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SeaDog-46

New Ice Class in force 1st Jan. 2018

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22 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Getting information on what ships have the Polar Code rating is not easy.  Many still have one of the older Ice codes.

The only vessel that converted to the new code is Silver Cloud when she had an extensive refurbishment in 2017 costing US$14 million.

Polar Class 6 that most of the new expedition ships will have only enables them to operate in Medium 1st year ice in summer / autumn.

Hanseatic Nature is one of the first of the new expedition ships & was handed over recently.

Sunstone's first vessel was launched recently in China as Greg Mortimer is PC5 for long term charter.

See the IMO information sheet on the Polar Code below. 

Silver Cloud.jpg

Hanseatic Nature 2019.jpg

Greg Mortimer 2019-3 PC5.jpg

IMO-Polar-Class.jpg

 

While there hasn’t been an official announcement that I know of passengers presently on Silversea’s Wind are reporting they were told that the Wind will be converted like the Cloud.   The Cloud and Wind are sister-ships and very similar except for minor cabin differences and the recent hull reinforcements and other enhancements made to the Cloud.  Target date is supposedly an extensive 4-month dry dock in late 2020. 

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3 hours ago, Bella0714 said:

I’m not sure where you got that from. The 2020 eclipse crosses well south of B.A.

52920A1C-A24D-425F-BC2D-190A8188B38D.png

My mistake. Thanks for correcting me. 

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18 hours ago, Bella0714 said:

Westerdam Nov. 27-Dec. 19, 2010. South America, Antarctica and Solar Eclipse. The eclipse is on Dec. 14th.

 

That is interesting.  It sails from Santiago, which I didn't think to check because we are sailing from BA.  But the November sailing is unusual in that this year, at least, the itineraries begin in December.  Perhaps HAL want to get in as many Antarctic "Experiences" as it can before their ice class certificates run out.

 

The post regarding the Maasdam is also interesting.  For those of you who have made this voyage, how does the '20-21 Maasdam itinerary differ from HAL has done in the past?  See Post 71 (Palmer Archipelago, Danco Coast and Antarctic Sound)   I don't think that the ship is Class 6 certified.

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Just watched a very interesting show on the Discovery Channel, last night it was about the cruise ship, MV Explorer which sank in Antarctica on 23 Nov 2007. All 154 pass & crew got off safely and were rescued after spending 5 hours in open life boats. Makes for a very compelling reason why they are changing the rules for cruise ships in that part of the world.

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Posted (edited)

Here’s my question. Has there ever been a mass market cruise line that has cruised in Antarctica waters in the last 40 years that has either sunk or was crippled to the point where passengers had to be evacuated from the ship?

 

I get the issue with small exploration ships that take folks ashore. What I don’t see is the evidence that those issues apply to the larger “sail by” cruises that take established deep water routes around the peninsula like the ones HAL, Celebrity and Princess take. 

 

But, hey, the decision has been made, although the Azamara Pursuit has two “sail by only” cruises scheduled for Feb 2022, so we’ll see how this all turns out once everyone has posted their Jan/Feb 2022 Antarctica cruises. 

 

Sorry for for being such a sceptic, but there will be a lot of folks who live on budgets that won’t be able to see Antarctica after Jan 2022 if this restriction is actually enforced to the letter. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Here’s my question. Has there ever been a mass market cruise line that has cruised in Antarctica waters in the last 40 years that has either sunk or was crippled to the point where passengers had to be evacuated from the ship?

 

I get the issue with small exploration ships that take folks ashore. What I don’t see is the evidence that those issues apply to the larger “sail by” cruises that take established deep water routes around the peninsula like the ones HAL, Celebrity and Princess take. 

 

But, hey, the decision has been made, although the Azamara Pursuit has two “sail by only” cruises scheduled for Feb 2022, so we’ll see how this all turns out once everyone has posted their Jan/Feb 2022 Antarctica cruises. 

 

Sorry for for being such a sceptic, but there will be a lot of folks who live on budgets that won’t be able to see Antarctica after Jan 2022 if this restriction is actually enforced to the letter. 

Who thought that a cruise ship that struck a rock close to shore would breach 4 watertight compartments meaning that there was no force on this earth that would keep that ship afloat, but that's what happened with Concordia.

