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Shipping News: Passenger ship and cruise news from around the world
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SHIPPING NEWS 2002
NORWAY's Future Extending?
December 25: Cruise Business Review published an interesting article on Star Cruises parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line. Among others the author interviewed Star Executive VP of Marine Operations & Newbuilding, Nils G. Nordh. Apparently, Star has prepared a study on the viability of extending the life of the SS NORWAY (ex FRANCE 1960) beyond the post-2010 SOLAS limit. Nordh was reported as saying that he believed it is not only technically possible, but was viable from commercial standpoint.
Right of Whale
December 25: The International Maritime Organization has approved a Canadian proposal to avoid an area favoured by endangered North Atlantic right whales, by amend shipping routes in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick off the Gulf of Maine. Thought to number only 350 worldwide, the most endangered large whales, are often injured or killed in collisions with large vessels in the bay, where dozens of the whales gather each summer. The new shipping lanes will force large cruise ships, tankers and other vessels to divert several kilometers around a designated zone to try to reduce collisions. The initiative will take effect on July 1, 2003. Current shipping lanes cut across the whales' summering grounds near New Brunswick's Grand Manan Island. 36 per cent of all right whale deaths between 1970 and 1991 were reported to be due to collisions with ships. Since then, the figure has risen to over 50 per cent.
WIND SONG seized
December 24: Tahitian officials claim having spent US$3 million rescuing passengers from the WIND SONG after a serious fire while sailing in French Polynesia, and have seized the vessel while they wrangle with Carnival executives. The luxury sail-cruise ship is now reportedly under French Polynesian government control in Papeete harbour. Windstar announced that vessel is beyond repair and proposes to tow her in to deep water, sink her.
CORAL PRINCESS To Depart France
December 23: Reports in the French press suggest that a second departure date has now been given for new CORAL PRINCESS to leave Saint-Nazaire, her delay due to alleged "computer communication issues" kept the ship from sailing December 23, at 1PM. The 964-foot ship is now expected to sail on Christmas Eve at 2PM for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for her January 3 maiden voyage.
UPDATE: CORAL PRINCESS departed Saint-Nazaire, France at 2:30PM local time for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida she is expected to arive January 1st.
SPIRIT OF TASMANIA Sails North
December 23: The former Bass Strait passenger ship, SPIRIT OF TASMANIA has finally been bought by Norwegian shipping company Fjord Lines for US$34.3 million and sailed from Garden Island in Sydney Harbour yesterday after being laid up there since early September. The 31,400-tonne ship will undergo modifications before operating on a run between Hanstolm in Denmark and Bergen in Norway.
CORAL PRINCESS Finally Delivered
December 21: It was reported that after urgent and hectic last minute discussions, the CORAL PRINCESS was delivered to P&O Princess Cruises and will soon sail from the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, weather permitting. Allegedly, upon completion of an unprecedented seventh sea trial, she was handed over by Chantiers d'Atlantique. A further drydocking may be necessary to improve a problem with "rudder torque".
TAHITIAN PRINCESS Christened
December 21: Princess' TAHITIAN PRINCESS (ex R4) was christened today in Papeete by Madame Tonita Flosse, wife of the President of the Government of French Polynesia, Mr. Gaston Flosse. In an elaborate dockside ceremony, the ship was given her new name while a quay was festooned with tropical flowers and palm fronds. 300 government ministers, local dignitaries and special guests attended the event along with Princess Chairman Lord Sterling of Plaistow as the First Lady swung the champagne bottle against the hull of the ship. TAHITIAN PRINCESS' first sailing begins December 24.
Cause of DIAMOND PRINCESS Fire
December 19: The fire that severely damaged the almost completed DIAMOND PRINCESS (see October) in Nagasaki was caused by welding work below the passenger stateroom where the fire originated, it was announced today. The 113,000-ton cruise liner was under construction at the Nagasaki shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd when the fire broke out October 1. Welding work in the ceiling of the cabin below number 320 caused a steel plate about 5 millimeters thick to overheat and start the fire, a police investigation revealed. The damaged DIAMOND PRINCESS has since been renamed SAPPHIRE PRINCESS and is expected to be delivered in May 2004.
HANSEATIC Meets Rogue Wave
December 15: The 1991-built HANSEATIC berthed at Lyttelton, New Zealand at mid-day today after a voyage at reduced speed from the Chatham Islands. The ship was struck by a rogue wave which broke one of the bridge windows and damaged electrical systems. The ship was on a coastal cruise around the New Zealand Coast. She remains in port and may not sail until December 27.
ZUIDERDAM Inaugurated By Holland America
December 14: Holland America Line's new 82,000gt MV ZUIDERDAM was christened at Ft Lauderdale by noted television journalist Joan Lunden in a pierside bottle breaking ceremony that included dignitaries from parent Carnival Corporation, Holland America, and the ship's Fincantieri shipyard builders. Revealed to members of the press and travel industry early this month in a trio of three night inaugural cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, her first revenue-garnering voyage would depart later that afternoon following the festivities. The ZUIDERDAM introduces the first of five "Vista" class ships, touted as an "evolution" of the HAL product with more features in addition to the popular amenities found on the company's current fleet. The 1,848 passenger ZUIDERDAM is significantly larger than the last of the expanded STATENDAM class ships, the 63,000 gt ZAANDAM.
December 10: P&O Princess Cruises announced that it has been forced to cancel the maiden voyage of the CORAL PRINCESS for the second time in a month. Originally the first cruise, from Florida to the Panama Canal was slated for December 14 but was cancelled on November 14. Today, it was revealed that the revised maiden cruise scheduled to start on December 24, was also cancelled. In other maritime press it was reported that the ship suffered a complete engine blackout while undergoing sea trials. The blackout occurred off south Brittany and after drifting for some time CORAL PRINCESS had to drop anchor. Brest Maritime Prefecture sent two tugs to the scene to assist, and a helicopter was sent from L'orient to evaluate the situation. The crew managed to re-start the engine a few hours later and the vessel returned to the St. Nazaire shipyard. P&O Princess now hope to take delivery of the CORAL PRINCESS on December 20 and is confident she will be ready in early January next year. January 3 and January 9 have both been reported in the press as possible first voyage dates.
How Much For That SKY?
December 10: The long laid up MV REGENT SKY, the intended flagship of now defunct Regency Cruises, is to be sold at public auction to be held in the town hall of Vathi, Athlis at Chalkis, Greece between 1200 and 1400 on December 18. The incomplete passenger vessel (originally designed as a Stena Line ferry) has towered over the Avlis Shipyard near Chalkis since the collapse of Regency Cruises in 1995. She is to be sold "as is where is" with a reserve price of $11 million USD.
Save the RMS WINDSOR CASTLE
December 9: Alex Naughton's proposed project to preserve the former RMS WINDSOR CASTLE in a UK port has opened a website sponsored by Maritimematters. Click on RMS WINDSOR CASTLE Steamship Co., to view the pictures.
NORWEGIAN DAWN's Godmother
December 8: A naming ceremony for Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship NORWEGIAN DAWN will be held in New York on December 16. Kim Cattrall, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress from the popular US TV show "Sex and the City" has been named as Godmother.
CONQUEST Buries The Lines
December 6: As reported below on November 22, the CARNIVAL CONQUEST was having difficulty passing under the high-voltage transmission power lines hanging over the Mississippi River. A long term solution was needed or the ship would reposition to Gulfport. Entergy Corporation announced that the lines will be buried 95 feet beneath the Mississippi River. Moving the lines will take about 18 months and cost nearly $15 million. Entergy will seek economic development grant money from the state to offset some of the costs and power customers will pay for the rest. Carnival Cruise Lines had threatened to move its newest ship to Gulfport, Mississippi unless the lines were moved. With a height of 208 feet, the CARNIVAL CONQUEST has been forced to hug the Mississippi River's bank where the lines rise to their highest point. Until the lines are buried, Entergy will turn off the lowest lines each time the ship passes under them to prevent the electrical current from jumping to the vessel. However, Carnival may still move the CONQUEST temporarily to Gulfport if her captain decides that there is any danger.
Bad Day For BLACK WATCH
December 5: Fred Olsen's 1971-built BLACK WATCH (ex ROYAL VIKING STAR, WESTWARD, STAR ODYSSEY) suffered mechanical trouble on her way to Southampton on December 3, delaying her arrival until today. The problem with one of the engines and a propeller forced the ship to slow down in the Bay of Biscay. The following cruise will be delayed.
Enchantment Fades For AMBASSADOR
December 5: The reactivation of laid up 1958-built S.S. ENCHANTED ISLE (ex ARGENTINA, VEENDAM, BRAZIL, VEENDAM, MONARCH STAR, VEENDAM, BERMUDA STAR, ENCHANTED ISLE, COMMODORE HOTEL), as reported below on November 22, was premature. World Explorer Cruises pulled the announcement of the return of ENCHANTED ISLE as UNIVERSE AMBASSADOR from their website. The San Francisco-based cruise line is now not proceeding with its joint venture with Helsinki-based Silja Line, (owners of ENCHANTED ISLE), citing "uncertainties in the world travel market and lack of time needed to promote a cruise product for its upcoming sailings". It now appears that the ship will be sold to the highest bidder before the end of the year. World Explorer's current vessel, UNIVERSE EXPLORER (ex BRASIL, VOLENDAM, MONARCH SUN, VOLENDAM, ISLAND SUN, LIBERTE, CANADA STAR, QUEEN OF BERMUDA, ENCHANTED SEAS) will operate in Central America in December and January as scheduled.
Former Ellerman Liner sinking?
December 5: The laid up 1953-built MEDITERRANEAN SKY (ex CITY OF YORK) was reported to be taking on water in late November at Elefsis, Greece where she had been laid-up since December 1999. The ship was towed to shallow water and grounded. MEDITERRANEAN SKY last operated in August 1996 when she sailed briefly from Brindisi.
OCEANA Sick Too
December 5: Almost 120 people have been reported ill with symptoms consistent with a Norwalk-like virus on still another cruise ship. P&O Cruises' OCEANA (ex OCEAN PRINCESS) reported that sick passengers and crew have been treated for some sort of virus. OCEANA, carrying 1,859 passengers on a 15-night cruise, was recently transferred from Princess to P&O Cruises and is on her third inaugural voyage from Port Everglades, Florida. Center for Disease Control said that Norwalk-like viruses can cause diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting for 24 to 48 hours and is spread through food and water and close contact with infected people or things they have touched.
The Sound of SERENITY
December 5: Legendary entertainer Dame Julie Andrews has been named Godmother of Crystal Cruises' third luxury ship, CRYSTAL SERENITY, which premieres in July 2003. Andrews will christen the ship with the time-honored tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull at Southampton, U.K. on July 3, 2003.
QUEEN MARY Celebration Weekend December 8 & 9
December 4: There will be a QUEEN MARY 35th Anniversary Celebration, December 7th & 8th to commemorate her 1967 arrival from Southampton. Beginning on Saturday, December 7, 2002 the QUEEN MARY 35th Anniversary Flotilla, designed to re-enact the QUEEN MARY's 1967 arrival, will include kayaks, sport fishers, yachts, ski boats and even a nuclear cruiser. The maritime procession will sail along the coastline, where it will pass the QUEEN MARY. The flotilla will form at 8:30 a.m. near the eastern entrance to the Alamitos Bay jetty in preparation for a parade line and will depart at 10:30 a.m. (All vessels welcome. To register, go to www.queenmary.com or call (562) 499-1603). For passage aboard vessels provided by Harbor Breeze Cruises, call (562) 432-4900. At 11:45 a.m. there will be an outdoor ceremony to mark the actual time the Queen Mary came through the breakwater into Long Beach Harbor 35 years ago. The event will be open to the public at no charge. Guests are invited to bring along their own Queen Mary memorabilia -- letters, photos, etc. -- to be placed in a Time Capsule. Items will be collected throughout the year, and the Time Capsule will then be sealed on December 9, 2003, and opened on the 100th Anniversary of the arrival in Long Beach on December 9, 2067.
On Sunday, December 8 there will be a "Day of Tribute" lecture program from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with speakers such as Renee Simon, author, "Destination Long Beach -- The Queen Mary Story," who will also be signing books; Ronald Smith, the ship's historian, will recount "The Last Great Cruise" from the photo archive; At 11 a.m Peter Knego from the Steamship Historical Society of America will give a slide presentation on the surviving and recently lost British-built liners today including views of the former flagships WINDSOR CASTLE, ORIANA, and AUREOL in locations ranging from the backwaters of Greece to Shanghai and even the Indian scrap yard. Their endangered status and sad fate will be underscored as a reason to celebrate the continued preservation of the QUEEN MARY; maritime artist, Christopher Butler will have a presentation; and passengers and crew members will recount their experiences from the final voyage. http://www.queenmary.com/
An Early DAWN
December 4: Norwegian Cruise Line's brand new NORWEGIAN DAWN will arrive in Southampton December 5th, a day ahead of schedule for a two day stopover for travel industry and media celebrations. The new German-built ship features controversial hull murals of dolphins and the statue of liberty, as well as signatures of famous painters, a reference to the valuable art collection that she carries on board. On Saturday, December 7 NORWEGIAN DAWN will depart on a transatlantic crossing to New York.
WIND SONG, A Loss
December 3: Following a devastating fire (reported below, December 1) WIND SONG has been declared a total constructive loss. Parent company Carnival Corporation said that the ship, which caught fire about 10 miles off the coast of Tahaa, French Polynesia, had suffered "significant" damage. As reported, all 127 passengers and 92 crew were evacuated and no injuries were reported. The WIND STAR, a sister ship to the WIND SONG, will replace the ship in Tahiti beginning January 24.
December 2: Carnival's HOLIDAY sailed from New Orleans, LA on November 23 on a five day cruise but ran aground in Cozumel, Mexico on a sand bar. The cruise had to be ended and passengers were tendered ashore, then flown home. HOLIDAY returned to service December 2.
FASCINATION Joins The List
December 2: Carnival's 1994-built 70,367 gt FASCINATION returned from a three-day voyage today with nearly 200 people sickened by a gastrointestinal virus with symptoms similar to those plaguing the cruise liners AMSTERDAM and DISNEY MAGIC. State epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wiersma, reports that the illness is seasonal, peaking in the colder months, and is not uncommon. AMSTERDAM, which remained in Fort Lauderdale for 10 days to be disinfected, departed on a 10-day Caribbean cruise December 1 with 1,261 passengers.
