Fred Olsen Borealis accidents and incidents

Fred Olsen Borealis cruise ship

Former names
MS Rotterdam VI (Holland America)

Length (LOA)
238 m / 781 ft

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CruiseMapper's Fred Olsen Borealis cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 1685-passenger vessel owned by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. Our Fred Olsen Borealis 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • propulsion/power loss - 2004 (Atlantic Ocean), 2021 (Portsmouth England), 2024 (Sydney Harbour)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2004 (38/7), 2006-South America (125)
  • deaths - overboard (2010)
  • injuries/crimes - 2004 (90 injured during Transatlantic crossing)
  • medevacs - 2016
  • boat rescue - 2020 (assisted MS Zaandam experiencing Coronavirus issues)

In the period 1997-2020, the vessel was named "MS Rotterdam" and operated by Holland America Line (subsidiary of Carnival Corporation).

28 February 2024Propulsion / Power Loss

On February 28, 2024, at ~11:50 Sydney NSW time (~01:50 UTC) and while leaving Sydney Harbour (NSW Australia) and navigating the Western Chanel, the ship suffered an electrical blackout (lost power and propulsion) for ~ 50 minutes right after passing under Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The propulsion/power loss resulted in drifting for approx 1 mile/2 km. Then the vessel was anchored for several hours until the generation of electricity and all systems were restored and fully operational.

The ship was under pilotage and accompanied by a tugboat.

The incident occurred in the beginning of the 50-day relocation voyage from Sydney to Southampton (itinerary Feb 28-Apr 17) with planned visits to post and destinations in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, India, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain, before the arrival in Egland.

15 July 2021Structural and Technical Issues

On July 15, 2021, after docking in Portsmouth (England UK) the ship experienced a "potential technical issue". The accident occurred at the end of the Maiden Voyage (for Fred Olsen) - the 5-day Liverpool roundtrip to Tresco Island (July 14) and Portsmouth (July 15).

The next voyage (July 17-22/5-day "Scenic Orkney & Faroe Islands"/cruise to nowhere from Liverpool/booking code S215) was cancelled as the boat was unable to return to homeport Liverpool on time.

January 2021Other Incidents

In mid-January 2021, Fred Olsen postponed the inauguration of the Borealis ship by cancelling 3x itineraries leaving roundtrip from Liverpool.

(maiden voyage) 6-day "Scottish Lochs and Isles" itinerary (GBP 945 / $1290 pp)

Date / TimePort
23 AprDeparting from Liverpool, England
24 AprBelfast, Northern Ireland
26 AprLerwick, Mainland Shetland, Scotland
27 AprKirkwall, Orkney Island, Scotland
29 AprArriving in Liverpool, England

The other two were 5-day "Irish Highlights and Scottish Scenery" (GBP 700 / $950 pp) and 18-day "Islands of the Mediterranean" (GBP 2890 / $3940 pp). The ship's maiden voyage for the company was rescheduled for May 22.

(maiden voyage) 7-day "Sailing Around the Iconic Ireland" itinerary (GBP 1200 / $1630 pp)

Date / TimePort
22 MayDeparting from Liverpool, England
23 MayDublin, Ireland
24 MayCobh-Cork, Ireland
26 MayGalway, Ireland
27 MayKillybegs, Ireland
28 MayBelfast, Northern Ireland
29 MayArriving in Liverpool, England

In early-February were cancelled more departures and the Maiden Voyage was rescheduled for July 2.

(maiden voyage) 9-day "The Natural Wonders of Iceland" itinerary (GBP 1595 / $2185 pp)

Date / TimePort
02 JulDeparting from Liverpool, England
05 JulSeydisfjordur, Iceland
06 JulAkureyri, Iceland, Lake Myvatn
07 JulIsafjordur, Westfjords Iceland
08 JulReykjavik, Iceland
11 JulArriving in Liverpool, England

March 2020Boat Rescue

(MS Rotterdam /Coronavirus issues, the "Zaandam mission") On March 14, 2020, following Holand America Line's fleetwide suspension of passenger shipping operations (due to Coronavirus), MS Rotterdam ended the current Panama Canal transition cruise (San Diego to Fort Lauderdale) and returned to San Diego to disembark its passengers.

The 16-day itinerary (March 11-27) visited only Puerto Vallarta (Mexico, port stay 7 am - 4 pm) as the other call ports were cancelled - including Huatulco (Mexico), Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Corinto (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Panama Canal (Mar 21), Oranjestad (Aruba), Willemstad (Curacao) and Florida Port Everglades).