 

Who thought that maintaining engine oil levels within the acceptable range (like your car 1/2 quart low) would result in 4 engines shutting down and causing a ship to drift near rocky shoals while blacked out, requiring air evacuation of many passengers, but that is what happened to Viking Sky.

 

What if what happened to the old Prinsendam in 1980, where a fire broke out in the engine room off Alaska, and within an hour was declared out of control, and all passengers and crew needed to be evacuated.  Where are the USAF and CAF rescue facilities (since neither country's CG helicopters had the range) or the VLCC that was used as a place to land the evacuees.

 

The IMO's philosophy (rightly so) is that "the ship is the best lifeboat", and these rules make that lifeboat better.

 

"Deep water" routing is no guarantee of safety.  Growlers and bergy bits are almost impossible to detect on radar, and these present a far greater risk than large ice bergs.

 

 

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1 hour ago, chengkp75 said:

Who thought that a cruise ship that struck a rock close to shore would breach 4 watertight compartments meaning that there was no force on this earth that would keep that ship afloat, but that's what happened with Concordia.

 

Who thought that maintaining engine oil levels within the acceptable range (like your car 1/2 quart low) would result in 4 engines shutting down and causing a ship to drift near rocky shoals while blacked out, requiring air evacuation of many passengers, but that is what happened to Viking Sky.

 

What if what happened to the old Prinsendam in 1980, where a fire broke out in the engine room off Alaska, and within an hour was declared out of control, and all passengers and crew needed to be evacuated.  Where are the USAF and CAF rescue facilities (since neither country's CG helicopters had the range) or the VLCC that was used as a place to land the evacuees.

 

The IMO's philosophy (rightly so) is that "the ship is the best lifeboat", and these rules make that lifeboat better.

 

"Deep water" routing is no guarantee of safety.  Growlers and bergy bits are almost impossible to detect on radar, and these present a far greater risk than large ice bergs.

 

 

These are some good examples of some pretty stupid decisions from what I understand and, of course, have nothing to do with cruising in the Antarctica peninsula. 

 

The captain of the Concordia from what I heard was drunk and had no business getting that close to the shore. But thanks to this particular accident from what I understand the life boats now have to be lower on the larger cruise ships. For example when we were on the Koningsdam in Jul 2017 and asked why the life boat racks were now on the promenade rather than above it, a ship’s officer told us it was because of rule changes triggered by the Concordia accident. 

 

As far as the Viking Sky goes, what in the heck were they even doing sailing into that massive of a storm anyway, especially if they knew in plenty of time how bad it was. Hopefully Viking has to pay back Norway for what it cost the Norwegian rescue team and associated services to evacuate those people to shore. 

 

As far as the Prinsendam fire 40 years ago, I would hope the cruise ships in general have better fire protection equipment now than they had then. 

 

But like I said, it will be interesting to see what ACTUALLY happens come Jan 2022.

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

These are some good examples of some pretty stupid decisions from what I understand and, of course, have nothing to do with cruising in the Antarctica peninsula. 

 

The captain of the Concordia from what I heard was drunk and had no business getting that close to the shore. But thanks to this particular accident from what I understand the life boats now have to be lower on the larger cruise ships. For example when we were on the Koningsdam in Jul 2017 and asked why the life boat racks were now on the promenade rather than above it, a ship’s officer told us it was because of rule changes triggered by the Concordia accident. 

 

As far as the Viking Sky goes, what in the heck were they even doing sailing into that massive of a storm anyway, especially if they knew in plenty of time how bad it was. Hopefully Viking has to pay back Norway for what it cost the Norwegian rescue team and associated services to evacuate those people to shore. 

 

As far as the Prinsendam fire 40 years ago, I would hope the cruise ships in general have better fire protection equipment now than they had then. 

 

But like I said, it will be interesting to see what ACTUALLY happens come Jan 2022.

I don't believe that Schettino was proved to be drunk, but that is neither here nor there.  And, no, there was no change to lifeboat position after the Concordia, the only change to SOLAS from this was the timing of the muster drill.  The reason that the lifeboats are now hanging on the promenade deck is because it allows for an extra deck of balcony cabins, and more internal (revenue generating) space.

 

The storm for the Viking Sky was not that "massive" a storm, and no fault for sailing into that weather has been assigned by the regulatory agencies that investigated the incident.  