WIND SONG Fire -updated
December 1: A fire broke out on board the 1987-built 5,703 gt WIND SONG in the South Pacific, forcing the evacuation of 127 passengers. The passengers and most of the crew, were taken to the nearby island of Raiatea on a passenger ferry, AREMITI, and then flown to Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. Seventeen of 92 crew members stayed behind on the WIND SONG to fight the blaze and were joined by French Navy ships, and fishing vessels who tackled the blaze for 12 hours. The ship was headed for Bora Bora when the fire started in the engine room from unknown causes. Windstar Cruises is currently working with the French Navy to arrange for the four-masted ship to be towed to Papeete, after which damages will be assessed and a determination made as to the expected time required for repairs. The 1986-built WIND STAR will be redeployed from its Central American itineraries in January to fill the void created by the WIND SONG's mishap. Windstar is a subsidiary of Holland America Cruise Lines, which is a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Line.
CLIPPER ADVENTURER Runs Aground
November 28: For the second time in less than two years the 1977-built Bahamas flagged CLIPPER ADVENTURER (former ALLA TARASOVA) had to be rescued in Antarctic waters according to an official release from the Chilean Navy. The 4,673-ton cruise vessel ran aground in the vicinity of Deception Island (King George Island) and requested immediate assistance. Chilean icebreaker ALMIRANTE VIEL, which was immediately dispatched, reported that damage to the cruise ship was minor. No one was injured and pollution had not occurred. The Chilean tug LAUTARO was on stand by.
New Name For "Love Boat"
November 28: Pullmantur, a subsidiary of the Spanish tour operator Marsans, has announced it will buy the original "Love Boat" made famous by U.S. television. P&O Princess recently retired the 1971-built PACIFIC PRINCESS (former SEA VENTURE) from New York - Bermuda sailings. Following a 6m-euro refit, she will be based in the Caribbean and be marketed to Spaniards. The group will also create a new airline, Pullmantur Air, to fly vacationers to the ship, which will be renamed PACIFIC.
Disney Cancel MAGIC
November 26: After over one hundred people contracted a flu-like stomach illness this week on the DISNEY MAGIC, Disney canceled the next voyage. The MAGIC will remain docked at Port Canaveral while crews clean all the surfaces that people would come in contact with. A Center for Disease Control test confirmed the sick passengers had the Norwalk virus (probably passed from person-to-person), a common ailment that can cause diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting for up to two days. Holland America Line similarly had to cancel a cruise with the AMSTERDAM remaining in port to break the cycle of contagion.
Transferring ex TRANSVAAL To Fremantle?
November 26: Just after reports circulated that the BIG RED BOAT III (former TRANSVAAL CASTLE, SA VAAL, FESTIVALE, ISLAND BREEZE) was being considered along with her other two former Premier fleetmates REMBRANDT (ex ROTTERDAM) and BIG RED BOAT II (ex EUGENIO C, EUGENIO COSTA, EDINBURGH CASTLE) for use as a floating shelter for homeless people in New York City, Perth-based Megawest Cruises announced its own plans for the handsome 1961-built liner. Formerly known as Swan Cruises, MegaWest lodged an offer with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to raise $4.2 million (Australian) from private parties to develop a new cruise line offering a varied program of itineraries for the 100,00 strong Western Australian cruise sector. The intended plan will see the BRB III brought to Fremantle for a refurbishment before her first cruises are to begin in August of 2003. She would be leased for five years with an option to buy and staffed with Australian and Scandinavian officers and an international crew. Many thanks to Chris Gee for providing this news report.
STAR Enroute to the Caribbean
November 25: Montreal-based Anaconda Maritime's 1968-built CARIBIC STAR (former ARCADIA, VICENTE PUCHOL), released from arrest earlier this month, departed Montreal on 10 November for the Dominican Republic. Her future operators and intended service are yet to be announced.
RMS WINDSOR CASTLE Heritage Trust
November 25: Alexander Naughton has proposed setting up the RMS Windsor Castle Heritage Trust to preserve the former RMS WINDOR CASTLE in a UK port probably as an hotel and museum/tourist attraction. He asks, "If anyone is interested in the idea and wants to actively help in this venture, please email Alexander Naughton at email@example.com". The liner is currently laid up near Pireaus, Greece and is for sale. For a tour of WINDSOR CASTLE / MARGARITA L, click here.
QUEEN MARY, Home Of The Steam Ship Historical Society Of America
November 25: The RMS QUEEN MARY is the new West Coast headquarters of the Steamship Historical Society of America, Inc. (SSHSA). After a year of hosting the Society's meetings, the RMS QUEEN MARY Foundation began looking into providing a permanent office space for the society's research and outreach activities. On November 2, 2002, the society held its office's opening at their annual fall social. The office is located on B Deck, adjacent to the Caronia Room (former tourist class cinema) forward, on the port side. The office features a visitors' area with original QUEEN MARY furnishing (excepting the desk to allow for computer equipment) and a research room where visitors can study from the Society's archives and collections of books and paper memorabilia. The agreement between the Queen Mary and SSHSA calls for the office to be open on weekends with all SSHSA research services available on board being provided free of charge. But research is only a part of the program. When complete, the office will host the archive and research library, provide interpretive services for guests visiting the Queen Mary's B Deck Archives exhibit that showcases much of the classic furnishings, decor and service items used on the ship in her Cunard years. Educational programs include quarterly meetings with guest lecturers who conduct presentations on topics ranging from modern cruise ships to the ever-popular Titanic. Meetings are free for SSHSA members, RMS Queen Mary Foundation members and guests of the Queen Mary. For more information on the society's activities see the national website at http://www.sshsa.net/ For more information about the Queen Mary please visit the website at http://www.queenmary.com/
Huge Chinese Train Ferry Delivered
November 25: China's first transoceanic train ferryboat the YUEHAITIE No.1, arrived in the Qiongzhou Straits on November 24, where it will operate transporting trains between the railways of Guangdong and Hainan provinces. YUEHAITIE No.1 left the the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on Thursday November 21, sailing through the Taiwan Straits. Built at a cost of 210 million yuan (about 25 million US dollars) was funded by the Yuehai Railway Co., Ltd., designed by the No.708 Ship-building Industry Institute of China, and built by the Jiangnan Shipyard. YUEHAITIE No.1 is 165.4 meters in length and 22.6 meters wide, and is capable of carrying either 4,200 tons of locomotives and cars, 40 cargo carriers or 18 passenger compartments and 1,360 passengers. The new ferry is scheduled to commence operation on December 28.
Richard Miller of NAUTIQUES Passes
November 23: Obituary written by Don Leavitt: Richard S. Miller, 49, of Meredith, NH, died suddenly in his sleep during a trip to Washington, D.C. A graduate of Inter-Lakes High School, he attended New England College. Rick was a wooden boat enthusiast and an avid collector, specializing in ocean liner antiques, vintage radios, and cookbooks. He also enjoyed old movies and books about the movie stars of the early years. He enjoyed the Big Band sound. He was an active advocate for historic preservation. He worked for Jules Olitski, the noted color field abstractionist, for a number of years, before having the vision and drive to start the Red Hill Inn, which he and his best friend Don Leavitt operated for many years. After selling the inn, they moved onto the Shaker Inn in Enfield, NH. In 2001, Rick and Don bought an ocean liner antiques company from Leon Jackson in Atlanta. They moved it to New Hampshire and started Nautiques.Net, which now has more than 2,500 items for sale on-line. Rick loved the SS UNITED STATES, and cherished his one trans-Atlantic crossing on the QE2. A celebration of life memorial service was held in Meredith on November 9th. Burial was in the family plot in Shelburne Falls, MA., on November 16.
Truck Falls From Ferry SUSAN ANN
November 22: While vehicle and passenger ferry SUSAN ANN was on a routine crossing from New London, Conn. to Orient Point, L.I. November 19th, a 65-foot tractor-trailer rolled off the stern of the vessel. The 1989 Western Star Tractor Trailer with the driver inside, broke free and fell off the ferry while in the Plum Gut area of Long Island Sound at approximately 10:30 a.m. The crew of SUSAN ANN launched a rescue vessel from the ferry to recover the victim, Michael J. Zuber, 53, of Stratford, Conn., who was taken to Eastern Long Island Hopsital, where he was pronounced dead. Police are investigating this accident.
Orient Down To One in NCL Shuffle
November 22: Norwegian Cruise Line announced that the CROWN ODYSSEY (ex NORWEGIAN CROWN, CROWN ODYSSEY), currently sailing under NCL Group's Orient Lines, will be transferred into the NCL fleet in September 2003. This will leave Orient Line with just one ship, the 1965-built MARCO POLO (ex ALEXANDR PUSHKIN). NCL will base the former CROWN ODYSSEY in Baltimore, MD for a series of Canada/New England cruises, before the ship takes over the NORWEGIAN DREAM's South American itineraries and the NORWEGIAN SEA's Bermuda itinerary in 2004. CROWN ODYSSEY will be placed in dry-dock in February 2003 to be refitted for NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept. NORWEGIAN DREAM will spend the winter in New Orleans, LA, continuing her Baltic cruises program during the summer, while the NORWEGIAN SEA will be homeported permanently in Houston, TX.
November 22: The S.S. ENCHANTED ISLE (ex ARGENTINA, VEENDAM, BRAZIL, VEENDAM, MONARCH STAR, VEENDAM, BERMUDA STAR, ENCHANTED ISLE, COMMODORE HOTEL) has languished in lay up in New Orleans, Louisiana since Commodore Cruise Line filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2000. MaritimeMatters is excited to report that this well-maintained US-built 1958 classic ship is to be reactivated. San Francisco-based World Explorer Cruises will enter a joint venture with Helsinki-based Silja Line (a subsidiary of Sea Containers Ltd) who now own ENCHANTED ISLE. The 725 passenger 1958-built ship will be refurbished and renamed UNIVERSE AMBASSADOR with a first voyage expected in May 2003. Itineraries are yet to be finalized. "World Explorer Cruises, established in 1978 is known for providing meaningful educational programs and vacation experiences that focus on the culture, history, wildlife and natural wonders of the areas to which it cruises. It has a strong commitment to quality, value and responsible, environmentally sound tourism and is noted for its imaginative itineraries and casual shipboard ambience," from a recent press release.
CONQUEST In The Zone
November 22: The US Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the lower Mississippi River beginning at mile 87.2 and ending at mile 91.2, above Head of Passes, extending the entire width of the river. This safety zone is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential hazards associated with the weekly upbound and downbound transit of the cruise ship CARNIVAL CONQUEST beneath the Entergy Corporation power cable located at mile marker 89.2. Entry into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the captain of the Port of New Orleans or his designated representative. (see news item dated November 20, below).
DISNEY MAGIC Reports Ill Passengers
November 22: Press reports show that about 100 passengers on the DISNEY MAGIC contracted a contagious stomach virus. This news comes as the AMSTERDAM's most recent cruise is cancelled to break a cycle of contagion after passengers on four cruises became ill. DISNEY MAGIC is due back at Port Canaveral November 23. Disney announced that it will clean and disinfect the ship at sea and sick passengers will be offered compensation. There are no plans to cancel any cruises at this time.
November 21: The Ukrainian-registered cruise ship OLVIA (see item November 20) sailed from Auckland, New Zealand after the Maritime Safety Authority released it from brief detention imposed yesterday. The MSA deputy director said the vessel had been cleared to cross the Tasman Sea, but an audit of the ship's engineers was to be undertaken when the ship reaches Sydney, Australia. The aim of the audit would be to ensure the correct systems were in place. MSA staff found problems with an emergency pump and with equipment that separates oil from water in the ship's bilges. The notice of detention impossed on OLVIA was in relation to the marine environment rather than passenger safety. OLVIA sailed with 650 passengers from Auckland at 11pm, once the work was completed.
New York Officials Eye Laid Up Ships
November 21: New York City's commissioner of homeless services flew to Freeport, Bahamas to inspect several retired ships. To combat an increase in homelessness as winter approaches, the city is looking at the possibility of converting the ships into shelters. A record 37,100 homeless people were recorded sleeping in city shelters each night last month, with an increase in homeless families. New York City is bound by law to provide shelter for the homeless, and is considering a number of options. The ships remaining in lay up at Freeport are BIG RED BOAT II (ex EUGENIO C., EUGENIO COSTA, EDINBURGH CASTLE), BIG RED BOAT III, (ex TRANSVAAL CASTLE, S.A. VAAL, FESTIVALE, ISLAND BREEZE) and REMBRANDT (ex ROTTERDAM). The DOPLHIN IV (ex ZION, AMELIA DE MELLO, ITHACA) is also laid up but soon to be towed for scrap. It is not known if the officials inspected TROPIC SEA, (ex PRINSES PAOLA, TROPICANA, SEA PALACE, ST. LUCIE).
November 20: New Zealand press reports that the 1976-built OLVIA (ex LEONID BREZHNEV, KARELIYA) was detained with 650 passengers on board in Auckland overnight after arrival from Bora Bora. Safety inspectors found defects in her engine room. The ship was scheduled to leave for Sydney at 7pm but the Maritime Safety Authority staff imposed a notice of detention. OLVIA cannot sail until the problems are addressed.
NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS and ZUIDERDAM Delivered
November 20: Royal Caribbean Cruises took delivery of NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS from Kvaerner-Masa Yards in Turku, Finland, on November 18. Tennis star Stefi Graf will act as godmother of the ship in a December 6 naming ceremony in Miami, Florida. Meanwhile, Holland America Line took delivery of its first Vista-class ship, ZUIDERDAM, from Fincantieri shipyard, Italy. TV star Joan Lunden will be the godmother in the December 14 ceremony at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
CARNIVAL CONQUEST Out of New Orleans?
November 20: CARNIVAL CONQUEST sailed from the port of New Orleans on her maiden voyage November 15. However, there is a point down the Mississippi River where a power line dips to 176 feet at its lowest point above the water and since the ship is 208 feet at its highest point, it is forced to make a difficult manoeuver around the low hanging line. When the river rises this coming winter, the power line will prevent CARNIVAL CONQUEST from reaching New Orleans. Bob Dickinson, President of Carnival Cruise Lines, said "If we don't get that resolved, we may be in Gulfport, whether we want to be in Gulfport or not." Port of Gulfport officials had recent talks with Carnival about the availability of their docks. Estimates suggest that raising the power lines over the Mississippi River could run in to millions of dollars.
HAL Pulls AMSTERDAM
November 19: Holland America Line announced the cancellation of one sailing of AMSTERDAM. The November 21 sailing has been scrubbed in order to break the person-to-person cycle of a common gastrointestinal ailment called Norwalk Virus that has been occurring on the vessel for the last few cruises despite HAL's attempts at eradication. HAL said, "It is most likely that the virus came aboard ship in the form of an infected passenger, who in turn passed it to other passengers and crew members". Lieutenant Commander Jon Schoor (assistant deputy chief, vessel sanitation program, CDC) commented that "Holland America Line has been very pro-active in dealing with this unfortunate virus. Holland America has gone above and beyond the call of duty and we applaud their decision to pull the ship from service for one sailing." AMSTERDAM will return to service December 1.
