October 22, 2004
END OF THE SAILING DAYS FOR QE2?
I had posted a note on the boards when I first saw the 2006 World Cruise posted. Some lucky poeple added to the post that they had booked. How envious was I.
We have spoken a few times about how fab it would be to do a world cruise - 3 or 4 months and 42 ports. How amazing an expereince would that be. Mark realised that he would qualify for 3 months sabattical if he stays in his current job the year that he turns 40 and I turn 50. Now a world cruise looks a pretty fantastic way to celebrate that...
Interestingly it also looks like 2009 (the year we hit the combined 90 years) or the year after could be a good year to do that as assuming the QE2 is still sailing it is likely though to be pretty much the end of the line for her as the posts below illustrate:
Transat Jon: "It is a thought, will QE2 still be plying the oceans in 2009? Her career ends before 2010 no matter what because of she will never meet SOLAS 2010 regulations (real wood, staircases to nowhere and blind corridors to name a few problems).Will 2009 be her last year, or will it be earlier? Word I hear suggests that 2007 will be when she will be put to seed but it is too early to say. She is still getting refits and interior upgrades each year. Start to worry when that stops!"
Translatantic Tom: "When I posed the question about her future to one of the deck officer's in April, he said that it was his understanding that "QE2" would be sailing at least until 2010"
Host Doug: "..the rules as they pertain to Cunard. I have not been able to get a reliable answer as to whether QE2 will be able to comply with the regulations coming into effect in 2010 or not.
Conventional wisdom has it that she is a Method II ship and that she will not be able to, and I tend to agree with this, but I haven't been able to get a definative answer. However, in a press release, Carnival Corporation & plc did at one point state that they will not be retiring any ships due to SOLAS 2010.
This could mean one of two things: either QE2 will be made to comply, or she will be retired before the regulations even come into effect in 2010. In my opinion, whether or not she would comply, it is quite unlikely that Cunard will keep her that long anyway. She will be 46 in 2010 and QUEEN VICTORIA will already be in service - so my guess is that she'll already be gone.
I also seriously doubt that Cunard will sell her to another operator (P&O refused to sell CANBERRA to Premier who wanted her, but HAL did sell ROTTERDAM - so there is no clear precedent here, but QE2 is far more widely known than either of those ships so I doubt she'd be sold) which means it would be static use or scrap. In other words, the 2010 rules will probably be a non-issue for QE2."
Transat_jon: "There is another issue that I believe SOLAS has a say in and thats the actual layout of the ship. Dead end corridors are not allowed, QE2 has a good number of these on four and five deck. Also her stairways that do not go the full height of the ship would need to be adjusted to go to all decks or blocked off. The thinking behind this is if an area is filled with smoke, you don't want people heading up dead ends and getting lost and confused and then becoming overcome by smoke."
What exactly are the SOLAS 2010 regulations?
SOLAS stands for: The International Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, and a lot of the regulations seem to be about fire. On one of the videos I see to remember someone saying that more ships have been lost due to fire than any other cause (I guess that is out of war time?).
One site of the regulations says about SOLAS 2010: These amendments, adopted by Resolution on 10 April 1992, introduce new fire protection requirements for passenger ships constructed before 1 October 1994. ........... This means, for example, that materials are to be non-combustible to the extent required for SOLAS 74 ships by 1 October 2010.
The Sealetter.com website says the SOLAS chnages came about after a Scandinavian Sea fire of April 7, 1990 (where 158 died due to the spread of fire and smoke), the International Maritime Organization issued in 1992 the Chapter II SOLAS 74 amendments, that are being phased in over a 16-year period that began in 1994
A brief description of these changes, for ships carrying more than 36 passengers in international waters:
* Atriums Applicable January 1, 1994. Each level within the atrium space is to have two means of escape, one of which is to give direct access to an enclosed vertical means of escape. The atrium will be a vertical zone protected by sprinklers and smoke detectors, which also activates a smoke extraction system.
* Fire safety Applicable October 1, 1997. Installation of smoke detection systems in all accommodation and service spaces and stairway enclosures. Various arrangement enhancements of hinged fire door automation and fire door indicator panels. Additional illumination of escape routes, with low level lighting or photoluminescent strips. Arrangement of galley exhaust ducts. Installation throughout the ship of a general alarm system and a public address system. If the ship was been built to pre-SOLAS 74 standard, all the spaces above combustible ceilings in stairways and corridors are to be provided with smoke detectors, and all accommodation and service spaces, stairway enclosures and corridors to be provided with sprinklers, fire detection and fire alarm systems.
* Fire safety Applicable January 20, 2000. Stairways construction: All the stairways must be of steel and within "A" enclosures, with only minor exceptions. Category A machinery spaces must be fitted with a fixed fire extinguishing system. Various arrangement enhancements of all fire door automation. Installation of dampers in some ventilation ducts.
* Fire safety Applicable October 1, 2005 (or 15 years from the date of construction). All accommodation and service spaces, stairway enclosures and corridors to be provided with sprinklers, fire detection and fire alarm systems.
* Use of combustible materials. Applicable October 1, 2010. Construction of pre-SOLAS 74 ships to be brought up to SOLAS 74 standards.