Black Watch- formerly the Royal Viking Star- in her original Fred. Olsen white livery

Having landed her passengers in Funchal, Madeira a few days ago, the fire damaged Black Watch is under way once more. The 28,000 ton, 1972 built ship left Madeira today for the Spanish port of El Ferrol, on the north west coast of the country.

Repairs will be needed to cabling in the engine room that closed down three of the ship’s eight diesels. It is understood that the Black Watch will take on supplies when she arrives in El Ferrol on Saturday, and will also undergo further evaluation by specially flown in experts at the Navantina dockyard located there.

After this, it is intended that Black Watch will proceed directly to Tilbury for any necessary further repairs. Although no exact time scale has been released for this- an unrealistic expectation until Navantina has completed due diligence- the fact that Black Watch is bound for Tilbury, rather than a dry dock in Southampton or on the continent, seems to point to the damage not being overly serious, with most of the major repairs being carried through by Navantina at El Ferrol.

Thus far, only the following July 8th cruise-a nine night voyage to the Norwegian Fjords- has been formally announced as cancelled by the line.

Some seven hundred passengers had to be evacuated and flown home on three specially chartered planes when Black Watch suffered her engine room fire. All of these will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, or the option of re-booking a comparable cruise in the same grade of cabin for free, plus a certificate for twenty per cent off any future Fred. Olsen cruise.

Stay tuned for updates.


Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has issued a statement on the Black Watch, in which it says that it ‘fully expects’ that the 1972 built ship will sail on it’s next scheduled cruise- a twenty six night Arctic itinerary on July 17th.

The nine night Fjords cruise, due to sail today, was cancelled as outlined above.

If so, it would seem to confirm the earlier prognosis laid out on here that the damage is not as serious to the ship as first thought.

Stay tuned for any further relevant updates.




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