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Chinese bank to finance three Silversea newbuildings at Fincantieri

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of China’s leading state-owned investment banks,with an extensive international maritime business portfolio, has signed a agreement with Silversea Cruise Holding through its financial leasing arm, ICBC Leasing, to build three cruise ships at Fincantieri. Alan Lam reports.

 

It has emerged that the deal is worth about €800 million. This is the first Chinese bank directly involved in financing international cruise ship newbuilding venture. It is a new milestone not just for the financial institution, but for the country. It will help China taking another stepcloser to realising its ambition in the cruise shipbuilding sphere.

 

In January 2013 the same two parties reached an agreement to cooperate on the financial leasing business of five-star cruise company Silver Shadow. ICBC Leasing has beeotherwise active in maritime business; to date it owns and manages about 200 ships worldwide, including bulk freighters, container units, chemical tankers and cruise vessels.

 

This development is the latest in a series of major recent penetrations into the cruise sector by Chinese companies; among them are the Ctrip’s recent acquisition of a major tonnage and the agreement between Carnival, Fincantieri and CSSC to build cruise ships in China, not to mention RCCL’s involvement in the endeavour of CSSC Xiamen to design a Chinese cruise ship and the possible acquisition of a second ship by Bohai FerryThere will be more to come.

 

So far, at least, Fincantieri seems to be a major beneficiary in these newfound opportunities.

Viking River Cruises order six ships at Neptun

Viking River Cruises, the Basel based river cruise line, has placed an order for six Longship class river cruise vessels with Neptun Werft in Rostock, the shipyard said in a statement.

The now ordered ships will be delivered in the Spring of 2016 and they will carry 190 passengers in 95 outside cabins. The will be 135 m in length, 11.45 m in beam and have a draft of 1.60 m.

Viking River cruises has a fleet of 53 ships. Neptun Werft is part of the Meyer Werft group that has a major cruise ship building facility in Papenburg. It recently acquired controlling interest in the shipyard in Turku, Finland.

Carnival plc shares in sharp fall on Ebola news

Shares in Carnival plc, the British holding company in Carnival Corp & plc group, traded sharply lower in the afternoon on media reports saying that a passenger that may have handled Ebola samples is in quarantine on board Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Magic.

At just after 2pm, the shares in Carnival plc traded 3.4% down at £21.19, close to the session's low of £20.93 but quite a way above a 52-week low of £20.48.

The wider stock market firmed in London, like in most other European countries, after several days of losses. The FTSE100 share index of leading shares was 0.99% higher at the same time.

Carnival Magic passenger who may have handled Ebola lab specimen quarantined on board -- reports

A Texas health-care worker who “may have” handled lab specimens from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan has been isolated on board a Carnival cruise ship in the Caribbean, the Washington Post reports on its website.

The ship in question was named as Carnival Magic of Carnival Cruise Lines in a report of Daily Mail in the UK. Carnival Cruise Lines is part of carnival Corp & plc, the Anglo American group that is the world's largest cruise shipping company.

"The worker has shown no symptoms of the disease, according to Carnival, which said it is in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control. A Carnival spokeswoman said the guest, who was not named, will remain on board in voluntary isolation until the ship returns to its home port of Galveston on Sunday," the WashingtonPost report said.

"The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital employee and a partner boarded the ship Oct. 12 in Galveston, Tex., before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the requirement for active monitoring, the State Department said in a statement. Although the worker is healthy, the U.S. government is working with the cruise line to get the ship back to America “out of an abundance of caution,” the Washington Post continued.

The employee, who has not been named, did not come into direct contact with Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. However, he or she may have been exposed to his clinical specimens, the State Department said.

“It has been 19 days since the passenger may have processed” Duncan’s fluid samples, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement early Friday morning. “The cruise line has actively supported CDC’s efforts to speak with the individual, whom the cruise ship’s medical doctor has monitored and confirmed was in good health. Following this examination, the hospital employee and traveling partner have voluntarily remained isolated in a cabin.”

Costa cancels Buenos Aires cruises

Costa Cruceros, the Carnival Corp & plc group cruise brand with a significant focus on South America, has just announced the cancellation of its 2014-2015 season cruises from Buenos Aires. Alan Lam reports.

 

As the South America season has barely started, Costa announced a major re-programming of its South American itineraries, cancelling four planned departures of Costa Pacifica from Buenos Aires, citing “commercial difficulties” and “economic situation of the region” as the main reasons for this decision

 

The company also refers to the growing demand in the Mediterranean as a reason for this strategic move. It is cancelling cruises departing from Buenos Aires on 27 February, 7, 10 and 18 March, so that the ship may return to Europe earlier than expected. Pre-booked passengers will be offered alternative options. 

 

The remaining Costa 2014-2015 South American programme will remain unchanged. Commencing on 10 December the season will now end on the ship’s last transatlantic positioning voyage departing 2 March.

 

The company also confirms its earlier promise of deploying two ships to South America for the 2015-2016 season.

 

This development coincides with our earlier report (14 Oct) about the sharp fall in cruise traffic at Buenos Aires for the current season. The “commercial difficulties” may be related to the high operational costs on the River Plate waterway, as mentioned in our earlier report.

Viking Star