G7 summit: Police officers protecting politicians in Cornwall to stay on board cruise ship

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.

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

The cruise 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".

A Devon and Cornwall 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 MS Silja Europa, described by Tallink as "the biggest and most beautiful cruise ship on the Baltic" is usually used for Baltic cruises.

It offers seven restaurants and coffee shops, a nightclub, live music venue and a full spa and beauty salon.

But Sky News understands that 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.

The force spokesperson added: "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."

Around 5,000 of the 6,500 officers policing the G7 summit are being brought in from outside of Devon and Cornwall.

The Group of Seven (G7) is an intergovernmental organisation made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

Leaders to meet in person for first time in two years – here’s what they’re expected to discuss

The heads of government of the member states, as well as representatives of the European Union, meet at the G7 summit annually.

This year it 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 G7 will be the largest policing operation undertaken by Devon and Cornwall Police and, of the 6,500 officers policing the summit, 5,000 will be from outside the force.

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