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Old 02-03-2006, 05:37 AM   #1
Squeakcat
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Cruise Ship Missing

CNN just reported that an Egyptian cruise ship with 1300 on board is missing. It was in the Red Sea and has disappeared from radar. I am stressing about my upcoming trip-- always a nervous traveller-- and my anxiety level has just gone through the roof. And now I've got to stop and feel guilty about thinking about myself first.
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Old 02-03-2006, 06:12 AM   #2
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Relax! You are not going near "dangerous" waters. You'll be just fine and will be totally safe! (I say so!)
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Old 02-03-2006, 06:15 AM   #3
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The Latest From Ap At 6:23 Am

AP-Egypt-Cruise Liner (Tops)

Bodies, lifeboat seen in area where ship last seen on radar

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Floating bodies have been spotted in the Red
Sea near where an Egyptian passenger ship was last seen on radar.
The "Salaam 98" with 13-hundred people aboard vanished from
radar screens after leaving post in western Saudi Arabia last
night. It failed to reach port in Egypt this morning.
At least one lifeboat with three people in it has been seen. Bad
weather is said to be hampering the search for survivors.
Some of the passengers on the ship are believed to be pilgrims
returning from the annual hajj (hahj) to Mecca, which ended last
month.
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:33 AM   #4
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The news says it was a ferry not a cruise ship...and an aging one at that!
.
An aging ferry loaded to near capacity with more than 1,400 people and dozens of vehicles sank today in the Red Sea, an official said. State-run television said 12 survivors had been found, and 14 victims. "The latest information is that this vessel has sunk," said Egyptian Minister of Transport Mohamed Loutfy Mansour about the Al Salam Boccaccio 98. "Our understanding now is that there are survivors," he said, citing reports from helicopter pilots. "There are lifeboats."
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:36 AM   #5
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The Disney fleet is definitely not aging yet ....



CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- An aging Egyptian passenger ferry carrying more than 1,400 people has sunk in the Red Sea off the Saudi coast, officials say.

State-run television said 12 survivors had been found, and 14 "victims."

"Our understanding now is that there are survivors," said Egyptian Minister of Transport Mohamed Loutfy Mansour about the Al Salam Boccaccio 98, citing reports from helicopter pilots. "There are lifeboats."

The ferry -- the Al Salam Boccaccio 98 -- left Dubah, western Saudi Arabia, en route to Egypt's southern port of Safaga when radar contact was lost, a spokesman for the El Islam Maritime Transport Co. told CNN.

At the time, the seas were high and the weather was bad, Mansour said.

State-run Nile Television, quoting the Red Sea governor, said the ship was carrying 1,415 people -- 1,310 of them Egyptians.

"The latest information is that this vessel has sunk," said Egyptian Minister of Transport Mohamed Loutfy Mansour about the Al Salam Boccaccio 98.

"The Coast Guard is doing everything in its power to try to rescue the people." Four frigates were expected to arrive at the site soon, he added. (Map of the area)

Helicopters had spotted bodies floating on the sea and one lifeboat carrying three people in the vicinity of where the ship was last seen on the radar screens, maritime officials told The Associated Press.

The ferry was carrying 1,310 passengers and a crew of 104, Mansour told CNN. The ship was also carrying five trucks and 22 cars, he added.

The Egyptian government has called their Saudi counterparts in the port of Jedda to seek help, he said.

Officials in Port Safaga said communications with the ship ended when it was 57 miles from Hurghada, off Egypt's north-central Red Sea coast, below the Sinai Peninsula.

Adel Shoukri told CNN from the company's headquarters in Cairo the ship disappeared at midnight (5 p.m. Thursday ET) from radar screens.

The Egyptian government had initiated a search for the 35-year-old liner, he said.

The ship had been due to have arrived at Safaga at 3 a.m. local time, but did not, the officials added.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:29 AM   #6
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Here's the Al Salam Boccaccio 98, the ocean-going ferry (not a cruise ship) that sank:



As you can see, it's a quirky design, a drive on ferry with "cruise-ship-ish" attributes (boxy cabins). I'm not a maritime engineer, but just looking at the thing, the structure seems top heavy and an invitation to capsizing in rough seas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djs113
The Disney fleet is definitely not aging yet ....
At the risk of hauling this thread a little off topic, I'm not sure I completely agree. Given the current nature of marketing in the cruise industry, consumers are basically being brainwashed into thinking "brand new ship=bigger and better cruise experience" (RCI perhaps being the worst practicioner of this).

In that regard, Disneys eight year old ships aren't "new." Yes, they still have unique attributes, but don't fit the emerging freestyle dining/rock wall climbing etc. definition of "cutting edge," which is what the market is increasingly seeking.

