The Silver Spirit cruise ship struck a bollard* last week after it was forced to abort its departure from the harbor in Key West, according to the Blue Paper newspaper.

Last Thursday, November 27th, the Silversea cruise ship had docked at the Mallory Square dock in Key West. As can be seen in a video taken from a live webcam operated by Broadwave LiveCams, two larger cruise ships, the Carnival Victory and Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, depart the dock successfully despite high winds.

The video starts with a time lapse of the larger cruise ships leaving the dock in Key West.

The Silver Spirit is shown attempting to depart from the dock around 6:30 P.M. However, while the Silversea cruise ship attempts to return to the dock due to the winds, the ship crashes into a bolllard (a/k/a a “dolphin”) before it again docks.

The allision* caused damage to the mid section of the ship’s hull and destroyed the bollard.

The popular Crew-Center site reports that “according to Key West officials, the damage caused by the crash is estimated at around half-million dollars and the dock at Mallory Square will not be operational for at least three months. The cruise operator Silversea sent an insurance consultant to Key West to estimate the damages to the pier.”

Marine terms:

  • *An “allision” is the striking of a vessel against a fixed object (like a bollard) in contrast to a collision between two vessels.
  • A “bollard” is a short, thick post on a wharf, to which a ship’s rope may be secured.

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Video and image credit: BroadwaveLiveCams

Mechanical problems are affecting the speed of the Carnival Victory cruise ship which departed yesterday from the port of Miami.

The Carnival cruise ship was supposed to sail from Miami to Key West arriving this morning around 7:30 a.m., and then sailing on to Cozumel, Mexico before returning to Miami in October 26, 2018.

However, yesterday Carnival stated that an unspecified “issue” is affecting the ship’s “maximum cruising speed.” A letter to the ship’s guests signed by the Master of the cruise ship stated that although technicians were doing the “necessary work,” the ship would operate on a modified itinerary. The ship would sail to Nassau in the Bahamas where it would arrive at 10:00 a.m. today and it would then spend the day tomorrow at its private destination in Princess Cays in the Bahamas. The Carnival Victory would then spend a day at sea on Thursday and would return to Miami Friday morning.

AIS shows the ship in Nassau this morning after sailing at an average speed of around 11-12 knots.

Carnival was offering a $50 onboard credit or a refund for anyone who wished to cancel the cruise.

The propulsion issue facing the Carnival victory comes at a time when Carnival announced that the ship is part of a $2 billion enhancement program where the cruise line is rebranding a number of its shipsThe Carnival Victory will be dry docked before returning to the fleet as Carnival Radiance in 2020. The ship will undergo major refurbishments including specialty dining facilities, aqua parks, and enhanced accommodations and amenities.

USA TODAY writes that the overhaul of the Victory will “take place over 38 days at a dry dock in Cadiz, Spain and cost $200 million – one of the priciest cruise ship makeovers on record.” The makeover will include the “addition of more than 100 cabins, the revamping of existing cabins and the addition of nearly a dozen food and drink outlets.”

We were first notified that the cruise ship arrived in port in Miami with the assistance of tugs yesterday.

Power losses of cruise ships are a relatively common occurrence. In 2016, there were at least 18 power losses of cruise ships operated by the major U.S.-based lines, including problems with the Carnival Elation, Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Vista as well as the Carnival owned AdoniaCaribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, and Costa neoRiviera.

2017 saw a number of Carnival cruise ships experiencing engine problems, such as the Carnival Dream, which was forced to miss a port in Mexico in August and then limped back to New Orleans, as well as propulsion issues plaguing the Carnival FantasyCarnival Paradise, and Carnival Splendor.

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Photo credit – Carnival Victory (in Nassau): Justinpolanco – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

 

Constellation Cruise ShipKey West newspaper The Citizen reports that a passenger from a cruise ship sailing to Key West yesterday has disappeared from the ship.

The newspaper writes that “the Coast Guard is continuing to search for a man who fell off a Celebrity cruise ship bound for Key West. The 66-year-old man was last spotted by a video camera aboard the Celebrity cruise ship Constellation at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, 23 miles south of Summerland Key in the Atlantic Ocean, according to Coast Guard Lt. Peter Bermont.”

The newspaper quotes the Coast Guard lieutenant stating that “we don’t know the circumstance of how the man fell overboard. He was not on the vessel once it moored in Key West.”

Coast Guard aircraft and vessels reportedly searched yesterday and today without success.

This case is the latest situation where a cruise ship fails to have a automatic man overboard system (MOB) to detect persons going overboard and signal the bridge. Such systems are required by the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act.  There are many systems (motion detection, thermal imagery, etc.) which are reliable and currently available to the cruise industry.

