MS Black Watch

MS Black Watch
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MS Black Watch cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a passenger vessel with IMO number 7108930, owned by Fred Olsen Cruises line company. Among the unfortunate events at sea are fires, epidemic Norovirus illness outbreaks, crew and passenger incidents (deaths, injuries, crimes), drug smuggling, mooring failures, machinery malfunctions.

Here you can also track MS Black Watch position at sea.using the AIS live ships tracker of VesselFinder. The 28,600-ton 800-passenger Fred Olsen cruise ship Black Watch was built as “Royal Viking Star”in 1972 by the Wartsila shipbuilding company in Finland.

MS Black Watch accidents & incidents

MS Black Watch accidents and incidents - Cruise MinusAt the MS Black Watch CruiseMinus page you will find a complete list of this Fred Olsen ship’s major accidents and cruise incidents. Reports are made by our own staff using official data from major online news media sources, Wikipedia and Coast Guard reports.

Here we also post updates on Fred Olsen Black Watch cruise law news. They are related to recent crimes being investigated. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits, charges and fines, grievances, settled /withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, etc.

You can add more details or submit your own MV Black Watch ship incidents (negative cruise experience reports) via the Cruise Minus “contact us” form.

This is link to the ship’s official site FredOlsenCruises.com.

Fire accident

  • July 1, 2016, while en-route from Ponta Delgada (Azores) to Funchal (Madeira) – approx 260 ml (420 km) from Madeira – the vessel experienced a fire accident. The fire started in its Auxiliary Engine Room. As result, 3 of all 7 diesel generators were damaged. After the total blackout, some electrical power was restored. The ship’s 4 main diesel engines were not directly affected, but had to be switched off temporarily. No injuries were reported. Repairs were made en-route to port Funchal.
  • The accident occurred during a 13-days round-trip cruise from Dover (England) to Portugal (itinerary June 25 – July 8) with call ports Praia Da Vitoria, Ponta Delgada, Funchal, Lisbon, Porto.
  • Later on July 1 the shipowner Fred Olsen announced that the cruise is cancelled. All passengers were flown from Madiera back to the UK via private aircraft charter. The next cruise (9-days Norwegian Fjords roundtrip from Tilbury-London, itinerary July 8-17) was also cancelled. All booked passengers were compensated with a full refund plus 20% (of the cruise fare paid) in onboard credit. They were also given the option to re-book a similar cabin grade on another Fred Olsen cruise in 2016.

Technical incidents

  • During its service history, the Black Watch cruise ship was operating under the names Royal Viking Star (1972-1991, constructed for the Royal Viking Line), Westward (1991-1994, owned and operated by the NCL Norwegian Cruise Line), Star Odyssey (1994-1996, transferred to the NCL’s subsidiary Royal Cruise Line /now defunct).
  • May 12, 1971, the vessel was launched as Royal Viking Star, and on June 26, 1972 entered service for the Royal Viking Line.
  • In 1981, the vessel (under the Royal Viking Line’s ownership) was stretched by adding a 91 ft / 28 m long prefabricated middle-section. The refit resulted in an increased gross tonnage (from 28,220 to 28,610) and passenger capacity (from 758 to 820). During the ship’s stretching (done in Germany, at the Seebeckwerft AG’s shipyard in Bremerhaven) were built new cabins (including 9 balcony suites – the industry’s first), 2 lounges, the dining room’s size was doubled. The list of other stretched (elongated) cruise ships includes the fleetmates Balmoral, Boudicca and Braemar, also the MSC Cruises ships ArmoniaLiricaOpera, the Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros and the Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of The Seas.
  • May 1, 1976, the Royal Viking Line ships Star (Black Watch) and the sister-ship Sky (Boudicca) did a simultaneous Panama Canal transition (in opposite directions). The Sky was on a westbound route, while the Star was sailing eastbound towards Caribbean Sea.
  • November 15, 1996, the vessel entered service for the Fred Olsen Cruise Line.
  • February 14, 1997, after experiencing engine problems off the coast of Turkey (near Marmaris), the ship was docked for 2 weeks at the port of Valletta (Malta) for repairs.
  • December 3, 2002, the ship experienced mechanical problems with one of its two main engines and also a propulsion (propeller) issue. The incident resulted in a 2 days delayed arrival in homeport Southampton England and schedule changes.
  • In April 2005 the vessel’s main engines were upgraded and an extensive interior refurbishment was done during the 2-month drydock stay at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg Germany.
  • October 29, 2008, a mooring failure incident resulted in 2 elderly passengers ad a crew member being hospitalized after sustaining injuries. They fell into the sea after the gangplank’s ropes snapped and it detached and collapsed. The incident occurred at ~2 pm while the ship was docked in call port Bilbao Spain.
  • February 9, 2014, while operating in South America on a World Cruise itinerary round-trip from homeport Southampton (starting January 14), the ship suffered mechanical (steering gear) problems. The incident forced it to anchor at sea some 50 ml / 80 km north of Cape Horn (Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Chile) and stayed until the gear was fixed.

