passenger Gavin McCoy told the BBC that the the "unexpected drama" happened while "the local fire service and crew were carrying out an emergency drill". He said that at about 11:00 BST (11a.m. local time) "a sudden rain and wind storm ripped us away from our dockside moorings, breaking tethering lines, water hoses, and causing the walkway to fall into the sea".

He said he was "sitting by the window in the coffee shop, and the first thing we saw were the blue dockside reception marquee tents blowing through the air," McCoy added."We've drifted well away from the berth and collided into a nearby freight/cargo ship."

It was unclear this morning how long Britannia would remain in port.