Pride of America

Bob S
8th June 2005, 21:48
Advertised as sailing at 17:00 from Dover on her delivery voyage, NCL's PRIDE OF AMERICA was out in the English Channel when I arrived at 16:00 today and underway..... Aaaaah. :@
Had to take this photo through the heat haze being as I will probably never see her again (yes, we do have the occasional sunny day here in the UK).

8th June 2005, 22:54
A ship with a history even before she made her maiden voyage. This was the one that sank at her building berth in Germany (during a storm I think) and her delivery was considerably delayed. Another member may be able to give us the full story.
Originally ordered by Star Cruises - the funnel design gives her away - they transferred her to subsidiary company NCL fairly early on.
Her future lies in providing year-round 7 day cruises from Honolulu.

fred henderson
15th June 2005, 20:33
That is only part of the story David. As a new member I hesitate to quible with someone of your seniority but the ship has an even more unusual history.
She and her sister were ordered by American Classic Voyages from Ingalls in America at the end of 1999 / early 2000, for delivery in 2003. At 72,000 tons they were to be the biggest passenger ships ever to be built in USA. They were intended to comply with the Jones Act (American owned, built and crewed), which would uniquely enable them to operate between US ports without the requirement to call at one foreign port during the voyage. The downside was the costs involved. The contract value was $616.5 million per ship. Twice European prices. The owners became insolvent after the first ship was launched.
NCL stepped in and struck a deal whereby they formed NCL America, bought the first ship, on condition that they could fit her out at Lloyd Werft and also transfer Norwegian Sky to the new company. Both ships will have US crews and will be allowed to operate inter-island Hawaii cruises, without the restrictions imposed on the existing NCL ships that must drag down to Fanning Island and back to comply with the Jones Act.
I think the second Ingalls ship is to be scrapped.
Fred Henderson

16th June 2005, 11:16
Not at all, Fred. Only too glad that someone can give us the full story, so thank you for that.
I mention Star Cruises as they are the parent company of NCL and that funnel is very much a Star Cruises design. Star have "flicked" a few of their newbuildings over to NCL (NORWEGIAN STAR for example) and recently transferred their SUPERSTAR LEO into the NCL fleet - her new name escapes me for the moment.
Contemplating a Hawaii cruise in the next year or two (maybe three!), so PRIDE OF AMERICA may well be our choice.

Bruce Carson
16th June 2005, 13:42
This, indeed, is the tail end of the American Classic Voyage fiasco.
A long, sordid and complicated story that, as usual, left the American taxpayer paying for much of this giant boondoggle.
Jones Act, cabotage, Senatorial maritime ignorance and greed, a formula that has proven over and over again to be disasterous for the taxpayers' wallets.
Bruce Carson

fred henderson
16th June 2005, 17:49
Hi David
You are absolutely right about the funnel shape. It was a Lloyd Werft modification to match the Meyer Werft new ships for Star/NCL.
Does anyone know why she rolled over and was lying against the fitting-out quay with her starboard bilge on the bottom of the berth. I know it was some storm that night but something else must have gone wrong.
I have read that it took from 14 Jan 05 to 16 Feb to refloat her. They pumped 46,000 tons of water out of her machinery spaces and lower decks. I think Lloyd Werft did great job to get the ship delivered on time. Shame that they had to go into the German version of Chapter 11 because the owners would only pay instalments against achieved contract milestones.
Fred Henderson

Bob S
16th June 2005, 19:32
More definition, thanks to Ron.

19th June 2005, 21:09
Hi Fred,

there is only a "official version" to hear: It was a stormy night... The storm dipped the holes (for supply with electricity and something else9 under the water line.

@John236, it was not a really heavy storm. I live a few hundred meters away and believe me: It was an ordinary storm like every year.

Some pictures:
(the morning after...)
(after refloating on 15/02/2004)
(short before delivery)

fred henderson
19th June 2005, 23:18
Splendid photos Helge.
In the "day after" shot the Costa Victoria can be seen serenely in the background. If Lloyd Werft had unguarded hull openings near the waterline in winter, with a storm coming ,what became of professional management?

19th June 2005, 23:57
...If Lloyd Werft had unguarded hull openings near the waterline in winter, with a storm coming ,what became of professional management?