COSTA CLASSICA Mid-Section In Rotterdam
November 17: Hans van der Ster reports that the COSTA CLASSICA mid-section arrived in Rotterdam onboard the semi-submersible barge GIANT 2 and was offloaded and moored for dismantling. HAPO purchased the section from the Cammel Laird yard and transported it to Holland for demolition. Mechanical parts from the engine will be used in a floating crane as thrusters, and other brand new auxiliary equipment such as pumps, air conditioning units, and a sewage plant, will find new uses. There are plans to convert the double bottom into a transport barge, itself. The section was loaded in September in Liverpool and after arrival in Rotterdam the GIANT 2 was submerged to a draft of 7.80 meters. About a month ago HAPO began demolition while the section remained on the pontoon GIANT 2.
NCL Talks To Lloyd Weft
November 17: It has been reported that Norwegian Cruise Line is in advanced discussions with German shipbuilder Lloyd Werft to complete the first of NCL's newly acquired Project America vessels. The partially completed hull of the first of what was to be a pair of US-built cruise ships, is on a forty day tow from the Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi to Europe by ocean-going tug ABEILLE NORMANDY. NCL bought all materials to build the two Project America ships which were previously commissioned by now-defunct American Classic Voyages, but has not decided whether to complete the second Project America vessel.
West Coast Chapter of SS UNITED STATES Foundation Kicks Off
November 16: The official launch of the SS United States Foundation West Coast Chapter took place at The Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro, CA today. Over forty people attended as foundation co-chairs, Mark Perry and Bill Martinez presented two movies with stunning footage of the building and operation of the SS UNITED STATES. Guest speaker Jim Green, former purser aboard SS UNITED STATES from 1952 to 1957, shared stories from the ship. Tom Nicolai, model maker extraordinare, produced a limited number of "Christmas tree" models of the SS UNITED STATES, which were snapped up and the book, "50th Anniversary Maiden Voyage Edition of SS UNITED STATES, The Fastest Ship in the World", was available in limited hand numbered quanitites. Following the presentation was a book signing on board the QUEEN MARY in Long Beach. For more information please visit www.ss-united-states-west.com.
CORAL PRINCESS Delayed
November 15: P&0 Princess have announced that the French ship builders, Chantiers de l'Atlantique have delayed the delivery of CORAL PRINCESS. The ship's inaugural 10-day Panama Canal cruise has been postponed by one sailing to December 24. The reason given was "unexpected delays" at the yard. Panama's first woman president, Mireya Moscoso, will name the new ship in a ceremony in the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks on January 17.
Freak Waves In The Media
November 15: The British newspaper, THE OBSERVER carried an interesting story concerning freak waves. The report written by Robin McKie and Mark Townsend, called for a tightening of safety design as scientists admit to having no explanation for rogue waves. Often dismissed as legend or perhaps very rare events, research has revealed that "killer waves" do exist and regularly sink vessels all over the world. For no known reason, massive walls of water rise up and destroy dozens of ships and oil rigs each year. These giant waves cannot be predicted by standard meteorology, they are not tidal waves or tsunamis, nor are they caused by earthquakes or landslides. An example of a possible freak wave disaster was the LASH ship MUNCHEN which disappeared while sailing to the USon December 7, 1978. Despite a massive search, all that was found of the ship and her 26 member crew was a severely battered lifeboat. The official enquiry concluded that "something extraordinary" had destroyed the ship. (However, Hapag Lloyd was later informed that a Soviet boomer on partol off the US South Atlantic did hear the MUNCHEN break-up as it sank and provided its coordinates). Now scientists believe that these so called rare events are more common than previously thought. The liner QUEEN MARY was hit by a 75 ft wall of water while carrying 15,000 troops in December 1942, bringing her within moments of capsizing, it was later reported. In 2000, the cruise ship ORIANA was struck by a 70 ft wave that smashed windows and sent sea water cascading through the ship. In the same month, eight men were killed when a freak wave struck a trawler 87 miles west of Loop Head off Ireland. Previously, scientists generally asserted that waves at sea should not reach much more than 40ft. Walls of water up to 100ft are being observed, thus suggesting that something is wrong with current meteorology theory, although the origin of the freak waves still baffles scientists. British Minister of Parliament O'Hara has tabled a Commons motion expressing concern over ship safety in freak weather. The design of hatches and resistance of windows, he says, has to be considerably improved. A BBC2 documentary will air on the subject this week.
"Pulling" The PACIFIC Back Into Service
November 14: It was learned today that P&O/Princess Cruises' freshly retired 1971-built PACIFIC PRINCESS (ex SEA VENTURE) has been purchased from most recent owners, Liberty Maritime, by Spanish-based Pullmantur Cruises. The one time original "Love Boat's" new name and itineraries have yet to be announced.
Three Steaming Forth!
November 13: Maritime Matters is happy that no less than three classic steam powered passenger ships have encouraging futures. The 1956-built THE TOPAZ (ex EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, QUEEN ANNA MARIA, CARNIVALE, FIESTA MARINA, OLYMPIC) will be chartered by Japanese-based Peace Boat, further to an item posted November 10.
The 1958-built ENCHANTED ISLE (ex ARGENTINA, VEENDAM, BRAZIL, MONARCH STAR, VEENDAM, BERMUDA STAR) looks to be the replacement for sister ship UNIVERSE EXPLORER (ex BRASIL, VOLENDAM, MONARCH SUN, VOLENDAM, ISLAND SUN, LIBERTE, QUEEN OF BERMUDA, CANADA STAR, ENCHANTED SEAS) which will drop her program of cruises for World Explorer and continue full time as a floating campus for Semester at Sea. A new name and further details for the ENCHANTED ISLE are yet to be announced.
The third steamer with a future is Royal Olympic's 1952-built STELLA SOLARIS (ex CAMBODGE) which will be given a $3 million refit for return to service in 2003, as recently reported here. Click on SS STELLA SOLARIS for Maritimematters tour by Peter Knego.
COSTA FORTUNA Launched
November 12: Costa Crociere's COSTA FORTUNA was launched at the Sestri shipyards in Italy today. She is the largest passenger ship constructed at the yard since MICHELANGELO in 1965. COSTA FORTUNA and COSTA MAGICA go into Mediterranean service in December 2003 and 2004 respectively. Costa Crociere is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation.
SAPPHIRE To Swap Names With Burned DIAMOND
November 11: P&O Princess Cruises report that the newbuilding SAPPHIRE PRINCESS will be renamed DIAMOND PRINCESS. Mitsubishi has advanced her delivery date from June 2004 to February 2004. The damaged DIAMOND PRINCESS (see October 1) is currently in drydock a short distance from where she burned, and will be renamed SAPPHIRE PRINCESS. Workers are busy removing about 40% of the fire-damaged superstructure in a process that will take until August 2003. SAPPHIRE (ex DIAMOND) PRINCESS' delivery is now set for May 2004.
AMSTERDAM Tummy Persists?
November 11: Press reports show that 181 people contracted a contagious stomach virus on Holland America Line's AMSTERDAM which returned from a Caribbean cruise today. No passengers or crew were hospitalized reported HAL. The virus was identified as a common "Norwalk-like" virus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting from 24 to 48 hours. Officials determined that it was contracted from person-to-person contact on the ship, and began with an infected person on a previous cruise which ended October 22, with a similar number infected. HAL reported about 600 workers spent more than 10 hours scrubbing down the ship before AMSTERDAM departed on a 10-day Caribbean cruise today. Passengers sailing on Monday's cruise were given a letter notifying them of the virus.
From VICTORIA to MONA LISA
November 10: Since arriving in Genoa a week ago, P&O stores and crew have departed the as Italian and Greek workers begin her conversion to MONA LISA. (Click on VICTORIA's Finale for a synopsis of Peter Knego's recent cruise.)
The 1966-built former KUNGSHOLM will receive improved air conditioning, a more environmentally friendly incineration unit, and better land water filtration systems. The ship's new owner, Paris Katsoufis, will not alter the classic ambiance of this much beloved vessel. During the VICTORIA's final cruise, however, P&O crew revealed plans to remove the 17th and 18th century china plates on display in the Coral Dining Room (artifacts that were originally part of the ship's Swedish American Line heritage). Other original items previously removed from the ship include the Four Burghs on display in the Princess Theater (which were from the 1953-built KUNGSHOLM). The MONA LISA will sail under charter to German-based Holiday Kreuzefahrten for the foreseeable future.
SS UNITED STATES Foundation West Coast Chapter Meets
The official launch of the SS United States Foundation West Coast Chapter will meet at The Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Saturday, November 16th, at 2:30 PM. Guest speaker Jim Green, who from 1952 to 1957 worked as purser aboard SS UNITED STATES, will share stories from the ship, and show movie footage he shot as a passenger on a West Indies cruise in 1964. Mark Perry, Foundation Co-Chair invites you to, "Please come join us and help SAVE THE SS UNITED STATES!" www.ss-united-states-west.com Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Berth 84, Foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731 USA (telephone: 310-548-7618)
Life After Thomson?
November 10: Topaz International's 1956-built THE TOPAZ (ex EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, QUEEN ANNA MARIA, CARNIVALE, FIESTA MARINA, OLYMPIC) will continue to sail after her charter with Thomson Holidays ends in the Spring of 2003. Maritimematters has been told by representatives of the ship's owner that the sturdy liner will undertake a Japanese charter for four round world voyages before serving as an hotel ship at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
November 10: Defunct Premier Cruise Line's 24,000 gt SEAWIND CROWN, laid up at Barcelona since the collapse of Premier in late 2000, is to be auctioned in early December. The 1961-built former INFANTE DOM HENRIQUE, VASCO DA GAMA is tied up in the outer harbor at a berth that is being readied for oil tankers. Please stay tuned to this site for a suite of pages with a history and tour of this still handsome liner as well as more details about the auction when a date is confirmed.
STELLA To Shine Again in '03!
November 10: Royal Olympic Cruise Lines have spent $3 million US in a refurbishment of their popular classic liner STELLA SOLARIS (former CAMBODGE) and will employ the ship on a wide variety of itineraries in 2003-4 including cruises to the Baltic, Mediterranean, and even around the world. More details to follow.
THE WORLD Revised
November 9: THE WORLD, the condo-at-sea ship from ResidenSea has dropped its planned visits to Indonesia in Spring 2003. Sailing from Australia to Singapore March 29, THE WORLD will then cruise for an eight-day round-trip itinerary from Singapore to Thailand and Malaysia.
Project America Hull Towed From US
November 7: It was reported that the former Project America hull intended for Hawaii service (now owned by Norwegian Cruise Line) is on its way to Europe from Pascagoula, Mississippi under tow from an ocean-going tug ABEILLE NORMANDY partially completed hull began her 40-day journey November 5th. bound for an undisclosed destination, possibly Germany. The partially completed hull began her 40-day journey Movember 5th.
In June about 350 workers at Northrop Grumman Ingalls shipbuilding resumed work on the 840-foot cruise ship to ready the vessel so that it could be floated from the shipyard. Work on the ship was halted over a year ago when the U.S. Maritime Administration ceased its guarantee in $1.1 billion in loans for the project after American Classic Voyages filed for bankruptcy. NCL reportedly paid between $150 million and $185 million for the partially built cruise ship and the materials for a second similar vessel.
LE JOOLA Death Toll Rises
November 6: A state panel of inquiry reported today that overcrowding and other violations of international safety standards caused Africa's deadliest ferry disaster, the September 26 capsizing of Senegal's State-run MS LE JOOLA. The government-appointed panel puts the death toll at 1153, higher than the previous official estimate of about 1000. The new number includes children and soldiers both of whom would have sailed without tickets. At least 1220 people appear to have been aboard the LE JOOLA. The ferry was built to carry approximately 600.
"Unknown" TITANIC Child Identified
November 6: Researchers announced in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that the remains of an unknown infant whose body was found in the Atlantic after the TITANIC went sank down in 1912 have been identified through DNA analysis. Historian Alan Ruffman, molecular anthropologist Ryan Parr and a team of scientists say the remains are those of Eino Panula, who was just over a year old when he, his mother and four brothers left Finland for the United States as third-class passengers. TITANIC historians have long believed that the unknown infant, buried in a Halifax graveyard for more than 90 years, was Gosta Paulson, a two-year-old Swedish boy traveling with his mother and older siblings. But samples from the grave did not match those of Paulson relatives. This unexpected discovery sparked a new and larger investigation in which the research team tracked down family members of four of the five other baby boys who died when the ship sank down but whose bodies were never identified.
SS UNITED STATES To Be Scrapped?
November 6: Rumors that the SS UNITED STATES may soon be scrapped have continued to be heard on the "rust-vine" for the last several months. Trade Winds magazine reports that the Cantor Company, owners of the BIG-U, have indicated it has no further interest in the vessel and she is for sale. Robert Westover, of Save the SS UNITED STATES Foundation urges people to visit www.ssunitedstates.org and to get involved in saving the former transatlantic greyhound, currently rusting in Philadelphia.
ISLAND ADVENTURE Purchase Finalised
November 6: SeaEscape Entertainment Inc. has signed a charter-purchase agreement to acquire the 512-foot cruise ship M/V ISLAND ADVENTURE. SeaEscape announced last year that it had entered into a Protocol of Intention, for the purchase of the ship and has been operating under that agreement while the final terms of the charter purchase were negotiated. (Previous reported incorrectly as ISLAND ESCAPE)
November 4: NCLs newest cruise ship NORWEGIAN DAWN made her passage backwards down the narrow Ems River leaving the Meyer Werft shipyard starting November 3 at 2AM. She was transferred from Papenburg to Eemshaven (Netherlands), and the average passage speed of the ship was about 6.5 knots for the entire route. A short techincal trial took place November 4 in the North Sea. The brand new 91,000-ton NORWEGIAN DAWN head for Southampton, arriving December 6 for an overnight debut for the travel industry. The ship will proceed to New York December 7.
OCEAN PRINCESS To OCEANA
November 1: OCEANA arrived at Port Everglades, Florida in her new P&O colours after her transfer from Princess Cruises where she has sailed as OCEAN PRINCESS until mid-October. She will be based at Southampton at the extended Mayflower Terminal with tranferred fleet-mate ADONIA (ex SEA PRINCESS).
SS UNITED STATES Proposal
November 1: Robert Westover, Chairperson, Save the SS UNITED STATES Foundation has released a news item: "FireCompanies.com Inc. a website design company, has announced a new campaign to develop the SS UNITED STATES as an hotel and conference center on the waterfront in Chester, Pennsylvania. In Mid November, FireCompanies Inc plan to meet with Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) to present the proposal".
