Welcome to Passenger Vessel Week!

Welcome to Passenger Vessel Week!

In these justifiably virus-obsessed days, it is hard to focus on the travel, tourism and entertainment that passenger vessels largely represent. However, we have to assume that either the virus will eventually be contained or that the world will adapt to working with it.

People are still going to need to travel for all the same reasons that previously prevailed. Indeed, it is even possible to think that marine travel, commuting and tourism, will be in greater demand thanks to the generally healthier environment in which it takes place.

While commuter travel has significantly decreased, tourism has been practically eliminated. How long that will last, no one can possibly know. However, we can be sure that things will return to normal eventually.

Certainly, if I were investing in a new ferry or tourist vessel, I would not be holding back. A cruise ship would be another matter. I can see long-term, if not permanent, damage to that sector. Some cruise ship owners have behaved badly. They will be rewarded for that with a very tight market for a long time to come.

Of course, so far the coronavirus data has only come from OECD countries. Who knows how bad things will be when data comes in from the "developing" world? I suspect much worse.

Anyway, whatever is going to happen, we must plan for the future, allowing for the virus as best we can. That is why I am still positive about the ferry and tourist boat sectors for the longer term.

Ferries • Ro-Pax • Marine Tourism • Cruise • Freshwater

Before coronavirus hit and since, as far as I know, the major ferry builders, particularly catamaran and trimaran fast ferry builders, were swamped with orders. I expect, after perhaps a short break, that to continue. There are many reasons why that is so.

First of all, the world is slowly awakening to the problems of domestic ferry safety, particularly in poorer countries. It has been proved incontrovertibly that fast ferries, particularly multi-hull fast ferries, are very safe ferries. That, in itself, will increase demand. Fast ferries can also, if operated at lower speeds, be very economical and low emitters of noxious fumes and other pollutants. They require smaller crews. Apart from briefer voyage times, they have many other advantages over traditional, monohull, steel vessels.

Increasingly, ferries will be used to reduce the traffic overwhelming the roads in all those places where that substitution is logical. I can think of so many cities where ferry travel is already, and will increasingly, take the pressure off roads. Cities as diverse as London, Brisbane, New York, Manila, Shanghai, Ningbo, Guangzhou, Bangkok, Singapore, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Perth, Tokyo and hundreds of others are doing so or have the potential to. In most cities you cannot just keep widening roads ad infinitum.

Ferries do not necessarily have to be fast. However, it is just as logical to incorporate the stability, low-resistance and safety of fast, light-weight ferries in slower versions of the same. They will be even more economical and less-polluting. On shorter voyages, as within cities, turnaround times become more important than top speeds. The important things are to ensure that they are low-wash and low-emissions. Neither of those factors is difficult to achieve with modern multi-hull designs.

So, if you can find a builder with spare capacity, I would place your orders while you can. Our Passenger Vessel Week feature will give you a very good overview of what is available.

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Vessel Reviews:

Features and Opinion:

– "The Bangkok Declaration provides an excellent platform from which to improve domestic ferry safety, particularly in developing countries. "

– by Neil Baird, co-Founder, Baird Maritime

– Three passenger transfer vessels were commissioned to boost tourism from cruise ships passing Norfolk Island. We followed their production, transfer to Norfolk Island, and maiden voyage.

– by Simon Ecktinap

– "The years 2016 to 2019 have shown a dramatic improvement in domestic ferry safety in significant parts of Asia. "

– by Neil Baird, co-Founder, Baird Maritime

– Tour operators on the Gordon River in Tasmania's heritage-listed southwest face considerable challenges in planning memorable excursions for passengers, while minimising their impact on this spectacular and pristine environment.

– by Peter Strachan

News and Gear:

Recent Important Features:

– "The completion of the work is scheduled for April 2020, when the renewed Uragano I will return to Santa Teresa di Gallura for the beginning of the tourist season."

– by Gabriele Zambianchi, Italy correspondent, Baird Maritime

– "Realism suggests that the big diesels which propel the bulk of world shipping will be very unlikely to be made redundant by anything extrapolated from something shuttling between two charging points on either side of a Norwegian fjord."

– by Michael Grey, former long-term editor of Lloyds List

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Call for content!

Any news or views about the global maritime tourism, ferry and cruise industries? Send it through to editor@baird.com.au ASAP (between now and March 27), so we can add it to this current edition of Passenger Vessel Week!

We are after:

  • Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
  • Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the passenger vessel sector
  • Interviews – Owners, operators, terminal authorities, passenger vessel associations etc.
  • Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the passenger vessel world? (example here)
  • Other – Any other relevant news

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World