Blue Sapphire accidents and incidents

Blue Sapphire cruise ship

Former names
Saga Sapphire, Bleu de France, Holiday Dream, SuperStar Aries, SuperStar Europe, MS Europa, Blue Sapphire

Length (LOA)
199 m / 653 ft

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CruiseMapper's Blue Sapphire cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 748-passenger vessel owned by ANEX Selectum Blu Cruises (Small Cruise Lines). Our Blue Sapphire 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • former names: Europa, SuperStar Europe, SuperStar Aries, Holiday Dream, Bleu de France
  • fire - 2014
  • propulsion/power loss - 2012
  • passenger deaths – overboard (2015)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2016 (25)
  • medevacs - 2018

Saga Sapphire was originally built for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as ms Europa (link to the HP ship). "MS Europa" was the 5th ship for Hapag-Lloyd with that name. Through the years, the vessel was renamed several times -  SuperStar Europe (1999-2000, owner Star Cruises Asia), Superstar Aries (2000-2004, owner Star Cruises Asia), ms Holiday Dream (2004-2008, owner Club Vacaciones), Bleu de France (2008-2011, owner Pulllmantur-CDF). In November 2010, the ship was bought by Saga UK but remained on charter by CDF-France (Pullmantur subsidiary) for the next year. After an extensive refit in 2012, the ship received the name "MS Saga Sapphire".

(April 2012 accident) During the 16-day maiden voyage, the ship suffered from engine failure. The incident forced the line to cancel the voyage.

(May 2014 accident) While cruising near Scotland's Isle of Mull, an electrical fire knocked out the onboard power supply. Because of the repairs, the ship stayed anchored in calm seas for a couple of days.

27 January 2018Coast Guard Medevacs

On January 27, 2018, at ~8:40 am, a 24-year-old male crew was medevaced by a Portuguese Air Force (FAP) helicopter, while the ship was approx 230 ml / 370 km south of Madeira Island. The man (of British origin) was airlifted by a rescue helicopter (assisted by C295 aircraft) dispatched from FAP's base on Porto Santo Island (approx 43 km / 27 mi northeast of Madeira Island). The man was flown to Madeira's Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport, then transported by ambulanced to Funchal (Hospital Dr Nelio Mendonca).

The rescue was a joint operation between Portugal's Navy (Ponta Delgada's MRCC). Funchal's MRSC, Madeira's SRPC and FAP.

September 2016Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On September 2, 2016, a UK news media reported a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) with infected 25 passengers and crew after the ship docked in homeport Dover (England UK). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (stomach cramps, predominantly vomiting and diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins.

16 May 2014Fire Accident

On May 16, 2014, a fire accident left the vessel without power off  Scotland's west coast. No injuries were reported. After the repairs were completed, the ship resumed the voyage without itinerary changes.

June 2012Propulsion / Power Loss

In June 2012, mechanical problems resulted in reduced speed and itinerary changes. The ship was on Baltic Sea cruise itinerary (themed “Voyage to the North Cape”) roundtrip from homeport Dover England. Due to propulsion issues, from the scheduled itinerary were dropped the Norwegian call ports North Cape, Svolvaer, Honningsvag, Geiranger, Eidfjord. Arrival in call port Bergen was late.

Reportedly, there were also problems with the onboard electricity supply and air-conditioning system. As compensation, all passengers were given the options of 40% refund or 50% future Saga Cruises booking discount.

14 April 2012Propulsion / Power Loss

On April 14, 2012, the vessel experienced engine problems resulting in the cancellation of the "Inaugural Cruise" to the Mediterranean from the UK. The ship remained docked in Valencia Spain, awaiting repairs. All passengers were flown back to the UK.

The vessel was scheduled to complete the roundtrip voyage, returning back to homeport Southampton on April 18. The next scheduled voyage, instead of in Southampton started in Marseille France, to where all embarking passengers were flown from Southampton.

Issues with one of the ship's 2 main diesel engines forced Captain Alastair McLundie to cancel the voyage, although the vessel was able to continue on one engine. Replacement parts were flown to Valencia. As compensation, all passengers received a full refund plus future Saga Cruises booking discount.

March 2012Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(overboard) In March 2012, two male crew fell overboard during a lifeboat drill. They slipped from the lifeboat #5's roof and plunged 22 m (72 ft) into the water. During the incident, the vessel was berthed in homeport Southampton. Both men were safely rescued, with only minor injuries.

The MAIB inquiry (Marine Accident Investigation Board) discovered that neither of them was wearing safety harnesses. One of them (employed as a cook) was without any previous training, participating in such drill for the first time.

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