 

Gee, lets see, there was the Carnival Splendor (2010) and the Carnival Triumph (2013), that while not considered to have gotten out of control to the point that the ship was abandoned, it still left these ships without power and no hope of restoring power.

 

And as for "what actually happens" in 2022, do you think ships that are not Polar classed will still operate below 60* south?  As soon as they do, their certificate of class is yanked, they lose their hull and P&I insurance, and without a certificate of class the ship will never be allowed to leave port again.

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7 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

I don't believe that Schettino was proved to be drunk, but that is neither here nor there.  And, no, there was no change to lifeboat position after the Concordia, the only change to SOLAS from this was the timing of the muster drill.  The reason that the lifeboats are now hanging on the promenade deck is because it allows for an extra deck of balcony cabins, and more internal (revenue generating) space.

 

The storm for the Viking Sky was not that "massive" a storm, and no fault for sailing into that weather has been assigned by the regulatory agencies that investigated the incident.  

 

Gee, lets see, there was the Carnival Splendor (2010) and the Carnival Triumph (2013), that while not considered to have gotten out of control to the point that the ship was abandoned, it still left these ships without power and no hope of restoring power.

 

And as for "what actually happens" in 2022, do you think ships that are not Polar classed will still operate below 60* south?  As soon as they do, their certificate of class is yanked, they lose their hull and P&I insurance, and without a certificate of class the ship will never be allowed to leave port again.

Seems like you are definitely in the know, but I still didn’t hear any examples where the larger “sail by only” cruise ships have encountered any serious issues in the Antarctica waters over the past 40 years. 

 

But like I said, we'll all just have to wait and see.

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41 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Seems like you are definitely in the know, but I still didn’t hear any examples where the larger “sail by only” cruise ships have encountered any serious issues in the Antarctica waters over the past 40 years. 

 

But like I said, we'll all just have to wait and see.

 

But what difference does it make even if there have been no "sail by only" cruise ships that encountered difficulty in the Antarctic waters?  The fact is that the IMO passed this regulation and ships will have to abide by it.   I don't see is as a "wait and see" if the cruise lines will abide by the regulation.  The only "wait and see" might be whether there may be future exemptions to the regulation.  

 

Also, don't the "drive by" cruises sail to many of the same spots in the Antarctic than do the explorations ships?  I distinctly recall seeing a photo of one such ship a few yards away from the HAL Zaandam.  And it is not just the difficulty of ice that concerns the IMO but the possibility that a ship may become disabled, necessitating emergency evacuation, which may not be forthcoming for days.  

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Seems like you are definitely in the know, but I still didn’t hear any examples where the larger “sail by only” cruise ships have encountered any serious issues in the Antarctica waters over the past 40 years. 

 

But like I said, we'll all just have to wait and see.

So, you only change a safety requirement when there is a disaster?  I know that that is how the IMO has operated in the past, but they are trying to be pro-active here for passenger safety.  The more they learn about ice conditions and the effects on ships, the better they can design safety requirements.  Pick the Hawaiian Islands, when was the last time a cruise ship had a serious issue like fire, grounding, or sinking?  So, should the USCG relax its safety regulations on the Pride of America (which are stricter than those for foreign flag ships), just because there have never been any incidents there over the last 40 years?  No, when there are no incidents, insurance premiums go down (especially in the maritime world, since the P&I clubs are mutual insurance companies owned by the shipping lines), you don't relax standards, or ignore advancements in safety.

 

And, my examples were of ships that were disabled in what are considered to be temperate climates, to show that you don't need to be in remote, inclement areas for a situation to go badly sideways in a hurry.

 

According to your philosophy, airliners should never have installed radars, since there hadn't been a midair collision in a while, even though adding a radar would put an extra level of safety there, because that wouldn't be fair to increase the cost of flights to cover the radar for those who can't afford it.

 

As for examples of incidents in the Antarctic, how do you prove a negative?  Because we haven't had any incidents down there, we should send more and larger ships down there, and hope the law of averages can be beat and we won't have to end up rescuing a ship?  That about it?

