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郵輪停航數月,船只正在“慢性死亡”

郵輪停航數月,船只正在“慢性死亡”

Fran Golden, 彭博社 2020年07月15日
停航不僅會給郵輪公司的收入造成損失,還有可能對其最貴重的資產——船只本身——造成致命的打擊。

數周前,許多人在格拉斯哥克萊德河畔觀看一艘小型豪華郵輪沿上游駛入市中心的罕見景象。精鉆旅行號(Azamara Journey)鳴響了號角(這通常預示著要舉辦熱鬧的慶祝活動),讓一直執行社交隔離的人群感到興奮。但這一次,在這艘載客量達700人的郵輪上,除了幾十名船員外,并無其他人在甲板上揮手示意。畢竟,此次抵港并不值得慶祝:與在此次新冠疫情期間的其他船只一樣,這艘船只是為了補充生命補給。

全球約有400艘郵輪,但自今年3月中旬以來,只有極少數郵輪運營,且僅開通了本地航線。一些郵輪雖然開通了國際航線,但僅僅是為了把來自世界各地的船員送回各自的祖國。其余郵輪則停航,預計在短期內無法進行商業航行。(美國業界一致認為,可能至少到9月15日才會復航。)

多數郵輪公司是否都存在這一問題?在疫情期間,停航不僅會給公司的收入造成損失,還有可能對其最貴重的資產——船只本身——造成致命的打擊。從機械問題到颶風風險,再到可能構成刑事犯罪的監管障礙,郵輪行業此前從未面臨過如此大的困境。

郵輪的花費巨大。嘉年華公司(Carnival Corp.)(有9個品牌,是世界上最大的郵輪公司)在最近提交給美國證券交易委員會的一份文件中表示,一旦所有船只停航,公司目前的船舶和管理費用預計將達到每月2.5億美元。該公司表示復航之期尚不能確定,而該費用是資產負債表上的一個長期項目,僅在第二季度就讓其損失了44億美元。

船滿為患

與飛機一樣,船只停航面臨的首要問題就是停泊地。此次疫情期間,有近1.6萬架飛機停飛,停在飛機庫、機場停機坪以及廢機地等干燥、防銹的地方。同樣,船只也要有合適的停泊地來度過這一難關。

港口空間不足,無法滿足每艘抵港船舶的停泊需求,尤其是載客量達8,880人的大型船舶。這就是為什么精鉆旅行號在“返回”格拉斯哥時,船員發出了歡呼聲(郵輪停靠在了一個貨港,而不是通常遠離城市的郵輪碼頭)。運氣不太好的船只別無選擇,只能在海上拋錨,偶爾可以停在最近的港口,補給給養和燃料。

船舶追蹤定位網站Cruisemapper.com的數據顯示,本周,嘉年華郵輪公司(Carnival Cruise Line)、皇家加勒比郵輪公司(Royal Caribbean)和名人郵輪公司(Celebrity Cruises)的15艘郵輪在巴哈馬群島附近停泊。世界上最大的豪華郵輪“海洋交響號” (Symphony of the Seas)載客量達到6,680人,在多米尼加共和國附近海域航行。

據退休美國海軍中將、嘉年華郵輪公司的首席海事官比爾?伯克說,一直到今年第三季度,才能讓公司的105艘船只抵達臨時停泊地,其中,20艘停在加勒比海,40艘在歐洲,35艘在亞洲,10艘在東太平洋。

高昂維護成本

停泊只是第一個痛點。為了保持船舶條件良好并避免昂貴的維修費用(就像汽車停放太久會損壞蓄電池一樣),船舶也必須保持運轉。

“現代郵輪的設計和建造并非只需將其關閉并停泊在碼頭。”郵輪行業新聞網(Cruise Industry News)的主筆蒙蒂?馬蒂森說。“大量機械、電子產品,甚至是鋼鐵,都需要進行維護、檢查和預防性工作。”

這主要涉及兩種閑置策略,業內稱之為“熱機”或“冷機”閑置。

“熱機”閑置時,大多數系統保持運行狀態;“冷機”閑置時,壓載艙、渦輪機和齒輪箱等多數系統關閉。“冷機”閑置時,需要采取額外的預防措施,如密封外部門窗、將亞麻制品移至干燥的地方、將床墊放在邊緣、打開所有梳妝臺抽屜和壁櫥,以及密封浴室設備等等。

