Saturday, March 31, 2012
Eighty-nine Australians are aboard a cruise ship that drifted for 24 hours off the Philippines after being disabled by a fire. The Philippine coast guard said the ship, with 1000 people on board, had been repaired and is heading slowly to Malaysia. The Azamara Quest, which had embarked on a 17-day cruise of south-east Asia, was left drifting in southern Philippine waters after a fire broke out on Friday night. The flames engulfed one of the ship's engine rooms but were quickly extinguished, the ship's operator said. Five crew members suffered smoke inhalation, including one who was seriously injured and needed hospital care. The ship informed the coast guard late yesterday Saturday that its power and propulsion had been restored and it was moving slowly toward Sandakan on the east coast of Borneo, its next destination after it left Manila last Thursday. Azamara Club Cruises, the ship's operator, said in a statement that the ship was sailing at a top speed of only six knots (11km/h) and was expected to reach Sandakan "within 24 to 48 hours". It said company president Larry Pimentel would meet personally with the passengers and crew in Sandakan. The company said the rest of the cruise would be cancelled. It said it would fully refund the passengers as a "gesture of goodwill" and provide each guest with a future cruise certificate for the amount paid for the aborted voyage. It was the latest in a series of accidents hitting luxury cruise liners since January, when the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. The Azamara Quest is carrying 590 passengers and 411 crew members. Operator Azamara Club Cruises is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. More than one-third, or 201, of the passengers on board are American, and nearly one-third, or 119, of the crew are Filipinos, according to lists of passenger and crew nationalities provided by the ship captain to the coast guard.
The Azamara QuestThe vessel had left Hong Kong on Monday. The ship made a port call in Manila and left for Sandakan on Thursday. It was scheduled to make several stops in Indonesia before arriving in Singapore on April 12. But instead the stricken ship drifted yesterday in the Sulu Sea, about 130 kilometres south of the Philippines' Tubbataha Reef, Ricafrente said. The area lies between the Philippines and the island of Borneo, which is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia. A woman from Kailua-Kuna, Hawaii, who said she was one of the passengers, posted an entry on Azamara's Facebook page after internet service was restored on the ship, praising the crew's handling of the situation. "No A/C yet but everyone is fine," she said. "Cannot say enough about this Captain and the crew. They have been absolutely wonderful keeping us updated constantly with the good or the bad. ... Sorry that we cannot finish our cruise, but we will back ASAP." She said the crew worked with very little rest "to keep us all in good spirits, well fed and comfortable". There was a jar where passengers could place donations to help the injured crewman who was in serious condition, she said. Ricafrente said that no distress call was received and there would be an investigation. A Philippine coast guard vessel approached the Azamara Quest, but the ship's captain sent an email to the coast guard saying that it needed no assistance and that everything was "under control". Engineers yesterday restored electricity in the ship to re-establish air conditioning, running water, plumbing, refrigeration and food preparation, the company said. The ship's senior physician, Oliver Gilles, said that the crew member who was in serious condition suffered "prolonged heat and smoke exposure". A month after 32 people died when the Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the western coast of Italy, a fire on the Costra Allegra left that ship without power and adrift in waters known to be prowled by pirates in the Indian Ocean for three days. Both Costa ships are part of Costa Crociere, SpA, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise operator.
Ship Seized Over US Legal Action
US marshals briefly seized a cruise ship in coastal Texas under a judge's order in a 10 million dollar (£6.25 million) legal action filed on behalf of a German woman who died in the Costa Concordia disaster. The Carnival Triumph was seized for several hours at its port in Galveston, where it was scheduled to leave with 2,700 passengers. Both sides said they reached a confidential deal that released the ship for its five-day cruise to Mexico. A Texas judge had ordered the seizure to secure the plaintiff's claims against Carnival, the Miami-based parent company of the Italian cruise line whose ship hit a reef and sank off an Italian island in January. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday on behalf of a German woman who died in the Costa Concordia incident, which killed 32 people. Plaintiff lawyer John Eaves Jr said he did not file the lawsuit to inconvenience passengers of the Carnival Triumph, but rather to emphasise to Carnival the need for improved safety. He said terms of the agreement were confidential. Carnival released a statement noting that the lawsuit was related to a European-based sister cruise line. The company said "the matter involving the Carnival Triumph" was resolved and the ship departed early on Saturday evening.Deputy US Marshal Alfredo Perez confirmed that marshals had seized the vessel. Passengers were allowed on and off the ship, which was not allowed to leave its port while the deal was negotiated. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the estate of Siglinde Stumpf, claims that Carnival shared responsibility for Ms Stumpf's death for not preparing and maintaining proper safety programs for all vessels under its control, including the ill-fated Costa Concordia. The Italian captain of the Costa Concordia when it sank, Francesco Schettino, is under investigation for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship during the evacuation. Schettino has denied wrongdoing and claimed that the reef was not marked on charts. Mr Eaves argued that the company's training for captains and crew members is inadequate. He said a major aim of the lawsuit is to persuade Carnival to improve safety standards and to join in a campaign to update maritime law, which he said has some good elements but should be brought "into the modern age".
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Crew Member Missing After Fire On Stolt Ship
Stolt Tankers, a subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen and owner and operator of MT Stolt Valor, has reported a fire on the ship. The company says that the fire has been contained but that one crew member is still missing. The ship is under tow approximately 45 miles off the coast of Qatar. There has been no spillage of fuel oil from the ship, nor any reported or visible spillage of cargo.Stolt Tankers is working in close co-operation with the authorities, salvage experts and insurers to salvage the ship and its cargoes and to avoid any environmental impact. Full investigations into the cause of the accident are being conducted by the flag state and the company. MT Stolt Valor is a 2004-built chemical tanker of 25,268 dwt. The ship has been declared a constructive total loss for insurance purposes. At 10:43am: (LON:SNI) Sygen International share price was -0.13p at 62.88p
Monday, March 19, 2012
First Tow Boat Head Up Mississippi River
The shipping navigation season has started a bit earlier than normal as the first tow boat and barges traveled north on the Mississippi River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the MV Deana Ann tow boat out of Kentucky opened the season Saturday. The Deana Ann moved seven barges through the lock and dams in Red Wing and Hastings before arriving in St. Paul on Saturday night.Over the last 30 years, the average opening date is March 20. Last year, the navigation season didn't open until March 31. The earliest opening date has been March 4, which happened in 1984, 2000 and 2001. The latest was April 7 in 1978.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Dying Cattle Stranded at Sea
Compassion has been informed of a horrific situation unfolding near Eritrea. Right now, thousands of cattle are dead or dying, stranded on a converted cargo ship in the Red Sea. The recently converted livestock vessel Gracia Del Mar is carrying cattle from Brazil to Egypt. Reports suggest that one of the ship’s engines has broken down and this has led to ventilation failure resulting in extreme suffering and the death of many animals. More than 2,750 cattle are thought to have died on board already, and the situation is worsening with every hour that passes.The ship has been refused permission to dock at a number of ports, including in Egypt, due to the large number of dead and dying animals. The surviving animals desperately need veterinary care or, where necessary, to be humanely euthanized. Reports suggest that conditions onboard are desperate. Back in 2005, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) issued guidelines on animal welfare during transport at sea. Both Brazil and Egypt signed up and, as the exporter and importer, they have clear responsibilities for the welfare of these animals.