…As Fincantieri Delivers Costa’s 1st Ship Designed for China***
A fire broke out on board the US Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter
Polar Star off Antarctica on February 10, 2019.
As informed, the fire started in the ship’s incinerator room
about 650 miles north of McMurdo Sound.
After initial response efforts using four fire extinguishers
failed, fire crews spent almost two hours extinguishing the fire.
Fire damage was contained inside the incinerator housing,
while firefighting water used to cool exhaust pipe in the surrounding area
damaged several electrical systems and insulation in the room, according to the
Repairs are already being planned for the Polar Star’s
upcoming maintenance period.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is
“It’s always a serious matter whenever a shipboard fire
breaks out at sea, and it’s even more concerning when that ship is in one of
the most remote places on Earth,” Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of the
US Coast Guard’s Pacific Area, said.
Commissioned in 1976, the 43-year old ship is operating
beyond its expected 30-year service life. The Polar Star crew recently
completed Operation Deep Freeze, an annual joint military service mission in
support of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United
States Antarctic Program.
The Feb. 10 fire was not the first engineering casualty
faced by the Polar Star crew this deployment. While en route to Antarctica, one
of the ship’s electrical systems began to smoke, causing damage to wiring in an
electrical switchboard, and one of the ship’s two evaporators.
The ship also experienced a leak from the shaft that drives
the ship’s propeller, which halted icebreaking operations to send scuba divers
into the water to repair the seal around the shaft.
In addition, the Polar Star also suffered ship-wide power
outages while breaking ice. Crew members spent nine hours shutting down the ship’s
power plant and rebooting the electrical system in order to remedy the outages.
Presently, the USCG maintains two icebreakers – the Coast
Guard Cutter Healy, which is a medium icebreaker, and the Polar Star, the
United States’ only heavy icebreaker. If a catastrophic event, such as getting
stuck in the ice, were to happen to the Healy in the Arctic or to the Polar
Star near Antarctica, the USCG is left without a self-rescue capability.
The Coast Guard has been the sole provider of the nation’s
polar icebreaking capability since 1965 and is seeking to increase its
icebreaking fleet with six new polar security cutters in order to ensure
continued national presence and access to the Polar Regions.
After leaving Antarctica, the Polar Star crew arrived in New
Zealand for a port call, and they are presently en route to their homeport of
In the meantime, Costa Cruises took delivery of Costa
Venezia, its first ship designed specifically for the Chinese market, at the
Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone on February 28.
The 135,500 gross ton Costa Venezia is part of an expansion
plan that includes a total of 7 ships being delivered to the Costa Group by
2023, for a total investment of over EUR 6 billion.
Featuring a length of 323 meters and a capacity for over
5,200 guests, Costa Venezia will be the biggest ship introduced by Costa to the
“Costa Venezia will help us to further develop the cruise
market in China, which has a great unexplored potential,” Michael Thamm,
Group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, said.
Suffice to say that, currently, 2.5 million Chinese people a
year choose to go on a cruise vacation,
“As the first ship built specifically for the Chinese
market, Costa Venezia marks the start of a new era, not only for Costa and
Fincantieri but also for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole,” Mario
Zanetti, President of Costa Group Asia, added.
The Costa Venezia naming ceremony is scheduled for March 1
in Trieste. The vernissage cruise will depart from Trieste on March 3, bound
for Greece and Croatia. On March 8, the ship will be back in Trieste for the
start of its inaugural cruise, a 53-day trip through the Mediterranean to the
Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East before docking in Tokyo.
From May 18, 2019, Costa Venezia, in fact, will be dedicated
exclusively to Chinese guests, offering cruises in Asia departing from
After Costa Venezia, the group’s next ship to come into service, in October 2019, will be Costa Smeralda, the new Costa Cruises flagship and the first ship for the world market to be powered by LNG. A second ship designed exclusively for the Chinese market, a sister ship to Costa Venezia, is currently under construction by Fincantieri in Marghera and is expected to be delivered in 2020.
World Maritime News