CMV Marco Polo accidents and incidents

CMV Marco Polo cruise ship

Former names
MS Aleksandr Pushkin

Length (LOA)
176 m / 577 ft

  Ship Wiki

CruiseMapper's CMV Marco Polo cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 850-passenger vessel owned by Scrapped Cruise Ships. Our CMV Marco Polo 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • December 2020 - sold for scrap
  • October 2020 - sold at an auction to private investors
  • July 2020 - CMV filed for bankruptcy
  • ship groundings - 2013 (Sortland Norway), 2014 (Leknes Norway)
  • propulsion/power loss - 2002
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2009 (151), 2012 (29 / 8), 2013 (133), 2019 (na)
  • deaths - 2014-storm (1 pax)
  • injuries/crimes - 2014-storm (12 pax), 2018 (drug bust)

MS Marco Polo was built and launched as “Aleksandr Pushkin”. Under this name, it was operated in the period between 1965 and 1991.

One of the main reasons why during collisions the Marco Polo cruise ship suffers only minor hull damages is that this ice-class vessel was originally constructed in Russia (former the Soviet Union) with a strengthened hull to withstand contact with broken ice.

January 2021Structural and Technical Issues

(sold and scrapped in India) Following the company's bankruptcy, all CMV cruise ships were placed on the secondhand market and open for sale. In October was planned the vessels to be auctioned via the London UK-based company CW Kellock & Co Ltd (Ship Auctioneers, Brokers and Valuers). Biddings (deadline in brackets) opened for Vasco Da Gama (Oct 8), Columbus (Oct 12), Astor (Oct 15), Magellan (Oct 19) and Marco Polo (Oct 22).

  • (October 8) The 27-year-old CMV Vasco Da Gama was sold to Mystic Invest (Portugal) for USD 10,187 million.
  • (October 12) The 31-year-old CMV Columbus was sold to Seajets Ferries Greece for USD 5,321 million.
  • (October 15) The 33-year-old CMV Astor was sold to an undisclosed buyer (sales price USD 1,71 million) who intends to resell it for scrap metal.
  • (October 19) The 35-year-old CMV Magellan was sold to Seajets Ferries Greece for USD 3,431 million.
  • (October 22) The 55-year-old CMV Marco Polo was sold to an undisclosed buyer/private investors (sales price USD 2,77 million) who reportedly offered the vessel for charter (cruiser or hotel ship). Eventually, they sold it for scrap metal.

On November 20, 2020, CMV Marco Polo left Bristol en route to Falmouth (Cornwall England). The ship's AIS later transmitted as destination port DUBAI. On December 3, it arrived and anchored off Port Said (Cairo) for ~9 hours. On December 4-5, it transitted the Suez Canal. In December, the ship remained at anchorage off Dubai. On January 3, 2021, it left the anchorage and headed to Alang India to be beached and scrapped. The AIS transmitted as the port destination first "AWAITING ORDERS" then "ALANG" (January 6), with ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) January 9.

20 July 2020Other Incidents

On July 20, 2020, CMV's parent company SQTL (South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd) was placed into administration / filed for bankruptcy. The UK-based company traded as "Cruise and Maritime Voyages" (trademarked brand, aka CMV). As Joint Administrators (evaluating SQTL's financial position) were appointed Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps Ltd.

SQTL-CMV's cruisetour packages were protected by ABTA (number V9945). SQTL-CMV's fly-cruise packages are protected by ATOL (number 4619). All CMV cruise bookings (fleetwide/all ships) were effectively cancelled.

In June, SQTL-CMV entered into emergency talks with potential investors and lenders. Unfortunately, the company's efforts to secure funding and stay afloat during the Coronavirus crisis failed. The future of the CMV ships (some SQTL-owned, some chartered) remains unknown.

October 2019Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(CruiseMapper emailed report by Jenny Richardson) We have just returned from a Northern Lights Cruise on Marco Polo (October 12th-24th 2019) and there was a significant Norovirus outbreak onboard. The bistro, library, shop, gym and beauty salon were all closed Entertainment was restricted and our shore excursion in Kirkwall was delayed. I don't know how many crew and passengers were affected, but it was a lot. A significant number of people were clearly affected and the entire cruise disrupted by closure of sections of the ship.

