The End is Near

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>>If not them, they'll sell it directly to the Chinese.<<

For what it's worth, I agree. There's always somebody out there willing to take on the really dirty jobs for the right price.

Scott R. Andrews

IMO, what we are seeing here is the biggest problem with organizations like Greenpeace. They are very good at creating a nuisance and thwarting projects such as towing obsoleted ships to the breakers. Yet, have any of these groups ever proposed a practical, workable and financially viable solution to any of these problems? Making a lot of noise is easy -- it's being an active participant in providing a real solution to these problems that's the difficult part!

If such organizations become much more successful at preventing these ships from reaching scrappers in that part of the world than they already have been, I fear they will in advertently create even greater problems than the ones they are trying to put a stop to. Given the economics of disposing of some of these materials versus the actual scrap value of some of these ships, we could very well see many more "accidental" sinkings of older ships out in international waters while under tow, supposedly enroute to begin "new business ventures" for shill companies. There are many less scrupulous enterprises out there that will gladly take ten cents on the dollar for a payout on a transport insurance claim versus scrap value if it means they can avoid a potential net loss due to hazardous materials disposal fees.

Scott Andrews
>>Yet, have any of these groups ever proposed a practical, workable and financially viable solution to any of these problems? <<

Not that I've seen. It's not as if their concerns aren't valid. They are. A ship can be a real witches brew of toxic waste and materials. They problem is that while they're very good at obstruction, they just don't have a plan for dealing with things. They need to come up with one.

>>I fear they will in advertently create even greater problems than the ones they are trying to put a stop to. <<

They already have. There are backwaters and estuaries all over the world where worn out, obsolete ships are anchored and rusting away and I don't expect any of them to be cleared out any time soon. In the meantime, the condition of these old vessels deteriorates with each passing day. Nobody short of a government agency is going to be much interested in scrapping a ship if they lose money in the process. With a set up like that, I expect it's going to take some abrupt sinkings in some of these anchorages to get the message across.
Hello everyone,
I'll always remember the first cruise I went on, over a decade ago now I believe. It was in the Caribbean. We passed the Norway as she was sitting near the port, and we were on our way out. She still had the giant sign amidship which betrayed her former identity as the France. She had very nice lines, much nicer than the floating boxes they call ships these days. That's not to say I dislike cruise ships, I love cruises, but definitely not because of the designs of the exterior of the ships! It is sad that the France is to be scrapped, but such is the life of a ship. She had been refitted many times, and was just becoming too old and high-maintenance to operate. The fire really put an end to any hopes of her being a profitable ship, and given her age, I would question how much longer she could have been safely operated even if she was repaired. Hope all of you had a nice weekend.
Kind regards,

Joe Russo

Is she sailing under her own power during all of this or is she being towed? If so, did they do a band-aid fix on her engine room after the fire?
Which seems a bit odd in it's own right. I would have thought that rebuilding her engines or replacement of Diesels could be comparably cost effective. If she goes to China, might they not consider rebuilding the luxury liner for what she was originally intended? Labor is cheap and merely operating her out of Hong Kong would be quite an attraction. Certainly the people of China are unfamiliar with the liner from it's old days. It would be quite amazing to see the ship in her old colors, plowing in and out of the harbor city.
As far as I'm concerned they should sink it at sea.
I wouldn't wish asbestos work on any human being on the planet.... Not after my uncle died of asbestos related lung cancer.
Sorry but I agree with Greenpeace on this one


>>I would have thought that rebuilding her engines or replacement of Diesels could be comparably cost effective.<<

It's not quite as simple as that, I'm afraid. It's not just a matter of yanking out old engines and replacing them with something new, it's also a matter of replacing just about anything that relied upon the boilers for the Generators. It's amazing how much a steamship actually relies upon steam, even for auxilary functions. All of that would have to be replaced. Then there's the matter not only of the age of the hull but it's material condition as well.

The bills add up with astonishing speed.

Joe Russo

What was the France's power plant? Was she partially electric like the Normandie?
When the QE2 was re-engined with diesel engines, was she totally gutted as the way you're talking about with everything relying on steam?
The cost of this in the mid 80's was $100,000,000, so I'm sure it would probably be much more today to do this on the Norway.
I'm not completely up on the France's propulsion plant though my understanding is that she had geared steam turbines. Even if it had been turbo electric, you're still looking at a plant where the turbines are used to spin the generators.

The QE2's engine spaces were completely redone during that refit. With the boilers gone, there was no reason to have some of the really wide open spaces as is, so they were rebuilt for other uses. That $100,000,000 isn't chump change even today. Had the ship been ten years older at the time, I doubt Cunard would have done it.
"As far as I'm concerned they should sink it at sea."

I a way, I agree. It can sound stupid, but sunken ships are still with us. Take Titanic for example. Titanic sank, and we can still explore her in the abyss. Olympic was broken up, and the entire ship except from some fittings is gone. It sounds odd, but imagine sinking the Norway in shallow water... In that way she could be with us for a long time.

Just a thought...
I do remember reading in the book QE2 written by Commodore Ronald Warwick or was it in the book QE2 A Ship for all Seasons written by David Hutchings? Anyway whichever book it is in,I do remember reading that the power plant refit of the QE2 in the Winter of 1986-1987 was a very difficult task to complete and that it did cost Cunard about a little over $100 Million Dollars in American money to do the diesel-electric conversion and Mike is right that had the QE2 been 10 years older at that time Cunard probably would not have done the diesel-electric conversion.
Whether Greenpeace likes it or not, in the third world, asbestosis takes a back seat to feeding your impoverished family. Early deaths, while horrid, particularly with little qualified medical care available, are not going to be high profile issues for these people. I can't believe the ship will be scuttled at sea as long as shipyards can basically hire and fire workers at will, in an economy where furniture, fittings, and steel are invaluable and human life is cheap. I'm not being a cold hearted bastard about this, but in spite of our western moral outrage, working in ankle deep petrochemicals and showering clouds of white powder means little compared to feeding your children and bringing home the rupees or yuan.

I'd love the see the ship rebuilt and refitted, but I think we will see her cut up first. And though the "France"/"Norway" has seen 40 years of service, to me, the ship will always be reminiscent of her later sister, "Normandie". She is truly, the last in a family of gorgeous naval architecture, and "places that went to sea".
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