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Ports & destinations

Martin Ahlberg appointed as new Director of the Baltic Sea Tourism Commission

Martin Ahlberg has been appointed as new Director of the Baltic Sea Tourism Commission (BTC). He succeeds Thomas Mielke who left the industry for new challenges. BTC is an international organisation for market-oriented companies and tourist organizations in the Baltic Sea Region – a fast growing tourist destination today! The goal is to increase the region’s attractiveness, and BTC initiates a process of renewal through new networks and partnerships. BTC’s operative function and administration will be run by FIN-S Marketing & Communication at Snickarbacken 2 in Stockholm, BTC said in a statement. 


Cruise Baltic steering group meets to discuss 2012 agenda

Cruise Baltic’s first Steering Group meeting of 2012 was held this month at the newly-opened Scandic Grand Central Hotel, Stockholm and was attended by over 40 delegates from ten countries, together with prestigious industry guest speakers.


Aware of the current spotlight on the industry following recent events - and the challenges already in place with the on-going worldwide economic conditions - Cruise Baltic took this opportunity to reiterate its on-going commitment not only to working closely together as a unified force in the Baltic Sea Region but also collaborating together with industry colleagues at the European Cruise Council (ECC), CLIA and the Passenger Shipping Association.


The Cruise Baltic destinations are committed to communicating their messages to the marketplace on the value of cruising, ensuring they offer to both the cruise line and their passengers ‘the world’s best cruise experience’. Says Bo Larsen, Cruise Baltic Director: “our enthusiasm - as a collective region - to be innovative, creative and proactive, is even stronger; effecting the highest standards of communication between the cruise lines operating in the Baltic Sea and the shore-side operators.”


Larsen continued: ”It is essential to face head-on all the current market challenges being presented, from the issues of safety and environment, to fuel and climate change – hence the choice of our  carefully-selected guest speakers we hosted here at the Stockholm meeting; we appreciate their support in joining us at this particular time.”


Highlights on the 2-day meeting Agenda included presentations and commentary from industry experts, including: Tim Marking, ECC Secretary General; Neil Palomba, Chairman of the Ports & Infrastructure Sub-Committee ECC and Corporate Operating Officer of MSC Cruises; Robert Ashdown, Director - Technical, Environment & Operations, ECC; and travel industry consultant David Selby, Managing Director, Travelyields.


Bearing in mind that cruising is a seasonal-based industry in the Baltic Sea region, the subjects and commentary from guest speakers’ presentations included:


David Selby: “Expect the Unexpected” - Selby stressed the importance of ports having standard incident procedures in place at all times; and also spoke of his relevant experience gained during his career as Managing Director of the UK cruising arm of TUI Travel plc, dealing, for example, with the 2010 Ash crisis. In a second presentation he also conveyed the need for the ports ‘to get themselves noticed’ when approaching itinerary planners at the cruise lines and offered advice on how to do so.


Tim Marking and Neil Palomba, ECC: ‘The landscape has changed’. With emphasis now on Brussels, the subject of operation safety legislation is being reviewed and will be on the agenda for months to come.


* Neil Palomba spoke of: ‘the need to work proactively together as an industry’. He welcomed the opportunity to speak to the Cruise Baltic partners, as it is essential to overcome current issues and to work collectively towards raising confidence levels.


MSC operates ships, however, we need the ports who are the experts shore-side, to make recommendations to us. Finding solutions together and working pro-actively 3 – 5 years ahead is essential; he encouragedCruise Baltic ports to lobby their own cities and councils, identifying who are the decision makers in each destination.


