Coronavirus ship anchors in Firth of Forth with Fred Olsen crew

Fred Olsen cruise ship anchors in the Firth of Forth with crew confined to cabins after eight catch coronavirus and six more await test results

  • Eight crew members on Fred Olsen cruise liner have contracted coronavirus 
  • Treatment of employees is being managed on board 28,600-tonne Black Watch
  • Ship is one of four vessels from Ipswich-based firm anchored in the Forth today
  • Sister vessel Braemar had been stranded in Caribbean with ten people positive 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Eight crew members on a Fred Olsen cruise liner anchored in the Firth of Forth have contracted coronavirus while test results are being awaited on six more.

The treatment of the employees is being managed on board the 28,600-tonne vessel Black Watch and there are no plans for anyone to disembark.

The ship is one of four vessels from the Norweigan-owned company based in Ipswich, Suffolk, which are anchored in the Forth while sailings are suspended.

Four of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ocean fleet which have taken up temporary residence in the Firth of Forth, just outside the Port of Rosyth, are pictured today

Its sister vessel, Braemar, also in the Forth, hit the headlines last month when it became stranded in the Caribbean with ten people on board testing positive.

A spokesman said: ‘Fred Olsen Cruise Lines can confirm that a number of crew members aboard its ship Black Watch have tested positive for Covid-19 coronavirus.

‘Eight crew members have tested positive, and we are awaiting the results for six others.’

She added that the ship was operating under the current public health guidance, saying: ‘Each crew member is occupying their own cabin, each with a balcony.

One of the Fred Olsen ships is pictured in the Firth of Forth today during the company’s pause in cruise operations during the coronavirus pandemic

‘There are no social gatherings on board. Crew are only leaving their cabins to perform essential duties, which includes bridge watch, engine watch and the preparation of food.

‘Those who have received a positive diagnosis or who are feeling unwell are not undertaking any duties.’

Forth Ports said it was providing safe anchorage in the River Forth for the four liners while they were out of operation.

A spokesman said: ‘As the statutory river authority we have instructed that the vessel remains at the anchorage until the appropriate period of self-isolation is complete. 

‘The ship’s owners, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, are taking care of the welfare of the crew on board.’ Fife Council is also understood to be monitoring the situation.

Passengers from the virus-hit MS Braemar wave on the steps of a plane at Havana Airport in Cuba on March 18 before being flown to the UK on a British Airways repatriation flight

When Fred Oslen confirmed its ships were anchoring in the Forth, it said each would retain a small team on board for essential operations.

Last month, British tourists on another Fred Olsen ship, the MS Braemar, were flown home on charter flights from Cuba to the UK after being stranded in the Caribbean for over a week on the virus-hit vessel.

Almost 700 passengers flew out from Havana on four charter flights. Those taken ill onboard the ship flew on the fourth plane. It is thought than ten people who were on the cruise tested positive for the virus.

Cuba allowed the ship to dock in the country after the UK was rejected permission by a number of Commonwealth governments, including Barbados and the Bahamas.

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