Black Watch accidents and incidents


Former names
Royal Viking Star

Length (LOA)
205 m / 673 ft

  Current position   Ship Wiki

CruiseMapper's Black Watch cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 846-passenger vessel owned by Fred Olsen. Our Black Watch accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, etc.

  • renamed in 1996 (originally named Royal Viking Star, 1972)
  • former names: Royal Viking Star, Westward, Star Odyssey
  • redesigned/stretched by Seebeckwerft AG (Bremerhaven Germany) in 1981
  • fire – 2016
  • propulsion/power loss – 1997, 2002, 2014
  • Norovirus – 4 outbreaks in 2013 (total 433 pax)
  • deaths – overboard (2014), illness (2007-Legionnaire’s Disease), drowning (2010)
  • injuries/crimes – drug busts (2009, 2010)
  • Fred Olsen Cruises bad publicity – 2015 (class action lawsuit for Legionnaires’ Disease)

On November 15, 1996, the vessel entered service for Fred Olsen Cruise Line.

Date Accident
  01 July 2016 Fire Accident

On 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-day cruise (itinerary June 25 – July 8) roundtrip from Dover England to Portugal ports - Praia Da Vitoria, Ponta Delgada, Funchal, Lisbon, Porto.

Later on July 1 the shipowner Fred Olsen cancelled the voyage. All passengers were flown from Madiera back to the UK via private aircraft charters. The next scheduled 9-day Norwegian Fjords cruise (itinerary July 8-17) roundtrip from Tilbury-London was also cancelled.

All booked passengers were compensated with 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.

  18 August 2015 Cruise Illness / Norovirus Outbreaks

(law news) On August 18, 2015, 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 he 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.

  09 February 2014 Propulsion / Power Loss

On 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, approx 50 ml / 80 km north of Cape Horn (Tierra del Fuego, Chile) and stayed anchored until the gear was fixed.

  30 January 2014 Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On January 30, 2014, a 69-year-old male passenger (Bob Horn, of British origin) was reported fell overboard and missing. The ship was in South America (on Transatlantic crossing itinerary) and en-route from Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) to Montevideo (Uruguay) – approx 70 ml / 115 km off Brazil's coast. The ship vessel 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.

  September 2013 Cruise Illness / Norovirus Outbreaks

In September 2013, an UK news media reported an epidemic Norovirus outbreak (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 12-day Baltic cruise itinerary with call ports in Scandinavia and Russia, leaving roundtrip from homeport Rosyth (Edinburgh, Scotland).

During the next scheduled cruise (departure Sept 20), another epidemic Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 302 passengers and crew. With 122 ill passengers (out of 737), the 12-day Mediterranean cruise from Edinburg (September 20) was cancelled on October 3 and the ship returned to Dover for extensive cleaning and fumigation. The Noro virus epidemic started on the 8-day Norwegian Fjords cruise (itinerary Sept 8-15) on which were reported 54 cases. All infected passengers were compensated with future Fred Olsen cruise booking discount vouchers.

  29 March 2010 Drug Smuggling

(law news) On March 29, 2010, 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 (street value GBP 1,4 million). Both men pleaded guilty and were subsequently sentenced to 12 years in jail each.

  07 January 2010 Crew / Passenger Deaths

On 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.

  19 November 2009 Drug Smuggling

On November 19, 2009, a 23-year-old male passenger and a 20-year-old female passenger (both British) 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.

  29 October 2008 Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On 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 berthed in call port Bilbao Spain.

  02 August 2007 Crew / Passenger Deaths

On August 2, 2007, a 77-year-old male passenger (of British origin) died in a hospital after being infected during the Legionnaire’s Disease illness outbreak.

(law news) On February 23, 2010, his wife was compensated GBP 70,000 by the shipowner Fred Olsen Cruise Line for her husband’s death caused by Legionnaire’s Disease (contracted on the July 2007 voyage). The investigation showed that the ship’s doctors failed to prescribe him adequate medication and didn’t respond properly to his worsening condition.

  July 2007 Cruise Illness / Norovirus 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 back to homeport Dover England, arriving there 2 days earlier than scheduled.

  03 December 2002 Propulsion / Power Loss

On December 3, 2002, the ship experienced mechanical problems with one of its two main engines and also propulsion (propeller) issues. The incident resulted in 2-days delayed arrival in homeport Southampton England and cruise schedule changes.

  14 February 1997 Propulsion / Power Loss

On February 14, 1997, after experiencing engine problems off Turkey's coast (near Marmaris), the vessel was docked for 2 weeks at port Valletta Malta for repairs.

  01 May 1976 Other Incidents

On May 1, 1976, the Royal Viking Line ships Star (Black Watch) and the sistership 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.

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