There has been some speculation over the last two weeks that a passenger went overboard from a Fred Olsen cruise ship sailing to South America.

Several newspapers have now reported that a passenger died "after falling overboard from the Fred Olsen Black Watch 70-miles off the coast of Brazil" on January 30th, after the cruise ship made its Transatlantic crossing. 

One newspaper quotes a spokeswoman for Fred Olsen saying that the passenger died "after falling overboard in rough seas" after the ship left Rio de Janeiro. The cruise line spokesperson also said that "a body was sighted floating in the water, but due to the bad sea conditions, with waves of up to three Fred Olsen Black Watchmetres and 30-knot winds, it was not possible for the ship to recover the body."

This incident sounds like a prior incident where a cruise passenger from the U.K. went overboard. The cruise ship was not identified in that prior story. 

Many readers commented that they find it difficult to believe that a passenger could "fall" off of a cruise ship, without being pushed, clowning around, or intentionally jumping. I don’t necessarily disagree, except to say that it sounds like there were no surveillance cameras which recorded the event and certainly no automatic man overboard system installed.

The Black Watch is a old ship which started sailing in the early 1970’s. 

The newspaper also reported that the cruise ship stopped near Isla Picton close to the Argentine border around 50 miles north of Cape Horn and was delayed because of a "technical issue with the ship’s steering gear."

The ship is on a world tour and will continue its 114-night "South American and World Voyage" cruise when repairs are completed.

 

Photo Credit: RaBoe/Wikipedia Creative Commons License

  • One of the passengers

    I was onboard when the man went overboard. It was approximately 1300 local time and it was not 30 knot winds and rough seas as the fred olsen spokeswoman stated. It was actually fairly calm, sunny, and a gentle breeze. The man concerned was wearing shorts and a “T” shirt. The ship lowered one of it’s 120 person lifeboats, but it was impossible to pull the body onboard from a lifesaving vessel with a narrow entry port and at a height of more than two metres. Had the captain used the ships smaller launch, the body could have been easily recovered. Having said all that, the man had told many people that he was suffering from a medical problem, was in constant pain and it was generally felt that he had intentionaly jumped overboard.’