COSTA CROCIERE: Owners set to be sued over ship's design!
A US law firm is reportedly suing Carnival, the American owner of the Costa Concordia cruise liner shipwrecked off Italy this year, for allegedly leading its designers to sacrifice safety for profits.
AFP reports tha law firm, Eaves, is suing for punitive damages in California over the design of the doomed ship and hopes that a win would see all similarly designed cruise ships declared unseaworthy.
Eaves, who said it is part of a collective of lawyers representing around 150 claimants from the Costa Concordia, said the ship's design was fatally flawed "because it was top-heavy and had a propensity to roll".
"The sad tragedy is the race to build the biggest ship with the shallowest hulls and room for the most passengers. When will it stop?
"We decided we must file this complaint to stop a race which is destroying safety," said a spokesman for law firm.
"The ship's shallow draught, the area below the waterline, made it unstable, so that it tilted quickly over and many lifeboats became useless."
The 114,500-tonne ship ran aground on January 13, killing 32 of the 4,000 passengers on board.
Futuristic SeaOrbiter vessel set for October construction
What once seemed science fiction may be becoming a reality. The futuristic SeaOrbiter ocean explorer, a concept conceived by French architect Jacques Rougerie, has been trying to reach fruition for the past twelve years. However recent developments suggest that the vessel is set to start construction this October, with possible completion in 2013.The SeaOrbiter, if it goes ahead, will be the world’s first vertical ship to measure 51 meters (170 ft) in height. To realize this achievement more than 50 percent of the vessel will remain underwater. The project is expected to cost around US$52.7 million, with ambitions to observe and explore vast cross sections of oceanic life. Furthermore the SeaOrbiter hopes to implement a new standard of scientific communication that allows researchers to track and monitor marine life in real time. In doing so, a team of 18 marine scientists will live on board of the vessel. “This vertical vessel drifts in the currents hosting 18 oceanauts who will observe the life of the oceans on a permanent basis,” says Rougerie. “Marine life will naturally aggregate ... under its hull.”
The semi-submersible vessel will include an underwater chamber that delves 31 meters (102 ft) deep. Above deck is equipped with an open-air observation terrace, allowing the occupants to document migrating bird life, as well as enjoying some fresh air. The submerged sections will feature large portholes and panoramic windows, creating a state of the art underwater observatory.
The vessel will be installed with oceanographic observational and sonic equipment that will be linked to satellite facilities, while a multi-level atmospheric pressure module and a pressurized module will allow the “oceanauts” to live permanently in previously unexplored oceans. It is also anticipated that the vessel's design will include renewable energy initiatives such as solar, wind and wave power.
NUDE CRUISE: Bound to be the largest on Carnival Freedom
"Next February Carnival Freedom will set sail from Florida on a eight day Panama cruise.
This cruise will be organized by one of the biggest nude tourism agencys Bare Necessities. Carnival Freedom has around 3000 guests capacity and 70% of the nude cruise is already sold.
Owner of the Bare Necessities Nancy Tiemann, said "I think when we vacation, we would rather travel with like-minded people, whether nudists or jazz music lovers. It's not just about getting on a cruise ship and taking your clothes off." According to American Association for Nude Recreation this is $440 million business and Carnival wants share on this market. Carnival Freedom will set the record for the larges nude cruise in the world. Nude Cruises are nothing new to cruise industry, actually this charter cruises started 20 years ago with smaller ships of 600 guests..."
Silversea Cruises: ACQUIRES GALAPAGOS TOURISM COMPANY AND EXPEDITION SHIP
The Silversea Group announced today that it has purchased Canodros S.A., the premier Ecuadorian tourism company that operates in the Galapagos Islands, and their upmarket expedition ship, Galapagos Explorer II Silversea plans to add Galapagos Explorer II to its ultra-luxury fleet of six ships next year, after the all-suite, 100-guest vessel undergoes a major refurbishment in September 2013 and is given a new name, steps that will ensure consistency with the standards of the Silversea fleet. Until that time, Galapagos Explorer II will continue on its planned schedule of cruises and will continue to be operated by Canodros, which is based in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Canodros will also continue handling reservations for Galapagos Explorer II, as well as sales and marketing through its established network of travel companies and tour operators. The acquisition will enable the award-winning cruise company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre to expand the Silversea Expeditions brand. Its existing expedition ship, Silver Explorer, is regularly deployed in the polar regions, and the addition of a second vessel, offering year-round unique luxury expedition cruises in the Galapagos archipelago, means Silversea will have the opportunity to offer the adventure traveler a broader portfolio of itineraries, encompassing some of the world's most desired and least explored regions. The 4077-ton Galapagos Explorer II offers the stylish elegance of a mega-yacht, attentive onboard service and an enriching naturalist education program. All of its 50 spacious suites feature ocean views and 24 include private balconies. Public spaces include a restaurant, piano bar, library and Internet station, main lounge, outdoor bar, two outdoor whirlpools, and a marine observation deck. Guests sailing aboard Galapagos Explorer II will continue to enjoy the same exciting itineraries, luxury accommodations, shipboard amenities, informative lectures and sustainable tourism for which Canodros is known. Potential guests and travel agents interested in booking a Galapagos Explorer II voyage should visit www.galapagosexplorer.com for more information. Guests currently booked on Galapagos Explorer II, and travel agents or tour operators with clients booked on the ship, should continue to liaise through their normal channels with Canodros for any needed assistance with their reservation. In the coming months, Silversea will announce more details concerning plans for the ship after it is renovated and renamed.
