Monday, September 26, 2011

CUNARD ships to be flagged out?

It has been rumored recently that Cunard Line is considering the flagging out of their ships in order to reduce crew costs and other operating costs allowed by registers such as Bermuda or Malta. 
This likely move is in fact a lowering of the standards of the most famous of British passenger shipping names still trading. The official excuse to change registrations of the Cunard QUEENS is the present inability to have weddings performed at sea by the ship's captains and the respective loss of extra revenue.

Cunard ships have graced the oceans for 171 years, always under the British flag, and this tradition was kept after Carnival took over Cunard 13 years ago, although since the 1980s Cunard operated most of their cruise ships under the Bahamas registry. Only the famous QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 sailed under British registry but when Carnival took over one of their ships, VISTAFJORD was renamed CARONIA, refitted and registered in UK.
All this scenario is part of today's glorious globalization at a time when what rules is money and the biggest profit. People is a commodity and or a consumer. Europe's and Britain's maritime heritages have dispersed and the interest of the average European citizen in maritime matters is now second to zero. 
Despite its international liberal operative ways, Carnival Corporation has always been sensitive to the importance of tradition and European flags and registers have been kept or rejoined whenever possible. It was Carnival who promoted the return of Holland America ships and Costa ships to their home registries, with the respective ships registered in Rotterdam and Genova. However P&O and Princess Cruises have been managing the ship registries the other way with ships flagged out to Bermuda. P&O's newest cruise ship, the AZURA was christened in April 2010 and at first sailed under Southampton registration, but this past February she joined the registry of Bermuda.
The prestige of Cunard and their QUEENs fleet will be tarnished by the change of registries to a more convenient flag such as Bermuda or Malta. It would make sense to change UK laws instead to allow British shipping to remain competitive... Will it be too late? What is the point of having the British Royal Family christening prestigious ships such as QUEEN MARY 2, QUEEN VICTORIA or QUEEN ELIZABETH and then soon have those ships sailing under foreign flags?
Texto e imagens /Text and images copyright L.M.Correia. Favor não piratear. Respeite o meu trabalho / No piracy, please. For other posts and images, check our archive at the right column of the main page. Click on the photos to see them enlarged. Thanks for your visit and comments. Luís Miguel Correia
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