Southampton Announces Third Cruise Terminal
November 1: Southampton's Shipping Reporter, Keith Hamilton, writesin the Daily Echo that a new cruise terminal is to be built at Berth 101 in the western docks. This will give a spectacular view of the arriving liners from Mayflower Park. Associated British Ports, owners and operators of Southampton's docks say that the new terminal will provide much-needed extra capacity to Southampton which is already the UK's number one port for the growing British cruise industry. The £1.5m terminal will be built on the site of the former banana ship berths and will become a key feature on the city's waterfront. Next year, over 200 cruise ship calls are expected. Construction of the third cruise terminal is expected to be completed before the end of 2003. Associated British Ports has begun reconstruction work on the Mayflower Terminal at 105 Berth. This will extend the terminal to 106 Berth for the addition next May of P&O Cruises' OCEANA (ex OCEAN PRINCESS) and ADONIA (ex SEA PRINCESS) which will be operating alongside AURORA and ORIANA. In the eastern docks at 38/9 berth the Queen Elizabeth II terminal is to be refitted in preparation for the arrival of Cunard's massive 150,000-ton QUEEN MARY 2 which is expected to sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage in January, 2004.
NORWEGIAN DAWN Debut in Southampton
October 31: The brand new 91,000-ton NORWEGIAN DAWN will berth at Southampton on Friday, December 6 for an overnight stay. The ship will host a series of events for members of the travel industry and media. On board the German-built 2,240-passenger cruise ship will be a major collection of impressionist paintings loaned from the personal collection of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Star Cruises, the parent company of NCL. The collection will include oil paintings by 20th-century masters Renoir, Matisse, Van Gogh and Monet as well as prints by Andy Warhol. On December 7 NORWEGIAN DAWN will sail on a "pre-inaugural" shakedown voyage to New York, then rotate an eastern and western Caribbean itinerary from Miami until spring 2003 when she returns to New York for a series of cruises to the Bahamas and Florida.
Cruise Ships To Baltimore, US Trend
October 30: Carnival became the latest cruise line sailing from Baltimore. The 960-foot CARNIVAL LEGEND, newest of the "Spirit" class vessels, sailed into port this morning to begin a six-day cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda. This cruise follows an industry-wide trend of bringing ships closer to major metropolitan areas. With many passengers reportedly turned off by air travel, cruise lines have dedicated more ships to ports in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, saving passengers in those cities the flight to Florida for Caribbean cruises. For example, the Port of Baltimore will see about 40 cruise ship calls this year, as compared to only 13 in 2001. Miami-based Celebrity Cruises led the way, offering 29 cruises this season from Baltimore to ports in the Caribbean, New England and Canada. A further 25 sailings are planned for next year. Carnival has less ambitious plans for Baltimore, but next year plans to offer 50 sailings from New York. Sailing from New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore to the Caribbean has been made feasible by the faster ships like the CARNIVAL LEGEND, which can reach a speed of 22 knots.
SUPERSTAR LEO and SUPERSTAR ARIES To Shanghai
October 30: Star Cruises announced that two of its ships, the SUPERSTAR LEO and SUPERSTAR ARIES will be heading for Shanghai on 8-day/7-night cruises and are scheduled to arrive within an hour apart on the morning of 13th November, alongside the famous "Bund" for a two-night stopover. "The Shanghai call marks a milestone in the development of cruise tourism in China as it further demonstrates the vast potential of Shanghai as a major cruise destination", said Tan Sri KT Lim, chairman, president & chief executive officer of Star Cruises Ltd. For SUPERSTAR LEO this will be her second voyage to Shanghai and the first time that she will be alongside "The Bund". She will depart Shanghai on November 15 and will resume regular cruises from Hong Kong from November 17 onwards. SUPERSTAR ARIES' stopover in Shanghai is of historic significance as it is the first cruise ship in more than 50 years to embark passengers from Keelung, Taiwan with a final destination in Shanghai before returning to Keelung via Ishigaki. The arrival of the the two ships in Shanghai coincides with the China International Travel Mart in the new Shanghai Convention Centre. The two ships will provide the opportunity for media, international and domestic travel trade professionals and Shanghai residents a first-hand preview of these world-class cruise ships.
Economic/political Migrants Swarm Florida's Rickenbacker Causeway
October 29: About 200 Haitian migrants jumped off a grounded wooden freighter in shallow waters near Miami, FL and swarmed onto a busy bridge, which connects Miami with the upscale island community of Key Biscayne. Some of the crowd pleaded with passing motorists to help them avoid US Border Patrol Agents. The Coast Guard reported that the 50-foot freighter was dangerously crowded when it ran aground off Key Biscayne after a 500-mile journey. Live television showed passengers leaping from the bow of the vessel into the water one after another and swimming a short distance to the Rickenbacker Causeway. Border Patrol Agents were sent to intercept the Haitians, believed to be trying to migrate illegally. In similar cases, they are usually taken to an immigration detention center to await deportation hearings where most often they are deemed economic migrants and returned to their Caribbean homeland.
Shanghai Meeting on "Green Passport"
October 29: International shipowning organisations will meet Chinese, Japanese and Korean shipbuilders in Shanghai, China to discuss "Green Passports" for vessels. The world shipping industry is taking a step towards improving the safety and environmental credentials of ship demolition. Ships are recycled by the millions of tons each year on beaches in the Indian sub-continent. The passport idea is part of a set of draft guidelines approved earlier this month by a committee of the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for adoption by member countries next year. The "Green Passport" would accompany a vessel from builder to breaker. It would record hazardous materials used in construction and subsequent changes in materials and equipment. An existing voluntary code lists 32 hazardous materials including asbestos, lead, mercury and tin-based coatings found aboard. The International Labour Organisation reports workers with lung problems, gas explosions and beaches polluted with chemicals and toxic substances.
October 28: Carnival Cruises canceled the scheduled October 27 sailing of ELATION due to a problem with the ship's propulsion systems. The trouble affecting the vessel's speed was discovered during the previous cruise. ELATION skipped a call at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and sailed for Los Angeles to complete its seven-day Mexican Riviera voyage October 27. She then headed to San Francisco for dry-docking. ELATION is expected to return to service on November 3 for a Mexican Riviera cruise.
Ferry Hits Warship
October 27: The Royal Navy's newest warship suffered major damage after it was hit by a ferry which was blown off course. The P&O ferry the PRIDE OF PORSTMOUTH was about to dock at its berth in Portsmouth harbour when 70 mph winds blew her into the side of the frigate HMS ST ALBANS. None of the 850 passengers and 130 crew on board the ferry were injured. A Royal Navy spokesman says the type 23 frigate, which was delivered last November and has not even entered service yet, was badly damaged. The collision caused damage to the port side including the superstructure, the 30 mm gun deck, the seaboat supports and the bridge wing. No injuries were reported among the 37 people on board HMS St Albans. HMS St ALBANS was to sail tomorrow for the final preparations before the warship undergoes its sea trials. PRIDE OF PORSTMOUTH appeared undamaged and is expected to go back into service later today.
Princess Bids Farewell To PACIFIC
October 27: After 27 years of service, Princess Cruises are retiring the PACIFIC PRINCESS (ex SEA VENTURE). After her final sailing from New York to Rome on October 27th, she will pass from the Princess fleet to new owners. In 1975, television producer Aaron Spelling approached Princess Cruises about filming a new TV show aboard their recently aquired ship 640-passenger PACIFIC PRINCESS. Although the ship was almost cruising fully booked, Princess felt that participating in the show would be an ideal way to increase awareness of the PACIFIC PRINCESS. The show ran for nine seasons as the "Love Boat" television series. Its star, the PACIFIC PRINCESS, was widely considered responsible for sparking the modern-day boom in cruises.
SUNDREAM To A&P Southampton
October 26: A&P Group has won a contract to carry out repairs to the 22,945grt SUNDREAM (ex SONG OF NORWAY) at its Southampton dry dock facility. The cruise ship, which is operated by Sun Cruises (part of the MyTravel Group), will arrive at A&P Southampton on 26th October for a scheduled 21 day dry dock and refit period. Work will include extensive tank repairs, blasting and painting of the hull and davits, shell door inspections, various steel and pipe work renewals, port tail shaft and stabiliser surveys as well as general machinery overhauls. The SUNDREAM, which sails in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Caribbean, is the first Sun Cruises ship use the A&P Group.
CARNIVAL CONQUEST Delivered
October 26: Carnival Cruise Lines today took delivery of their new 110,000-ton CARNIVAL CONQUEST, the largest in the fleet, at an 11am ceremony in the Fincantieri shipyard at the maritime terminal of Trieste, Italy (she sailed the aproximately 15 nautical miles from the Monfacone yard at noon of October 25th to the maritime terminal). The 3,710-passenger CARNIVAL CONQUEST is the first in a new class of ships for Carnival and becomes the 18th in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet. She will sail from Italy on a 16-day transatlantic crossing in late October and is scheduled to arrive in her U.S. homeport of New Orleans the week of November 11. Her maiden voyage is a four-day cruise to Cozumel departing November 15. Beginning December 1, she will inaugurate her regular seven-day service from New Orleans. CARNIVAL CONQUEST features striking interiors inspired by the works of famous Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters in reference to her home port's French past. Following CONQUEST, Carnival currently have three other 110,000-ton vessels on order or under construction at Fincantieri: CARNIVAL GLORY, to be homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla., July 2003; CARNIVAL VALOR, 2004; and an unnamed vessel expected in the fall of 2005. Also on order is the 88,500-ton CARNIVAL MIRACLE set to debut in spring 2004.
Carnival gets the Princess
October 25: P&O Princess Cruises scuttled its proposed marriage with Royal Caribbean, instead backing a rival £3.5 Billion bid from Carnival Corporation. Carnival agreed to a key P&O demand to create a dual-listed company. This signals the end of a year long bid battle involving the three companies. Under a dual-listed merger, two companies agree to be run as one under a unified management, though no shares or cash swap hands. P&O and Carnival would retain their separate listings. Some UK institutions are limited on the number of foreign shares they can hold and P&O Princess feared there might be a stampede to sell Carnival's shares if it accepted its deal, which would reduce the value of its offer.
Star Test Historic Keelung-Shanghai cruise
October 22: Star Cruises has been given approval by the authorities on both sides of the straits for a one-off voyage. Next month, SUPERSTAR ARIES (ex EUROPA) will make the first direct voyage between Taiwan and China since the cross-strait rivals separated in 1949. The eight-day cruise, starting on November 10, which will also call at Okinawa, Japan, will carry passengers from Keelung in northern Taiwan to Shanghai. The historic cruise will be the first time passengers have been able to travel from Taiwan to the mainland without changing ships at a third port. Star Cruises hopes to launch direct cross-strait sailings immediately if the lengthy ban on direct transport links is lifted. Taiwan bans direct shipping between the island and the mainland. Beijing said it would refer to direct transport links with Taiwan as "cross-strait" - a neutral term that steers clear of the sovereignty dispute.
P & O's VICTORIA Bids Southampton Farewell
October 22: P & O's 1966-built classic cruise ship VICTORIA (ex KUNGSHOLM, SEA PRINCESS) sailed from the port of Southampton for the last time on Tuesday, October 22. Over the years, VICTORIA has built up a fiercely loyal group of admirers who are sad to see her go. At 5pm, the 28,800-ton vessel departed from 105 berth at the Mayflower Terminal in the Western Docks. She headed for the Mediterranean on a one way 11-day voyage ending in Civitavecchia (Rome). Fireworks, fireboat sprays and a storm of confetti delighted the over 700 passengers sailing on the sold out final voyage. Torrential rains abated and overcast clouds cleared revealing blue skies and a large rainbow for a few minutes as VICTORIA sounded her whistle in salute of the port which has long been her home. One passenger watched her departure from the quayside as he arrived too late to embark. 84-year-old, Hans Breitow had flown from Stockholm, Sweden, but arrived at Southampton Docks too late. He will fly on Gibraltar, her first port of call, to join the cruise. One man who did make the trip is MaritimeMatters writer Peter Knego, who flew from his home near Los Angeles for the farewell cruise. For Peter Knego's tour of VICTORIA on maritimematters, click here. Bon Voyage Peter!
MERCURY II Capsizes In Caspian Sea
October 22: A freight and passenger ferry has capsized in the Caspian Sea 80 miles from Azerbaijan's capital Baku. MERCURY II, described as a 505-foot ferry carrying 43 crew, and 9 passengers with a cargo of oil, sank in rough weather in the Caspian Sea. Initial reports said all aboard were missing, while other reports say there was one killed and nine rescued. The ship was sailing from the port of Aktau, Kazakhstan, southwest to Baku when it sank at 10:43 a.m. in stormy weather. Five ships and five helicopters were involved in the search-and-rescue operation. UPDATE: October 23: AP report 13 people were saved and 2 people have been confirmed dead while. rescue workers search for 36 still missing. 12 boats and 7 helicopters are involved in rescue efforts. British Petroleum in Baku offered its helicopters to the government. Early evidence indicated that the 65 mph winds and 20-foot seas caused oil containers onboard, each weighing about 60 tons, to shift to one side, sinking the vessel.
AMSTERDAM Passengers Suffer Virus
October 22: A Norwalk-like virus struck Holland America Line's 1,380-passenger AMSTERDAM when some passengers contracted a gastro-intestinal illness on the October 1st repositioning cruise from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale, due today. A HAL spokesperson estimated the number of passengers affected to be as high as 200. This is the same strain of virus that forced the line to cancel a cruise on the RYNDAM last summer when two cruises were affected.
Mitsubishi To Post Loss Over DIAMOND
October 22: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd may post about 8 billion Yen in losses due to the fire earlier this month on the 113,000-ton cruise ship DIAMOND PRINCESS currently under construction for P&O Princess Cruises. P&O Princess and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries agreed October 10 that the construction of the DIAMOND PRINCESS will continue with a new delivery date to be announced, possibly February 2004. The blackened vessel was towed Monday at around 9 a.m about 5 km south of the site of the fire to a second Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. dock at MHI's Nagasaki shipyard. The 36-hour fire gutted 40 percent of the total floor space of the 14-deck liner. Police are investigating the fire and have yet to conclude if it was accidental or arson.
LE JOOLA Disaster Report
October 21: A report on the sinking of the ferry LE JOOLA was issued October 18 citing overcrowding, poor safety checks and bad weather as the causes of the disaster off the coast of Senegal on September 28. Almost 1,000 people died in the worst shipping disaster Africa has ever seen. The ship was built just 12 years ago by the German shipbuilder Neue Germersheimer Schiffswerft. She was approved for short sea journeys up to 50 nautical miles off the coast. Senegal had opted to undertake all maintenance and repair works since taking over the vessel. The state-owned LE JOOLA was sailing from Senegal's southern city of Ziguinchor to the capital Dakar, when it was caught by fierce gusts of wind and capsized. It is currently grounded on a sandbank off the Gambian coast. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade wants the ship towed back to Ziguinchor. LE JOOLA was designed to carry only 550 passengers but had nearly double that figure on board during her final voyage. Only 64 people survived the disaster. Lloyd's List commented that normally ships at sea are governed by IMO regulations, but because this was a domestic voyage between the two Senegalese cities, the ship was not governed by the international shipping rules.
