Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines can confirm that 'Black Watch' arrived in Funchal at ca. 4.30pm yesterday afternoon.
There has been some cabling damage on board the ship, which has prevented the other two main engines from running. Guest services are affected, but our technical team are working around-the-clock to restore these services. This is clearly unsatisfactory for our guests, and we have additional technicians arriving today [Sunday 3rd July 2016] to assist. Lighting is limited around the ship, but we are providing as many hotel services as possible, including hot food and sanitation.
We are undertaking a full assessment of the extent of the impact with the port authorities in Funchal, but it is anticipated that the necessary repairs to the cabling will cause significant disruption to guests. Fred. Olsen has therefore made the decision - in the best interests of guests’ comfort and enjoyment - to fly them home from Funchal, at Fred. Olsen’s expense.
Our priority continues to be sourcing aircraft to be able to transfer guests back to the UK at the earliest available opportunity. However, this is currently proving challenging, due to a lack of availability of aircraft at late notice - plus, there are special regulations pertaining to flying in and out of Funchal airport.
Captain Henrik Mattsson has been keeping guests fully informed at all times and Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, joined the ship yesterday afternoon [Saturday 2nd July 2016], with a support team of senior executives. Mr. Rodwell will be addressing guests with a further update on board the ship later today [Sunday 3rd July 2016].
An advice desk for guests has also been set up in the Guest Services area of the ship for guests to be able to request further information, and we have made the cabin telephones available free of charge to guests to enable them to contact relatives.
Fred. Olsen appreciates guests’ understanding and co-operation with these new arrangements, and apologises for the inconvenience caused. All guests will be compensated for loss of enjoyment and facilities.
There are 696 guests and 365 crew on board, the majority of whom are British nationals.
We hope that 'Black Watch' will be able to undertake her next cruise – a nine-night ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruise from Tilbury on 8th July 2016 – as scheduled.
'Black Watch' departed from Dover on Saturday 25th June 2016, on her 13-night ‘Portuguese Island & Cities’ cruise.
The safety of all guests and crew on board 'Black Watch' is Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ utmost priority.
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