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Marine Log

July 16, 2008

Cruise ship detained in New York with multiple discrepancies

A 637-foot cruise ship carrying approximately 1,200 passengers and crew is being detained in New York after a routine safety inspection revealed hull damage and numerous discrepancies.

The Clipper Pacific was originally held at New York's Pier 92 but has moved to the Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal where it continues to make repairs.

The ship which is home ported in the Bahamas, will submit a complete repair proposal for the hull damage and 66 violations found during the inspection. The proposal includes sufficient temporary repairs that will allow the vessel to safely travel to their next port of call, where it will make permanent repairs.

The Coast Guard and the vessel's classification society have reviewed plans for repair from the ship's master and will conduct a final exam tomorrow morning to determine if the Captain of the Port Order to detain the Clipper Pacific will be lifted and the vessel deemed safe to sail.

"We were fortunate in this case," said Cmdr. Gregory Hitchen, Chief of Operations for Coast Guard Sector New York. "The vessel owner and the country of origin were very cooperative in recognizing the problems and quickly correcting them."

A six-person examination team from Coast Guard Sector New York boarded the Clipper Pacific at 8 a.m. Sunday to conduct a routine safety inspection. Upon entering New York Harbor the ship's master reported a gash about one inch in length on the left side of the vessel sustained prior to coming to port.

Further investigation by the Coast Guard team identified the other 66 discrepancies such as fire safety, lifeboat damages and life jacket issues on the vessel. This inspection lasted from Sunday morning to Tuesday evening.

Representatives from the Bahama Flag Administration and the Bureau Veritas Classification Society were onboard throughout the inspection.

Coast Guard Sector New York issued a Captain of the Port order on Sunday because of the ship's hull damages.

"An incident like this is why the Coast Guard has a detailed safety inspection program for commercial vessels," said Hitchen.

The Clipper Pacific is carrying approximately 1,200 passengers and crew members.

"We are very sensitive to holding up maritime commerce," said Hitchen. "However, as in this case the safety of the passengers and crew are our highest priority.

Divers from Randive Incorporated, a Commercial diving company from Perth Amboy, N.J., assessed the ship's damage from the water and made temporary repairs Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and on Monday from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

According to the Equasis data base, the ship is owned by Pearl Owner Ltd. of the Bahamas and managed by International Shipping, Miami. It was originally delivered to Royal Caribbean as Song of Norway in 1970 and was sold to Sun Cruises in 1997, becoming the Sun Dream. Since then it's been the Dream Princess (2004) and in early 2006, (while being used as temporary post-Katrina housing by Tulane University in New Orleans) became the Dream. It was acquired by Clipper Group and International Shipping Partners in 2007 and became the Clipper Pacific.

It is currently operating for Peace Boat, which describes itself as "a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment."

Peace Boat says it "carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit."

The itinerary on which Clipper Pacific was engaged when it was detained in New York started from Yokohama, Japan, on May 14.

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