Author Topic: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc  (Read 1625 times)

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Online Rob Lightbody

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Hi,

Its now over 6 months since the cruise ships were all put into warm lay up.

From the photos i've seen, the ships look surprisingly spick-and-span, I'd have expected them to be rust-streaked messes by now.  They all seem to spend very limited time in port compared to normal operation.

But what happens next?  They all have routine dry docks etc. to get through, don't they?  Is that continuing even while the ships are laid up?  What about all the various registrations and checks etc?
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #1 on: Oct 04, 2020, 03:30 PM »
On closer inspection of my photos from here in Bournemouth and photos online, some of the P&O fleet are looking more worse for wear around the water line and around their anchors and will definitely need freshening up (Arcadia I'm looking at you!), but as you say not as much as might've been expected particularly compared to some of the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet for example. They seem to be spending around or up to 6 hours at most in port from looking at the AIS? Refuelling would take up a good portion of that time, when it's needed, I suspect - compared to any other tasks.

Several cruise ships have drydocked in Brest, such as some of the ships in the Disney fleet, in the last few months, but this is dependant on the local situation around any of the shipyards used given the example of Carnival Victory that has been laid up mid refit in an ever deteriorating condition at Navantia in Cadiz. Apparently she is out of class now too. Her refit was meant to take 38 days from sometime back in March.

https://www.diariodecadiz.es/noticias-provincia-cadiz/coronavirus-cadiz-Repatrian-tripulantes-indios-Carnival-Victory_0_1470753414.html

https://carnival-news.com/2020/03/02/carnival-victory-en-route-to-cadiz-spain-for-38-day-dry-dock-will-emerge-as-carnival-radiance/

Edit: An update on Carnival Victory


https://instagram.com/p/CF7qTyvBuVn?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2020, 12:03 AM by Thomas Hypher »
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #2 on: Oct 04, 2020, 04:21 PM »
There have been a couple of storms since the time they were laid up. I have not heard of any ill effects, so I assume that they weathered them well.

Online cunardqueen

Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #3 on: Oct 04, 2020, 09:15 PM »
When a place isnt used for three/Four  months, as with the recent lockdown theres a lot to check and double check and switch on , and clean. The inroom toilets sinks and showers all need water run through them, mini bars need switching on along with TVs , kettles checked, ice machines cleaned, and re cleaned . Even the water when you think about how much is used normally on a daily basis, and then suddenly your not using the same amount . Then theres the kitchens, and no matter how clean they are they dont really do well left not used.

Aircraft while they might be parked up or in short term parking or worse long term, they need serious looking after, and moved often to keep the tyres from damage. Even the things you dont think about the waste disposal tanks and water tanks need careful looking after.

As for ships and the giant ones out there, it can't be any fun on them anchored at sea  . Such things as are the cabins all made up ready to use, do they re launder the bedding and towels to freshen them up .
Which makes us ask, How well did QE2 fare for all her years in limbo.?
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Offline Twynkle

Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2020, 03:09 PM »
Just for info -  the Cunard ships in warm lay-up have retained sufficient numbers of crew on board to keep the ships in good working order! 

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #5 on: Dec 09, 2020, 01:47 PM »
Taking Cunard as an example, by the time they get going again, it is now certain they'll have spent well over a year idling and without any maintenance that can't be done while either at anchor or in a brief day in port.

Are they going to be able to resume cruising from lay-up, and if not, what's required?

Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Andy Holloway

Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #6 on: Dec 09, 2020, 02:12 PM »
I was speaknig to a man waiting to go in once i'd come out of my dentist in Teignmouth last week, and he was wearing a Cunard jacket, always a good way to open a conversation!
He had been out and around QM2 and QE/QV? in his RIB and was saying how rusty they both looked, he was asking the same question about getting back into service.
From my limited 'ship maintenance' knowledge, i'd say that they'll all need a dry docking, even if only for 6 or 7 days, just to inspect and replace possibly the anti fouling paint and check and/or replace any corroded anodes. Also, with very few ports around the world allowing any form of ship side painting while alongside now, that also will have to be planned into the pre-resumption schedule. I'd say that Companies are trying very hard to plan and obtain dry dock facilities all over Europe, especially with limited dry docking sized facilities for osme of these big ships.

