Monday, May 02, 2005

Norway on the Move ( From Cruise Club Travel Page)

Sources tell us that Norwegian Cruise Lines' (NCL) Norway,
will begin her journey to Port Klang in Malaysia within the
next two weeks. The 1,035 ft long, former French Line flagship,
Norway (ex France), has been laid up in a German shipyard since
soon after she sustained serious damage as a result of a boiler
room explosion in May of 2003. She appeared headed for the scrap
yard until late last month when reports began emerging claiming
that NCL-parent company Star Cruises would use her as part of a
yet to be disclosed "new venture" in Malaysia or Singapore.

According to an update posted on the SmitWijs ocean towing
web site this week, the Chinese super tug DE DA will arrive
in Bremerhaven around May 14th - 15th to begin towing the
"passenger vessel Norway from Bremerhaven to Port Klang/Singapore."

It still remains to be seen if she actually makes it to Malaysia,
as skeptics believe the announced move might just be a way to avoid
having to remove asbestos from the ship rather than an genuine
attempt to use her again. According to European environmental
regulations, large amounts of asbestos installed during her
construction must be removed from the vessel before she could
be sold to scrap.

Norway Accident Documents Released Speaking of the Norway, the
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)on Friday released
select documents from its investigation into the cause of the
boiler room explosion. The NTSB has not released a final
report yet and said that its investigation is continuing.

On May 25, 2003, the Bahamian-flag passenger ship NORWAY was
moored in Port of Miami in Miami, Florida, with 911 crew members
and 2,135 passengers waiting to disembark. About 6:37 a.m., a boiler
exploded,releasing about 20 tons of water, which rapidly expanded
into saturated steam. The expanding water vapor breached the crew
living areas on two decks, displacing bulkheads and blowing doors
and their frames out. As a result of this accident, 8 crew members
died and another 17 crew members sustained serious and minor injuries.

The information released on Friday includes investigative group factual
reports, photos, interview transcripts, and other documents from the
investigation. Additional material will be made available as it becomes
available.

A review of the new documents shows that problems with the ship's boilers
may have begun as early as 1970 when she was only eight years old
and still operating as the French Line's France. At that time, blisters
and cracks were discovered in a number of boilers' welding seams. The
damage was repaired by sanding and grinding the welded areas. While this
approach was successful in removing the cracks, it also reduced the
thickness of the welded areas.

Analysis of the accident, along with conclusions and a determination of
probable cause, will come at a later date when the final report on the
investigation is completed.

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