“熱機”閑置的一個好處是,船舶能夠很快恢復運行。伯克說,一旦復航消息傳來,船舶可以在數周內恢復載客,但仍然需要全體船員上船,并駛向適當的目的地。

但是“熱機”閑置需要更多維護,因此需要更多人員。每艘船都有“安全配員”小組,大型船舶約有120名船員。據嘉年華郵輪公司的伯克稱,必要人員包括,一名甲板船員負責駕駛船舶,一名工程船員負責控制電力和推進系統,一支醫療隊負責滿足船員的醫療需求(尤其是在新冠疫情期間),還需要保安以及足夠的客房和廚房工作人員負責照顧每個人。

在遭遇颶風或其他惡劣天氣時,船只必須能夠航行。伯克說,他們還必須遵守環境、安全等法規,否則將面臨高額罰款、刑事指控和其他處罰。例如,2016年,嘉年華郵輪公司承認污染刑事指控,被判緩刑5年并罰款4,000萬美元。

但“熱機”閑置這種保持部分系統運行的策略受時間限制:據海事情報公司勞氏日報(Lloyd’s List)的航運分析師稱,“熱機”閑置只適用于短期閑置的船舶。船舶閑置如果超過六個月,一些證書可能就會失效,因而無法合法航行。

離開水的船

“冷機”閑置需要運行的系統更少,因此,只需40名船員:駕駛臺操作小組、機艙操作員、消防管理員和酒店員工。但磨削操作幾乎停止,重啟更難,成本更高。根據勞氏船級社的閑置指南,需要檢查從泵房到艙房的每一個角落,查看是否有氣體泄漏和霉菌;需要從安全存儲地取出并重新安裝電氣設備,包括導航系統;而且,在清洗家具和布制品前,需要拆除所有除濕機,然后再放回原處。因此,只有在船舶停航數月時,才適合“冷機”閑置。

伯克稱,從長遠來看,嘉年華郵輪公司可能需要采取“冷機”閑置策略。馬蒂森稱,皇家加勒比郵輪公司已經采取了這一策略。皇家加勒比郵輪公司基本上在其船舶的機艙到公共區域的每個角落都安裝了除濕機。

他解釋說,當他們準備再次起航時,復航“可能需要數周至數月的時間”,接船員回船、冗長的重新認證過程、甚至籌集高昂的干船塢維修資金等各種事項均會致使復航推遲。

一種更為激進的方案是系泊船只,關閉所有系統,只留一些應急發電機運行以及少數消防安全人員和值班人員值班。郵輪歷史學家兼作家彼得?克內戈介紹了在這種情況下可能發生的嚴峻情況。

“管道工程是第一要務。”克內戈說。“如果沒有有效的管道系統,有人沖馬桶,水流經管道時,管道就會生銹、慢慢裂開,問題就嚴重了。”

接下來要處理的是暖通空調系統和線路。“事實上,這些系統遇到海水、海風,很快就會腐爛。”克內戈解釋道。“如果一艘船閑置太長時間,就必須拆卸基礎設施進行維修。”艘船閑置長時間后,腐爛這樣的問題就會開始出現。

如果這聽起來像是慢性死亡,那么一些公司則采取了長痛不如短痛的做法。嘉年華郵輪公司在第二季度財報中表示,公司計劃至少淘汰6艘舊船,這些船可能會出售給另一家郵輪公司,也可能會報廢,通常會出售給報價最高者。據報道,歌詩達郵輪(Costa Cruises)的歌詩達維多利亞號郵輪(Costa Victoria)已經有24年船齡,預計要被報廢。可悲的是,一艘離開水的船的價值還不及其全部零部件價值的總和。(財富中文網)

譯者:Biz

數周前,許多人在格拉斯哥克萊德河畔觀看一艘小型豪華郵輪沿上游駛入市中心的罕見景象。精鉆旅行號(Azamara Journey)鳴響了號角(這通常預示著要舉辦熱鬧的慶祝活動),讓一直執行社交隔離的人群感到興奮。但這一次,在這艘載客量達700人的郵輪上,除了幾十名船員外,并無其他人在甲板上揮手示意。畢竟,此次抵港并不值得慶祝:與在此次新冠疫情期間的其他船只一樣,這艘船只是為了補充生命補給。

全球約有400艘郵輪,但自今年3月中旬以來,只有極少數郵輪運營,且僅開通了本地航線。一些郵輪雖然開通了國際航線,但僅僅是為了把來自世界各地的船員送回各自的祖國。其余郵輪則停航,預計在短期內無法進行商業航行。(美國業界一致認為,可能至少到9月15日才會復航。)

