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It seems that Oriana is to get a ducktail added to her stern during the current refit. This information has been circulating on various cruise-based forums over the weekend, and there’s at least one site out there that has a picture of the ducktail (still in pieces), with Oriana behind it and her stern having been stripped ready for out to be welded in place. There’s also some speculation as to the reason for the addition, and many are suggesting that it’s to give sufficient buoyancy to the stern so that the extra cabins (27 of them) that are being installed in place of the children’s facilities won’t leave her unbalanced.

 

I’m not so sure that’s the principal reason.  I keep thinking about two things: the 2010 SOLAS regulations, and Azura. First, the SOLAS regulations. This new version of the regs included a  revised method of demonstrating that a ship will satisfy the requirements relating to damage stability; i.e. how a ship owner (e.g. a cruise line) can demonstrate that a ship will remain upright in the event of a collision or similar disaster of a certain magnitude and/or type. Previous iterations of the regulations mandated a ‘deterministic’ method for doing this, but the latest set of regs have switched to requiring a ‘probabilistic’ method. I don’t understand how these methods work nor how they differ, but I have read in a few places over the last year or two that this change might make ship owners be more cautious in the designs and plans they make to achieve the required levels of damage stability. Then we come to Azura. She’s the last of the Grand Princess class, and is effectively identical to her four immediately older sisters: Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Ventura, and Ruby Princess. However, unlike all these other ships, Azura has a ducktail. Why so, since she’s no different from the ships that were built without one? Well, she’s the only ship of that class that was built after the new regulations came into force, so I think that Azura’s ducktail is the result of P&O’s / Carnival’s caution in the face of the new regs. And that’s what I think they are doing with Oriana : being very cautious, and making absolutely sure that she meets the new regulations.

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