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Ola Cruises – Black Prince – the end?

Fred. Olsen’s former Black Prince (1966/11,209gt) has come to the end of her useful life. She left the Olsen fleet in October 2009, having been sold to Ola Cruises, a division of Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela, for a new cruise operation from Venezuela, for which she was renamed Ola Esmerelda. She was initially prevented from sailing on environmental grounds, but Hurricane Isaac, in 2010, caused such destruction in Haiti that a need for additional accommodation for aid workers saw her chartered to a UN relief agency at Port au Prince for several months. She began her originally planned sailings as late as 2011 and finished in October 2012.

Built in 1966 by Lübecker Flender-Werke at Lübeck, she initially served on Fred. Olsen’s services between Harwich or Amsterdam and Kristiansand in the summer and switched to the Canary Islands service in winter, which she shared with her sister Black Watch. In 1970 she became jointly owned by Bergen Line, and continued her dual role until 1986. She later had a massive refit to convert her for full-time cruising. Her days are now numbered, as it is thought very likely that she is no longer SOLAS compliant.

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