Robert Ashdown, speaking on environmental issues: Emission Control Areas (ECAs), this is the biggest challenge currently facing the industry; European controls are being reviewed that establish what marine fuel oils ships can burn in 2015. Given the increases in fuel costs that accompany this legislation, currently the impact on what this will do for cruise numbers in the Baltic is a guessing game - cruising is price sensitive and costs cannot be passed on easily. Traditional growth is driven by perceived value-for-money. The European cruise industry makes a massive contribution to the economies of Europe 


Day 2 of the meeting agenda also featured separate, participatory sessions on reviewing Port Service Standards, moderated by professional Luis de Carvalho, CEO Consult DCThis has resulted in agreement to Cruise Baltic forming a new Port Standard Sub Committee, looking to work closely in co-operation with the ECC to evaluate and tackle all relevant issues, looking at implementation in stages.


Speaking as host port, in support of Cruise Baltic and its initiatives, partner Josefin Haraldsson, Project Manager, Stockholm Cruise Network, said: “It has been a pleasure on this occasion to showcase Stockholm to our industry colleagues. The importance of attending the Cruise Baltic meetings is Invaluable to us, providing an ideal opportunity both to exchange views with other Baltic Sea ports and at the same time talk to key people from the cruise industry. It is essential for us to share knowledge and information on how to improve our cruise product.”


The significant results of the Cruise Baltic Market Review 2012 were presented by Bo Larsen to the Cruise Baltic delegates, final details of which will be announced at Cruise Shipping Miami next month. This report presents actual data collected from the Baltic Sea Region ports throughout 2011 and expected numbers for 2012.


Cruise Baltic is a network of cruise destinations in the Baltic Sea offering easy access to 10 countries on a string with an ocean of adventures. The association - started in 2004 with 12 destinations, headed by Director Bo Larsen - has now grown to 25 destinations.




TEAM ships three new passenger boarding bridges to Singapore

TEAM Ports & Maritime, the world leading designer and manufacturer of sophisticated Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBBs) for cruise and ferry terminals, has successfully completed the assembly, testing and shipping of three boarding bridges for the International Cruise Terminal in Singapore. The first phase of this complex operation has been carried out during the last months in TEAM’s manufacturing plant in Monzón (Huesca) and in the Port of Barcelona.

In a second stage the three Passenger Boarding Bridges have been embarked on a special heavy lifter ship in a specific embarkation sequence, in order to be disembarked right on their final position in the International Cruise Terminal in Singapore, being operative without any additional movement.

Each one of these SEDNA model PBBs was disassembled in four completely finished pieces to be shipped: two tunnels, two structures. TEAM has re-assembled all the different parts in a short installation operation.

In October 2010, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) awarded to TEAM a contract of 7.6 million Euros to design, manufacture, and supply three Passengers Boarding Bridges, with a fourth one optional in 2012. The contract was the result of a highly competitive international tender that began in 2009.

Among the design parameters set by STB for mobile PBBs, stands out the PBBs’ capacity to serve cruise ships with doors located from 7 to 18 m height above sea level, including the new generation mega-ships with overhanging lifeboats like the Oasis-Class of Royal Caribbean, the Carnival Dream and the Norwegian Epic.

Each one of these SEDNAs has two 33 meters glass tunnels, are controlled through PLC and are equipped with solid rubber bogies, electro-mechanical lifting systems, anti-slip flooring, air conditioning and a cabin with a unique integrated telescopic ramp which automatically follows the movements of the vessel and undocks safely in an emergency situation. The structure allows continuous traffic of trucks, equipments and ship suppliers on the berth. TEAM PBBs have a maximum slope of 1:12 and they are compliant with all the latest regulations and safety standards. Intermediate landings are located in the tunnels to increase comfort and ease the way to disabled passengers.

Halifax to commemorate the Titanic

This year, Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, one of the greatest marine tragedies in history. Concerts, museum shows, special tours and culinary experiences will honor Halifax's Titanic connections in many touching ways that embrace the province's history and culture.

The Titanic's tragic story has captured the imagination of the world and spawned 1,000 books, 17 movies, hundreds of documentaries and millions of magazine and newspaper articles. It was April 14, 1912 when the RMS Titanic, sailing on her maiden voyage with 1,300 passengers and 900 crew members, struck an iceberg in the north Atlantic. In less than three hours, the "unsinkable ship," the pride of the White Star Line, went down in the icy waters. The Cunard Line's Carpathia was the first to arrive at the scene rescuing 700 passengers. 