Crew & Passenger Death accidents

  • January 7, 2010, an 86-year-old male passenger died ashore in call port Tortola BVI. The elderly man drowned at ~2:30 pm while swimming at Nanny Cay Beach.
  • August 2, 2007, a 77-year-old male passenger died in a hospital after being infected during the Legionnaire’s Disease illness outbreak (see in “outbreaks” below).
  • January 30, 2014, a 69-year-old male passenger (Bob Horn, of British origin) was reported fell overboard and missing. The incident occurred while the ship was operating in South America (Transatlantic crossing itinerary) and en-route from Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) to Montevideo (Uruguay) – some 70 ml / 115 km off the Brazilian coast. The ship turned around and launched a rescue boat. The body was first sighted floating, but due to rough sea conditions (3 m waves and high wind) was not found.

Crew & Passenger incidents (injuries, crimes)

  • February 23, 2010 (law news), a woman of British origin was compensated GBP 70,000 by the shipowner Fred Olsen for her husband’s death caused by Legionnaire’s Disease (contracted on the July 2007 sailing /see in “outbreaks” below). The investigation showed that the ship’s doctors failed to prescribe him adequate medication and didn’t respond properly to his worsening condition.
  • August 18, 2015 (law news), an 84-year-old Black Watch cruise passenger received a 5-figure compensation from a court settlement. The elderly man (Frank Standen, of British origin) claimed was infected with Legionnaire’s Disease (lung infection) on a 2011 Fred Olsen cruise to Mediterranean. Back then, he was airlifted and hospitalized in Las Palmas Spain, spending there 3 weeks in unconscious state, plus another 7 weeks before being transferred to the UK (Sevenoaks Hospital, Kent England), where he spent 5 weeks.

Drug smuggling incidents

  • November 19, 2009, a 23-year-old male passenger and a 20-year-old female passenger (bot hof British origin) were arrested upon disembarkation in homeport Southampton and charged with drug smuggling. The arresting UK Border Agency officers found in the man’s luggage 1,5 kg (3,3 pounds) of cocaine, with street value of GBP 70,000.
  • March 29, 2010 (law news), two male passengers (of Spanish origin) admitted charges of attempted drug smuggling. They were arrested on March 27 upon disembarkation in homeport Southampton with 30 kilos of cocaine with street value GBP 1,4 million. Both men pleaded guilty and were subsequently sentenced to 12 years in jail each.

Norovirus cruise illness outbreaks

  • In July 2007, the ship was quarantined (not allowed to disembark its passengers) in call port Stockholm Sweden after suffering a Legionnaires Disease outbreak. The illness affected 7 elderly passengers, who were hospitalized ashore. After disinfection, the ship left Stockholm en-route to homeport Dover England, arriving there 2 days earlier than scheduled.
  • September 2013, an UK news media reported epidemic outbreak of Norovirus (gastrointestinal illness) affected a total of 130 passengers (out of 778, or 16,7% of alll). All sick suffered from Noro virus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps) and for 48 hours were quarantined to their cabins. The incident occurred on a 12-days Baltic cruise itinerary with call ports in Scandinavia and Russia leaving round-trip from homeport Rosyth (Edinburgh, Scotland). During the next scheduled sailing (starting Sept 20), another epidemic Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 302 passengers and crew. With 122 ill passengers (out of 737), the 12-days Mediterranean cruise from Edinburg (September 20) was cancelled on October 3 and the ship returned to Dover for an extensive cleaning and fumigation. The Noro virus epidemic started on the 8-days Norwegian Fjords cruise (Sept 8-15) on which were reported 54 cases. All infected passengers were compensated with future Fred Olsen cruise booking discount vouchers.

MS Black Watch current position


On the above map you can track the MV Black Watch cruise ship’s position now. It shows the vessel’s current location at sea (or in port) by live tracking of its IMO number 7108930. If you lose the ship on the map, please reload this page.

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