多數郵輪公司是否都存在這一問題?在疫情期間,停航不僅會給公司的收入造成損失,還有可能對其最貴重的資產——船只本身——造成致命的打擊。從機械問題到颶風風險,再到可能構成刑事犯罪的監管障礙,郵輪行業此前從未面臨過如此大的困境。

郵輪的花費巨大。嘉年華公司(Carnival Corp.)(有9個品牌,是世界上最大的郵輪公司)在最近提交給美國證券交易委員會的一份文件中表示,一旦所有船只停航,公司目前的船舶和管理費用預計將達到每月2.5億美元。該公司表示復航之期尚不能確定,而該費用是資產負債表上的一個長期項目,僅在第二季度就讓其損失了44億美元。

船滿為患

與飛機一樣,船只停航面臨的首要問題就是停泊地。此次疫情期間,有近1.6萬架飛機停飛,停在飛機庫、機場停機坪以及廢機地等干燥、防銹的地方。同樣,船只也要有合適的停泊地來度過這一難關。

港口空間不足,無法滿足每艘抵港船舶的停泊需求,尤其是載客量達8,880人的大型船舶。這就是為什么精鉆旅行號在“返回”格拉斯哥時,船員發出了歡呼聲(郵輪停靠在了一個貨港,而不是通常遠離城市的郵輪碼頭)。運氣不太好的船只別無選擇,只能在海上拋錨,偶爾可以停在最近的港口,補給給養和燃料。

船舶追蹤定位網站Cruisemapper.com的數據顯示,本周,嘉年華郵輪公司(Carnival Cruise Line)、皇家加勒比郵輪公司(Royal Caribbean)和名人郵輪公司(Celebrity Cruises)的15艘郵輪在巴哈馬群島附近停泊。世界上最大的豪華郵輪“海洋交響號” (Symphony of the Seas)載客量達到6,680人,在多米尼加共和國附近海域航行。

據退休美國海軍中將、嘉年華郵輪公司的首席海事官比爾?伯克說,一直到今年第三季度,才能讓公司的105艘船只抵達臨時停泊地,其中,20艘停在加勒比海,40艘在歐洲,35艘在亞洲,10艘在東太平洋。

高昂維護成本

停泊只是第一個痛點。為了保持船舶條件良好并避免昂貴的維修費用(就像汽車停放太久會損壞蓄電池一樣),船舶也必須保持運轉。

“現代郵輪的設計和建造并非只需將其關閉并停泊在碼頭。”郵輪行業新聞網(Cruise Industry News)的主筆蒙蒂?馬蒂森說。“大量機械、電子產品,甚至是鋼鐵,都需要進行維護、檢查和預防性工作。”

這主要涉及兩種閑置策略,業內稱之為“熱機”或“冷機”閑置。

“熱機”閑置時,大多數系統保持運行狀態;“冷機”閑置時,壓載艙、渦輪機和齒輪箱等多數系統關閉。“冷機”閑置時,需要采取額外的預防措施,如密封外部門窗、將亞麻制品移至干燥的地方、將床墊放在邊緣、打開所有梳妝臺抽屜和壁櫥,以及密封浴室設備等等。

“熱機”閑置的一個好處是,船舶能夠很快恢復運行。伯克說,一旦復航消息傳來,船舶可以在數周內恢復載客,但仍然需要全體船員上船,并駛向適當的目的地。

但是“熱機”閑置需要更多維護,因此需要更多人員。每艘船都有“安全配員”小組,大型船舶約有120名船員。據嘉年華郵輪公司的伯克稱,必要人員包括,一名甲板船員負責駕駛船舶,一名工程船員負責控制電力和推進系統,一支醫療隊負責滿足船員的醫療需求(尤其是在新冠疫情期間),還需要保安以及足夠的客房和廚房工作人員負責照顧每個人。

在遭遇颶風或其他惡劣天氣時,船只必須能夠航行。伯克說,他們還必須遵守環境、安全等法規,否則將面臨高額罰款、刑事指控和其他處罰。例如,2016年,嘉年華郵輪公司承認污染刑事指控,被判緩刑5年并罰款4,000萬美元。

但“熱機”閑置這種保持部分系統運行的策略受時間限制:據海事情報公司勞氏日報(Lloyd’s List)的航運分析師稱,“熱機”閑置只適用于短期閑置的船舶。船舶閑置如果超過六個月,一些證書可能就會失效,因而無法合法航行。

