Disney Dream Strikes Pier In Nassau

Disney Dream Strike Dock in NassauAccording to reports on social media, the Disney Dream violently struck the dock in Nassau, Bahamas while trying to enter a berth on Saturday, September 30th. Photographs posted on line show damage to the cruise ship' stern above the waterline.

The PortNassauWebcam operated by the popular @PTZtv captured images of the damage to the Disney cruise ship.

The Disney Blog seems to be one of the first sites to report on the incident. Scott Sanders' Disney Cruise Line Blog also contain a number of photographs of the damage as well as repairs to the vessel's hull.

A video of the accident was posted on Scott Lewitt's YouTube page

Photo credit: @PTZtv

 

Carnival Vista Swamps Piers and Boats in Messina, Sicily

According to several passengers on the Carnival Vista, the cruise ship swamped piers and many smaller boats moored there yesterday afternoon when leaving the port of Messina, Sicily.

We were contacted and told about the mishap today. The port of Messina has a protective industrial zone in the shape of a reverse shaped "C" for large vessels and cruise ships.  At the entrance/exit of the port, there are piers (at 10:00 o'clock, in the left upper corner of the photo to the right) which provide mooring and protection for smaller boats. You can see a close up here. While the Vista was leaving port, it came perilously close to the piers and the thrust from its stern created a turmoil which turned over the piers and swamped smaller moored vessels, sinking several of the boats. 

The damage to the piers was so severe that some of the passengers thought that the Vista must have hit the piers and boats.

The passengers stated that it was a "beautiful, sunny and calm day" when the accident occurred.

I am assuming that a local pilot may have been on-board at the time, although it is less than clear who was in control of the cruise ship when it damaged the piers and boats. There were reportedly no announcements afterward from the captain regarding what happened. According to these passengers, the Vista "didn't stop and we were slightly delayed out of port."  

A number of Italian newspapers published articles today, saying that the local port authority is conducting an investigation regarding the incident. One newspaper reports that the Vista caused damage to two concrete piers and sank several boats "under the astonished gaze of several citizens." This newspaper further states that "for a moment, it was feared that the situation could escalate and that the same cruise ship might not be able to straighten the course and regain the open sea." 

You can watch dramatic video of the Vista as it swamped the piers and boats in an article by the Italian newspaper Gazzetta del Sud which we posted to our Facebook page. 

The photo below is from the Tempostretto.  The Dream Blog Cruise Magazine has posted the video below, with a credit to Gazzetta del Sul: 

Update: An Italian newspaper says that that there was reportedly 250,000 euros in damage caused by the Carnival ship due to "two piers destroyed, one beyond repair, a number of ancillary facilities (such as anchor lines of the boats) damaged, a pilot of the mooring sunk and another dozen small boats in poor condition." 

August 30 2016 Update:  Another Italian newspaper accurately characterized the waves generated by the Vista as "a small tsunami," which trampled two wharves and boats moored at Marina del Nettuno.

September 4 2016 Update: You can see another video of the incident here, from the Facebook page of Ships of Messina, showing another angle of the disaster caused by the Vista's wake.

Here's a video showing the correct way for the Carnival Vista to leave the port of Messina.

September 10 201:Update: Here's a video taken from a passenger aboard the cruise ship, showing another angle of the incident. Video credit: Loiue Old YouTube.

If you have information about the incident, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Carnival Vista

Insanity: Caymans to Build Cruise Pier

Cayman Island Cruise PierAccording to the Cayman Compass, the premier of the Cayman Islands says the government intends to build a huge, monolithic concrete cruise pier in George Town harbor.

The environmental impact assessments indicate that the controversial dredge and fill project will cause significant and irreversible environmental damage to the ancient beautiful reefs in the Caymans.

The cruise industry is itching for the Caymans to start on the project.

One of the comments to the article says: "Shameful is all I can say. The very thing thing that attracted me and so many others to Grand Cayman is being destroyed by short sighted people whose only motive is money. Sad day for this great Island. When you let the cruise lines dictate to you, you have lost!"

Have a comment?  Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Cayman Compass

 

Cruise Industry Poised to Destroy Cayman Reefs

The Caymans is the latest island in the Caribbean where the cruise lines are beating their drums for a new multi-million dollar pier to be built for them in order to expand the business of cruising. 

I saw this same scenario unfold in Falmouth, Jamaica where Royal Caribbean ram-roded a plan to dredge ancient coral reefs and fill the adjacent mangrove forest with pulverized coral to make way for a new port to accommodate the cruise line's monsters. the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas. While the local environment was being completely annihilated, the cruise line promised a complete revitalization of the little city of Falmouth and a re-energizing of its local vendors which, of course, never happened. Royal Cayman Islands ReefsCaribbean wanted a place to park its over-sized behemoths and maximize profits. It could care less about the local community or the natural environment.  

