February 17, 2004
Cruise ship refloated
SMIT Salvage has successfully refloated the cruise ship Pride of America at Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven, Germany. The partly flooded cruise ship has been pumped out and towed into a dry dock.
The vessel listed approximately 14 degrees to starboard and settled on the bottom of the harbor, with three decks submerged.
After several weeks of preparations, the pump operation started last Friday. Prior to this operation, SMIT connected the submersible barge Giant 2 to the port side of the cruise vessel, in order to stabilize the vessel.
One day later the cruise liner was towed to a dry dock at Lloyd Werft where it will be completed.
The extent of the damage after four weeks in which four decks and the machinery space have been submerged is now being evaluated.
While the ship may be afloat again, plans for the rescue of Lloyd Weft itself remain under negotiation. The yard was forced to declare insolvency after the accident, when it failed to receive an expected payment of a reported $48 million from NCL.
Since then, talks have been going on between the yard, banks, NCL and insolvency attorney Wolfgang Van Betteray. The Bremen Senate, according to local press reports, is prepared to put 10 million euros into a rescue deal with the State of Lower Saxony also prepared to offer help to suppliers within its borders, many of whom have been hard hit. A delegation is to visit Brussells to confirm that such regional help will not break the EU rules. There seems general consensus that the yard will emerge unscathed from the crisis and all eyes are currently on Van Betteray to see what sort of magic wand he will wave.