離開水的船

“冷機”閑置需要運行的系統更少,因此,只需40名船員:駕駛臺操作小組、機艙操作員、消防管理員和酒店員工。但磨削操作幾乎停止,重啟更難,成本更高。根據勞氏船級社的閑置指南,需要檢查從泵房到艙房的每一個角落,查看是否有氣體泄漏和霉菌;需要從安全存儲地取出并重新安裝電氣設備,包括導航系統;而且,在清洗家具和布制品前,需要拆除所有除濕機,然后再放回原處。因此,只有在船舶停航數月時,才適合“冷機”閑置。

伯克稱,從長遠來看,嘉年華郵輪公司可能需要采取“冷機”閑置策略。馬蒂森稱,皇家加勒比郵輪公司已經采取了這一策略。皇家加勒比郵輪公司基本上在其船舶的機艙到公共區域的每個角落都安裝了除濕機。

他解釋說,當他們準備再次起航時,復航“可能需要數周至數月的時間”,接船員回船、冗長的重新認證過程、甚至籌集高昂的干船塢維修資金等各種事項均會致使復航推遲。

一種更為激進的方案是系泊船只,關閉所有系統,只留一些應急發電機運行以及少數消防安全人員和值班人員值班。郵輪歷史學家兼作家彼得?克內戈介紹了在這種情況下可能發生的嚴峻情況。

“管道工程是第一要務。”克內戈說。“如果沒有有效的管道系統,有人沖馬桶,水流經管道時,管道就會生銹、慢慢裂開,問題就嚴重了。”

接下來要處理的是暖通空調系統和線路。“事實上,這些系統遇到海水、海風,很快就會腐爛。”克內戈解釋道。“如果一艘船閑置太長時間,就必須拆卸基礎設施進行維修。”艘船閑置長時間后,腐爛這樣的問題就會開始出現。

如果這聽起來像是慢性死亡,那么一些公司則采取了長痛不如短痛的做法。嘉年華郵輪公司在第二季度財報中表示,公司計劃至少淘汰6艘舊船,這些船可能會出售給另一家郵輪公司,也可能會報廢,通常會出售給報價最高者。據報道,歌詩達郵輪(Costa Cruises)的歌詩達維多利亞號郵輪(Costa Victoria)已經有24年船齡,預計要被報廢。可悲的是,一艘離開水的船的價值還不及其全部零部件價值的總和。(財富中文網)??

譯者:Biz

Hundreds of people lined the banks of Glasgow’s River Clyde a few weeks ago for the rare sight of a small, high-end cruise ship sailing upriver—practically into the heart of the city. The Azamara Journey thrilled socially distanced onlookers by blasting its horn, typically a heralding of lively celebration. But this time nobody was there to wave on the deck of the 700-passenger ship, aside from the couple dozen members of its skeleton crew. This was no celebratory arrival, after all: it was a vessel on life support, just like every other ship dealing with the pandemic’s brutal wake.

Since mid-March, only a small handful of the world’s 400-or-so cruise ships have been able to accept passengers—all on hyperlocal itineraries. A few dozen are sailing the world with purpose, repatriating crew members from every corner of the globe. The rest are sitting idle in cruise ship purgatory, unable to sail commercially for the foreseeable future. (In the U.S., the industry has agreed not to resume business at least until Sept. 15.)

The problem for many cruise lines? Idling through the pandemic isn’t just bad for the company’s bottom line, it’s a potential death warrant for their costliest assets: the ships themselves. From mechanical issues to hurricane risks to regulatory hurdles that can constitute criminal offenses, it’s a quagmire that the industry has never faced on this scale before.

The expense is staggering. In a recent SEC filing, Carnival Corp.—whose nine brands comprise the world’s largest cruise company—indicated that its ongoing ship and administrations expenses would amount to $250 million a month once all its ships are on pause. With the company saying it’s unable to predict when cruises resume, that’s a long-term line item on a balance sheet that logged $4.4 billion in losses in the second quarter alone.

Here a Ship, There a Ship

As with airplanes, the first issue with maintaining an idle cruise ship is simply finding a place to park it. As many as 16,000 planes have been grounded in the pandemic, hiding out in dry and rust-proof places that range from hangars and airport tarmacs to desert boneyards. Ships are similarly scrambling to find the right conditions to weather the storm.

There’s not enough port space for every ship to dock at once, especially for huge ships that ordinarily carry up to 8,880 passengers and crew. This explains the celebratory sounds of the Azamara Journey’s “homecoming” in Glasgow (it docked at a cargo port rather than its usual cruise berth further outside the city). Less lucky vessels have had no choice but to drop anchor at sea, occasionally stopping into the nearest port for provisions and fuel.