The Cayman Islands is now in the cruise lines' cross-hairs. The Caymans enjoy one of the most beautiful, pristine natural reefs in the world.  The new pier development will cause catastrophic and irreversible damage to the reefs. There is no doubt about that. Read the environmental statement here

The government of the Cayman is moving forward with the project. The cruise lines are chomping at the bit. With a pier, more cruise ships can squeeze into the Caymans at the same time. The cruise lines will make sweet deals with the government to sell goods at the pier to increase their profits at the expense of local merchants, while cutting out the local companies that tender the passengers to and from the cruise ships.

Read a recent article on the issue.

The Miami-based cruise lines have far more sway with the Caymans' government than the local dive shops do. 

Caymans, look at the broken promises and the pulverized coral reefs and crushed mangroves of Falmouth, Jamaica. Do you think for a second that the Carnivals and Royal Caribbeans care for a second about your million year old reefs?

Have a thought? Please leave a comment belowor join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit:  ReefBuilders

New Cruise Terminals & Piers: A Risky Business?

A local news station in Houston is reporting that for the first time, a cruise ship has sailed from its home port at the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Houston. Princess Cruises' Caribbean Princess set sail earlier this week for a four day cruise to Progresso, Mexico.

The remarkable part of the story is that the cruise terminal was built long ago and has sat largely unused. The cruise terminal was completed in 2009 at a cost of $108 million with bond money that the local taxpayers have been paying for the past 4 to 5 years. 

Empty and abandoned cruise terminals are a risk that struggling U.S. cities and powerless Carnival Cruise Line - 800 Pound Gorilla Caribbean islands run while dealing with the rich and powerful cruise lines.

A Houston port official excitedly talked about all of the employment benefits which finally are coming from the cruise terminal:

"You have the line handlers, you have our wonderful longshoreman association that's providing the handling of the baggage, stevedores that are handling our parking, so there are just a variety of jobs and economic impact that's created from this cruise operation." 

But such success is usually a long time coming and is often fleeting.

Just ask Mobile Alabama.

The city built an expensive cruise terminal as part of its "partnership" with Carnival Cruise Line.  When the cruise line pulled its cruise ship from the Alabama port, the city was left with a debt of $35,000,000.

Carnival thought that it could make more money by re-positioning its cruise ship in either New Orleans or Tampa, and left Mobile high and dry.  Ironically, the only cruise ship to return to Mobile in the last couple of years was the Carnival Triumph which had to be towed to port following the infamous "poop cruise' earlier this year.     

Carnival never enters into a contract with a port promising to commit ships to the port for a finite number of years. So cities like Mobile build their new terminals on a wish and a prayer.

One-sided deals in favor of the cruise lines are the business norm. Carnival is the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. Port cities can either sign the bad deal or the cruise line goes elsewhere. And Carnival can break the deal whenever it wants and for any reason, good or bad.

Just ask Norfolk, Virginia. Carnival abandoned it last month leaving the city with a $30,000,000 debt for a new cruise terminal that the local taxpayers are stuck with paying. Carnival cited the additional operating costs associated with new environmental emission regulations which prohibit the use of cheap, toxic bunker fuel which can still be burned on cruises out of Miami.

The here-today, gone-tomorrow exploitation of cities like Houston, Mobile and Norfolk is particularly bad in the Caribbean ports. Take, for example, Antigua.  Carnival dropped Antigua like a hot potato. Carnival broke up with its Caribbean "business partner" with a "Dear John" letter sent via e-mail. The sudden and unexpected pull-out costs the Caribbean island $40,000,000 annually.

Consider what's happening in Tortola too. Carnival cruise ships announced that it is pulling the Sunshine, Freedom, Liberty, Glory and the Valor from the island. Carnival may return if and when Tortola invests into improving its cruise facilities. 

The latest news from the Caribbean is that the Cayman Islands is trying to figure out how to pay $200,000,000 for two new cruise ship piers so that Carnival and Royal Caribbean passengers don't have to tender in from the cruise ships to the island. The Cayman Islands has a GNP of less than one billion dollars a year; however, Royal Caribbean alone will collect closer to 7 billions dollars a year. Carnival will collect far more than that.

The Caymans can't possibly pay for the news cruise piers by itself. But if it decides to "partner" with these giant, rich cruise lines, it may find itself paying for much of the cruise project and ongoing operating expenses with no legally enforceable assurances from the cruise lines.   

It's risky business for poor cities and tourist-dependent Caribbean islands with no sustainable businesses to trust the cruise lines.  Cruise lines like Carnival are cutthroats. They hold all of the cards and will up and leave in a split second if they can make a better deal elsewhere. 

