Reuters reported on 2nd December 2016 that heavy winds had forced a Russian cargo ship to run aground off the coast of Istanbul. Footage released at the time showed crew getting into lifeboats although there were no reports of any injuries. No further news was released on damage suffered or eventual fate of the vessel.
A new cruise company, Croisières M/S Jacques Cartier, Inc., is being established shortly to operate a service on the St Lawrence river by the summer of 2018. They have purchased the Jacques Cartier, which has been operating on the St Lawrence as a tour boat for the last 40 years. The owners plan to offer “active cruises” which will include kayaking, geocaching and zodiac excursions.
Built in 1924 at Lauzon, this little vessel has had a chequered career and many rebuilds since, including new engines in 1955 and a complete rebuild in 1975. She had been retired in 2012, but is now undergoing a complete rebuild and refit to carry 66 passengers. It will include an observation room, a spa, a sauna and the zodiacs for local excursions.
A former presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia, was used by US presidents from Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter for entertaining diplomats or just getting away from the stress of Washington. It has now been sold for nothing. Zero. Nil dollars!
Jimmy Carter sold the yacht in 1977 at an auction, for $286,000. It was then moored at a marina in Washington, DC, and used for four-hour charter tours along the Potomac River. It has changed owners several times since, but in recent years the wooden yacht has been quietly rotting away at a shipyard in Deltaville, Virginia, steadily deteriorating.
In 2012 the Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group entered into a $7.5 million loan agreement to purchase the yacht and pay for its restoration and initial running costs. After a series of legal fights and counter-arguments, a Delaware judge ruled on 15th November 2016 that FE Partners, an investment group can exercise an option to acquire the Sequoia at an adjusted option price of zero.
Plans are already in place to restore the yacht to its former glory.
It was reported in November 2016 that the Croatian shipbuilder Brodosplit was to build a new polar expedition vessel for Oceanwide Expeditions. The provisional name has been announced as Hondius.
The vessel will be built to LR PC6 standards and is designed to carry 196 passengers in luxury cabins and suites. It will be 108 metres long, with two engines delivering 4,200kW and a cruising speed of 15 knots. Delivery is expected in 2019.
Viking Line Abp (Finnish Ferries, not the riverboats) have ordered a large new cruise ferry from China. They signed a letter of intent with Xiamen Shipbuilding on 23rd November 2016, for delivery in the Spring of 2020. The final agreement is expected to be signed in Spring 2017, and will include an option for a second vessel.
The vessel will be 218 metres long, with 63,000grt. It will operate on the Turku, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden route, via the Åland Islands, and will carry 2,800 passengers. The intention is for the vessel to run on LNG (liquefied natural gas), and it will be designed to have maximum energy-efficiency with minimal impact on the environment.
Rumour has it that the Chinese yard will receive just enough money to cover material costs. Labour costs and overhead will not be covered, let alone provide a profit, so the yard will lose money from day one. Xiamen Shipbuilding is state-owned, and China is able to offer export credits with extremely long maturities and very low interest rates. Chinese financing instutions are also buying market share with very competitive ship financing.
On 21st November 2016 STX France cut the first pieces of steel for Celebrity’s new build, planned for delivery in 2018, and to be called Celebrity Edge. This will be the first of four vessels in this class. Each is 117,000 tons and will carry 2,900 passengers.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity’s President and CEO, announced: “We will reveal more details soon and travellers and trade partners will not be disappointed – this ship will be amazing”.
The company is expecting delivery in Autumn 2018, with the second vessel in the class to be delivered in Spring 2020.