SS United States Foundation Opens US West Chapter and Web Site
October 21: SS United States Foundation West Coast Chapter has launched a new web site. Mark Perry and Bill Martinez are the co-chairmen of the new Chapter of SSUSF. Click on the link to access www.ss-united-states-west.com
P & O Princess - Carnival Merger News
October 20: London press reports that the Carnival Corporation is inching towards a deal to take over P&O Princess PLC. An agreement could be announced as soon as October 23. Carnival has met P&O's condition of a dual listing of its shares in both New York and London. Carnival would own 74% of the resulting company. Royal Caribbean was reported as unlikely to contest the deal, instead taking a break away fee from P&O.
STRAITS OF MACKINAC To be Sunk
October 20: Built in 1928, the 210-foot coal-fired steamboat STRAITS OF MACKINAC was the flagship of a fleet of state-owned ships that ferried people and cars across the waterway linking Lakes Michigan and Huron in Michigan. When the Mackinac Bridge was opened in 1957, the service ended. Former crew members and others bought the vessel from the state and began service to Mackinac Island. However, the STRAITS OF MACKINAC burned a ton of coal an hour and required a large crew. She made her last ferry crossing 1968. She then spent many years as a floating warehouse in Wisconsin and was eventually abandoned. A group of divers named the Mackinac Project plan to sink the ship 10 miles off Chicago's Navy Pier as an artificial reef and recreational site for scuba divers. After the ferry has been sunk in position, the club plans to cut holes in the decking, to give divers easy access. The project expects native fish will turn the wreck into a new habitat. No date for the sinking has been announced.
Two Veterans Not Sold Yet
October 17: Despite published rumors to the contrary in the maritime press, the two veteran cruise ships PRINCESA AMOROSA (ex SCOTTISH COAST) and LAPALMA (ex FERDINAND DE LESSEPS, DELPHI, LAPERLA) have not been sold for demolition.
MONARCH to Mexico West
October 15: Royal Caribbean International announced new deployments next spring. The 2,350-passenger MONARCH OF THE SEAS will move to Los Angeles in early June to begin three and four-night itineraries to Baja, Mexico. The move comes six months earlier than originally planned. The 1,950-passenger ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS will begin sailing four and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean from its home port of Fort Lauderdale in May, instead of her current a seven-night Caribbean cruises. Beginning June 2, MONARCH OF THE SEAS will be the largest cruise ship sailing regularly from Los Angeles. She will depart Los Angeles on Mondays and Fridays, offering four-night cruises with stops in Ensenada, Mexico, San Diego and Catalina Island, and three-night cruises with a call in Ensenada.
OCEANA REGATTA, New Life For Renaissance Ship
October 13: Former Renaissance CEO Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters, former President of Royal Viking Line, Princess Cruises and Crystal Cruises, have formed a new venture called Oceana Cruises. Leasing two former Renaissance cruise ships from CruiseInvest, the venture launches October 14th. The 1998-built OCEANA REGATTA (ex R 1) will enter service first with her inaugural voyage taking place on July 5, 2003 from Barcelona to Dover. The second ship is planned to enter service about six months later.
ICCL Gives North American Cruise Industry Value at USD$20 Billion
October 11: The International Council of Cruise Lines, a trade association representing major cruise lines, announced the North American cruise industry contributed $20 billion to the U.S. economy in 2001, its highest impact to date and a $2 billion increase over 2000. The ICCL went on to say that "Despite the a challenging environment faced by the travel leisure industry during 2001, the North American cruise industry maintained its strong growth and expanded its economic impact." Industries most benefited by cruise line spending included Business Services @ $2.2 billion; Airline Transportation @ $2.1 billion; Financial Services @ $2.0 billion; Transportation Services @ $1.8 billion and Energy @ $1.4 billion. The report went on to say that the cruise industry impacted the economies of all 50 states. Ten states accounted for 79 percent of the direct vendor purchases of the North American cruise industry. These states included: Florida, California, New York, Alaska, Washington, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To view the full economic analysis, please visit www.iccl.org
OLYMPIA VOYAGER Grounding
October 11: The Macedonian Press Agency reported in a statement dated October 9, 2002, that the cruise ship OLYMPIA VOYAGER ran aground a short distance from the Patmos port, in the Gerakas region, while manoeuvering. Royal Olympic Cruises reported that following minor repairs, the ship will return to service soon. UPDATE: October 16: Royal Olympic's OLYMPIA VOYAGER hit an underwater object while manoeuvering to avoid colliding with another ship, and there was "minor structural damage" reported. OLYMPIA VOYAGER was taken out of service and currently is undergoing repairs in Piraeus. Royal Olympic said she would be returned to service in time to sail its November 7 transatlantic cruise. Passengers were transferred to the AEGEAN 1, which was chartered from Golden Sun Cruises, and completed their seven-day cruise. Passengers booked on subsequent cruises will be transferred to the OLYMPIA COUNTESS (ex CUNARD COUNTESS), whose scheduled three- and four-day cruises will be assumed by the AEGEAN 1.
Fastest Cruise Ship Aground?
October 10: Reports have been coming since October 8th that the "world's fastest cruise ship" has sustained hull damage near Patmos in the Greek archipellago. The ship, identified only as VOYAGER, carrying 788 passengers and 351 crew members, was reported to have suffered "keel damage on the port side". No injuries were reported. Passengers were reportedly transferred to another ship on Tuesday evening, October 8th.
DIAMOND PRINCESS To Be Continued
October 10: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have reported further on the October 1st DIAMOND PRINCESS fire. Discussions between the shipyard and P&O Princess have confirmed the intention to continue construction of the ship. Significant delay in the delivery date is expected and it will take continued assessment on behalf of the shipyard before a date is announced. This report came the same day as P&O Princess Cruises announced that it must cancel the Alaska and Mexico cruise programs for DIAMOND PRINCESS up to the scheduled February 28, 2004 sailing. Initial sailings had been expected to begin June 15, 2003.
It Takes An OCEAN VILLAGE
October 5: P&O Princess Cruises has announced that the new "Ocean Village" vessel (the refitted ARCADIA, ex STAR PRINCESS, SITMAR FAIRMAJESTY) will infact be renamed OCEAN VILLAGE. With cruises aimed at a younger demographic, it will start up in May. 24-hour casual dining will be offered amoung other attractions as the ship enters service on May 6, 2003. The 1,461-passenger vessel will cruise the Mediterranean until October, and the Caribbean in winter 2003, offering seven and fourteen-night cruises and cruise-and-stay holidays. The average age of passengers booked so far, over half being first-time cruisers, is 43, compared with 54 for the overall cruise sector.
SUN BAY II Finds New Operator
October 5: At the end of November the 2,800 gt, SUN BAY II will be redeployed with a new charterer based in Nassau, Bahamas. She will sail in the Caribbean this winter and sail back to Europe in summer 2003 under UK charterer Travel Dynamics, which has already booked the small cruise ship with US passengers. SUN BAY II' s future was called into question in August after Columbus, the Hanover cruiseship operator, took the vessel out of service because of weak demand for the European cruises being offered. Cassens-Werft, the Emden yard which delivered the SUN BAY II in June, agreed to look after the vessel free of charge while Columbus devised a new business plan.
Let The Bidding Begin!
October 4: Two hours after the US Stock Market closed, news broke that the US Federal Trade Commission had voted to allow both the Carnival and Royal Caribbean bids for P&O Princess to proceed. European regulators had previously cleared both deals. An emergency general meeting by P&O shareholders to vote on which proposal to accept will require two weeks notice. Carnival Corporation's offer to P&O Princess stood at US$5.4 Billion.
Ex Cunarder Returns to Cruising
October 2: CHINA SEA DISCOVERY (ex FAIR PRINCESS, FAIRSEA, FAIRLAND, CARINTHIA) previously under arrest on Taiwan is now sailing on over night gambling trips from Keelung, with an additional three day cruise once a week.
MERCURY Rising In The West
October 2: Celebrity Cruises have announced the line's first series of seven- to eleven-night cruises along the California coast and the Mexican Riviera in 2003 on the 1,870-passenger MERCURY. Celebrity's first California coastal cruise will sail round-trip from San Francisco on September 28, 2003, with ports of call in Monterey, Santa Barbara and San Diego, California; Ensenada, Mexico; and Catalina Island, California.
Shipyard Blaze Damages DIAMOND PRINCESS
October 1: P&O Princess Cruises announced that the 113,000 tonne DIAMOND PRINCESS currently under construction at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan suffered a major fire. The 3,100 passenger DIAMOND PRINCESS was scheduled for delivery on May 31, 2003 and due to commence service on June 19, 2003 in Alaska for the 2003 summer season. There were no casualties at the yard and the extent of the damage has not been assessed, but appears to be significant, according to press reports. UPDATE: Eighteen hours after the blaze began, fire still smoulders in the passenger accommodation, Mitsubishi reports that the fire damaged 60 to 70 percent of the ship.
P&O Princess Pass On Two New Ship Options
October 1: By allowing a September deadline to pass, P&O Princess Cruises let its options go on two "Coral Princess" type cruise ships at the French shipyard of Chantiers de l'Atlantique for 2005-6 delivery. However, P&O Princess announced that it was intending in ordering vessels of the same type for the North American market in the future.
Hotel QUEEN MARY 2
September 29: Along with numerous other cruise ships, the QUEEN MARY 2 will serve as an hotel ship for the Athens Olympics in 2004. An agreement was signed between the ship's owner Cunard Line and the Athens Olympics organising committee (ATHOC), Sunday. QUEEN MARY 2, which can house up to 1,310 passengers, is expected to arrive at Piraeus, Greece on August 12, 2004 and remain there until August 30, when the Games end. A fleet of 11 cruise ships housing 13,280 people attending the Games is expected and includes THE TOPAZ.
Salute To REGAL EMPRESS
September 28: New London, CT tourism officials have marketed the city as a cruise destination. The REGAL EMPRESS, (ex OLYMPIA, CARIBE 1) docked at the port Saturday for the first time as part of a seven-day tour of New England and Canadian ports. REGAL EMPRESS is the largest ship ever to visit New London and was greeted by a 14-gun salute and a band playing on the pier. The cruise began in New York and called at Fall River, MA, Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine, and Saint John, New Brunswick. She was greeted in New London by the harbor tug SWIFT, the Submarine Base Supply Facility Armory, which fired off 14 rounds from Fort Trumbull State Park, and a fife and drum corps. Captain Carl-Johan Hagelstam was presented with plaques, proclamations, picture books and the first spent shell of that 14-gun salute. The city provided free shuttle buses to the passengers and crew to take them downtown. Mystic and the Mystic Seaport and the Nautilus Museum in Groton were popular stops. Regal Cruises has agreed to make New London a stop during cruises next year, and Holland America Line will make New London a stop during the 2004-05 season, officials said. Click here to tour tour REGAL EMPRESS on Maritimematters.
Hundreds Die in LE JOOLA Capsize
September 28: An ocean going 79.50 meter ferry capsized in a fierce Atlantic storm off West Africa and sank in three minutes, trapping hundreds of passengers. Rescuers said more than 760 people were believed lost. Only 32 people aboard the ship were known to have survived the disaster, some by clinging to the side of the overturned vessel. Senegal Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye said nearby local boats rescued them. The state-owned Schiffswerft Germersheim-built 1990 ferry LE JOOLA capsized off Gambia in the Atlantic Ocean about 11 p.m. enroute from the southern city of Ziguinchor in Casamance Province to Senegal's capital, Dakar. Dive teams so far recovered 88 bodies, and spotted a number of corpses through the ferry windows. Military divers with equipment to cut into the ferry arrived Friday night. Senegal declared three days of national mourning at midday Friday as the search for victims continued. President Abdoulaye Wade cut short a trip to France.
Ferries are the preferred means of transportation between north and south Senegal. The agricultural Casamance region is almost cut off from the rest of Senegal by a 20-year-long separatist rebellion by the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), making road travel unsafe. Merchants carrying dried fish, mangos and other goods from verdant Casamance make up many of the typical travelers aboard. Media reports said the ferry had undergone repairs, and had only recently returned to service after months in dock. Update October 1: Acording to a Lloyds report only 64 of the 1,034 souls aboard LE JOOLA have been found alive.
PARADISE To Cartagena
September 25: Carnival Cruise Lines' PARADISE sailed to Cartagena, Colombia in order to evade Tropical Storm Lili, despite the fact that Cartagena was recently removed from its route because of fears of terrorism. The smoke free cuise ship moored in the port with 2000 passengers until the weather improved. Carnival announced in August that it was canceling several cruises to the city due to fears about the violent situation prevailing in Colombia. Cartagena merchants and service providers report that they could lose $20 million in revenue from dozens of ships carrying more than 100,000 tourists which were to have visited the city at the peak of the tourist season in October.
ODESSA To Odessa?
September 20: A report from Naples yesterday states that the 1974-built 13,758 gt MV ODESSA (ex COPENHAGEN) left under tow to an undisclosed location in the Ukraine. She has been laid up at the entrance to the harbor for the past several years.
Bit Of BRITANIS On The Beach
September 18: Maritime Matters has learned a section of BRITANIS' (MONTEREY, MATSONIA, LURLINE, BRITANIS) Number 8 lifeboat has been located on the beach along the western Skeleton Coast of Namibia one hour north of Cape Cross. Under the delivery name BELOFIN-1, this historic 1931-built liner sank enroute to Indian shipbreakers on October 21, 2000 off the coast of South Africa. Many thanks to German-based visitor Richard Kehl for sharing this discovery and the sad image with Maritime Matters.
Louis Sheds Two Classics
September 18: Maritime brokerage reports indicate Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines has sold two of its idle passenger ships for scrapping in India: the 1957-built PRINCESA AMOROSA (former SCOTTISH COAST, GALAXIAS) and the 1952-built LAPALMA (former FERDINAND DE LESSEPS, DELPHI, LA PERLA). The former has been idle at Limassol for the past few years and the latter has been laid up at Piraeus and Eleusis following the bankruptcy of former owner, Intercruise. Louis has since long term chartered the 1983-built former NIEUW AMSTERDAM / PATRIOT which is to undergo a conversion to the SPIRIT at Piraeus for a sub-charter to UK-based Thomson Holidays.
