10 Feb 2014

Unlucky cruise ship sets sail after mechanical failure

The Black Watch, a cruise ship carrying 577 British passengers around the world, sets sail again after being forced to stop off the southern tip of the South American coast with mechanical problems.

Unlucky cruise ship sets sail after mechanical failure

(This page has been updated. An incorrect image was initially used to portray the Black Watch cruise ship.)

The 205 metre-long Black Watch, which set sail from Southampton on 14 January, anchored off Chile while its steering gear was fixed, its owner Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said.

It is the latest incident to affect the voyage.

One passenger died falling overboard in rough seas some 70 miles off the coast of Brazil two weeks into the voyage on 30 January.

A spokeswoman for the Suffolk-based cruise line said the ship turned around immediately and returned to search the area.

“A body was sighted floating in the water, but due to the bad sea conditions, with waves of up to three metres and 30-knot winds, it was not possible for the ship to recover the body.

“The circumstances of the incident are being investigated fully, and Fred Olsen is working closely with all the relevant international authorities.

“The guest’s family have been informed.”

On a previous 12 night luxury cruise between Scotland, Scandinavia and St Petersburg last autumn, around 130 people were taken ill with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

The ship, which is carrying 689 passengers and 330 crew in total on its current voyage, stopped near Isla Picton close to the Argentina border around 50 miles north of Cape Horn yesterday morning.

‘Technical issues’

They confirmed the unscheduled stop was due to a “technical issue with the ship’s steering gear”.

“It was necessary to anchor the ship in order to investigate the problem,” the spokeswoman added.

“All the relevant authorities and port agent were informed of the need to anchor the ship in order to make the necessary investigations.”

The ship set sail again at 11pm last night to continue its 114-night “South American and World Voyage” cruise, the spokeswoman said.

Its next port of call is Valparaiso in Chile, where the ship is expected to arrive on 15 February.