Nearly 700 Fred Olsen Cruise Lines cruise passengers will be flown home from Madeira following a fire onboard the Black Watch ship.

Crew extinguished the fire in vessel's auxiliary engine room on Friday morning (July 01) and there were no injuries to crew or passengers crew.

The fire damaged 3 of ship’s 7 auxiliary engines, generating electrical power onboard. Some electrical power was later restored to the vessel.

Black Watch originally entered service in 1972. She was on a 13-night ‘Portuguese Island and Cities’ cruise that left Dover June 25 with 696 predominately British passengers and 365 crew.

mv Black Watch


The ship had left Ponta Delgada, Azores on Thursday, June 30, with the line describing weather conditions as "good with calm seas". In an updated statement the line said:

“There has been some cabling damage on board, which is affecting lighting and communications, but all other services are working as normal.

“However, the cabling damage has prevented the other two main engines from running, and it is anticipated that the repairs will cause disruption to guests during the recabling.

“Therefore, we have made the decision - in the best interests of guests’ comfort and enjoyment - to fly them home from Funchal.

“Our intention is to charter a private aircraft for our guests back to the UK over the next few days, at Fred Olsen’s expense.”

Mike Rodwell, Managing director of the company, flew out to join Black Watch in Funchal on Saturday, July 02, with a support team of senior executives in order to address travelers and ask for any feedback.

Capt.Henrik Mattsson has been keeping passengers informed at all times and reported that they were in good spirits, according to the line.

“Fred Olsen appreciates guests’ understanding and co-operation with these new arrangements. All guests will be compensated for loss of enjoyment and facilities."

MV Black Watch was due to arrive at Atlantic island's capital of Funchal Saturday afternoon, 2 hours earlier than scheduled. The company said in a statement:

“We hope that Black Watch will be able to undertake her next cruise – a nine-night ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruise from Tilbury on 8th July 2016 – as scheduled.

“The safety of all guests and crew on board Black Watch is Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ utmost priority.”

For reports on other Black Watch ship accidents see at