Fred Olsen Borealis accidents and incidents

Fred Olsen Borealis cruise ship

Former names
MS Rotterdam (Holland America)

Length (LOA)
237 m / 778 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.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)
  • 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).

  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 / Norovirus 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 / Norovirus 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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