Having cruised to the Norwegian fjords and the Shetland Islands for eight nights on board the Fred Olsen ship Boudicca at the end of August and start of September, I am pleased to see that the crew dealt swiftly with what could potentially have been a very serious incident on board early this morning. One of the first concerns on boarding the liner at Belfast port on August 29th 2014 was for passenger safety. There was a demonstration of the evacuation procedure and use of life jackets before the ship sailed. I felt assured that the crew were all trained in safety measures in the event of an emergency.
During the cruise there were several opportunities to meet the master and other officers and members of the engine room staff took part in one of the in-house shows that were a feature of the trip. Some passengers on that cruise were so satisfied with the way Olsen staff looked after them that they booked on other cruises, perhaps even this particular one (Cape Verde and Canaries) as they enjoyed the on-board atmosphere and cuisine so much.
It was therefore good to see that it was business as usual for the rest of today for Boudicca, albeit at a slower rate of knots. The vessel was built in Helsinki in 1973 and was acquired by Fred Olsen in 2005. The company will, I hope, be making satisfactory arrangements for the rest of the journey for the nearly 800 passengers on board. Boudicca, incidentally, was in Dublin port overnight on December 20th, on a cruise from Liverpool.
The statement from the company was as follows:-
“Following a fire in the Engine Room on board Boudicca at around 4am on Sunday 25th January 2015, sailing off the coast of Casablanca, Morocco, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines can confirm that the ship is now proceeding towards the Canary Islands, at a slower speed than planned. Guests are being kept informed of the situation at all times. There have been no injuries to any of Boudicca’s 784 guests and 356 crew members, and there is reported to be a good atmosphere on board. The ship’s Master has confirmed that at no point were guests asked to don their lifejackets and gather at the muster stations, as the situation was contained within the Engine Room by our crew members. Services are operating normally, and guests are enjoying the usual activities on board, both inside and out on deck (as is evident from the photographs on the ‘Home’ page of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ website at http://www.fredolsencruises.com). We are reviewing the itinerary and assessing the extent of the damage to the two main engines and electrical cables, and will make any repairs necessary at the next port of call. A revised itinerary will be advised in due course. The safety and well-being of all guests and crew on board Boudicca is Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s utmost priority, and we continue to liaise with the relevant maritime authorities. Boudicca is on an 18-night D1502 ‘Cape Verde & the Canaries’ cruise, which departed from Southampton on 20th January 2015. The ship sailed from Cadiz, Spain on Saturday 24thJanuary 2015, and was scheduled to arrive in Arrecife, Lanzarote tomorrow morning, Monday 26th January.”