Storm-hit cruise ship to be refloated
16 January 2004
HAMBURG – Efforts to refloat one of the world’s biggest new generation cruise ships were announced Friday, a day after divers were unable to survey underwater damage to the vessel at a German shipyard.
Divers were not permitted to inspect the submerged hull of the “Pride of America” at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, where the enormous vessel was damaged and listing badly following a severe winter storm overnight Wednesday.
Officials said construction scaffolding which shrouds the 280-metre-long vessel would have to be shored up and secured. Then water will be pumped from three flooded decks in a bid to refloat the vessel.
Only then will divers be allowed to go down to inspect hull damage, officials said.
The huge white ship is leaning about 15 degrees towards its right or starboard side at the dock.
Authorities theorised the ship may have been shoved against her starboard moorings during the storm. But it was unclear whether the storm, packing winds of up to 120 kph, was actually responsible for the mishap.
“A valve may have broken and let water into the hull,” a police spokesman said. “At present we cannot rule out anything.”
Lloyd Werft officials were said to be consulting with insurers to determine the extent of damages. Complicating the issue was the fact that the hull itself was built in America and Lloyd Werft was only involved in outfitting the superstructure and interiors.
The EUR 300 million vessel was due to be handed over in April to the Norwegian Cruise Line company.
One of the new generation of super-large cruise ships like the Queen Mary 2 which was christened last week, the “Pride of America” is to be the first new ocean-going passenger ship in nearly 50 years to sail under the American flag.
At 920 feet long and 72,000 tons, the “Pride of America” is only slightly smaller than the QM2, the largest of the new super-big cruise vessels at just over 1,000 feet in length and 74,000 tons.
She is scheduled to begin service in Hawaii in July 2004, offering seven-night inter-island round trip cruises from Honolulu. It was unclear whether the Bremerhaven incident would alter that schedule.
Built in a German shipyard, the ship is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Star Cruises, which has its headquarters in Hong Kong and is run out of its offices in Malaysia. Star Cruises in turn is a unit of Genting Berhad, a holding company in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In a bid to cater to American tourists, the ship will sail under the company’s new US Flag brand NCL America with 100 percent US officers and crew.
“Pride of America” will have eight restaurants, over 660 balcony staterooms, three pools and extensive children’s facilities. Firsts for NCL include a conservatory, a new category of family suites, a tennis court and an art gallery.
In a further bow to American tastes, “Pride of America” will feature hull art depicting the Stars and Stripes combined with the United States’ national bird – the Bald Eagle.
Below decks, an Alaskan Gold Rush Saloon, a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras Cabaret Lounge, a French restaurant inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and a Waikiki Bar will be among the eight restaurants and 10 bars and lounges.
Subject: German news