Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cruise ship stability concerns after Costa Concordia accident

The recent cruise ship accident in Italy where Costa Concordia ran aground a reef raises concerns among vacationers whether it is safe to travel by a cruise ship or not. The Costa Concordia deviated too far from her usual route and hit the reef of the island of Giglio. Shortly after running aground the rock, her hull suffered from severe damage that allowed massive amount of sea water to enter the ship. She capsized rapidly forcing the passengers and the crews of the cruise ship to abandon her for safety. Until now the rescue works are still going on to search for the survivors trapped inside the sunken hull and superstructure of the ship.

Costa Concordia was an Italian style cruise liner sailing the West Mediterranean Sea usually on a 7 night cruise visiting ports of Civitavecchia, Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, Cagliari, and Pallermo.
Cruise ship and passenger ship have been designed by naval architects to have positive stability with the metacentric point (M) is above the center of gravity (G). If the point of metacenter is at the same height or below the center of gravity, the ship is said to be in neutral or negative stability. Naval architects who design ships know this initial stability criteria. They will always design ships including the cruise ship Costa Concordia and Oasis of the Seas with positive metacentric height even when they sail with full passengers on board and through rough seas.
Watertight bulkheads
The case will be different when the hull plating of a cruise ship suffers from severe structural damages that cause all or significant percentage of her watertight enclosures or compartments to loose their ability to keep the vessel remain afloat in upright position. Watertight enclosures or bulkheads have been constructed in merchant ships to protect them from drowning. When one of the compartments of a ship is flooded with water, crews will shut the hydraulic doors that connect the compartment with other watertight enclosures to prevent water from flowing into the whole area of ship's hull thus preventing the ship from sinking.
Balancing technique
It is also possible to flood one or more compartments of a damaged cruise ship to restore her to upright position when huge amount of seawater entering a certain proportion of the ship's hull and threatens to capsize her. For example, if a ship collides with a rock at her hull causing sea water to enter the front compartment, another compartment at the stern area of the ship can also be flooded with water to balance her position.
Advanced Navigational Equipment
Today, modern cruise ships such as Costa Concordia from the Italian cruise line company - Costa Cruise, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas - operated by Royal Caribbean International, have been equipped with advanced navigational equipment that are guided by satellites and radars. The captain of Costa Concordia cruise liner and her crews have more than enough technology to sail their vessel safely even through uncharted waters.
Judging from the nature of the accident where Costa Concordia deviated too far from her usual route in calm weather, the most possible causal factors of this accident would be the failure of the navigational instruments at the bridge of the ship or the mistakes done by the captain and the other crews of the ship - or both. by Charles Roring
related articles: Stability of cruise ship; Cruise Ship and Passenger Ship

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cruise ships The Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas

Two cruise ships, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, are operated and owned by the Royal Caribbean International. Both of them are now holding world record as the largest cuise ships in the world.  However, according to shipgaz magazine on No. 6 December 10, 2010 edition, the Allure of the Seas is 5 centimeters longer than her sister. The LOA (Length Overall) of the ships is 361 meters. If we compare these modern cruise ships to Titanic - the most famous Trans-Atlantic passenger ship, her LOA was only 269 meters. Cruise ship Allure of the Seas is served by 2,384 crews whereas the Oasis of the Seas by 2,394 crews.

For February 2012, Allure of the Seas offers a 3 night trip to the Bahamas with rates starting from 499 US dollars for interior staterooms to 999 USD for suite/deluxe rooms. She will bring her guests to CocoCay, a private island in the Bahamas that belongs to Royal Caribbean International where they can enjoy swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling. Another interesting attraction of the Bahamas itinerary is feeding the stingray at Blackbeard Cay. Both the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas sail the Caribbean seas.
Lovers of coffee based bavarages can now enjoy coffee latte served by trained baristas from the first floating Starbucks cafe on boad cruise ship M.S. the Allure of the Seas on her Royal Promenade deck. The pricing for the coffees will be similar to the ones which customers usually pay at on land Starbucks.
Evironmentalists have expressed their concerns on the impacts which giant cruise ships cause to marine environments particulary on the coral reefs that thrive at or near the ports in the Caribbean islands where the ships regularly visit.
Costa Concordia accident and possible cause of her rapid capsize in shallow water
In addition, the recent Costa Concordia accident in Italy has raised concerns about the need to limit the number of passengers a cruise ship can carry. Costa Concordia ran aground a reef in well charted waters of Giglio island and capsized quickly. Shallow water around the reef might be the main cause for her rapid capsize. A ship that runs a ground a reef or sand will sit on it with shallow water around. This will make her loose significant hydrostatic pressure on much of the surface of her hull.  When the weight of the ship that is concentrated on her center of gravity cannot be balanced by the hydrostatic pressure that is concentrated in her Center of Buoyancy, she will capsize easily. The center of buoyancy of the ship will move lower to the keel area where the hull was now supported by the reef creating a couple force with the weight of the ship that turn her into the sea. This accident reminds people about a tragic accident of the sinking of ocean liner RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic in the Atlantic ocean in April 1912. The accident claimed more than 1,500 lives.
Such accident where ships run a ground or run over a reef is not a new thing in maritime history. Naval architects who design ships have calculated the hydrostatic and stability properties of the marine vessels to make sure that they are safe and stable before they are constructed. Ships are designed to float in upright position on the water and not on a very shallow water on a reef. So, the possible causes of the accident might be some failure in navigational instruments or devices or human error. by Charles Roring