 

I've worked in waters which are just within the 60* north limits, and have found sea temperatures well below 30*F, and when you suck that cold water into the ship for cooling, you create a low pressure, lowering the freezing point of the water, and you block your strainers with a "slushy", which can result in complete black out of the ship.  We had to modify our sea chests to allow us to recirculate some warmed cooling water to the inlet to keep from this water freezing.  This is one of the requirements of the Polar Code, and this can happen in completely ice free water.  Ships designated for Arctic waters have had improvements like this for years, but with the proliferation of cruise ships going to Arctic waters, there was a need to codify these requirements, and the Polar Code is the latest.

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10 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

So, you only change a safety requirement when there is a disaster?  I know that that is how the IMO has operated in the past, but they are trying to be pro-active here for passenger safety.  The more they learn about ice conditions and the effects on ships, the better they can design safety requirements.  Pick the Hawaiian Islands, when was the last time a cruise ship had a serious issue like fire, grounding, or sinking?  So, should the USCG relax its safety regulations on the Pride of America (which are stricter than those for foreign flag ships), just because there have never been any incidents there over the last 40 years?  No, when there are no incidents, insurance premiums go down (especially in the maritime world, since the P&I clubs are mutual insurance companies owned by the shipping lines), you don't relax standards, or ignore advancements in safety.

 

And, my examples were of ships that were disabled in what are considered to be temperate climates, to show that you don't need to be in remote, inclement areas for a situation to go badly sideways in a hurry.

 

According to your philosophy, airliners should never have installed radars, since there hadn't been a midair collision in a while, even though adding a radar would put an extra level of safety there, because that wouldn't be fair to increase the cost of flights to cover the radar for those who can't afford it.

 

As for examples of incidents in the Antarctic, how do you prove a negative?  Because we haven't had any incidents down there, we should send more and larger ships down there, and hope the law of averages can be beat and we won't have to end up rescuing a ship?  That about it?

 

I've worked in waters which are just within the 60* north limits, and have found sea temperatures well below 30*F, and when you suck that cold water into the ship for cooling, you create a low pressure, lowering the freezing point of the water, and you block your strainers with a "slushy", which can result in complete black out of the ship.  We had to modify our sea chests to allow us to recirculate some warmed cooling water to the inlet to keep from this water freezing.  This is one of the requirements of the Polar Code, and this can happen in completely ice free water.  Ships designated for Arctic waters have had improvements like this for years, but with the proliferation of cruise ships going to Arctic waters, there was a need to codify these requirements, and the Polar Code is the latest.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m all for safety without a doubt and we don’t mind paying a little extra if necessary.

 

BTW it appears RCI is the first to figure a way to make their 660 passenger R-class Azamara Pursuit compatible with the post 2022 rules as they now have two bookable 21 day cruises in Feb 2022 that include 3 days sailing around the Antarctica peninsula. The starting price for those cruises is around $260 pp/day. 

 

Now, these cruises are only in Feb, so that might be the workaround. But, folks on a budget will be able to at least continue to go there. It will be interesting to see what other cruise lines with similar “upgradable” vessels will seize the opportunity to “retap” into the post 2022 “cruise by only” market. 

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Ken - don't get your hopes up too far Azamara - I think they are just not up to the new regulations. There has been no information in the "trade" about the refiting of the old R class vessels.

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For those interested in the 2007 sinking of Explorer [near the Antarctic peninsular]  - ex Lindblad Explorer built 1969 [38 years old] - see the final report from Liberian authorities online.

The master was critisised for going too fast in ice at night that had growlers in it.  

The vessel had had the port side shell plating replaced but the starboard side that was damaged was original plating.

They were very lucky with the weather.  3 of 4 lifeboat engines did not start & they were towed by Zodiacs.  Two other vessels were fairly near & assisted.  

 

Polar Star - also built in 1969 [42 years old] as a Swedish icebreaker - hit an uncharted rock in 2011 & limped to a research station to off load passengers.  The vessel went to Las Palmas for repairs where it has remained after owners went bust.

Charts of these Polar regions are not so accurate that vessels can go where it may look safe - new hazards may lurk waiting to hole a vessel.

Explorer-sinking 2007.jpg

Polar Star 2011.jpg

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So glad we did Antarctica with the Zaandam in Jan/Feb this year!