(CruiseMapper emailed report by Jean Barr) I was on the Marco Polo cruise to Iceland in October 2019 which had a significant outbreak of Norovirus. I contracted the virus and have written a letter of complaint to the company. There was clearly a problem from very early in the cruise as someone in the cabin next to ours had an infection. The company is basically wiping its hands of all responsibility, putting the onus on individual personal hygiene, making a show of providing hand gel all over the boat. These gels have no effect on Norovirus. The issue is that the virus was on handles, banisters etc and is so contagious that any hand contact with it can transfer it easily to e.g. bread. There was obviously an outbreak of Norovirus on my corridor days before I contracted it. We should have been told. Disposable gloves for moving around might have helped.

The illness outbreak occurred during the 12-day itinerary (Oct 12-24) roundtrip from homeport Tilbury-London and visiting Faroes (Streymoy Island's Kollafjordur - Oct 16), Iceland (Akureyri - Oct 18, Reykjavik - Oct 19-20 overnight) and Scotland (Kirkwall - Oct 22).

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

04 December 2018Drug Smuggling

On December 4, 2018, an elderly couple was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after a "large amount of cocaine" was found in their luggage. The married couple (British, aged 70 and 72) was arrested by Portuguese police officers after the drugs were discovered in their stateroom when the cruise liner docked in call port Lisbon (Portugal), following the Transatlantic crossing from the Caribbean.

Reportedly, the police received a tip-off from UK's National Crime Agency. The quantity of seized cocaine was not specified.

The incident occurred during the 33-days "West Indies and Azores Cruise (itinerary November 5 - December 8) roundtrip from homeport Tilbury-London, visiting Amsterdam, Ponta Delgada, Horta, Antigua, St Maarten, St Kitts, St Lucia, Grenadines (Mayreau Island, Saint Vincent Island, Bequia Island), Grenada (St Georges), Barbados, Funchal (Madeira) and Lisbon.

27 March 2016Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(overboard) On March 27, 2016, a 65-years-old female passenger was rescued from the ice-cold sea water after more than 4 hours swimming in the hope of making it to the cruise ship. The woman (Susan Brown, of British origin) chased (tried to swim to) the liner when it left call port Funchal (Madeira) ~8 pm. Shortly after midnight (at ~0:20 am), she was saved by passing fishermen (approx 1600 ft / 500 m out to sea) who found her shouting and clinging on to her handbag.

The woman was hospitalized suffering from severe hypothermia. Traveling together with her husband, she jumped into the Atlantic Ocean (near Madeira Airport) believing that her husband had boarded the ship. The couple had cut short the 32-day Transatlantic cruise (itinerary Feb 28 – Mar 31, Caribbean roundtrip from Bristol) in Funchal on day 28. The CMV company offered them an EasyJet flight to Bristol from Madeira (leaving in the evening of March 26).

01 November 2014Ship Grounding

On November 1, 2014, the ship run aground while maneuvering for docking at call port Leknes (Lofoten Island, Norway). The incident was caused by a strong gust of wind sending the vessel off course. After the efforts of 2 tugboats and 1 coast guard ship failed, the cruise ship was freed later that day during high tide.

Note: Most ship grounding accidents (when the marine vessel’s hull impacts the seabed) happen at lower cruising speeds since the ships operate in known to be shallow waters. Such incidents usually result in stranding (with or without significant hull damages). However, if the hull is breached, the result would be flooding, which may compromise the vessel’s stability and safety. The well-known example of such a tragic accident is the Costa Concordia sinking after hitting a rock in January 2012.

14 February 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

On February 14, 2014, the ship experienced a freak wave accident during a heavy storm in the English Channel. The results were 1 dead passenger, 1 seriously injured (medevaced by helicopter), 15 passengers suffering minor injuries (cuts and bruises), interior damages (flooded public areas, broken glassware, and dishes). The ship was returning from 42-day Transatlantic crossing itinerary to South America roundtrip from London England.

