There have been a lot of news stories in the past couple weeks, so I wanted to post updates on a few of them.
Carnival Splendor, which became disabled during a Mexican Riviera cruise after a fire and had to be towed to San Diego, will not be sailing again until January 16. Details of the expected repairs were not provided by Carnival Cruise Lines, nor the location where they will be performed.
The cause of the fire and subsequent power failure is being investigated by Panamanian officials (the ship’s registry is Panama) and the National Transportation Safety Board. What happened to the Splendor should not have completely disabled the ship, as all cruise ships are built with redundant power supplies — if one set fails, the other can take over (at least on a limited basis). But Splendor was only left with its auxiliary emergency power (essentially, rechargeable batteries). Some marine experts suggest a design flaw in the ship may have caused the total failure of the power system. Perhaps the lengthy repair work indicates that the system must be re-engineered.
As for passengers booked on now-canceled sailings — including the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, the most popular and most expensive time to cruise — they will receive full refunds of their cruise and air transportation costs, plus a twenty-five percent discount on a future cruise. (And as a nice gesture toward travel agents, Carnival will still pay the commissions for bookings made on these cruises.) [Carnival Cruise Lines]
A test flight of one of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft had to make an emergency landing last Wednesday after a small electrical fire. The fire was traced to a power panel underneath the cabin floor, and the heat caused some minor structural damage. After the incident, Boeing grounded test flights for the six current planes in the fleet. Earlier today, Boeing stated that they do not know when test flights will resume. Given the incident and the growing delay in testing, it is unlikely Boeing will be able to meet its current deadline of delivering the first B787s to All Nippon Airways by mid-February. [Wall Street Journal]
After the near-disaster of a Qantas Airbus A380 which had an “uncontained failure” in one of its Rolls-Royce engines, Qantas was quick to blame Rolls-Royce and not its own maintenance teams. Rolls-Royce identified an engine part that was prone to leak oil as the source of the explosion, and all current Trent 900 engines need to be serviced. Qantas hopes to have its A380s airborne again “in days, not weeks.” [USA TODAY]