Cruise ship with moonlight disco to welcome 1,000 police for G7 Summit

Thin blue LINER: Luxury cruise ship with grill house, moonlight disco, pools and spa prepares to welcome 1,000 police for G7 Summit as it docks in Falmouth

  • Cruise liner MS Silja Europa being used to house 1,000 police during G7 summit in Cornwall has docked
  • More than 6,500 police from forces across the UK are set to be deployed across three-day global summit 
  • The 202m vessel was built in Germany in 1993 and is usually sent on cruises between Finland and Estonia 
  • Climate activists say cruise liners pollute the world and cause carbon emission damage on a grand scale 
  • Angry locals slammed Devon and Cornwall Police for chartering vessel and say taxpayers will foot the bill 

A luxury cruise liner which will be used to accommodate more than 1,000 officers during the G7 Summit in Cornwall has arrived in Falmouth, after furious locals slammed police for hiring out the 1990s vessel. 

World leaders including Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Angela Merkel will meet for three days next weekend to discuss the pandemic and climate change, and will be staying at the Tregenna Castle hotel in St Ives.

More than 6,500 police from forces across the UK are set to be deployed across the summit, and around one sixth of them will spend their off-duty time on the massive 202m long MS Silja Europa. 

The 14-deck vessel was built in Germany in 1993 and comes with a grill house, moonlight disco, pools and a spa and can reach speeds of 21 knots. It can carry more than 3,000 passengers, with hundreds of cocktail-tray waiters, maids and other crew to look after their every need. 

It is usually sent on cruises between Helsinki and Tallinn, and was described by its operator Estonian shipping company Tallink as ‘the biggest and most beautiful cruise ship on the Baltic’.  

Devon and Cornwall Police said the liner has been hired for 10 days and used by officers for accommodation, catering and ‘other essential facilities’. Whoever gets one of the executive suites will even have their own sauna.

However, cruise liners have come under fire from climate change activists for their role in polluting the world and causing carbon emission damage on a grand scale – just one of the issues on the cards for the G7 leaders. 

And disgruntled locals have slammed the force for chartering the vessel ‘for what will be little more than an ego trip for BoJo where Devon and Cornwall council taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill’.  

The huge cruise ship Silja Europa, which has been hired to accommodate many of the 6,500 police officers who will be policing the G7 Summit in Cornwall, has docked in Falmouth as the Cornish town prepares to welcome world leaders

More than 6,500 officers from forces across the UK are set to be deployed across the summit, and hundreds of police will spend their off-duty time on the massive 202m long MS Silja Europa

The 14-deck vessel, which was built in Germany in 1993 and can reach speeds of 21 knots, can carry more than 3,000 passengers with hundreds of cocktail-tray waiters, maids and other crew to look after their every need

It is usually sent on cruises between Helsinki and Tallinn, and was described by its operator Estonian shipping company Tallink as ‘the biggest and most beautiful cruise ship on the Baltic’

Devon and Cornwall Police said the liner has been hired for 10 days and used by officers for accommodation, catering and ‘other essential facilities’. Whoever gets one of the executive suites will even have their own sauna

However, cruise liners have come under fire from climate change activists for their role in polluting the world and causing carbon emission damage on a grand scale. And disgruntled locals have accused the force of chartering the vessel ‘for what will be little more than an ego trip for BoJo where Devon and Cornwall council taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill’

Boris Johnson will use the G7 summit to secure a global pledge to vaccinate the world’s population against Covid-19 by the end of 2022.

The Prime Minister will call on world leaders to agree a plan to end the pandemic by ensuring every person has access to a jab within the next 18 months.

He hailed the summit, which will be held in Cornwall, as ‘historic’. The G7 starts on Friday, when the leaders will gather for a face-to-face meeting.

Mr Johnson said the premiers – which include United States President Joe Biden on his first foreign visit since taking office – must use the event to ‘rise to the greatest challenge’ since the war.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Johnson said: ‘The world is looking to us to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era: defeating Covid and leading a global recovery driven by our shared values.

‘Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

‘I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end to this terrible pandemic and pledge will we never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.’