Ferry Slams Into Pier in NYC: Over 50 People Injured

A commuter ferry slammed into a dock in lower Manhattan this morning during rush hour, injuring more than 50 people commuting into New York City. Newspapers report that at least two of the ferry passengers were critically injured.

CBS News states that the accident involved the Seastreak Wall Street. The New York Times states that the ferry is operated by Sea Streak Ferry, and provides daily service from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan. It can accommodate several hundred passengers. There were over 300 SeaStreak Wall Street Ferry Crash in Manhatten passengers aboard at the time of the accident.

At the time of the impact the ferry was proceeding at a high rate of speed (with one passenger estimating around 60 MPH) when it violently struck the pier. Scores of people who had been standing up and waiting to disembark were hurled to the deck, into poles and walls, and down stairs. 

Some people described the accident like a big car crash.

57 people were reportedly injured according to the New York Times which showed dramatic photographs of passengers lying on flatboards with their heads and necks immobilized.

The Times mentions compares this incident to the October 15, 2003, accident when a Staten Island Ferry hit a maintenance pier at full speed, killing 11 and injuring 70 people.  A pilot, who had been incapacitated at the time of the crash, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The investigators also faulted training and enforcement of safety rules. 

The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating and gathering information about this latest incident. 

You can review the Seastreak's website here and its twitter page here.  One of the last tweets on Seastreaks page is by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg "Thanks to @SeaStreakNJNYC  . . . residents of the #Rockaways have an affordable & reliable way to get to #Manhattan."

Photographs of the scene in lower Manhattan look like a war zone:

Seastreak Wall Street Crash

Photo credit: Mark Lennihan / AP via New York Times.   

Costa Pacifica Strikes Pier in Marseille, France

Costa is back in the news with a widely reported incident where the Costa Pacifica cruise ship violently struck a piling in the Port of Marseille this morning. The cruise ship sustained a gash of around 8 meters long, which luckily is above the waterline. 

Costa down-played the incident stating that the damage was just a few feet long and would not delay the cruise ship's itinerary.

The damage to the Costa Pacifica is very similar to damage to the Costa Classica.  Read our article two years ago: New Photographs Reveal Extent of Damage to Costa Classica. 

Costa Pacifica Cruise Ship

Norwegian Star Cruise Ship Strikes Pier Next to Aircraft Carrier

A New York online newspaper in Manhattan, DNAinfo.com, reports that the Norwegian Star cruise ship collided with the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier this morning while the cruise ship was trying to dock at the harbor in Manhattan.

The aircraft carrier is part of the Intrepid Museum and is moored at the harbor.  

Passengers on the NCL cruise ship dispute that the ship struck the carrier.  Passengers leaving comments indicate that the Norwegian Star struck the pier next to the carrier.  

The 965-foot-long cruise ship - which was on its first trip to New York this season - was struggling to dock Friday morning because of "heavy winds and choppy waters," Norwegian Cruise Line officials said in an email.

Norwegian Star Cruise Ship Collides USS IntrepidAccording to the Manhattan newspaper, witnesses said the cruise ship tried to reverse course in order to dock, but was unsuccessful.

"He tried four times, up and back, up and back, four times," said Drago Ivanko, an elevator porter on Pier 88, referring to the ship operator. "It was windy, low tide. When there's low tide, the river started going a little faster."

John Chiaradio, 49, who was on the cruise with his wife, Sheli, said he could feel the impact.

"He hit about mid-ship on the starboard side," said Chiaradio, of Bristol, Conn.

"It was loud. It sounded like sticks breaking. Big sticks."

This is the last thing the cruise industry needs for the public to imagine, cruise ships unable to handle low tide and moderate winds, crashing into a pier next to a retired aircraft carrier from our Navy's fleet. 

This is not the first time that a NCL cruise ship struck a pier in Manhattan.  In May 2008, the Norwegian Spirit struck a pier in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.  Professional Mariner reported:

"The 1,074-foot cruise ship was headed upriver with the intention of docking at Pier 88, just south of Pier 90, the Coast Guard said. The vessel was returning from an eight-day voyage to the Caribbean, with about 2,000 passengers and 1,100 crew.

As is routine, Norwegian Spirit made a single, uninterrupted sweeping turn to starboard in an attempt to slip into Pier 88. Unfortunately, the turn was too wide and the crew failed to back down in time, said Lt. Thomas Casey, a Coast Guard investigator.

'The starboard side of the vessel moors to the north side of Pier 88,” Casey said. “She is a large vessel, and it’s a pretty tight area. She wound up striking the side of Pier 90.'"

 

 

 

Video credit:  jmchiaradio (youtube)