On March 26, Rotterdam rendezvoused at sea (off Panama's coast) with the fleetmate Zaandam to supply provisions (including food, medical supplies, face masks) and load healthy passengers from Zaandam (experiencing Coronavirus illness issues). All passengers and crew with flu-like symptoms remained on Zaandam. Since March 22, Rotterdam was docked (laid up) in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico). For the "Zaandam mission", HAL instructed Rotterdam's Captain to load supplies and additional medical staff from Eurodam.

On March 28, Zaandam and Rotterdam were officially allowed to transit through Panama Canal being en-route to Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA) for passenger debarkation. Both vessels transited the inland waterway (through the new Neopanamax Locks) on March 29.

According to HAL, Rotterdam took ~1400 healthy people, leaving on Zaandam only 450 passengers and 602 crew (of whom ~190 sick / possible COVID-19 cases).

On April 2, the US President Donald Trump intervened the discussions (about Florida to allow or not docking for both liners) by saying "we have to help the people". After Broward County soon agreed to accept the vessels, HAL started to arrange charter flights from Florida to repatriate all non-US cruisers. Carnival Corporation (shipowner) agreed to pay all expenses and provide "legal assurance" for the safe passenger debarkation and transportation out of the cruise port area.

27 October 2016Coast Guard Medevacs

(MS Rotterdam) On October 27, 2016, a 63-year-old female passenger (experiencing stroke-like symptoms) was medevaced (airlifted) by a USCG helicopter MH-60 Jayhawk. The incident occurred at ~9 am, while the ship was en-route from Boston MA to Fort Lauderdale FL, approx 95 km (60 mi) east of Virginia Beach VA. The woman, her husband and a crew nurse were flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

26 February 2010Crew / Passenger Deaths

(MS Rotterdam/overboard) On February 26, 2010, at ~10 am, a male passenger jumped overboard from Sports Deck 9 (open deck). The incident was witnessed by several passengers. The ship turned around quickly and conducted a search and rescue operation. At ~2 pm, it was joined by a USCG plane. At ~5 pm, the body was found and recovered.

07 January 2006Crew / Passenger Deaths

(MS Rotterdam) On January 7, 2006, a male passenger died on the ship (death from natural causes).

24 September 2004Propulsion / Power Loss

(MS Rotterdam) On September 24, 2004, the ship was on Transatlantic repositioning cruise from Europe to Canada and the USA. The Atlantic Ocean crossing coincided with Hurricane Karl (category 4 storm) that formed right in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, then turned north.

The unfortunate to navigate in such harrowing weather conditions vessel had numerous encounters with huge rogue waves (up to 30 ft / 9 m) and sustained serious damages. The situation became even worse when on Sept 24, while en-route to NYC, the ship lost power for ~3 hours right in the middle of the Atlantic. The engineering crew found an issue with the engines’ filter system. Accumulation of sediment in the lubricating filters forced the crew to shut down all the 5 diesel engines at ~6 pm. Soon the hotel operations were powered by the ship’s emergency generators, but both stabilizers became ineffective.

A total of 85 passengers and 5 crew suffered injuries. The most seriously injured were 2 passengers with fractures – a woman with broken femur (thigh bone) and a man with broken collarbone. The rest sustained bruises and minor contusions. The ship was diverted to Halifax (NS Canada) for medical assistance. Vessel's all lower portholes (cabins with non-opening windows) were completely underwater.

As compensation, all passengers received 50% refund, plus full refunds for all booked Halifax NS tours.

April 2004Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(MS Rotterdam) In April 2004, CDC reported on the voyage April 2 to 15, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 38 passengers (out of 1262, or 3%) and 7 crew (out of 560, or 1,3%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was on 13-day Caribbean cruise roundtrip from homeport Baltimore MD.

January 2004Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(MS Rotterdam) December-January 2006, the ship reported during 22-day South American cruise (itinerary Dec 20, 2005, to Jan 11, 2006) from Buenos Aires Argentina to Valparaiso-Santiago Chile, Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 125 people (passengers and crew).

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.

April 2000Structural and Technical Issues

(MS Rotterdam) In April 2000, during a Pacific Ocean crossing cruise, the ship was hit by a rogue wave and sustained serious interior damages.

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