May 2007 News
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Carnival Freedom delivered
In late February, Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of its 22nd 'Fun Ship', the 110,000gt Carnival Freedom, from Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. Following an official naming ceremony in nearby Venice, presided over by the ship's godmother, Kathy Ireland, the new vessel departed on its inaugural voyage, a nine-day Mediterranean cruise, after which it took up a programme of 12-day Grand Mediterranean and Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises.

World's largest icebreaker
The nuclear-powered Russian ice-breaker 50 Let Pobedy has finally completed her sea trials and been handed over by builder Baltiyskiy Zavod of St Petersburg to Murmansk Shipping Company, which manages all eight state-owned nuclear icebreakers. The keel was originally laid in 1989 and the ship was launched in 1993 as Ural, sixth and last of the class. However, outfitting was suspended due to Russia's economic difficulties a year later. The first of the class, Arkitika, entered service back in 1974.

Harwich welcomes lengthened giant
The first part of Stena Line's biggest-ever rebuilding project, a � million investment to lengthen Harwich-Hook of Holland route vessels Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica, was completed on schedule when Stena Britannica returned to service with a first departure from the Essex port on 12 March.

Plane mover on charter
The ro-ro cargo vessel Ville de Bordeaux (2004) has resumed sailing for Airbus after spending February on charter to UECC for the movement of trade cars. The vessel is available for short-term charter when not required by Airbus and, with delays to the Airbus A380 project, she has undertaken several charters in recent times. In June 2005, she provided cover for P&O on the North Sea, in 2006 she was at Zeebrugge on charter to UECC, and in May she was chartered by Trasmediterranea for sailings from Cadiz.

Southward bound
Two well-known ferries have left Northern Europe for new roles with Mediterranean operators. Superfast X (2002/30,285gt) from Rosyth-Zeebrugge route has gone to SNCM Ferryterranee for service from French mainland ports to Corsica, while Tallink's Meloodia (1979/17,995gt) has said farewell to the Baltic and is to run for Spanish operator Balearia between Valencia and Palma, Majorca.

Poole awaits ro-ro decision
The EUR80 million ro-ro vessel Cotentin is due to be delivered by Aker Yards, Helsinki, during October but Brittany Ferries have still to confirm whether the 2,200 lane metres newbuild will run to Cherbourg from Poole or Portsmouth. The decision is awaited with particular anxiety in Poole, following last year's �5 million investment to deepen the main approach channel to 7.5m.

Sydney welcomes two Queens
Sydney's traffic system came to a standstill on 20 February, as thousands gathered to watch Cunard's two Queens, Queen Mary 2 (2004/148,528gt) and Queen Elizabeth 2 (1968/70,327gt), meet in the Australian port, the former on her maiden visit. It was the first time both had called there at the same time.

UK gets Independence
Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Independence of the Seas, will be based in Southampton from 17 May 2008 for a summer season, soon after being delivered from Aker Yards at a cost of �0 million. With sister ships Freedom of the Seas introduced in May 2006 and Liberty of the Seas in service this May, the 154,407gt Independence of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world.

21st century carrier
As reported in Naval Commentary in September 2006, the Pentagon has confirmed the name of the first of the US Navy's next generation of aircraft carriers as USS Gerald R. Ford, after the former President who recently died. Initial work on the 100,000-tonne ship began at Newport News in 2005, with overall construction due to start next year once the design has been finalised.

The lone ranger
The Royal Navy's newest ship, HMS Clyde, has been delivered with the Red Duster giving way to the White Ensign at a flag-swap ceremony held at Portsmouth on 30 January. The 81m Offshore Patrol Vessel has been purpose-built to provide a permanent security presence for the UK's South Atlantic territories.

Increased volumes at Teesport
P&O Ferries announced a good year on the river Tees in 2006. During the year, sailings on the routes to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge increased due to extra volumes of traffic when two competitors ceased services. Geest North Sea Line ceased running out of Teesport, and then Superfast reduced their service out of Rosyth, so more cargo used P&O in 2006. Frequency on the Rotterdam service was increased to six sailings per week, the same as the number of sailings to Zeebrugge, whilst additional weekend sailings were made according to demand.

Brostr鰉 fleet expansion
The Swedish Brostr鰉 Group recently had the latest addition to their fleet, Bro Distributer, named by Swedish Minister Maud Olofsson in a ceremony in Gothenburg. Bro Distributer (2006/11,344gt) is the third in a series of four D Class vessels built at Nanjing, China. The previous two sisters were named Bro Deliverer and Bro Designer in line with others.

Ships Monthly, 3 May 2007

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