At first, White Star Line executives believed the Titanic would be able to sail to Halifax, the closest major port. Later, the company dispatched four Canadian vessels to look for the victims including two vessels based in Halifax, the Mackay Bennett and the Minia. Halifax's most moving connection with the tragedy would come during the aftermath as the
final resting place of many of the passengers.

There are more than 20 sites related to the Titanic in the capital and throughout the province. On the waterfront, The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has the world's largest collection of wooden artifacts from the ship. From April 12 to November 4, the Museum will present a special exhibition, "Cable Ships: Connecting Halifax to The Titanic and the World." A photo installation by Andrew Danson Danuskevsky, "An Earnest Price: 150 Grave Stories," will run from April 3 through June. And on the evening of April 14, 2012, a real time account of the Titanic's fate will unfold via the Museum's Twitter account through the same wireless messages received 100 years earlier. 

Groundbreaking research on the Titanic wreck conducted by the Geological Survey of Canada will be on display at the Bedford Institute of Technology which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. On January 12, BIO geophysicist and Titanic expert Steve Blasco will explain what scientists have learned from examining the remains of the ship. For the
anniversary on April 15 and on Mondays to Fridays from May thought August, visitors can view an exhibit of what the Titanic looks like today lying on the ocean floor.

The Nova Scotia Archives contain a virtual exhibit of the Titanic with photos, passenger lists, fatality reports and British magazines of the time. Next year the Archives will host Titanic "open-house" days for those visitors interested in seeing these records and learning more about the ship's connection to Halifax. 

From June 1 to mid October, Ambassatours Gray Line will offer a "Titanic 100 Year" Tour which will include visits to several of the city's Titanic sites including the Fairview Lawn Cemetery where guides recount heart-rending stories about the 121 passengers buried here, bearing witness to the range of cultures and social classes on board the great liner. ( Dtours Visitor and Convention Services will also offer Titanic-themed tours.
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Other Titanic stops include Canada's oldest Protestant church, Saint Paul's where a memorial service was held for the victims on April 21, 1912. Another is St. George's Round Church where the crew of the Mackay-Bennett held a service for the "unknown child" (later identified as English toddler Sidney Goodwin).

The 2012 production of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo will include a special salute to the Titanic. This indoor spectacle featuring 2,000 world-class Canadian and international military and civilian performers will take place July 1 to 8.

Over the years Halifax authors have produced a number of works about the ship, and two new books are due out in 2012. John Boileau's Halifax & Titanic will come out in March and Children of the Titanic by Christine Welldon will debut in April.

For more information about Halifax and the Titanic, visit and for information about Nova Scotia, go to

Port of Seattle honors Green Gateway Award winners

For the second year in a row, the Port of Seattle presented its Green Gateway Partners Awards, which recognize the comprehensive environmental achievements of the port's cruise and containership operators. This year's award winners are APL Ltd., Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line, Matson Navigation, COSCO Container Lines America's Inc., Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Holland America Line. 

"These maritime operators demonstrate by their actions every day that you can be good environmental stewards while contributing to our economy," said Tay Yoshitani, CEO of the Port of Seattle. "We look forward to honoring more of our customers in the future."

The name of the awards - Green Gateway Partners - compliments the Port of Seattle's role as the Green Gateway for maritime trade between Asia and the American Heartland. A study released in 2009 showed that for cargo originating in much of Asia and bound for a wide range of destinations across the United States, routes through Seattle resulted in lower carbon emissions than other routes. 

The Green Gateway Partners Awards set as a minimum requirement participation in the Port's At-Berth Clean Fuels program or use of shore power. These and other environmental activities are assigned point values. Depending on the number of points earned, Green Gateway Partners can achieve one of three recognition levels - gold, silver or bronze. The awards and scoring system were done by a third party.