Robert Westover Reports: SS UNITED STATES in Peril
September 16: Robert Hudson Westover, Chairman of the SS United States Foundation in Washington DC, reports that Cantor Company (formally Cantor Affiliated Interests) is seeking to sell the SS United States for scrap. The stripped liner remains laid up at Philadelpia. In his report he states that:
"A call to action has been circulated with an emergency meeting of the Foundations' board of directors. Concerned that a masterpiece of US engineering wil be lost, the Foundation urges you to immediately contact your Congressman, Senator and the White House from the following link http://www.ssunitedstates.org/howtohelp.htm and let them know that you will not stand to see one of the great American treasures lost".
"The Foundation's board of directors is considering starting an escrow fund for the purchase of the ship. The SS UNITED STATES' scrap value is reported to be only $2.5 million. You are urged to contact your local newspapers and tv/radio stations. The energy it will take from all of us to save this ship will be worth it when decades from now, school children look up at the magnificent structure of the SS UNITED STATES and marvel at such a techological wonder".
POSEIDON Adventure in the Caribbean
September 16: Ferries del Caribe announced plans to introduce a ferry service in 2003 between San Juan and Santo Domingo, and other Caribbean ports. The company has offered regularly scheduled weekly service since 1998 between the Dominican Republic and the western Puerto Rican port of Mayaguez. The new service will sail from San Juan to the Dominican capital during the week, and to St. Thomas and St. Martin on weekends. The new vessel, POSEIDON EXPRESS, can carry up 1,200 passengers.
Maiden and Final Voyage From The Mersey
September 15: As reported on September 10, the $80mil cruise ship mid-section built to be lengthen the COSTA CLASSICA which was at the centre of the collapse of the Cammell Laird shipyard group took to the seas today for its maiden and final voyage to an undisclosed scrapyard in Europe. Receivers confirmed the sale of the COSTA CLASSICA structure earlier this month but refused to disclose the sum although it is reported to be far less than its construction costs. The 48 metre-long white elephant, towed by four tugs was understood to be heading for a European destination, possibly Italy, for scraping. The mid-section contains 15 decks and 350 cabins, a sun deck and shopping promenade. Cammell Laird shipyard won the contract amid intense international competition in a move that appreared to herald a new era of shipbuilding at the Birkenhead yard. However, Costa Crociere backed out of the deal in a wrangle over the standard of work and ordered the COSTA CLASSICA to turn around on half way through her journey to the yard off Portugal which effectively crippled Cammell Laird and led to its closure. The legal ramifications remain in the Italian courts and the process is expected to take years.
Yacht SILVER SWAN Burns
September 9: A press reports state that the 50-metre yacht Luxury yacht SILVER SWAN caught fire at Dubai but no one was injured. The yacht was berthed at Dubai Creek and had just undergone repairs at Al Jaddaf, it capsized in the creek shortly after midday. The privately-owned vessel was loaded with 80,000 litres of fuel. Firefighting teams from Al Karama and the Sea Firefighting Unit battled the blaze and managed to bring it under control. It took some three hours to extinguish the flames, and ensure that they did not spread to other vessels docked nearby. The yachy was completely guttedand one was on board at the time of the incident. Dubai Civil Defence is investigating the cause of the fire.
No More Middle Class
September 10: The controversial unused COSTA CLASSICA mid-body section built by Cammel-Laird has evidently been sold to Ukraine interests for breaking somewhere in Europe, according to Pete Eisele.
Opening Ceremony at Pointe-a-Carcy
September 9: A new cruise terminal at Pointe-a-Carcy, Quebec City was officially opened today with a ceremony atended by Canadian Minister of Transport, the Honourable David M. Collenette, the Honourable Claude Drouin (Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) and guests. The $20 million project was completed in under than two years and began operation June 1. The terminal has already received 25 ships and NCLs NORWEGIAN SEA was in port for the opening ceremony. The press release stated "Quebec City area residents are cordially invited to visit the Pointe-a-Carcy Terminal during the open house that will be held on Saturday, September 14, rain or shine".
Former R3 to Alaska as "new" PACIFIC PRINCESS
September 9: Princess Cruises have announced that their "new" 1999-built PACIFIC PRINCESS (ex R3) will be based in San Francisco in 2003 as part of the Alaska fleet. She will offer 11-day roundtrip voyages from may to September. The 688-passenger ship was recently bought by Princess from Renaissance Cruises. The PACIFIC PRINCESS will join six other Princess ships in Alaska next summer - CORAL PRINCESS, DAWN PRINCESS, ISLAND PRINCESS, and SUN PRINCESS sailing the Gulf of Alaska route, with DIAMOND PRINCESS and STAR PRINCESS which will sail Inside Passage cruises from Seattle. PACIFIC PRINCESS will be operating on a split deployment, sailing half the year in the Princess Cruises fleet, and the other half for the P&O Cruises Australia brand during their summer cruise season. Following the 2003 Alaska season, the ship will return to the French Polynesia region to join her sister ship TAHITIAN PRINCESS (ex R4), with a series of sailings beginning on October, 2003.
VAN GOGH's Gift
September 7: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, (RNLI) which is funded entirely by voluntary donations and to provide a 24-hour service around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland, reported a surge in donations from VAN GOGH passengers. Passengers, crew and staff aboard VAN GOGH, operating on a summer charter by cruise company Travel Scope sailing out of Falmouth, Cornwall, have been donating around GBP400 on each cruise. One theory put forward by volunteer fund-raisers for the Falmouth RNLI branch is that spending days on the sea has focused the attention of passengers on marine safety issues. A total of GBP2,800 was handed over by the VAN GOGH's Captain Gregor Livov to Falmouth lifeboat coxswain Alan Barnes. In appreciation the Falmouth crew took Captain Livov and other cruise personnel on a spin around the harbour aboard their Severn-Class lifeboat RICHARD COX SCOTT.
For more information or to donate support to RNLI, click here.
North Sea Ferry Fire
September 2: NORSEA, a P & O ferry carrying 611 passengers, was reported adrift eight miles northeast of Great Yarmouth, England. The Coast Guard were contacted at 2:20AM after a fire broke out in the engine room. Hundreds of passengers donned lifejackets and were told to muster at emergency stations on deck. The NORSEA's own fire system was automatically activated before the engine room was shut down and carbon dioxide was pumped in to extinguish the flames. The blaze was extinguished by 6:30AM by the ferry's fire crew, with the help of firefighters of the Royal Air Force and Suffolk Fire Brigade, who were airlifted to the ship during the emergency. Captain Jerry Walker said that there were no injuries on board due to the fire but there was concern for one female passenger who suffers from angina. The captain is preparing to start the ferry's other engines and continue crossing to Zeebrugge, Belgium under its own power. This was the second reported fire in three weeks sufferd by NORSEA.
UPDATE: NORSEA arrived at Zeebrugge, Belgium from Hull some 10 hours late. The vessel is not expected back in service until September 4th. An inquiry into the incident has begun and no injuries were reported. The latest emergency comes only two-and-a-half-weeks after fire broke out in NORSEA's funnel.
Maritime Museum to Open in Bushehr
September 1: The Iranian Maritime Museum will soon be opened in Bushehr. It will display unique historical documents and ancient navigational instruments and can play an effective role as a research and development center. The Elamite, Achaemenian, Parthian, Sassanid and Islamic civilizations all had a presence in the Bushehr Province.
PS PORTLAND Spotted, First Time In A Century
August 30: NOAA researchers showed the first video and sonar footage of the wreck of the Paddle Steamer PORTLAND, which sank in 1898 off the Massachusetts coast with all 192 aboard and remained lost until last month. After sonar pinpointed the size and shape of the ship in a location identified as a likely site for the missing liner, a submersible camera from the University of Connecticut's National Undersea Research Center was lowered and came across the hull of the ship in 460 feet of water between Cape Cod and Cape Ann. PS PORTLAND sailed from Boston for Portland, Maine, on November 26, 1898, just as two powerful storms were about to collide. Bodies and cargo washed up on Truro's beaches but four attempts to find the ship failed. John Rousmaniere, in his book "After the Storm: True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea," said that so many African-Americans from Portland (30 to 40) were working on the steamer when it sank, that the shipwreck also helped destroy Portland's oldest African-American organization.
QE2 Sails To The Moon (and back nine times!)
August 29: Cunard Line reported that the QE2 passed the 5 million nautical mile mark tonight, the most of any vessel in history. She has sailed the equivalent distance to the Moon and back 9 times, or 230 times around the planet. QE2 had recorded visits to Southampton 598 times and New York City 680 times.
PLATINUM Princess Goes South, PACIFIC East?
August 25: PLATINUM (ex ISLAND PRINCESS, HYUNDAI PUNGAK) is going to Arcalia Shipping of Lisbon, who will rename her DISCOVERY for cruises from Brazil, while rumours circulate that her sister PACIFIC PRINCESS, retiring October 27, will join the VICTORIA in the German market with Holiday Kreuzfahrten.
Tolls Rise On Panama Canal
August 22: As expected, the Cabinet Council of Panama has approved an average 12.5% increase in fees for ships using the Panama Canal. October 1st will see the first increase with 8% going into effect and the staggered incease will go up by another 4.5% in July 2003.
Dame Judy Dench Drenched!
August 21: Dame Judi Dench, star of "The Importance of Being Earnest," "Shakespeare in Love" and the three latest James Bond 007 films, served as godmother to Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, the 88,500-ton 2,124-passenger CARNIVAL LEGEND, at an official naming ceremony in Harwich, England, today. After Dame Judy cut the rope, the traditional bottle of champagne swung against the hull, and, failing to break, it boomed like a gong against the metal plates. Dame Judy and the Captain joined forces for a second "hands-on" try but the bottle fell in to the harbour. A third sucessful attempt brought the crowd to their feet, but such was the force of the explosion of the bottle that Dame Judy was drenched in champagne. She took it in with a smile, wet hair and all. Dench was named a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1988. In Carnival's first departure from Europe, CARNIVAL LEGEND sailed following the ceremony on a three day inaugural voyage to Amsterdam.
SUPERSTAR LEO Welcomed in Shanghai
August 20: Star Cruises' SUPERSTAR LEO made a maiden arrival in Shanghai from Hong Kong today. The 6-Day cruise from 18th to 23rd August 2002 (which includes an overnight stay in Shanghai on 20th August 2002) received overwhelming response and was fully booked soon after its launch in June. SUPERSTAR LEO is the largest cruise ship ever to berth at Shanghai. Mr. Yau Ming Pao, The Director of Shanghai Municipal Tourism, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Star Cruises Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer and more than 100 special guests were taken on a tour of the ship. "With the tremendous appeal of Shanghai and its beautiful iconic cityscape, SUPERSTAR LEO's overnight stay in Shanghai offers her passengers more time to explore and take in the sights and sounds of Shanghai by day and by night." added Tan Sri Lim. For a Maritime Matters tour click on SUPERSTAR LEO by Peter knego.
NCL Opts For Both Project America Hulls
August 19: Norwegian Cruise Line announced today it will be adding another ship to its fleet for delivery in Spring 2004. It has been roumoured for some time that NCL has been in talks with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. NCL has agreed to buy all of the materials and equipment and the work performed to date on the two "Project America" vessels under construction at Northrop's Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi. The substantially completed hull of the first vessel, plus all of the associated equipment and materials, will be transported to Europe, where work will be completed in one of the major cruise ship building yards. NCL is in advanced discussions with European yards to determine which one will complete the ship, Star Cruises is the parent company of NCL. The original design of the "Project America" ship has been modified and will sail under the NCL brand as the latest addition to the company's Freestyle Cruising fleet. Eighty percent of the staterooms will have an ocean view, with 85 percent of those including private balconies (a total of five decks with private balconies). A press release noted, "Once the completion of the first vessel is under way, NCL will explore the feasibility of completing the second vessel based on the work in progress and materials that have been purchased as part of the deal with NGSS". It has been reported that NCL have been in talks with Hawaii's senator, looking for an exemption the Passenger Shipping Services act of 1886, which currently has the NORWEGIAN STAR making a 600 mile dash to Fanning Island to provide a foreign port in order to comply with act. NCL may have found a solution by purchasing this new US-built hull.
R5 Out of Blue Coccoon
August 19: The French port of Marseille remains host to five former Renaissance cruise ships owned by US cruise group Renaissance, which was declared bankrupt on the day after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The five liners were acquired by Cruise Invest Management, based in the Marshall Islands. They have since been cocooned at Marseille at a cost of 305,000 euros a month. The first to sail will be the former R5, chartered for six months by Spanish cruise line Pullmantur, who currently operate OCEANIC. A second ship, R8, has been chartered by Swan Hellenic to sail as MINVERA II starting in April 2003.
SUN BAY II Returns to Builders
August 19: Columbus Seereisen returned its new 2002-built, 3,000 gt 96-passenger SUN BAY II to the Cassen Shipyard after cancelling the remainder of her 2002 schedule. It was reported that she was operating below 60% of capacity. A positioning cruise scheduled for August 13 from Hamburg to Lisbon had only 59 passengers booked. The ship will remain at the yard without charge until operators Columbus Seereisen devise a new service for the vessel. The first SUN BAY (2001) continues operation in the eastern Mediterranean.
MSC Names New Liners
August 15: Mediterranean Shipping Cruises has announced the names for its two new cruise ships being built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique in France. The first of the 56,000 ton liners is to be delivered in the Spring of 2003 with the second following by a year. The names for the new ships MSC LIRICA and MSC OPERA.
Norwegian Looks For STAR Exemption
August 14: Norwegian Cruise Lines, who operate the NORWEGIAN STAR, are looking for an exemption from the US federal law that complicates its current Hawaiian itinerary. The Passenger Services Act of 1886 prohibits any foreign-owned vessel from picking up passengers at one American port and dropping them at another. NCL currently operate outside the requirements of the Passenger Services Act by including a lengthy and fast dash to Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati in the NORWEGIAN STAR's itinerary to satisfy the requirement. It was reported that Norwegian Cruise Lines has been talking to Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who arranged a similar exemption for American Classic Voyages to run the foreign built former NIEUW AMSTERDAM as the US registered PATRIOT in Hawaiian waters. However, in that case, the ship was a stop gap until two new US-built cruise ships were brought online. In order to comply, NCL would have to operate their Hawaiian cruise business through a U.S. subsidiary, which would be totally subject to U.S. laws and have a U.S. crew. In September, NCL will bring in an additional ship, the 1,748-passenger NORWEGIAN WIND, to the Islands to run a similar itinerary with the NORWEGIAN STAR.
Ferries Double Up
August 14: Melbourne's bayside residents witnessed an unusual sight as the two new Bass Strait ferries, SPIRIT OF TASMANIA I and SPIRIT OF TASMANIA II sailed side by side across Port Phillip Bay. On September 1, the ships will make alternate trips between Melbourne and Devonport, on Tasmania's north coast. This will be the only time they will be seen travelling together. The vessels, which replace the old SPIRIT OF TASMANIA, will be welcomed to Melbourne by three fire tugboats spraying water. The new ships will be open to the public this weekend from 10am to 4pm (AEST).
