December 18, 2008
Norwegian Cruise Lines has announced that it will cancel one of the two ships it had on order with the shipyard STX Europe. Their project, code-named F3, was meant to include two 150,000-ton ships with a capacity of 4,200 passengers, the biggest ships in the NCL fleet.
One of them has now been cancelled presumably to save costs.
December 17, 2008
Due to the slow economy a larger than usual number of musicians seem to run out of gigs on land and thus are applying for cruise ship jobs. This means that it’s a bit tougher at the moment to get gigs on cruise ships.
Cruise lines have the luxury of picking not only the best players but also those that are willing and able to stay for full contracts which can vary between 4 and 6 months depending on the cruise line. They are also booking further ahead, so if you’re interested in this kind of work, make sure to audition early and make yourself available as much as you can.
December 8, 2008
The smaller tourist vessel MV Ushuaia, owned by an argentinian company grounded on December 4th near Cape Anna in the NW Antarctic Peninsula. All passengers have been transported to safety by vessels that where cruising nearby.
During the accident the ship punctured fuel tanks resulting in an oil spill that seems to be contained presently by an oil spill barrier. Nearby bird colonies as well as penguin colonies could be in danger from the toxic fuel oil.
Cruise traffic seems to be outpacing necessary traffic regulations in the region, something the Antarctic Treaty System has failed to implement.
Steps to be considered must include banning large vessels (since they pose a larger threat to the environment because they carry heavier fuel oil), establishing ice-strengthening standards, establishing stringent qualifications and training for ice navigators, and reviewing how effectively existing regulations are implemented.
News of cruise ship attacks by pirates in the waters around Somalia have have been pouring in the last couple of months. An oil tanker has been captured and a ransom is now being paid out to pirates to release the ship with its crew. The cruise ship MS Nautica was attacked by pirates but was able to outrun them. More and more such stories are being reported to everyone’s growing concern.
Finally, efforts are underway to attack this problem head-on. 18 United Nations Members States have cosponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 1846 which was adopted unanimously by the Security Council on December 2nd. This resolution will increase efforts to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Furthermore, the European Union, on December 8th, will launch a fleet of at least seven ships, including the frigate HMS Northumberland, to the Gulf of Aden to fight the piracy threats. Considering that 20% of world trade passes through the Suez Canal, along with numerous passengers ships, and considering that pirates have carried out over 100 attacks this year only, there seems to finally be enough incentive for such an undertaking.
The German company Hapag Lloyd has taken other drastic measures to ensure the safety of their passengers on board MS. Columbus, a ship that was supposed to pass through pirate infested waters. The company has decided to disembark all passengers in the port of Hodeidah, Yemen, and fly them to Dubai where they’ll wait for the ship and embark anew.
The crew of 50 will have to face the pirates nevertheless.
So while we’re seeing pirate attacks increase, we’re also seeing some efforts to ensure passenger safety. Much more needs to be done though. Maybe this is worth reconsidering your travel plans.
December 3, 2008
Back to basics with today’s song suggestion. Who hasn’t played “Confirmation” at jam sessions? Here’s a nice version with Michael Brecker showing us how it’s done.
Artist: Will Lee & Bill Lee (Michael Brecker, Billy Hart…)