Good question Fred... I have only heard, the guards were on another deck at this time but I don't know if it is true. Anyway: Mistakes or "circumstances" it was not a really good night for the shipyard.

btw: with delivery the insolvency is finished, the shipyard will work now on a regular basis...

fred henderson
20th June 2005, 00:12
Hi Dave
Tell us more about yhe Sovereign of the Seas incident. I am sorry but I am part of the 5% of the UK population without a TV. I think TV is usually a huge loss of time and the UK TV licence a rip off!
Incidently did Ingalls base the forward shape of the Pride of America on the front of the latest Amtrack diesel locomotives?
Fred Henderson

fred henderson
21st June 2005, 20:34
Hi Dave
After your messages yesterday about dangerous crew members I decided to do a little research. From the 2004 annual accounts of the three cruise giants, the Carnival group employs 70,000 people, Royal Caribbean group 38,000 and the Star group 15,000. A total of 123,000 employees. Only Star provides a split between sea going and shore staff. (85/15). If we assume all three have similar ratios, the total sea going staff for the big three is about 104,000 people. From the UK Department for Transport website, I discovered that there are a total of 25,000 seafarers. Both sets of figures will include hotel staff. So I am afraid that bringing back the red duster will not solve the problem.
A small start in the right direction is the UK's new Tonnage Tax Law. If shipowners elect to join the new system they pay a small fixed annual tax based on the tonnage of their ships, regardless of the profit that they make and they have no further company tax liabilities. Simple and cheap. The only obligation they face is that they must stay in the new system for at least 10 years and that each year they must recruit and train 1 cadet for every 15 officers they employ. Since the scheme started a couple of years ago over 700 ships have joined (including a lot of Carnival group ships), so we should start to see some benefits from this idea of John Prescott, our Deputy Prime Minister, who was of course a ship's steward at one time in his career.

21st June 2005, 21:11
Also the same man virtually destoyed the british MN when he was a union man, bringing out all seaman was a final straw in the demise of the fleets.

21st June 2005, 22:19
Tonnage tax is a fine idea in principle, but in practice it's something different. It is possible to be in the Tonnage tax, and yet not have the ship registered in the UK, indeed most of the ships in it use this loophole. Indeed, the Red Ensign is being increasingly viewed as a western Flag of Convenience, due to the lack of ships under its flag that are neither owned, built or registered in the UK, and dont carry ANY British people onboard. The Red Ensign had a good repuatation, but now its slipping away.
There is a training obligation (sort of), but it is pitiful, and crucially, the Shipping Company concerned is under NO obligation to take on the Cadets it trains.
The resultant being that most companies who train their Cadets sack them as soon as they've passed their Orals and got their ticket. The Cadets get told this is going to happen as soon as they start with the company.
Of course, nobody is taking on British junior officers at the moment, and those that do tend to train their own, so these newly qualified Deckies and Engineers have no job prospects. This usually means they give up the sea for good and go a get a proper job.
Unless there is an employment link, then the tonnage tax is a waste of time. That of course will never happen as the Chamber of Shipping has said that if it does, then it will advise its members to leave the scheme, so they can keep on employing cheap labour from the Third World.
Hardly surprising when you think about it, a British 3/O in my company (BP) gets paid the same as a MASTER from the Ukraine.

fred henderson
22nd June 2005, 23:59
Hi Guys

My comments on the magnitude of the staffing problem facing the shipping industry seem to have provoked an excellent dialogue. May I suggest that we remember the following: -

1. Merchant shipping only exists if the owners make a profit. John Prescott seems to have realised that his rabble rousing past was a huge destructive force in British shipping. By introducing the tonnage tax, a British Government has for the first time in over 50 years recognised that the tax system for shipping needs to be internationally competitive. Thank goodness most of the EEC job destroying employment regulations do not apply to our international shipping operations. As a result, for the first time, the long term decline in the size of the British fleet has been reversed. The DfT say that half of the 700 new tonnage tax ships are additions to the British register.

2. A shipowner is usually operating in a market that is characterised by unrestrained international competition. The Chinese could not care less about the nationality of the officers serving on the ships that bring them raw materials and carry their manufactured exports. Cruise prices are lower than they were a decade ago. Costs per pax/day must be reduced to compensate. A major part of this cost reduction comes from the introduction of bigger, more cost effective ships. Some of the answer is however, the employment of international crews. The important thing is that these crews are properly trained.

3. The point I was trying to make was that the cruise industry needs a huge number of seafarers. Carnival, by far the biggest cruise operator, has 78 ships in service and a further 12 on order. As an example one of these ships, Holland America's Zuiderdam, has a compliment of 21 senior officers, 87 officers, 158 petty officers and 574 crew. The cruise operators' staff requirements are massive. I feel that it is good that Carnival is placing ships in the British tonnage tax system, which demands that they train 1 cadet for every 15 of their officers.

