Coast Guard inspects cruise ships without warning

The Coast Guard began unannounced inspections of cruise ships this month, to focus more attention on ships with the most complaints during routine inspections, federal safety officials learned Tuesday.

Coast Guard Capt. Eric Christensen told the National Transportation Safety Board that his agency inspected 140 foreign cruise ships last year when they reached U.S. ports and found 351 discrepancies from international safety standards.

The most common problem in 44 cases: Fire-screen doors intended to hinder a fire didn’t close properly, he said. Other problems found included lifeboats with cracked hulls, obstructed means of escape and crews unfamiliar with what to do in an emergency.

Coast Guard inspects cruise ships without warning USA Today

Concordia salvage could damage tourism

The mayor of Giglio, the island off Tuscany where the Costa Concordia capsized in 2012, killing 32 people, has called for the removal of the wreck to be postponed until September in order to “safeguard the tourism industry”.

An operation to remove the wreck, which was pulled upright last September, is scheduled to get underway in June.

The rusting cruise liner has dominated the port of Giglio for more than two years, but the island’s mayor Sergio Ortelli has argued that the timing of its removal clashes with the onset of the tourism season, La Stampa reported.

He also lamented the “total lack of information” from the authorities over the timing and process of the removal operation, saying it could seriously impact tourism and had “made Giglio afraid”.

‘Concordia salvage could damage tourism’: mayor The Local

Cruise industry booming despite rough seas

At first glance, the cruise industry’s public-relations disasters during the past two years would seem like enough to make almost any business take on water.

Since the Costa Concordia ran aground off Italy in January 2012, killing 32 people, the industry has been besieged by mechanical failures, disease outbreaks, congressional scrutiny and a recent class-action suit filed by passengers on the Carnival Triumph, which was adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for days.

Yet despite repeated images of stranded, frustrated passengers, business has been booming — and the trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon, industry watchers say.

Efforts in Congress to tighten regulation have stalled, and the twin pillars of the cruise economy — affordable prices and repeat customers — have stood as a bulwark against other problems.

“People just keep coming back,” said Andrea Stokes, who tracks the tourism industry for Ipsos, a global market-research company.

In the U.S., she said, recent efforts by the cruise industry to expand to ports in Baltimore and the New York City area have helped open the market to new vacationers.

Cruise industry booming despite rough seas Orlando Sentinel

Eight missing as cargo ships collide outside of Tokyo Bay

Two cargo ships collided just outside Tokyo Bay, according to the Japanese Coast Guard.
The Panamanian-flagged Beagle III crashed into another vessel, the South Korean-registered Pegasus Prime, causing it to sink. The incident occurred southeast of the Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Of the 20 crew members — all of whom are Chinese nationals — aboard Beagle III, 12 have been found and eight are still missing.

Of the rescued crew members, six have slight injuries. The Chief Engineer of he ship was found drifting and seriously injured on Tuesday, He was taken to the nearby Miura City Hospital in a “state of cardiopulmonary arrest,” but was confirmed dead Tuesday, the Japan Coast Guard confirmed.

Eight missing as cargo ships collide outside of Tokyo Bay CNN

Legambiente slams suspending ban on big Venice cruise ships

Venice, March 18 – Italy’s leading environmental group accused a regional court of recklessness on Tuesday for suspending a ban on large cruise ships in Venice’s fragile lagoon. “It is certainly not a good sign, and it is the result of a reckless choice of recent years that has created the practice of channelling cruise ships in an environment where they should be banned,” said Legambiente. On Monday a regional administrative court agreed to suspend the ban submitted by companies operating in the port of Venice, including members of the cruise ship industry, which is a major employer in the local tourism-driven economy.

Legambiente slams suspending ban on big Venice cruise ships gazzettadelsud

Mediterranean cruises taken by 27 million in 2013

Over 27 million people took a cruise in the Mediterranean in 2013, 4.22% more than the previous year, according to MedCruise, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports. The association released its latest annual report on Thursday at a sector fair in Miami. Analyzing the last five years, the study underscored significant growth in the cruise market, which has risen by about 24% since 2009 and saw two-digit growth in 2010 and 2011.
Mediterranean cruises taken by 27 million in 2013 ANSA

Helmsman from Costa Concordia disaster fails to turn up for trial of captain

Italian authorities are searching for the helmsman who was steering the Costa Concordia on the night it smashed into the island of Giglio after he failed to turn up for a court hearing in the trial of Capt Francesco Schettino on Tuesday.
Jacob Rusli Bin, from Indonesia, was supposed to have given evidence to the court in the Tuscan town of Grosseto but did not appear and could not be traced.
Helmsman from Costa Concordia disaster fails to turn up for trial of captain The Telegraph

Costa Concordia latest on trial of captain

With the trial of the Costa Concordia captain still ongoing and with no clear sign of when we will likely see an outcome and if Francesco Schettino will be sentenced, he has once again spoken out against Carnival Cruise Lines.

If we are to believe the recent report, Schettino believes that he is being made a scapegoat in order for the Costa’s parent company, Carnival to collect a windfall in an insurance payout. The insurance payout is expected to be around $2 billion.

Costa Concordia latest on trial of captain Cruise News

Costa Concordia captain had ‘poor’ leadership skills

An Italian court heard yesterday that the leadership qualities of the captain of the Costa Concordia had been brought into question some three years before the cruise liner ran aground.

Francesco Schettino is on trial on charges ranging from manslaughter to negligence and abandoning ship over the January 13, 2012 shipwreck that claimed the lives of 32 of the 4,229 people on board.

The court in the central city of Grosseto called to the stand the former president of the ship’s owners Costa Crociere, Gianni Onorato, and former chairman and chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi.

Costa Concordia captain had ‘poor’ leadership skills Gulf Times

Costa Concordia must be scrapped in EU’ says Greenpeace

Greenpeace Italy on Monday called for the Costa Concordia wreck to be disposed of safely in a European port following the 1992 Basel Convention, which among other measures bans the export of hazardous naval waste from industrialized to non-industrialized nations. “The European Commission (EC) in 2012 excluded ships from the Basel Convention. This led to the dismantling of ship demolition facilities in the EU while favoring the export of such ships to Turkey and other Asian nations,” said Greenpeace Italy Campaign Director Alessandro Gianni…

Costa Concordia must be scrapped in EU’ says Greenpeace Gazetta Del Sud