IT'S akin to any port in a storm as four ships are taking shelter from the coronavirus outbreak in the Forth.

With all cruises cancelled at present, four Fred Olsen luxury liners are being given a safe berth off the coast.

The Balmoral, Boudicca, Black Watch and Braemar are all now based temporarily in the Firth of Forth.

Peter Deer, managing director of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has taken the difficult decision to pause its cruise operations voluntarily for a period of time, as many other cruise operators have done.

"It is our intention to resume our cruise programme on May 23.

"In the meantime, we have been working with Forth Ports and have secured safe, temporary anchorages for our ships in the Firth of Forth.

"Each ship will retain a small team on board to continue essential operations, and locals might see the ships move within the river from time to time to carry out their duties.

“We look forward to brighter times ahead and to welcoming our valued guests back on board when the time is right for us all.”

Robert Mason, head of cruise for Forth Ports, explained: “We are pleased to be able to help our valued cruise line customers at this difficult time for the industry.

"We are providing safe and suitable river anchorages for four Fred Olsen vessels in the River Forth.

“All four of these ships are regular callers into the Forth and it is good that we can offer this support while the liners are not operational.”

"There are no passengers on board and there will only be a skeleton crew on board while they are at anchorage."

He added that the ships "have had no impact from the COVID-19 virus”.