On February 14, 2014, an 85-year-old male passenger was killed and 16 others were injured in the English Channel. The elderly man (of British origin) was killed when sea water crashed through the Waldorf Restaurant’s window (at dinner time), also injuring several other passengers. The man along with an elderly female passenger was airlifted to a hospital ashore, but he later died.

The accident occurred while the ship was en-route from the Azores back to homeport Tilbury-London, carrying a total of 735 passengers.

October 2013Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On October 17, 2013, UK news media reported a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) affected a total of 133 passengers and crew (out of 770 pax and 334 crew). The incident occurred on 12-day Baltic Capitals cruise itinerary with call ports in Scandinavia and Russia (St Petersburg).

09 March 2013Ship Grounding

On March 9, 2013, while under local pilot’s command, the ship struck an uncharted underwater object soon after departing from call port Sortland Norway. The accident happened in a remote fjord in Norway (north of the Arctic Circle) on 14-day Norwegian Fjords cruise itinerary from Tilbury-London. No injuries were reported.

The vessel immediately returned to Sortland for damage assessment. After the inspection and some temporary repairs, it was cleared for departure. The Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) is solely responsible for the charts in this region, and they investigated the incident.

Due to sustained hull damages (16 inch / 40 cm hole in a ballast tank and leakage), the cruise was terminated in the next call port Antwerp Belgium. All passengers were disembarked and ferried to Tilbury (London) through the Channel Tunnel.

On March 13, the shipowner CMV announced the cancellation of the next Northern Lights cruise, allowing the vessel to enter drydock for hull inspection and repairs.

On March 15, the ship entered the shipyard in Antwerp for full hull inspection. The survey showed the needed repairs couldn’t be done in time to meet the ship's cruise schedule. The next itinerary (March 17 departure) was canceled. All booked passengers were fully refunded and compensated with GBP50 per person in cash, plus 25% future CMV cruise booking discount (on any UK roundtrip in 2013-2014).

January 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On January 3, 2012, a Norovirus outbreak infected 29 passengers (out of 738) and 8 crew (out of 360) on a roundtrip Tilbury London cruise to the Canary Islands. According to unofficial reports, all the ship’s coffee stations and public restrooms were closed, causing inconveniences to passengers.

06 July 2009Crew / Passenger Deaths

On July 6, 2009, a 74-year-old male passenger died from a heart attack on the ship. The incident occurred during the “Norovirus cruise” infecting 380 passengers and crew. The autopsy showed the man’s death was not caused by the Norovirus.

July 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On July 7, 2009, while docked in call port Invergordon Scotland, local health authorities boarded the ship to investigate an epidemic Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) that affected a total of 340 passengers (out of 749) and 40 crew (out of 340). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains) and were quarantined to their cabins.

The illness incident occurred on 10-day British Isles cruise itinerary roundtrip from homeport Tilbury-London. On the next day, the shipowner Transocean Tours canceled the remainder of the voyage. Passengers were given the options to either stay on the ship (returning to Tilbury on July 11) or to disembark in Invergordon and return to London earlier via charter train. Five of the infected passengers were offloaded and hospitalized in Inverness’ Raigmore Hospital.

19 February 2003Ship Grounding

On February 19, 2003, pushed by strong winds off course and entering shallow waters, the vessel hit rocks in the region of South Shetland Islands (Antarctica). The accident resulted in serious hull damages. Three cracks in the hull were found (width 2 cm and length, respectively, 13 ft/4 m, 10 ft / 2 m, 6 ft / 2 m). Urgent repairs were made in the next call port Ushuaia Argentina, where 8 mm thick steel plates were welded over the hull cracks. The South American itinerary was not affected.

May 2002Propulsion / Power Loss

In May 2002, the cruise vessel entered into emergency 2-weeks long drydock to repair cracks found in the main bearing of one of its diesel engines. The incident resulted in reduced cruising speeds, itinerary changes, and 2 canceled voyages.

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