Offline Rod

Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #7 on: Dec 09, 2020, 03:12 PM »
All the ships that are at anchor, I would imagine, have been running under their own power. This will make start-up easier as engines generators will have been running. Prudent chiefs will have been alternating which units are run. If they are not a diesel electric set up, I would imagine that propulsion engines will have been run from time to time. Main engines I would have to be available at short notice in case of storms, what if they drag anchors?
Andy is probably right about bottom cleaning. I would also imagine that these ships will have garbage collections?

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #8 on: Dec 09, 2020, 04:03 PM »
Taking Cunard as an example, by the time they get going again, it is now certain they'll have spent well over a year idling and without any maintenance that can't be done while either at anchor or in a brief day in port.

Are they going to be able to resume cruising from lay-up, and if not, what's required?

Not too long ago, Disney sent their entire fleet (4 ships - and the first time they'd all been together in one place) to the shipyard in Brest with at least some of the fleet spending time in drydock. The Disney ships that went into drydock didn't spend that long there either if I recall correctly. I suspect the likes of the P&O, Cunard fleets etc will follow as part of the logistical nightmare of returning to operation.

The drydockings will probably be minimal affairs to sort out essential things as Andy has mentioned, also including any regulatory/surveyor stuff, given the financial situations for each company particularly ones such as Carnival Corp which are not diversified unlike Fred Olsen although I think all the companies involved in the industry are feeling the pinch to some degree or another. Also they won't be able to spend too long in drydock given the unprecedented (from the cruise industry at least) pretty sudden demand for drydock space I would imagine.

Carnival Corp will complete its already underway refits such as of Carnival Victory into Carnival Radiance (they've confirmed as such) but I don't think any major refits or rebuilds (QM2 mid-life?) will happen for several years to come whilst the industry gradually recovers.

I gather QM2 is coming up for her next refit given the 5 year refit cycle Cunard currently have - which leaves things to be desired in normal times let alone now. QM2's boot topping has been in major need of tidying up in the past between the ever increasing time between drydockings, not to mention that several years ago one of the rubber mounts of her diesels had perished/deteriorated to the point that it wasn't doing it's job a couple of years out from her last major refit (when I gather it was finally sorted out). What sort of things like that are there that should or would need to be taken care of and will those sorts of things (not necessarily critical to the operation and safety of the ship) actually be dealt with particularly in the current state of the industry and in the rush to get going again ASAP?

Have the cruise ships shut off their plumbing and other systems in large areas onboard to save power and in turn save fuel? The issues with turning those systems on again might be there along the lines of the "Niagara" calls QE2 had.

Will the returning hotel crew have to deep clean large parts of the ships not occupied for over a year by that time - and how were those parts of the ships secured back then anyway? What COVID arrangements will have to be installed or put in place if they haven't been already?

Will regular maintenance and upkeep, numbers of crew such as for the waiting staff (which has been reduced over the years anyway, menu options (reduced anyway over the years) etc etc all be affected by less money flowing about or will it not be as severe as that?

Will we see a Cunard running on a shoestring budget for a time like they did in the last years of their independence but still taking on the as yet unnamed new ship whilst brand and parent company get back on their feet slowly but surely? Or will they bounce back quite quickly as part of the industry seeing something akin to a post-war boom? I suppose this partly depends on the success of the vaccines and the likes of the CDC allowing things to really get going again at least in a sustainable manner - all still up in the air and unknown at the moment...
« Last Edit: Dec 09, 2020, 04:27 PM by Thomas Hypher »
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2 in her new life, in Dubai, in January 2020 and August 2022.

Online Andy Holloway

Re: COVID-19 : Laid up ships 6+ months on - maintenance etc
« Reply #9 on: Dec 09, 2020, 05:54 PM »
There was an article recently by a P&O Captain informing everybody on what 'routine' they are operating under. Basically, they up anchor and go off for a 'jolly' every 3 or 4 weeks, to run the engines, flush out the tanks and make some more fresh water. Then every 6 weeks or so the return to port for crew change and store ship, ready for their next cycle.

The last i heard QM2 only had 130 crew onboard, and that was being reduced by 10/15 the next time they were in port. As such, i'd doubt there were enough crew to do too much cleaning apart from day to day cleaning of living areas and the essential daily 'flushing' of toilets. With only 115/120 crew onboard spread over all Depts, there'll be a lot of people doing jobs they would not have done for some years, Ch Purser  for example is probably doing the work of several 3rd Pursers, but knowing Jonathon as i do he's almost certainly enjoying the challenge under the circumstances. By the way, his son is a Para Medic in Exeter, i remember him when he was just a little 'tacker' travelling with his Mum & Dad, how time flies!!

Offline Rod