Welcome to Passenger Vessel Week!

Welcome to Passenger Vessel Week!


It seems that severe hubris crept into my last PV Week introduction. One minute, you’re on top of the world and the next you are struggling. The Covid-19 epidemic has given the passenger vessel industry a very severe knock. Many vessels are laid up and orders for new vessels have suddenly become very scarce. Times are very tough but, hopefully, those tough times will not last very long.

Perhaps the northern summer will allow and encourage more tourism, even if it is only local. However, I cannot imagine that international and intercontinental travel will resume soon. I have already written off my usual Mediterranean sailing jaunt this year. I suspect most people have done the same. It seems that many countries will be closed to foreign visitors for quite a while yet.

The big cruise ship part of the industry has and will continue to be hard hit. Some of the largest companies have behaved appallingly negligently. They will deservedly suffer for that and may well suffer for some time. Indeed, Meyer Werft boss Bernhard Meyer, the world’s biggest builder of cruise ships, was quoted the other day suggesting that it may be a decade before things get back to normal in the cruise business. He is probably being optimistic.

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

Fortunately, the ferry and tourist boat sectors were flourishing before the virus hit. They had strong orders in hand. Particularly companies like Austal, Brodrene Aa, Damen, Incat, Jianglong, ODC Marine, RDM, Seacat Ships and Yamba Welding, to name a few busy yards. It appears that most of those orders will be fulfilled. The world had been awakening to its dire shortage of safe modern ferries and tourist boats. Builders of aluminium and FRP fast ferries, particularly of multihulls, should escape the viral recession rapidly. As soon as owners can raise money for such vessels, they will order them.

I feel that domestic travel and tourism will return to normal fairly quickly. So, the ferry and tourist sectors should recover rapidly. The large globe girdling cruise ships will be another matter. They will quite deservedly take a long time to recover from the bad headlines that their owners’ bad behaviour brought upon them.

Vessel Reviews:

Features and Opinion:

COLUMN | After Covid-19 – it’s anyone’s guess [Grey Power]

“Will people still go cheerfully jetting off to join their cruises all around the world, at least until there are vaccines that have proved to work?”

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

FEATURE | Flags of convenience and the coronavirus cruise ship debacle

– “The pandemic has shown that cruise shipping is essentially an unregulated industry that has thrived in an environment lacking rules. Will Covid-19 change that?”

– by David Millar, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

COLUMN | International Safety Management Code failures [The Wet Detective]

– “What is the verdict thirty years on? It appears that those who don’t need the ISM system are applying it diligently whilst those that need it are only paying lip service to it, but the jury is still out…”

– by Mike Wall, marine surveyor and consultant

News and Gear:

Recent Important Features:

Bangkok Declaration 2020 agreed

– “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

From build to implementation: the journey of three bespoke vessels for Norfolk Island

– 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

EDITORIAL | Domestic ferry safety improves in parts of Asia

– “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

WORKBOATS AT WORK | Safety, sustainability and self reliance in World Heritage Tasmania

– 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

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 [email protected] ASAP (between now and May 8), 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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Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.