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Cruise Ship Terminal in Bali

Bali, the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, will be able to receive large cruise ships in the near future when the construction of a new Tanah Ampo cruise terminal is completed. The cruise ship terminal is located in Karang Asem regency in the east of Bali. According to the plan from port operator Pelindo III and local government - as mentioned in the Jakarta Post daily newspaper, the warf of the terminal will be extended to between 300 and 500 meters in length. With such length, Tanah Ampo cruise terminal will be able to accommodate even the world's largest cruise ship, "the oasis of the seas" whose length is 361 meters. Unfortunately, Oasis of the Seas does not have itinerary to Bali island. Tanah Ampo is not far from the beautiful resort town, Candidasa. When cruise ships approach the shore, passengers will be able to see the magnificent view of Gunung Agung, still an active volcanoe that is covered with tropical rainforest.
In addition to Tanah Ampo cruise terminal, another port which has been the port of call for cruise ships in Bali is Benoa. Upon the completion of Tanah Ampo, Port of Benoa will focus its services on cargo ships.
As the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, Bali received 2.57 million foreign tourists in 2010. The number of visitors going to Bali is rising significantly immediately after the launching of Eat, Pray, Love (EPL) movie which starred Julia Roberts depicting Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir in her spiritual and love pilgrim in Italy, India and finally in Ubud town of Bali island. by Charles Roring

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ganesha Bookshop in Ubud town of Bali

On my first day arriving in Ubud town of Bali island, the first place that I visited was Ganesha bookstore. It was located on the corner of Tjokorda Putra street and Jembawan street. This small bookstore has a good collection of books about Bali and Indonesia. When I explored every shelf of the bookshop, I found some interesting titles such as the Ecology of New Guinea Volume 1 and 2, and Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape.
Unfortunately, when I asked one of the staffs of the bookshop whether she has "Birds of New Guinea," she said that she didn't have it. There are some Japanese and European tourists in the Ganesha bookshop. Most of them were interested in books about Bali that are written in English language.
Besides selling books, Ganesha bookshop also sells postcards, and maps. All of us know that every trade has its tools. Since I also work as a tourist guide in West Papua, I really need a good map to show the locations of places both in the mountains and coastal areas in Manokwari regency to tourists who want to go hiking, camping and birdwatching, snorkeling. I bought a tourist map for West Papua for Rp. 95,000.
Ubud is a small town which has been a culture center for Balinese people for hundreds of years. I really enjoy traveling around Ubud and I will miss this town so much when I have to leave it. by Charles Roring
Also read: Oil Painting Gallery in Ubud

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Watching Monkey in Ubud Forest of Bali island

Bali is the most popular travel destination in Indonesia. It is located between Java and Lombok islands. One of the most favorite tourist attractions in this tropical island is the monkey forest in Padangtegal village of Ubud. Here, you can see hundreds of monkeys (macaca fascicularis) sitting in the trees or walking on the pathways. If you go there, don't bring a big bag filled with food with you while walking through the jungle. Monkeys may chase you and jump to grab the bag particularly when you walk alone. There are a lot of villas, hotels and homestay rooms in Ubud. So, you can easily find a room for you to stay when you go to Bali - the island of the gods.
Besides visiting the monkey forest, you can also see paintings, carvings, or enjoy spa and massage services provided by various galleries and resorts in Ubud. The number of tourists going to Bali has risen significantly after the release of Eat, Pray, Love (EPL) film starred by Julia Roberts in August 2010. by Charles Roring
Also read:

Old and New Year Night 2012 Celebration in Kuta and Jimbaran Bali

Several hours before the Old 2011 and New Year Night 2012, Kuta beach was crowded with domestic and international tourists. Most of them would celebrate New Year by watching fireworks, eating and drinking with friends along the beach or dancing on the streets while listening to disco music. Beach hotels in Kuta provide live music concerts to their guests. Kuta beach is located in the south west of Bali. It has been a must see destination for beach goers who want to enjoy sunbathing, swimming, wave surfing and watching sunset.
After spending one hour in Kuta beach, we continued our trip to Jimbaran for dinner. While waiting for the grilled fish, and squid, I walked around to take the night landscape pictures of Bali. I used Nikon Coolpix P500 to shoot the landscapes of Kuta beach and the Ngurah Rai airport. I had to try several settings of the camera to find the best one for night shooting. Finally, I knew that the "aperture priority auto" as the best setting for the camera to shoot the beautiful night landscape of Jimbaran, Kuta beach and the airport areas. There were not many people eating in Jimbaran area during the old and new year night 2012 celebration. That's why we could enjoy the delicious sea food dinner that was served at around 7.30 p.m. While I am writing this short article inside a bungalow in Ubud, the sounds of fireworks are exploding in the air. Ubud is the town where a novel portrayed Elizabeth Gilbert personal life and movie Eat Pray and Love which starred Julia Robert were written and filmed. The computer clock on the bottom right corner of this laptop indicates that it is 23.58 Bali time. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you Merry Christmas 25 Dec 2011 and Happy New Year 1 January 2012. A healthy and beautiful life are waiting for you in the coming days. by Charles Roring
Also read: Where is Bali?