A police spokesperson for G7 planning said: ‘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.

‘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. 

‘The vessel will remain static, moored in Falmouth, used for a 10-day period, with only the accommodation, catering and other essential facilities in use. 

‘We are working closely with the vessel owners, ports authorities and health partners to ensure the safe use of this accommodation. Those staying onboard will strictly follow all the applicable Covid safety guidelines, enhanced by daily testing – consistent with staff staying at all other accommodation sites across the force area.’  

The Silja Europa has seven restaurants and coffee shops, a nightclub, live music venue and full spa and beauty salon. But police insist most facilities will be closed, with only the restaurants available to officers, and the showtime theatre may be used but only for ‘daily police briefings’.

The ship has had a colourful history with one website reporting in 2019 two passengers, a male and a female, were found dead onboard. And in 1995 it ran aground near the coast of Finland.

Social media users complained about its use during the G7 summit, with ItsMagicGirl saying: ‘As long as you don’t give care about the environmental impact or financial cost, sending a luxury cruise ship from the Baltic is a rational, efficient and safe way to house 4,000 Police at Carbis Bay. Nothing to see here!’

Another social media user, Padraig, added: ‘So, whilst the ‘main event’ will be in Carbis Bay the ship will be moored in Falmouth, presumably because of the deeper water and amenities. 

‘So apart from the trips to Falmouth by the dignitaries, 6,500 police officers will traipse the 45km to Carbis in an endless convoy of police vehicles?’

Devon and Cornwall Police have been preparing for mass protests expected to disrupt the G7 Summit and are expecting up to 30 activist groups to attend, with two sites set up for ‘official’ protest in Truro and Falmouth.

The force is expecting protests, demonstrations and marches to to spill over from the designated sites, as many protestors will be looking to cause delays and disruption at the venue in Carbis Bay by chaining and sometimes glueing themselves to immovable objects.

Nathan Johnson, an inspector with Devon and Cornwall police, told The Guardian that the force was not expecting disorder and that protestors would have their right to protest ‘facilitated’.

However he added that they had seen ‘more and more non-violent direct action’ such as protestors locking themselves to onto buildings and fences to make a statement.

Mr Johnson told The Guardian that the police would balance the protestors rights with the right of the community to go about their everyday business without disruption.

Left to right: EU’s Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe, World Bank President David Malpass, Italy’s Finance Minister Daniele Franco, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva, Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Mathias Cormann, Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso, as finance ministers from across the G7 nations meet at Lancaster House in London ahead of the G7 leaders’ summit

Rishi Sunak welcomes Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Matthias Corman to the G7 finance ministers meeting, at Lancaster House in London

Devon and Cornwall police force’s Exeter headquarters trialled techniques to remove some of the protestors makeshift ‘lock-on’ devices, commonly made from bike locks and bits of pipe, plastic and steel. Pictured: Adrian Waldron of the protester removal team of the Devon & Cornwall Police with a typical example of modern demonstrator equipment during the training day set-up by the police to showcase protester removal techniques they may be called upon to use at the G7 Summit

Members of Devon and Cornwall Police Protestor Removal Team and Police Liaison Officers respond to a ‘lock-on’ training scenario by sawing off a pipe at the force headquarters in Exeter, where they are preparing for the G7 Summit. The ‘lock-on’ tube, often made of plastic, steel and concrete, are used by protestors to lock arms together while causing obstructions or blocking roads and have to be carefully cut free by police after appealing to the protesters to relent their protest

G7 finance ministers back Joe Biden’s plan for 15% global minimum corporation tax to crack down on tech giants – paving the way for his own plans to HIKE rates from 21% to 28% 

G7 finance ministers unveiled what they called a ‘historic’ agreement to commit their countries to a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15 percent, delivering a win for President Joe Biden who wanted international agreement before hiking the U.S. rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.

Rich nations have struggled for years to agree how best to raise more cash from tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook.

The Biden administration feared that raising corporate taxes to fund its huge program of public spending would drive them overseas.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen welcomed what she said was an ‘unprecedented’ international deal.