Last edited by Danthesand; 02-03-2006 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeakcat
CNN just reported that an Egyptian cruise ship with 1300 on board is missing. It was in the Red Sea and has disappeared from radar. I am stressing about my upcoming trip-- always a nervous traveller-- and my anxiety level has just gone through the roof. And now I've got to stop and feel guilty about thinking about myself first.

Relax! It wasn't a "cruise ship" in any fashion compared to the Wonder or Magic. You will see the difference once you are aboard the ship.

I have cruised many ships and I have to say this. The life boat drill on the Wonder was the most organized drill I have ever seen. It's not the most pleasant part of the cruise and I have times managed to skip it on other cruise lines. But this wasn't an option for me on this trip.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:42 AM   #8
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Our local news is saying that most of the passengers were sleeping when the ferry went down. Very sad.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:14 PM   #9
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In almost every instance where an "ocean-going" ferry like this has sunk, the cause has been (a) the ship sailing into stormy seas and (b) the latter causing a breach of the seals in the vehicle loading door area.

Or stated differently, there is inherent risk in this sort of design. Perhaps the best example of this -- and possibly an explanation for what happened to the Al Salam Boccaccio 98 -- is the story of the horrible sinking of the ferry Estonia in the Baltic Sea on September 28, 1994, which killed 852 people.

The Sinking of the MS Estonia

Last edited by Danthesand; 02-03-2006 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danthesand
In that regard, Disneys eight year old ships aren't "new." Yes, they still have unique attributes, but don't fit the emerging freestyle dining/rock wall climbing etc. definition of "cutting edge," which is what the market is increasingly seeking.
This is true, but I think that DCL will always have their niche. They have staggered the dining times and are offering the Topsiders option to meet the dining changes somewhat. They don't have the rock walls, skating rinks, etc., but they have some attributes that I like much better. For example, RCCL does not have true adults-only areas (they claim to on some ships, but I know from personal experience that enforcement is non-existent, even in the exercise room/spa). And they don't have the Disney characters, which will always be a big draw for some people. I wonder if any of the other cruise lines will try to compete with that by entering into an agreement with another studio like Premier used to do with Looney Toons. But even with the mega-ships and market changes, I think DCL will continue to prosper in its niche. The other lines might even be cutting their own throats...they'll have a heck of a lot of overcapacity if the vacation market ever takes a downturn like it did after 9/11.

Barb
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkkognito
This is true, but I think that DCL will always have their niche.
And a "niche" it is - by limiting capacity to only two ships, they are basically "gaming" things (it's easy to regularly have "sold out" ships by simply limiting how much you sell). The question is -- as other lines continue to grow, will Disney management be happy with an increasingly small share of the overall pie? They certainly weren't willing to in the theme park realm....
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:09 PM   #12
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DH's comment this morning: "Egyptians crossing the Red Sea? They should have known better!"

Not that we mean to make light of the tragedy, but I thought his comment was kind of amusing.
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:25 PM   #13
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Here's another picture of the Al Salam Boccaccio 98, showing the rear vehicle bay loading area (picture is from 1971, the year after the ship was built, back when it was being used in Italy).

Note how low the loading bay entrance is; my gut feel is the ship ran into some sort of large waves, and they hit the rear of the ship and broke open the door in that area, swamping the vessel. It probably then started to list significantly, which (a) creates immediate panic onboard and (b) dramatically complicates launching lifeboats (and may explain why only a few occupied by survivors were found today).



Here's a picture (the link may disappear quickly) from Saudi TV, showing one of the lifeboats (actually looks more like a raft) with survivors found today:


Last edited by Danthesand; 02-03-2006 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:49 PM   #14
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Just heard another update on Fox news. The first survivors have reached Egypt, and what they are reporting is the worst nightmare of the crew of any passenger vessel: a major onboard fire.

Apparently, about and hour and a half out to sea, the fire started somewhere in the "middle" of the ship. As expected, details are still sketchy, but survivors are saying at first passengers were told the fire was under control, but that apparently was not the case. Reports are that as the ship burned, the crew tried to turn it around to head back to the departure port, and that it either then broke in two or capsized before sinking, and that "there were not enough lifeboats."

Also, despite earlier reports of 300-400 survivors, lastest updates are saying at best 250. If correct, the puts the death toll at over 1,250. To put that in context, the losses on the Titanic were 1,490.

As I mentioned above, of all the emergency situations one could possibly encounter aboard, a major fire is your absolute last choice. If one wants to understand why, here are two historic examples:

September 8, 1934: the cruise liner Morrow Castle burns, killing 134

June 15, 1904: the steamship General Slocum burns, killing over 1,000

Last edited by Danthesand; 02-04-2006 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:00 PM   #15
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That is just so sad. They never had a chance. Those who could have escaped were lulled into a false sense of security. They had an hour to get more people off the ferry.
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