Tropical Storm Cindy, currently in the Gulf of Mexico has led Carnival Valor and Carnival Triumph to change their five-night Western Caribbean cruises. The storm they are avoiding is located 305 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Meanwhile the Southern Caribbean is being affected by Tropical Storm Bret, which formed Monday afternoon.
The Liberty, which departed San Juan, Puerto Rico for a seven-day Caribbean cruise, had an engine fire on Monday during a scheduled port call at St. Thomas and the cruise ended. Passengers, stranded on St. Thomas, are being flown home on chartered flights.
The sinking of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia in 2012 – and the reported difficulties in evacuating over 4,000 people with the eventual loss of 32 lives –underlined the urgent need to accurately trace passengers during emergencies.
Indeed, while most people on board were brought ashore during a six-hour evacuation, the search for missing passengers and crew continued for several months.
Wireless Technology Can Dramatically Improve Ship Safety Product Design and Development
Cruise lines said Thursday their biggest ships would give Venice a wide berth from November 30 after a long-running row about their effect on the delicate lagoon city. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) made the vow after a meeting with Italian culture, environment and transport ministers. In the latest episode in the long saga, Italy’s leading environmental group last month accused a regional court of recklessness 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.
Cruise operators, like airline pilots, may be relying too heavily on electronics to navigate massive ships, losing the knowledge and ability needed to operate a vessel in the case of a power failure, an expert sea pilot told a federal agency on Wednesday.
Capt. Jorge Viso with the Tampa Bay Pilots testified before the National Transportation Safety Board on the second day of a two-day hearing the agency is holding after several high-profile cruise mishaps, including last year’s fire aboard the Carnival Triumph that left thousands of passengers stranded for days in squalid conditions aboard a powerless ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ships may over-rely on electronics Fire Engineering
Cruise Ships: Examining Safety, Operations and Oversight
The National Transportation Safety Board held a public forum on cruise ship safety and oversight on March 25-26 in Washington.
The forum, Cruise Ships: Examining Safety, Operations and Oversight, reviewed the regulatory framework, ship design and fire protection, operations and corporate oversight of cruise ships. It explored some recent high-profile incidents. The forum’s goal was to encourage dialogue among industry stakeholders, regulators, and the general public to better understand cruise ship safety and oversight. Participants included regulators such as the U.S. Coast Guard, vessel owners and operators, researchers and industry groups.
The Cruise Ship Safety Event can be seen here: http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/032614/ntsb_archive_flv.htm
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.
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
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
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