‘That global minimum tax would end the race to the bottom in corporate taxation, and ensure fairness for the middle class and working people in the U.S. and around the world,’ she said.

‘The global minimum tax would also help the global economy thrive, by leveling the playing field for businesses and encouraging countries to compete on positive bases, such as educating and training our work forces and investing in research and development and infrastructure.’

The U.S. stepped up pressure for a deal this week by threatening sanctions on six nations who imposed a digital tax on internet giants.

The likes of India, Spain and the United Kingdom introduced the tax while negotiations on a global minimum were stalled.

The newly-agreed universal approach to taxing global companies will see huge multi-nationals – such as Google, Amazon and Facebook – forced to pay a levy on sales in the country in which they are earned, as well as where they have headquarters.

He said: ‘We’re just saying that by locking yourself on to a road and blocking it for six hours, the balance is wrong. You can go to a protest site or protest pretty much everywhere in Devon and Cornwall, but you can’t block the M5.’

The police force’s tactics are likely to face scrutiny following the recent criticism Avon Police attracted during the ‘Kill The Bill’ riots in Bristol.

Devon and Cornwall police have drafted in reinforcements to bolster officer numbers, 6,500 police will be on patrol with 100 police dogs in Cornwall when the world leaders gather.

Around 5,000 police on duty will be on what is called ‘mutual aid’, meaning officers from other forces will be drafted in to work under the command of the Devon and Cornwall force for the summit at Carbis Bay, near St Ives.

Senior officers say the G7 will be the biggest policing and security event in England this year. 

A website has launched, for how the G7 will be policed, and another Facebook live event has been held with updates from officials. Superintendent Jo Hall, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said ‘We will be policing air, sea and land, it’s quite a complex environment.

‘You are likely to see high numbers of officers and staff, you are also likely to see fencing around the main areas, but that is nothing to be alarmed by, this is to ensure we can keep the event safe and secure, and keep communities safe.

‘Part of that planning is to deliver 16,000 meals a day. We have secured over 100 accommodation sites in Cornwall, we have secured extra kennelling for our dogs that are coming down to support us.

‘It is a really big logistical challenge, but we have planned for events like this before, we’re used to planning big events and our plans are agile and scale-able.’

The regions’ public health officials say they are used to dealing with large numbers of visitors in Cornwall and their main priority is to protect the health and safety of residents.

Police say anyone who doesn’t need to be in the locations of key events should think about avoiding those areas.

Superintendent Hall said ‘Summer is always busy for Cornwall. and you can expect restrictions around the key areas and in the run-up to and over the event, that’s only natural with an event of this size.

‘So if you don’t need to be around those areas over the event, then you may want to think about coming another time or visiting one of the other beautiful beaches in Cornwall.’

It has also been announced that no trains will be running on the St Ives branch line from the 7th to 14th June, with replacement buses running instead. 

It comes amid reports that Boris Johnson will use the G7 summit to secure a global pledge to vaccinate the world’s population against coronavirus by the end of 2022.

The Prime Minister will call on world leaders to agree a plan to end the pandemic by ensuring every person has access to a jab within the next 18 months. He hailed the summit, which will be held in Cornwall, as ‘historic’. 

The G7 starts on Friday, when the leaders will gather for a face-to-face meeting. Mr Johnson said the premiers – which include US President Biden on his first foreign visit since taking office – must use the event to ‘rise to the greatest challenge’ since the Second World War.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Johnson said: ‘The world is looking to us to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era: defeating Covid and leading a global recovery driven by our shared values. Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

‘I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end to this terrible pandemic and pledge will we never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.’

The leaders of the G7 will arrive in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, for three days of meetings.

They will be joined virtually by experts, including the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, environmentalist Sir David Attenborough and philanthropist Melinda Gates.

On Saturday, the G7 leaders will be joined either in person or virtually by their counterparts from Australia, South Africa, South Korea and India to discuss health and climate change.

The Prime Minister is expected to call for a stepping up of the manufacture of vaccines, lowering barriers to the international distribution of jabs and sharing surplus doses with developing countries, both bilaterally and through Covax, a World Health Organisation scheme.

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