Adapt or Perish: How COVID Is Changing the Cruise Industry

in Trends by

2020 should be a record year for the cruise industry with 32 million expected passengers, almost double the 2009 numbers of 17.8 million. But unfortunately, the world was hit by the novel coronavirus, and things went downhill, putting the cruise industry in an unprecedented crisis.

As per research: 54 reported infected ships and 2.592 ill crew members and passengers worldwide. 65 people died aboard cruise ships as matters spiraled out of control. Following this, ships were placed on stasis one by one, crewed by minimum possible staff. The now superfluous staff members were sent home on chartered planes, mass bookings, and even aboard cruise ships while the world struggled with convoluted and sometimes closed border crossings.

Photo of DIAMOND PRINCESS in Yokohama port by NEO-NEED on ©Wikimedia Commons

The cruise industry is remarkably resilient and has endured and overcome many challenges. The new coronavirus, however, has been different. Governments issued advisories against the cruise industry, with some experts calling ships viral incubators and that the industry needs to be shut down. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a direct statement of avoiding cruises on an NBC telecast. There have been indicative signs of industry slowdown, from the prediction of industry experts to shipbreaking yards receiving an increasing number of cruise ships.

Building up of the storm

On March 4th, 2020, the German Federal Government stated an increased risk of infection aboard cruise ships. On March 14th, the CDC of the US issued a no sail order for 30 days. Ships were left fully staffed by the liners, with the intent of salvaging the remaining summer season. On April 9th, 2020, the CDC extended this order for 100 days, prompting drastic and quick revaluation by the shipping industries to survive, leading to loitering ships with minimal staff. The Foreign Commonwealth Office of Britain also recommended no traveling on cruises on July 9th, 2020.

Spreader events aboard the ships started to surface, such as the infamous DIAMOND PRINCESS. Crew unpreparedness led to the mingling of infected and healthy passengers, resulting in more than 700 crew and passengers testing positive and the death of 8. Another case, the RUBY PRINCESS, where 2.700 passengers were released without quarantine or tests, later resulted in more than 900 infected and 28 dead. Such events saturated the media, causing an effect similar to what the 9/11 attacks had on the airline industry; causing unpleasant associations with ships in the minds of people.

Figure 1: Average laytime in days of vessels in ports 2019 / 2020 and 2021 (quarterly).
Figure 2: Average laytime in days of vessels in ports 2019 / 2020 and 2021 (monthly).

National governments around the world put the safety of their citizens above foreign nationals. Ports refused to accept cruise ships. Australia banned cruise ships from arriving on March 15th, 2020, and on March 27th, the country directed all foreign vessels to leave the ports.

Read more…

FleetMon Maritime Gallery January 2022

in Community by

Welcome to our first edition for 2022 of the FleetMon Maritime Gallery. Each month, you’ll find a special section on our blog featuring the Best Maritime Photos in a certain category. You’ll not only get to view the most popular photos being voted by our community. We also present special shots which are less noted but in the same way extraordinary.

January is about the unpredictability of the weather. We show you ships struggling through foggy evenings, waiting for their cargo on cloudy nights, and vessels sailing under bright rainbows.

Enjoy the most beautiful weather-themed shots taken by ship spotters from our community on FleetMon.com

To all our ship spotters out there: We truly appreciate your work. Keep it up, guys!

Read more…




Phrases of Maritime Origin and Their Meaning

in Maritime Knowledge by

There are plenty of phrases we have integrated into our daily use of language so that we no longer even know where they actually come from and what meaning they originally had. We would like to introduce to you seven sayings of maritime origin and explain their meaning.

Sailing under a false flag

This refers to deceptive maneuvers or covert operations conducted by another third party to conceal identity. The action is thus actively attributed to an uninvolved third party for appearances. The actual actor is thereby acting “under a false flag.” In English, the much-publicized deceptive maneuver is also called “sailing under false colors,” while a courageous flagger is sailing with true colors.

Read more…

FleetMon Maritime Gallery December 2021

in Community by

Welcome to the seventh and last edition for 2021 of the FleetMon Maritime Gallery. Each month, you’ll find a special section on our blog featuring the Best Maritime Photos in a certain category. You’ll not only get to view the most popular photos being voted by our community for “Photo of the Week” and “Photo of the Month”. We also present special shots which are less noted but in the same way extraordinary.

December is all about the beauty of the night. It is about ships appearing in the shadow of the darkness and shining in the lights surrounding them.

Enjoy the most beautiful night-shots taken by ship spotters from our community on FleetMon.com

To all our ship spotters out there: We truly appreciate your work. Keep it up, guys!

Read more…


Is Supply Chain Visibility in China at Risk?

in Updates, Trends by

We share our view on China’s AIS Coverage Drop.

Recently the maritime industry became aware of what has been stated in the media as “China’s terrestrial AIS data blackout”. Following two new data security laws in China, the reception of data from China became challenging. The new Data Security Law (DSL) and Personal Information Protection Law, both coming into effect on Nov 1, 2021, intend to increase government control over domestic and overseas companies collecting and exporting China’s data. Industry experts are concerned about how those changes might impact ocean supply chain visibility in China, especially taking into account the country’s leading role in global container shipping and coal and iron ore import. Besides, mainland China is home to six of the world’s ten largest container ports.

FleetMon collaborates with several Chinese companies and AIS Partners to receive terrestrial vessel position data from Chinese coastal waters. The new rules restrict foreign access to important data like vessels’ AIS signals collected in China without the government’s prior notice and approval. Some of our loyal AIS Partners and data sharers from China have paused transmitting data in fear of massive fines announced by the Chinese government in case of law violations.

Now, how severe is the impact of China’s new Data Security Laws on AIS coverage in the region?

Read more…

Methanol in the Battle for the Fuel of Future

in Updates by

Why is the Spotlight on Methanol?

With the advent of new and troubling climatic phenomena, governments and international organizations all across the world are scrambling for solutions to the increasing carbon and GHG content in the atmosphere. The spillover of this is being felt in the marine industry as well, such as IMO’s 2030 and 2050 goals. Methanol is shaping up to become a promising alternative fuel, as it ticks most of the boxes that shipping operators desire in a fuel of the future. And acceptability of methanol is increasing probably due to the consideration that a perfect fuel that solves all our problems may never be discovered in time.

STENA GERMANICA has been converted to methanol fuel in 2015. Photo by ship spotter U-kasz

What Boxes Does Methanol Tick on the Perfect Fuel List?

Methanol has many things going for it but indisputably the most important factor in its favor is the maturity of the technology in handling methanol. Methanol has many uses in production and manufacturing other than it being used as a fuel, such as being used in the production of polymers namely, plastics, paints, varnishes, and cleaning products. All this has put methanol on the list of top 5 transported commodities in the world already, with a remarkable base of knowledge regarding the handling and transport of methanol present. This is a considerable edge over competitors such as Hydrogen and electricity used to drive ships as there is a well-developed infrastructure and supply chain already available for the production and transport of methanol.

Read more…

FleetMon is trusted by

FleetMon Partner and Customer Logos