4. For the good of the industry, does it matter if the cadets are British or Ukranian, as long as they are well trained?


23rd June 2005, 00:13
It's all very good for the shipping companies concerned, yes.
But I fail to see how it is good for the 'industry'. If things keep going the way there, there wont be a British shipping Industry.
We'll simply be another Liberia or Panama. Very, very fews jobs for Brits, and even less job opportunities. Indeed, since the Tonnage tax was introduced, UK officer jobs have actually FALLEN.
For many years, the thing that kept us going was the fact that ships registered in the UK had a certain prestige, and were known to have very high standards. But this has been watered down since the introduction of the Tonnage tax, there are even rumours of a second, International register, in the same style as the French, Danish and Norwegians have. This prestige more or less guaranteed that many Port State control or SIRE inspections were nowhere near as thorough as what your average FOC got. We were expected to be good. And, on the whole, we were.
It for exactly that reason that a lot of companies have flagged in. And it is exactly why standards have gone down. There has been a sharp rise in the number of UK flag detentions in recent years, and indeed, for the first time in a long time (in Modern times at least) some UK ships are being classed as FOC's, due to the appalling conditions onboard.
The Unions have all recognised this, Lloyds has mentioned it, and the IMO has recognised it. Indeed, the IMO have already warned the MCA about where we're heading.
Make no mistake about it though, once someone else comes up with a better tax system the shipowners will switch over immediately. In exactly the same way that there was a mass Flag of VLCCs and other Crude carriers during the 80s. The reason? So they could be guaranteed Royal Navy protection when up the Gulf.
There is also another point thats been missed so far. The Merchant Navy is a strategic resource. Always has been. Even today, a Merchant Seaman is still classed as being in a reserved occupation.
We could never mount another campaign like the Falklands. You only have to look at the sheer amount of support the RN got, the amount of ships hastily taken up from trade etc. I often wonder if todays (much smaller) Royal Navy could manage it either.
That couldn't happen now, and even if it had to, it would take a LOT longer. During our most recent Oil Finding Expedition, woops, Iraqi Liberation the MOD had to hire in foreign flag ships for troop and equipment movements, and of course, sought the best value for money. Result? They got FOC ships, with third world crews. Many of these ships were detained in the UK, and the MOD was ripped off in fine style over the charter rates, to the tune of tens of millions.
If it doesn't 'make any difference' if the lads onboard are Ukrainian or British, just what exactly are we supposed to do in time of conflict? It takes 3-4 YEARS to train a Merchant Navy officer.
If we are to have a tonnage tax, then it should work, and cover all these points, and there should be an incentive or rule about how many Brits should be onboard, how many cadets to be trained, and how long they have to be retained after qualifying.
It is widely accepted that in years to come, the love affair with Flags of Convenience will be over, and the IMO is increasing hinting that it is going to crack down on them in a big way. We should prepare for it. It may take a long time, but we need to build up our Merchant Navy again in the RIGHT way, not some half baked scheme that does more harm than good.

fred henderson
23rd June 2005, 01:12
Hi Jim

As a shipbuiler I know full well that our UK shipowner clients rapidly deserted the UK yards when they were offered better prices in the Far East. I believe that these prices were artificially low in order to increase the supply of tonnage and reduce freight rates to the advantage of the Far Eastern industrial giants who owned the shipyards. In the end this Far Eastern strategy forced many of the UK shipowners out of business, but if they had continued to use unsubsidised UK yards they would probably have folded sooner.
The shipowner normally has very little choice but to accept the lowest cost option if he is to survive. There are nevertheless some operators who are able to consider the bigger picture. An oil major, or a nuclear fuel carrier, who must take every precaution to avoid an Esso Valdez type incident. It is ironic therefore that Esso was operating under the Jones Act and was only able to find deadbeats, who most certainly would not be employed if international staff could have been engaged. Protection can destroy quality more surely than competion.
You must also consider that the decline in the number of British officers may be in part due to social and educational considerations. Another DfT website is concerned about the shortage of candidates to fill shore jobs that require sea going experience.
Going back to the Royal Caribbean story however, there is no excuse for the employment of sub-standard staff on a cruise ship, even if it is registered in Monrovia.



fred henderson
4th July 2005, 20:42
I have seen a report that she did not call at Dover as planned, as the ship was not ready for visitors. Can anyone confirm this story?


Bob S
5th July 2005, 20:15
I have seen a report that she did not call at Dover as planned, as the ship was not ready for visitors. Can anyone confirm this story?


Hi Fred,

The top photo was taken off Dover, Don't know if she actually docked though because I got there before the scheduled sailing time and she was already out in the Channel.

10th January 2011, 00:46
Advertised as sailing at 17:00 from Dover on her delivery voyage, NCL's PRIDE OF AMERICA was out in the English Channel when I arrived at 16:00 today and underway..... Aaaaah. :@
Had to take this photo through the heat haze being as I will probably never see her again (yes, we do have the occasional sunny day here in the UK).

She is the ugliest ship I have ever seen. She looks like a top heavy container vessel for rats. What is wrong with people today have they no eye for true craftsmanship or beauty?

10th January 2011, 16:35
Greetings Enoch and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.