MSC Cruises: Voyage Planning and Monitoring System
MSC Cruises has announced a real-time vessel tracking, tracing and monitoring system, developed with the software design company Quality Positioning Services (QPS). According to MSC, this voyage planning and monitoring system (VP & MS) allows it to implement route analysis and track each of its ships with an update rate of one second and an accuracy of less than five metres.
This initiative follows the Concordia incident when Cruise Industry News asked if this could have been prevented by a simple alert system. (As airlines track their planes, cruise lines can surely track their ships?)
MSC’s state-of-the-art system comprises five main components: The conversion and forwarding - via VSat and KU band systems - of all data received by the ship’s navigation instruments and engine control room to the MSC Cruises technical department in Sorrento. A QPS Connect server based at the technical department. Qastor, a route preparation and route analysis tool used by MSC staff in Sorrento. An office-based real-time monitoring and emergency control system. And, a dedicated MSC website showing all MSC Cruises’ ships with true nautical electronic navigation charts (ENCs).
“This state-of-the-art technology complements our on board crew’s vast knowledge, experience and capacity to proactively and efficiently manage unexpected situations. By providing this additional back-up system, we are able to make sure that our crew are 100% supported at all times and in all circumstances,” said Emilio La Scala, general manager, MSC Cruises Technical Department.
The system means that each ship is constantly sending information, including its own position, speed, heading and course together with all other ship targets within a 40 mile radius, to the shore based QPS Connect server in Sorrento. In order to provide a reliable traffic image, the QPS Connect server fuses the real-time vessel information with real-time information from terrestrial based AIS networks.
A Qastor system, a precise navigation, piloting and docking software application, is used to plan ship routes in advance. Before the route is sent to the vessel a detailed route scan is performed in order to detect possible shallow and so-called “no go areas.” Following this scan, and only once the route is considered 100 percent safe, the route is then exported to the vessel’s ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) on board.
A route monitoring and alert system makes up part of the QPS Connect server. In case a vessel exceeds its predefined route limits, enters a no-go area or exceeds a predefined speed limit, an automated alarm is given to the shore based company offices. This alarm sounds within seconds of the event. The officer of the watch can then take immediate corrective action if required and guide the vessel back on its right course.
A dedicated website is available to other key maritime staff of MSC. The website provides a complete real-time overview of the position of each vessel. In addition to the past vessel track, the active route is also available to provide an up-to-date and accurate overview.
Additionally, trim and list data as well as data collected from the engine control system and the onboard weather system are also sent to the QPS Connect server in real-time. This data is continuously available to MSC Cruises maritime operations staff to support the tactical decision making process in case of emergency. All data is continuously stored for post analysis and support of training.
Environmental impact due to emissions is also kept to a minimum by monitoring technical data such as power and fuel consumption.
With this track, trace and monitoring system, MSC Cruises said it ensures the highest level of security and safety to its passengers and crews.
Live London Streaming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Thames Pageant Boats Web Camera
Watch live streaming video coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Thames Pageant on Sunday 3rd June 2012 by viewing our LIVE London River Thames High Definition video streaming webcamera positioned overlooking Battersea Bridge – the start area of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Thames Pageant featuring a flotilla of over 1,000 boats to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Catch LIVE the River Thames Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations by viewing our streaming live video pan, tilt and zoom HD River Thames webcam overlooking the Battersea Bridge, Albert Bridge and the Chelsea Bridge where over 1,000 boats will take part in the largest ever boat flotillas assembled on the River Thames in the heart of London – Capital City of England – to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The formal River Thames Boats Pageant will start at 2pm (BST) and finishes at 6pm (BST). Watch the boats taking part in the River Thames Royal Pageant assemble infront of the Battersea Bridge on the River Thames in the early hours of Sunday morning to take part in the formal river procession with Her Majesty The Queen at 2pm on Sunday afternoon by viewing our streaming LIVE River Thames web cam.
Watch Tower Bridge Live - here you can see the Flotilla of boats passing the ionic London landmark TOWER BRIDE!
NORWAY: Pilots' strike disrupts fjords cruises
Just at the time of year when cruises to the fjords should be reaching their seasonal peak, the strike among Norwegian pilots is beginning to cause huge disruption.
Many ships are having to switch ports at the last minute or drop calls altogether and spend unscheduled days at sea. One ship has abandoned Norway completely for the week and will instead travel to ports in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The capital city, Oslo, is completely off-limits to visiting cruise ships and those - such as Vision of the Seas - which use the port for turnarounds, have been forced to switch to Gothenburg in Sweden.
P&O, which this week has Aurora and Arcadia in Norwegian waters, and is also scheduled tyo have Adonia and Azura in the region within the next few days, put a statement on its Facebook page, telling passengers that "due to the fluid nature of the situation we are not able to advise in advance if calls will be affected." The statement reads: "We are aware of the public sector strike that is currently ongoing in Norway.
On Saturday, Vision of the Seas will be starting its next cruise from Gothenburg, instead of Oslo. MSC Opera, sailing out of Southampton, has also had to switch the Swedish port, from where passenger excursions have been re-arranged.
Princess, Holland America and Costa have ships scheduled to cruise the fjords over the next few days. The public workers' pay dispute first spread to the 42 Oslo pilots last weekend and by Wednesday 103 pilots nationwide were affected because the skippers of the boats which take them to and from cruise ships were called out. The affected ports include Ålesund, Tromsø, Honningsvåg (North Cape) and Kirkenes. As well as cruise ships, the dispute is threatening the country's fuel supplies because oil tankers have been unable to berth. The only passenger ships to escape the effects of the strike are the coastal express vessels operated by Hurtigruten. Their captains ply the route between Bergen and Kirkenes on a regular basis and are familiar with every rock and tide race.
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