This week, a cluster of 15 ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises was hanging out near the Bahamas, according to Cruisemapper.com, a ship-tracking site. The 6,680-passenger Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, was off the Dominican Republic.

According to Bill Burke, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and Carnival’s chief maritime officer, getting the company’s 105 ships to their pause destinations—20 in the Caribbean, 40 in Europe, 35 in Asia, and 10 in the eastern Pacific—is a process that will stretch into the third quarter of the year.

High Maintenance

Parking is just the first pain point. To keep things shipshape and avoid costly repairs (much like how your battery might die if you leave your car sitting too long),the vessels must also be kept operating.

“Modern cruise ships are not designed or built to just be turned off and left at a pier,” says Monty Mathisen, managing editor of Cruise Industry News. “You are talking about massive amounts of machinery, electronics, and even steel that needs maintenance, checking, and preventative work.”

That mostly involves one of two scenarios, referred to in the industry as “warm” or “cold” layup.

In warm layup, most systems are kept functioning; in cold layup more are shut down, such as ballast tanks, turbines, and gear boxes. Cold layups come with extra precautions, too, such as sealing off external doors and windows, moving linens to a dry place, putting mattresses on edge, opening all dresser drawers and closets, and sealing bathroom fixtures, to name a few.

An advantage to warm layup is ships can quickly be put back into operation. Once the word comes down, Burke says, the ship can resume carrying guests within weeks—though it will still need to get a full crew onboard and sail to the appropriate destination.

But warm layup requires more upkeep, and therefore more staff. Each ship has a “safe manning” team—about 120 crew members for a large ship. Among the necessary personnel, according to Carnival’s Burke: a deck crew to drive the ship, an engineering crew to run the electrical power and propulsion, a medical team to tend to staff needs (particularly in the time of Covid-19), security, and enough housekeeping and kitchen staff to keep everyone looked after and fed.

In the event of hurricanes or other bad weather, the ships have to be able to move. They also have to comply with environmental, safety, and other regulations or risk stiff fines, criminal charges, and other penalties, says Burke. In 2016, for example, Carnival received a five-year probation and a $40 million fine on a criminal pollution conviction.

But there’s a time limit on this half-on strategy: According to shipping analysts at maritime intelligence company Lloyd’s List, warm layup is only appropriate in the short term. After as little as six months, ships may lose certain certifications that allow them to sail legally.

A Ship Out of Water

Cold layups require fewer systems to run, and therefore, as little as 40 crew members: a bridge team, engine room operators, fire wardens, and hotel staff. But grinding operations to a near-halt makes it more difficult and expensive to restart. According to Lloyd’s Register’s layup guide, every corner of a ship, from the pump room to the living quarters, needs to be inspected for things like gas leaks and mold; electrical equipment, including the navigation systems, need to be removed from safe storage and reinstalled ; and dehumidifiers all need to be removed before furniture and soft goods can be cleaned and put back in place. That’s why cold layups are seen as advantageous only in the event of an outage stretching to many months.

Burke says Carnival could move in this direction in the long term. According to Mathisen, Royal Caribbean has already committed to this tact. Its fleet is largely being protected by dehumidifiers—deployed everywhere from engine rooms to public areas.

When they’re ready to set sail again, the restart “can take weeks to months,” he explains, detailing delays that range from transporting crew back to the ship, going through bureaucratic recertification processes, or even financing expensive dry dock repairs.

A more drastic option is tying up the ship, shutting down all systems, leaving only some emergency generators running and a few fire safety crew and watchmen on duty. Cruise historian and writer Peter Knego paints a grim picture of what can happen in that scenario.

“The first thing that goes is the plumbing,” Knego says. “If you don’t have the plumbing active and somebody’s actually flushing toilets and running water through the system, rust sets in, the pipe starts to disintegrate, and then you have major problems.”

HVAC systems and wiring are next to go. “And then just the fact they are laid up in salt water, salt air, decaying everything very quickly,” Knego explains. “You literally have to tear the infrastructure to make repairs if a ship has been idle for too long.” With long-term layups, issues like rot start to crop up.

If that sounds like a slow and painful death, some companies are just ripping off the Band-Aid instead. In its second-quarter financial filing, Carnival said it plans to retire at least six older ships, which could potentially be sold another cruise company or for scrap—usually for anyone’s best offer. Costa Cruises brand’s 24-year-old Costa Victoria is reportedly destined for a scrapyard. A ship out of water is, alas, worth less than the sum of its parts.

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