August 14: Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of its newst vessel, the 88,500-ton CARNIVAL LEGEND at the Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Helsinki, Finland. She will sail tomorrow, August 15 for Harwich, UK where a naming ceremony will take plave August 21 with Oscar-winning British actress Dame Judi Dench acting as the ship's Godmother. In Carnival's first sailing from Europe, CARNIVAL LEGEND will sail following the ceremony on a three day inaugural voyage to Amsterdam with a full contingent of passengers, including dignitaries and journalists, and hundreds of travel agents. The ship will then operate a 12-day Northern Europe round-trip cruise from Harwich August 24, then sail on a 15-day transatlantic crossing arriving in New York September 20. CARNIVAL LEGEND will operate from New York on two- and three-day cruises-to- nowhere and 11-day Canada/New England cruises through October, followed by six-day Bermuda sailings from Philadelphia and Baltimore. She will then reposition to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a two-day cruise-to-nowhere November 8 and a winter schedule of eight-day "exotic" Caribbean cruises beginning November 10.
RYNDAM Adrift, Briefly
August 13: Holland America Lines' RYNDAM was reported adrift after a power outage in Lynn Canal on Monday, August 12. RYNDAM was on her way from Skagway to Glacier Bay when one of the two generators suddenly shut down, causing the ship to lose propulsion at about 1:30 a.m.. The crew restored power and 10 minutes later the ship's bow and stern thrusters were working again and approximately 20 minutes after the generator failed, the ship regained full propulsion. The vessel was brought into Auke Bay, the closest port, until the problem could be fixed, and arrived there late Monday afternoon with a tugboat escort. RYNDAM is expected to set sail again but planned to visit Glacier Bay had to be cancelled because of a storm. Instead, she will go to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer Glacier.
August 12: Grupo TMM, the largest Latin American multi-modal transportation and logistics company, announced that its Ports and Terminals Division is formally opening a cruise ship terminal in Progreso, located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Progresso expects to handle over 100 cruise ship calls and over 125,000 passengers during the remainder of this year, and over 200,000 passengers in 2003. At the end of November, the ferry SCOTIA PRINCE will begin weekly arrivals from Tampa, Florida.
"Love Boat" To Retire
August 10: P & O Princess have announced that 1970-built PACIFIC PRINCESS (ex SEA VENTURE), known to many as the original "Love Boat" from the television series, is currently sailing from New York to Bermuda until the end of October. Following a transatlantic voyage to the Mediterranean departing New York October 27, 2002, the ship will then be retired from the Princess fleet. Her name will pass to a newer ship, the 1999 built former R3 (See related story below).
STATENDAM Repairs Cancel Second Cruise
August 9: Holland America Line's STATENDAM will not be able to resume its Alaska schedule this weekend after it was discovered that damage suffered August 5th was more extensive than first believed. A spokesperson said they hope to put the cruise ship on sea trials at the end of the following week. Over 150 workers were on board in Vancouver addressing the problems caused by the overheating in the ship's generator room.
P & O Princess' New Pacific Ships
August 9: P&O Princess Cruises announced officially that two former 1999-built Renaissance vessels, R3 and R4, will be joining the Princess fleet. The ships will operate in Tahiti and on Pacific Ocean itineraries. The famous name PACIFIC PRINCESS will pass from the former "Love Boat" of US TV fame to the 688-passenger former R3. The R4 will be renamed TAHITIAN PRINCESS and will begin sailing December 24, 2002, on round-trip cruises from Papeete, Tahiti. The PACIFIC PRINCESS will operate half the year for Princess Cruises throughout French Polynesia and the Pacific, and the other half for the P&O Cruises Australia brand.
STATENDAM Cruise Cancelled
August 6: The STATENDAM was returned to Canada Place in Vancouver at 5:30 AM Monday after it lost power and went adrift in the Strait of Georgia last night. Holland America Line had to cancel any hope of restarting an abridged itinerary as the ship would not be repaired in time. The passengers, who would be allowed to spend one more night aboard the docked ship, were given other vacation options. Coast Guard officials said the damage stemmed from a fire in the ship's generator room that affected navigation and propulsion systems.
STATENDAM Towed To Port
August 5: Holland America Lines STATENDAM was towed back to Vancouver after she went adrift in the Strait of Georgia enroute to Seward, Alaska. Overheating in the ship's generator rooms caused a loss of power shortly after the cruise ship had sailed from Vancouver. The ship retained power for lights, but other systems were shut down. STATENDAM is carrying 1,368 passengers and 563 crew. A total of four tugs were used to bring her back to Canada Place where she was tied up the followng morning. The generator malfunction is under investigation. City tours were being offered to the passengers and with on board facilities operating as normal, it is hoped to maintain a reduced schedule for the cruise, Holland America said.
Clamoring For The Queen
August 5: Cunard Line has announced that sales for the new QUEEN MARY 2 have "exceeded all expectations". One day after bookings officially opened on August 1, the early booking discounts have been closed for the proposed January 12, 2004, maiden voyage, which is almost sold out. The highly anticipated, $800-million ship is the largest, longest, ocean liner ever constructed. The QM2 maiden voyage is a 14-day cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, calling at Madeira, Tenerife and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, Barbados and St. Thomas. Summer voyages to Europe and New England/Canada and 15 crossings between Southampton and New York are planned. Queen Mary 2 is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in France.
Liverpool Woos Cunard Over Naming
August 5: Liverpool Council members are working on a deal with Cunard Line to name a new 85,000-tonne vessel near the famous Liver Buildings in February 2005. The as yet unnamed Cunard ship will be built in Italy, and if Liverpudlians are successful, will arrive at Liverpool just after its new 10.5 million pound cruise terminal is finished. A spokesperson for Cunard said, "Since we are naming QUEEN MARY 2 in Southampton in 2004, it is highly likely that we will name our next vessel in Liverpool."
Princess Extends Options
August 1: P&O Princess Cruises has reached an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers d'Atlantique to extend options on the ordering of two new cruise ships until late September. Princess has two sister ships, the CORAL PRINCESS and ISLAND PRINCESS, currently under construction at the yard and slated for delivery in November 2002 and May 2003. The scheduled delivery dates for the additional optioned ships, which would be further sisters to those being built, would be 2005 and 2006.
RYNDAM Cruise Canceled Due To Virus
August 1: Holland America Line canceled the August 1 sailing of the RYNDAM on a seven-day Alaska cruises from Vancouver, after cases of a gastrointestinal illness called the Norwalk Virus were reported among passengers and crew. The ship's next sailing, on August 8, is expected to depart as scheduled. No other voyages have been affected.
Carnival's New "Conquest"
July 29: Carnival Corporation announced an agreement with the Italian shipyard Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A. for the construction of its new 110,000-ton "Conquest-class" vessel for the Carnival Cruise Lines division. No name has yet been announced for the new ship, which is scheduled for delivery in late 2005, approximately 14 months after the delivery of the third "Conquest-class" vessel, CARNIVAL VALOR. At 952-feet in length the new 2,974-passenger vessel, is expected to cost aproximately US$450 million.
Rescue Icebreaker Becomes Trapped
July 26: The Argentine navy icebreaker involved in rescuing a German research vessel trapped in Antarctica has also become trapped. Argentine icebreaker ALMIRANTE IRIZAR had helped free the MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF as reported here on July 19. But both became trapped only days after the icebreaker started forcing its way through the Antarctic ice field with the German vessel following in convoy. The harsh weather and ice conditions stopped both ships, reported the Argentine Navy. MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF has only 17 crew remaining on board. The Argentine navy said observation flights were now looking for cracks in other parts of the ice to reach open waters. If the icebreaker does not manage to break free before the austral summer arrives in November, there are enough supplies on board the two ships for them to last the winter.
Plan to Save Cousteau's CALYPSO
July 26: A plan to berth the CALYPSO at New Rochelle, Long Island has been announced by the town's mayor and Francine, the wife of the late maritime explorer Jacques Cousteau. The CALYPSO, a 139ft former minesweeper, was given to Captain Cousteau by the Guinness family of Irish brewing fame. The ship became renowned through Cousteau's popular television shows broadcast in the 1960s and 1970s, but after sinking off Singapore in 1996 and then languishing for five years in La Rochelle, France, the CALYPSO is no longer seaworthy and now will require a barge to transport her to the United States. Four years since the conservationist pioneer's death, Jacques Cousteau's widow, Francine, has raised about the E4 million euros to move the vessel to La Rochelle's sister city, New Rochelle, in the US. The plan will see the ship restored and opened as a museum with memorabilia from Captain Cousteau's collection. Exhibits will include a hot air balloon and a mini-submarine with CALYPSO docked at the city's marina. Mrs Cousteau is currently in negotiations with the Guinness family.
EU Rule On Carnival Bid
July 24: European Union regulators have now unconditionally cleared Carnival Corporation's US$5.5 billion bid for P&O Princess Cruises PLC. Three months ago, it seemed that the commission was supporting Royal Caribbean's case when it cited serious concerns about competition in the luxury cruise markets, particularly in Britain and Germany. Royal Caribbean had been offering less for P&O, (US$3.7 billion) but had argued that the bid stood a better chance of winning regulatory approval. Both bids are undergoing antitrust review in the United States. Royal Caribbean had lobbied hard to get the EU to force Carnival to sell off its British subsidiary, Cunard Line, but no such condition was placed. Carnival, meanwhile, had said that it would not sell Cunard.
Second Ship To Be Discovered?
July 23: The Fort Lauderdale company, Discovery Cruise Line, that operates the well maintained 1,210-passenger DISCOVERY SUN between Port Everglades and Freeport, Grand Bahama, is actively looking to add another ship to the fleet. The second ship would sail an alternative new route.
Panama Canal Rate Hikes?
July 23: A proposed additional $20-per-passenger charge for of the Panama Canal toll could prompt cruise lines to consider deploying their ships away from the Panama Canal, according to press reports. A rate hike, if it is imposed, would take effect in October.
July 22: The recently lauded UNITED STATES shares a 1952 birthdate with another magnificent (and thankfully intact) former transatlantic liner, the MV AUGUSTUS. Martin Cox and Peter Knego have scoured their archives and posted seven pages of photos and text detailing the history of Italia's MV AUGUSTUS and complete tours of the ship as she was originally built and as today's MS PHILIPPINES. Only REMBRANDT (ROTTERDAM), MARGARITA L (WINDSOR CASTLE), and perhaps AKDENIZ, are this original and well-preserved. From top of house to shaft alley, the tour (which is open 24 hours) starts at: MV AUGUSTUS / MS PHILIPPINES
Alstom May Sell Chantiers
July 20: In further fall out from the collapse of Renaissance cruises the energy giant Alstom is considering a restructuring move that could see it sell of its shipbuilding business. Alstom owns the French shipbuilding yard of Chantiers de l'Atlantique. Following Renaissance filing for Chapter 11 protection last September, Alstom experienced weak financial performance, its first loss on seven years. The loss-making shipyard Chantiers de l'Atlantique is currently building Cunard's QUEEN MARY 2.
Trapped MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF Freed
July 19: MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF, the German ship trapped by ice near Antarctica since June 11 was finally reached today by the Argentine icebreaker ALMIRANTE IRIZAR. The freed vessel will head for safer waters as weather allows. The MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF was bound for to Cape Town from the Novolazarevskaya research station in northeast Antarctica early last month when it came across a massive ice drift and was forced to seek shelter in a bay. In a difficult rescue mission complicated by freezing temperatures, high winds and thickening ice, eighty-nine Russian scientists and crew members were air lifted from the ship last week by military helicopters to the South African research ship AGULHAS and on to Cape Town. The owners of MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF, Reederei Egon Oldendorff said that both she and the icebreaker, could set off north through the channel cleared by the Argentine ship as early as Saturday. One Russian technician and 17 crew were still aboard the Luebeck-based ship.
Carnival's Bid in Doubt
July 15: Sources in the British press, close to the negotiations, report that the deal in which Carnival is bidding for P & O Princess may be blocked by the European Commission. Carnival has until July 18 to report shedding assets that would balance out the possible deal.
Dame To Name LEGEND
July 9: Carnival Cruise Line have announced that one of England's most renowned stage and screen actresses, Dame Judi Dench, will serve as godmother of their newest cruise ship CARNIVAL LEGEND. In Harwich on August 21, Dame Judi will break a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull in the official naming ceremony for the 88,500-ton, 2,124-passenger ship. CARNIVAL LEGEND is the first Carnival Cruise Lines vessel to sail a European itinerary.
Monsoons Make A Mess Of Alang
July 6: Work at Alang, the world's largest scrap yard, came to a halt as workers fled huge waves and torrential rains for two days last month (June 27 and 28). Workers wages and steel prices per ton have shot up as many locals have been forced to flee nearby towns. Currently, the only major passenger ship undergoing demolition on the Indian beach near Bhangvar is the LIBERTY (former COSTA RIVIERA, GUGLIEMO MARCONI). There are no updates on how the remains of the ship were affected by the storm.
BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS Delivered
July 5: Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the new BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS, the second Radiance-class ship, in a ceremony at Eemshaven, Netherlands. Built at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, BRILLIANCE successfully completed sea trials in the North Sea. A specialy naming ceremnoy will be held in Harwich, England on July 13, when godmother Marilyn Ofer will bless the 2,100-passenger ship. Mrs. Ofer, from London, serves on the executive committee of the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel as well as the Holocaust Educational Trust. She was a founding member of the New York chapter of WIZO, Women's International Zionist Organization, which supports health and education initiatives in Israel. She is married to Eyal Ofer, chairman and CEO of Carlyle M.G. Limited and a member of Royal Caribbean's Board of Directors. BRILLIANCE is powered by General Electric gas turbine engines.
QM2 Keel Laid On Cunard Birthday
July 4: 162 years ago to the day the first Cunarder, BRITANNIA, sailed from Liverpool for North America inaugurating a transatlantic dynasty, the keel of the new giant QUEEN MARY 2 was laid in a special shipyard ceremony. In what officially signals the start of construction on the 150,000 gt liner, workers and invited guests watched the traditional laying of two coins within the keel. A new British five pound Jubilee coin and a one hundred Franc coin were placed inside a portion of keel number 502 as it was lowered into the drydock at the French yard of Chantiers de L'Atlantique, in St Nazaire.
Last Scientists Rescued
July 1: On Monday, two Oryx helicopters from the Antarctic supply ship SA AGULHAS airlifted the last remaining eight Russian scientists and 11 non-essential crew from the ice-bound MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF. The AGULHAS has now turned north and is heading away from the ice pack toward clear water. The owners of MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF will make a decision whether to keep the rescue ship in the vicinity until the icebreaker ALMIRANTE IRIZAR reaches the area on July 7. A Swedish icebreaker is also reported to be sailing to the area to render assistance.