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14 hours ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

But what difference does it make even if there have been no "sail by only" cruise ships that encountered difficulty in the Antarctic waters?  The fact is that the IMO passed this regulation and ships will have to abide by it.   I don't see is as a "wait and see" if the cruise lines will abide by the regulation.  The only "wait and see" might be whether there may be future exemptions to the regulation.  

You are correct. It makes no difference as the IMO has already made their decision. 

 

My “wait and see” attitude is more attuned to seeing if any of the main cruise lines will modify any of their existing ships to accommodate the new IMO standards as there is no way IMHO the “non expedition” cruisers are going to spend $1,000+ pp/day, let alone fly to Ushuaia for only a 10/11 day cruise, to see Antarctica. 

 

And my guess is the main cruise lines that currently offer “sail by” cruises know this as well. Right now, Celebrity, Azamara, Princess and HAL, among others, are making a lot of money on their 14-22 day Antarctica “drive by” cruises. That’s a lot of profit to simply walk away from. 

 

To that end, Azamara has already posted two 22 day cruises in Feb 2022. I’m just curious to see which other lines are going to make the necessary Polar Ice Class modifications to be able to keep offering this highly sought-after itinerary. 

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2 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Ken - don't get your hopes up too far Azamara - I think they are just not up to the new regulations. There has been no information in the "trade" about the refiting of the old R class vessels.

That’s probably true. But you would think they would have to have already secured permission to sail in the area on those dates before posting the itineraries. 

 

After all, RCI is pretty big in the cruise line business and should have a pretty direct line to any future IMO regulations that have been approved, especially since they own at least 3 cruise lines that sail in Antarctica waters. But since I’m just sitting on the sidelines, it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. 

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8 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Ken - don't get your hopes up too far Azamara - I think they are just not up to the new regulations. There has been no information in the "trade" about the refiting of the old R class vessels.

The closest any ship not Polar rated could get would be about 70-80 miles north of Elephant Island, which would be 60* south, if that's what is considered a "sail by" the peninsula.  The very tip of the peninsula is at 63* south.

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On 3/29/2019 at 10:49 AM, Tampa Girl said:

 

I don't think that I would depend on the Westerdam going further into Antarctica waters than the Zaandam is scheduled to do during this season.  The present itinerary calls for four days in those waters.

 

Also, I wouldn't depend on the Westerdam even going to Antarctica next year.  HAL just came out with a flyer saying that 2020 "may" be the last year.

Westerdam is taking reservations for the January 2021 cruises, which include 4 days in Antarctica. 

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We were on Maasdam for three weeks in May, and received promotional sheets on Antarctic voyages from the Future Cruise guy that said something like "2021 last chance?" (question mark in original).

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On 6/4/2019 at 11:31 AM, drowelf said:

Westerdam is taking reservations for the January 2021 cruises, which include 4 days in Antarctica. 

 

Yes, but I believe that is the last cruise since January, 2022, is the final date for ships that have been grandfathered in.  Leave it to HAL to ignore their own schedule.

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21 minutes ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

Yes, but I believe that is the last cruise since January, 2022, is the final date for ships that have been grandfathered in.  Leave it to HAL to ignore their own schedule.

Thats what I suspect too. But it will probably be awhile before it gets confirmed. I have not seen any published HAL cruises past March 2021 so far. I would wage that we won't see the January 2022 cruise itineraries until sometime in the early second quarter of next year (2020). 

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Spirit of Discovery will be handed over on 20th June to Saga Cruises UK - there first new build.

Only 999 passengers & 58,250 gt with Ice strengthened hull?

May not be as expensive as expedition ships.  Could be an option for you Ken.

 

Will be christened by Camilla - Duchess of Cornwall at Dover on July 5th.

Spirit of Discovery exiting building hall.jpg

S of D at fitting out berth.jpg

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1 hour ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Spirit of Discovery will be handed over on 20th June to Saga Cruises UK - there first new build.

Only 999 passengers & 58,250 gt with Ice strengthened hull?

May not be as expensive as expedition ships.  Could be an option for you Ken.

 

Will be christened by Camilla - Duchess of Cornwall at Dover on July 5th.

Spirit of Discovery exiting building hall.jpg

S of D at fitting out berth.jpg

Thanks SeaDog! Maybe. We'll have to keep an eye on where and if she plans to sail to Antarctica.

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