Earlier this month, a 22 year-old passenger disappeared from the Oasis of the Seas without Royal Caribbean knowing. To add to the cruise line’s embarrassment, a passing Disney ship rescued the Royal Caribbean passenger, some five hours later.

How long will the cruise lines refuse to invest in the MOB technology?  There’s no other way for an officer on watch to spot an overboard passenger or crew member going into the water at night.

There have been others lost at sea under similar circumstances on the Constellation:

Crew Member Overboard From Celebrity Cruises’ Constellation Cruise Ship.

Crew Member Goes Overboard from Celebrity Constellation Cruise Ship.

February 3 2015 Update: The Citizen newspapers says that the passenger was from Canada and fell from deck 11. There was apparently no signs of foul play.

February 4 2015 Update: News papers are identifying the missing passenger as “Carol Tremblay.” Mr. Tremblay was identified in the KeyInfoNet which also quoted a Coast Guard saying  “this is a foreign-flagged ship with a foreign citizen aboard, so it’s not really in the Coast Guard’s purview to do much more at this point.” Newspapers in Canada say that Mr. Tremblay had recently retired a trailer in Florida to enjoy his retirement.

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Constellation Cruise Ship Bridge

Photo Credit:

Top: “Constellation” by Megadri licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Bottom: “IMG CONSTBRG 4604” by Nad7080 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrity ConstellationCruise Fever reports that a Celebrity cruise ship lost power yesterday morning for about one and one-half hours while the ship was at port in Key West.

Cruise Fever says that the Celebrity Constellation lost power Sunday morning from approximately 7:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. A writer for Cruise Fever was aboard and first reported on the power failure.  

Over 7 weeks ago, the same ship experienced a power loss at the same port. You can read about that incident here: Celebrity Constellation Suffers Engine Problems in Key West

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Megadri

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein’s web site indicates that the Constellation cruise ship was forced to spend an extra day in Key West.

Professor Klein reported yesterday about a passenger’s complaint that the "Constellation scheduled to leave Key West yesterday, Dec. 15 @ 5pm. Repair needed and waiting on part(s). At 8:05am, December 16, still no evidence of upcoming departure. Scheduled to be ‘at sea’ day on the way to Cozumel."

The repairs were needed after the Celebrity cruise ship experienced engine problems.

Cruise line spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said that the Constellation had "technical issues" with one of its gas turbine engines during its departure from Key West on Sunday afternoon.

The Key West Citizen indicated that the ship’s departure was delayed until 10 p.m. Monday while crews made repairs. The ship carries more than 2,160 passengers.

The newspaper explained that because of the mechanical delay, and the time and speed needed, Constellation was unable to make its scheduled port of call into Cozumel, Mexico, on Tuesday. Instead, it will call on Nassau, Bahamas, on Wednesday. 

The Key West newspaper characterized the Celebrity Constellation as an aging member of the Celebrity fleet. It made its initial cruise in May 2002.

Celebrity Constellation Cruise Ship

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Megadri

Key West - Cruise Port for Mega Ships?While the city of Charleston South Carolina is resisting the expansion of the cruise industry into its city, the southernmost city of the U.S. may be heading in the other direction.  Key West appears to be poised to accommodate bigger and more cruise ships, including the new mega ships the Allure and Oasis of the Seas.

The KeyNoter newspaper reports that Key West is considering widening the shipping channel into Key West Harbor, allowing for much larger cruise ships to port.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepared a report about the dredging project which would cost $35 million.

There have been no report prepared yet regarding the environmental and economic impacts so far. A feasibility study would cost about $5.5 million.

The newspaper reports that next week, the Key West officials will invite the local residents to a meeting to hear from the Army Corps engineers, staff from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Key West City Commission.

The newspaper indicates that Key West has 350 cruise-ship visits per year, totaling about 800,000 annual passengers who pay a disembarkation fee.  Key West’s population is only around 25,000.

The Key West Chamber of Commerce supports the dredging project which would widen the channel by 150 feet from 300 to 450 feet.  The Key West environmental group Last Stand opposes it.

The article mentions that after the channel is widened, Key West could accommodate Royal Caribbean’s mega-ship Oasis of the Seas, which would bring up to 6,500 passengers and 2,000 crew to the city on a single visit. 

The only question I would have if I lived in Key West is – why?  Key West already has 800,000 tourists by cruise ship a year.  Do you really need to spend $35,000,000 to widen the channel in order to squeeze mega ships like the Oasis into your little harbor?  

Oasis of the Seas - Key West