Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Crusin' for Bruisin'

I'm mildly bemused/disgusted by the ongoing story of yet another cruise ship disabled at sea by a fire in the engine room, in this case the Carnival Cruise Lines "Triumph." I'm horrified by the fact that this vessel, and others like it, 893 feet long, and capable of carrying 1100 crew and more than 2700 passengers, has ONE engine room for the entire ship, with apparently no to minimum backup capability, and apparently only one generator room. So, the stricken ship is dead in the water. While this is a horrible inconvenience for the present passengers, if the ship had been overtaken by a storm, it could have been a disaster. The lack of redundancy in such critical systems makes me wonder how many other engineering shortcuts have been made while the builders cram in another water slide, restaurant, or mall shop.

This is just one of the reasons I have no interest in cruising on a "modern" cruise ship. Have you SEEN some of these seagoing monstrosities? I find them terrifying. They look like a skyscraper laid sidewise on an enormous barge. I know their sheer size lends them some stability, but, if they lose power, the huge slab-sides would make sure they "broached to" in any sort of wind. Then, take into account that they HAVE to be top-heavy, once they get rolling in the trough of a rough sea, it's "Poseidon Adventure" time.

An example of this is the deadly wreck of the Costa Concordia. While criticism has focused on her idiot captain who basically ran her aground while joyriding, I haven't seen any articles considering why a modern and supposedly well-found vessel capsized in calm and shallow water and what design defects may have contributed to the disaster. (Again, the ship lost all power when "the" engine room was flooded by the hull breach--.)

The fact that the Costa Concordia's abandonment was an incompetently managed clusterf*ck doesn't inspire confidence, either, considering that the Concordia was supposedly the pride of the Italian cruising fleet.

Add to that, that few if any cruise ships actually carry enough lifeboats for the full complement, and that in the hundred and one years since the "Titanic" there's been no good solution implemented to disembarking lifeboats from a sharply listing ship, and you see why I'm in no hurry to take a cruise.

(Ironically enough, I'd love to go on a "Windjammer" style trip--. Much more "low tech", but at least as long as you have one mast and one sail, you have propulsion--.)

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