ORIANA Of 1960 Makes Brief Cruise
June 30: SS ORIANA, looking freshly painted and dressed overall, arrived at the northern Chinese resort area of Dalian (also know as Dairen) for her newest incarnation as a static tourist attraction. She was towed from Shanghai where she has remained closed since early 2000. It is hoped that she will succeed in this, her fourth location, since being retired by P&O in 1986.
Antarctic Rescue Underway
June 29: The weather dependent rescue of the trapped MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF with 107 onboard offered better news today. Rescuers took advantage of moderate weather June 27 to evacuate 21 of the 78 Russian scientists trapped deep in the Antarctic. Two helicopters flew from the heated deck of the South African research ship AGULHAS when a break in the weather saw the wind drop to a moderate 12 knots. The AGULHAS continued to sail towards the trapped ship at about 12 knots, passing through 10 cm ice covering 90% of the surface. On Friday, June 28, 41 more scientists were airlifted off the ship in continuing flights but these were stopped due to an advancing cyclone. Total rescued so far are 69 people while 1 1/2 tons of food and supplies have been delivered to the ship. The airlifts will likely leave only the 38-member crew on board the MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF. In a news update, the AGULHAS has begun moving north (away from the trapped vessel and out of helicopter range) to avoid ice that has reached 35 cm thick and is thickening about 1 cm a day. The ice breaker ALMIRANTE IRIZAR is expected to arrive July 7 and should be able to open a path through to the MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF, allowing her to follow the breaker out.
Rolls-Royce Ships QM2 Stabilizer
June 29: Rolls-Royce completed the last of four Brown Brothers 40-foot long stabilizers bound for the new QUEEN MARY 2 this week. The stabilizers, each weighing 100 tons, will be loaded onto a flatbed truck and driven with police escort from Dunfermline in Scotland to Rosyth, where it will then be put aboard a ship and dispatched to Chantiers de l'Atlantique in St. Nazaire France where QM2 is under construction.
Two Burned Crew Rescued From QE2
June 27 2002: Two men were reported to be in serious but stable condition after they were burned in the engine room of QE2. The incident happened as the liner was sailing from New York to Southampton. The men were carrying out routine maintenance work when they were blasted with scalding steam from a faulty boiler valve. Both suffered severe burns and were placed in the ship's hospital. However, it was felt that greater medical attention was needed and a Royal Air Force helicopter flew out to rendezvous with the liner 250 miles south-west of Ireland to airlift the ratings to hospital.
Ice Thickens, Rescue Hopes Dimmed
June 26: 107 scientists and crew remain trapped on board the German MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF, as the ship carrying rescue helicoptors to the remote Antartic location is slowed unexpectedly by thick sea ice. AGULHAS left Cape Town for its 2,500-nautical mile journey to the Antarctic late on Sunday. The OLDENDORFF lies against a 13-story wall of ice in a bay off the Antarctic coast. Eating one meal a day to stretch their provisions another three weeks, those on on board expressed concern that the ship has only enough fuel for heat and lights for two months. Leaving port June 24, the powerful Argentine icebreaker, ALMIRANTE IRIZAR, is laden with supplies to last until October in case it becomes trapped. The ice-breaker has never sailed so far into the Antarctic ice fields this late in winter and is starting at a distance of 500 miles away from the MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF. For the captives of the winter ice, there is little to do and their supply of cigarettes ran out of about two weeks ago. The scientists are trying to stay busy analyzing their data and watching videos from the ship's library while all are listening for news of the rescue ships, and weather reports. The Russians were returning to Cape Town from a year stationed in Antarctica.
June 25: Carnival Cruise Line's CELEBRATION had to cancel a four-day weekend cruise from Galveston, Texas due to technical problems with the propulsion system. The 1,486-passenger CELEBRATION was to sail on Thursday; spend Friday at sea; call at Cozumel on Saturday; and return to Galveston on Sunday. A Carnival spokesperson said the cruise line expects repairs to be completed in time for the ship to sail on her next scheduled cruise departing Monday. Passengers booked on the canceled cruise will receive a full refund and a 50 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise.
Project America Hull May Float
June 22: Northrop Grumman has assigned 350 workers to make the hull of the former Project America vessel under construction at the Pascagoula, Mississippi shipyard seaworthy. In the meantime, the US government looks for a buyer after spending $187 million to get the two ship project going. The second vessel was never assembled and lies in pieces around the yard. A proposal that the US Navy use the half-finished ship as a rest-and-relaxation ship for battle-weary troops was turned down and no further buyer has been indicated. For Project America's Congressional backers, Senator Lott among them, the ships were a way to jump-start the dormant commercial shipbuilding industry. The ships were being built for American Classic Voyages' Hawaiian cruise market and fell into the government's hands after the cruise company filed forbankruptcy protection last Autumn.
New Plan For ISLAND ESCAPE
June 21: Island Cruises, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises and First Choice Holidays of the UK, has altered the fall and winter itinerary of its one vessel, ISLAND ESCAPE (former VIKING SERENADE, STARDANCER, SCANDINAVIA). The ship is currently sailling out of Palma, Mallorca, on 7 and 14-night cruise vacations during the spring and summer seasons for European clientele. The ship's fall and winter itineraries that had included two trans-canal sailings and a series of 3 and 4-night Baja Mexico sailings round-trip from Los Angeles marketed to US passengers will now change to South American cruises for Brazilians. The new itineraries will be comprised of mainly of 3 and 4-night sailings to areas in Brazil such as Buzios, Ilhabela and Angra Dos Reis. Two transatlantic sailings that reposition the ship to and from Brazil will take cruisers to an array of ports from South America to Europe. After sailing in Brazil, ISLAND ESCAPE will return to the Mediterranean for the spring and summer of 2003.
P & 0 Takes Over Two Renaissance Ships
June 20: Peter Ratcliffe, P&O chief executive, and Gaston Flosse, the president of the government of French Polynesia, announced in Paris on June 17th, that P&O will offer cruises in Tahiti for five years starting in September. P&O will operate the two former Renaissance cruise ships, R3 and R4 (which have been laid up in the Papeete since September 26th 2001). P & O said one of the cruise ships will stay year round in the Tahitian waters while the other will cruise to French Polynesia about two months of the year.
Food Rationed on Trapped Antarctic Vessel
June 18: On board MAGDALENA OLDENDORFF, trapped in Antartctic ice since June 11, 79 Russian scientists and 28 crew have begun rationing their food as they wait for a South African rescue ship to arrive. The oceonographic research ship AGULHAS left Cape Town for its 2,500-nautical mile journey to the Antarctic late on Sunday but has slowed its pace after encoutering heavy weather. The rescue ship is expected to reach the edge of the ice within a week, but will have a further 500 mile journey through the icefields. An Argentine navy icebreaker, the ALMIRANTE IRIZAR, is set to join the rescue effort, but is not expected to leave Buenos Aires in time to rendezvous with the AGULHAS which will not wait for it before starting to make its way through the ice. The AGULHAS has a reinforced hull but cannot break through pack ice. The vessel will make its way through the cracks and passages in the newly formed ice at the edge of the field.
SUPERSTAR Tests Waters
June 16: Star Cruises, will be introducing for the first time for SUPERSTAR LEO a special 6-Day cruise from Hong Kong to Shanghai from 18th - 23rd August 2002. The SUPERSTAR LEO will make an overnight stay in Shanghai then revert back to her regular Hong Kong-South China Sea cruises to Halong Bay (Vietnam) and Xiamen (China) for the remaining of her present cruise season until September 2002.
REGINA MARIS To Be Sold
June 15: Due to the ongoing exodus of tourism from the politically troubled Middle East, Regina Maris Cruises will be selling off its historic 1929-built luxury cruise ship MV REGINA MARIS. The 280 passenger 4,007 gt vessel was built as the schooner-rigged private yacht ORION and was later renamed VIXEN before becoming a cruise ship under her original name, ORION, in 1950. In 1964, she was purchased by Epirotiki Lines and completely rebuilt into the ARGONAUT, which enjoyed considerable success under charter to Raymond-Whitcomb for many years. In 1996, she was sold to her present owners for cruises in the Red Sea. REGINA MARIS is presently laid up at Alexandria, Egypt.
Costa Mid-rift to be Scrapped
June 13: UK receivers Pricewaterhouse Coopers have been unable to find a buyer for the US$35 million mid-body section built by collapsed UK shipbuilder Cammell Laird for the COSTA CLASSICA. The section has been lying idle ever since the CLASSICA was turned back while en route to the yard for lengthening, will almost certainly be scrapped. Sale experts Babcock Disposals have been brought in to retrieve what they can from the contents. COSTA CLASSICA was scheduled to arrive at the Birkenhead yard on November 23, 2000 and was expected to be re-delivered to Costa on March 22, 2001. Costa blamed delays at the yard for terminating the contract. Latest reports suggest Italian court authorities are still adjudicating on who was responsible for breaking the contract.
June 12: BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS, the latest newbuilding from Royal Caribbean International, was transferred from Papenburg to Leerort on the River Ems and, on June 12, to Eemshaven for her final outfitting. During the the night of June 11, Meyerwerft's newest cruise ship was floated out after low water in the river had delayed the operation twice since June 8th. In the following weeks she will undergo sea trials, then debut in July with a summer of European sailings in the Baltic and Norwegian Fjords. In September, she moves to Boston for a fall season of Canada/New England sailings, then moves to Miami for 10 and 11-night Caribbean vacations through the end of the year.
Further Obscurity For Former RV SEA
June 13: Reports from SE Asia state that Star Cruises have returned NORWEGIAN STAR (I) (formerly ROYAL VIKING SEA/ROYAL ODYSSEY) to her owners, Actinor, who will charter the ship for three years to Crown Investments, a newly formed Chinese cruise line. As the CROWN, the once globe-trotting luxury cruise ship will be inaugurating a new cruise service between Shanghai and Cheju Island in Korea in late June for a mainland Chinese clientele.
QM2 Itineraries Announced
June 11: Cunard Line today announced the itineraries for QUEEN MARY 2's maiden voyage at a press conference held in New York. The new cruise ship, which is expected to be the largest ocean liner yet constructed at 1,132-feet (345-meters), will include the traditional six-day transatlantic crossing, Caribbean voyages from New York, Rio de Janeiro sailings to coincide with carnival. Bookings for QM2 will begin on August 1, for the vessel's maiden voyage scheduled to occur on January 12, 2004 from its homeport, Southampton, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. QM2 will sail throughout the caribbean from both New York and Florida and due to the vessel's speed of over 30 knots, she has the ability to sail a Caribbean route from New York, which traditionally departs from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. A keel-laying ceremony is expect July 4 for the 150,000-grt vessel, at at Alstom Chantiers de l' Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France.
More Aliaga Angst
June 8: Philippe Brebant and Hans Hoffman report two lovely old ferries have been delivered to Aliaga breakers. Under the delivery name OPY, the former QUEEN CALLIOPE/THESSALONIKI/KAMYROS/ROUSILLON/PRINZ HAMLET/PRINS HAMLET was beached at full speed on June 1, 2002. Built by Wartsila in 1966 for Lion Ferries, the 8,120 gt PRINS HAMLET was a near sister to Wallenius (later Commodore) Line's BOHEME, which is now sailing as the Scientology ship FREEWINDS. Two other similar ships survive to this day as Louis Cruise Line's PRINCESA MARISSA and the laid up Dane Sea Lines' ferry IALYSOS.
Joining the OPY on the Turkish beach is the handsome 1968-built 4,938 gt Italian Railways ferry GALLURA.
New Hope for US Hawaii Cruise Ship?
June 7: The D'Arcinoff Group, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm, through its subsidiary Voyager Holdings Inc., is negotiating a deal to build three 1,000-foot cruise ships in Maryland, one of which is set for service in Hawaii. The plan to seek $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees to build the ships is drawing scrutiny in aftermath of the bankruptcy of American Classic Voyages Co. Financing for the project hinges on support from Congress for the loan guarantee. Voyager is also seeking a waiver of federal law to allow the firm to run temporary service of a foreign-built vessel in Hawaii while the Maryland ship is built. Voyager's Hawaii ship would carry 2,000 passengers for three-day and four-day cruises.
OLYMPIA EXPLORER Christened
June 7: Royal Olympic Cruise Lines announced today that its cruise ship, OLYMPIA EXPLORER, was christened at the Port of Piraeus. The renowned composer and 1982 Oscar winner for his film score for "Chariots of Fire," Vangelis Papathanassiou, acted as the vessel's godfather. After the christening ceremony, music from Vangelis' score for the film "1492" was played. OLYMPIA EXPLORER, and her sister ship, OLYMPIA VOYAGER were both built at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg and have exceptional cruising speeds of up to 30 knots.
New Ships For Glacier Bay Cruiseline?
June 6: Glacier Bay Cruiseline based in Seatlle, Washington, announced that its partner, Voyager Holdings, has agreed to purchase two new cruise ships for deployment in Alaska and along the US Pacific Coast. The new ships will carry about 200 passenger and will join Glacier Bay's existing fleet of four small cruise vessels. Glacier Bay, specializes in itineraries featuring Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve but the deal with Voyager remains contingent on the approval by the U.S. Maritime Administration of Voyager's pending federal ship construction loan guarantee application to build a new 2,000-plus-passenger cruise ship for operation in Hawaii.
Star Expansion Plans
June 5: Star Cruises Ltd plans to buy a smaller new cruise ship to test the China market instead of earlier plans to buy two large vessels. The company also plans to build a large ship for its North American operations. and will invite the world's four largest shipyards to submit a tender for the two new ships.
June 3: Holland America Line's newest fleet addition was christened in in New York today following two nights of inaugural celebrations. The ship, which was accompanied by the retired New York City fireboat JOHN J HARVEY on its arrival, is the second HAL ship to bear the name PRINSENDAM. The first PRINSENDAM (8,566 gt/375 passengers) was built in 1973 and enjoyed a brief career with Holland America before burning and sinking (with no casualties) in the Gulf of Alaska in 1981. Holland America has nicknamed the new 794-passenger 38,000 gt PRINSENDAM the "Elegant Explorer" and has refitted the 673 foot ship (formerly the SEABORN SUN/ROYAL VIKING SUN) to match the rest of the HAL fleet. PRINSENDAM will be engaged in worldwide itineraries.
In the pierside ceremony, HAL bestowed the honor of "godparents" of the ship to its 10,000 employees. Three past employees of the year (Rose Abello, VP Public Relations; Eva Andresen, VP Information Services; and Linda Ehlenberger, VP Sales) broke the bottle of champagne across the ship's bow. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued an official proclamation naming Monday, June 3, 2002, "Prinsendam Day."
Click here for SHIPPING NEWS from Jan 1 to June 1 2002
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