Fred. Olsen Diverting from Troubled Georgian Waters

Fred. Olsen will divert the Black Watch from its planned call in Batumi, Georgia on Oct. 12 because of the country’s recent conflict with Russia, the company’s general manager said Friday.

The Black Watch will instead call in Constantza, Romania, said Mike Rodwell. Two Black Sea cruises for the Braemar remain unchanged because they don’t sail near the troubled region.

“It should be remembered that the Black Sea covers a relatively large area – measuring about 700 miles wide west to east and 300 or 400 miles from north to south. Georgia is over at the far eastern end, whilst most of the ports that we call at are in the north western areas, so are a long way from the conflict area, Rodwell said.

News reports from the region say Russian forces have not blockaded the ports of Batumi and Supsa, but that they are operating at only partial capacity nonetheless.

“I think that it is unlikely that the conflict will take on a more regional dimension, but if it does and this spills over into the areas that we will be cruising in, then we shall reschedule our itineraries accordingly,” he said. “We are of course monitoring the situation quite closely, as the safety and security of our passengers is of primary importance.”

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