SEA BREEZES JANUARY 2011 • VOL 85 • NO. 781
A Happy New Year to all our readers! I can hardly believe the speed with which the last year has flashed by! As always, the shipping world was full of news and intrigue throughout 2010.
The most dramatic and high profile event of the year was the explosion on BP’s semi-submersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in April – causing a massive environmental disaster off the Louisiana coast of the USA, and the sad loss of eleven crew members.
Recent months were dominated by the UK Government’s Strategic Defence review with spending constraints leading to the axing of the Royal Navy’s HMS Ark Royal and a reduction in the destroyer and frigate fleet to only 19 ships – causing huge concern about the future role and capacity of Britain’s naval fleet.
However, the year was full of some positive developments too. One of the highlights was the launch of Cunard’s magnificent new Queen Elizabeth – yet another vote of confidence in the continuing success of the cruise sector. In the ferry sector, Stena Line’s £375m investment in new tonnage on the Harwich-Hook of Holland route saw the arrival into service of the Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica and work continues on the company’s £200 million project to develop a new facility in Loch Ryan for their Scotland to Northern Ireland route. The ferry world also saw the acquisition of Norfolk Line by DFDS, and given the present economic situation, I feel sure that further rationalisation will take place in this sector of the shipping industry.
Some stories have still some distance to run. World shipping remains concerned about the risk of piracy, particularly off the Horn of Africa. Closer to home and bearing in mind ongoing financial constraints for public authorities, there might still be further interesting developments on the potential privatisation of trust ports.
One thing is for certain – 2011 is likely to be just as action packed, and I feel privileged as Editor of Sea Breezes to look forward to sharing all the news as it happens on the pages of this historic magazine. Thank you for your continuing loyalty and support.
Captain Hamish A C Ross (Editor)