The repairs to the propulsion system aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s lead Vista-class cruise ship Carnival Vista are now underway, and Cruise Industry News has released pictures of the giant ship atop the world’s largest semi-submersible heavy transport vessel.
Carnival Vista was floated onto the Boka Vanguard over the weekend and then lifted out of the water for repairs to be made to her azipod propulsion system. The technical problems that have troubled the ship through much of her current season forced the cancellation of three Caribbean cruises.
Operated by Netherlands-based Boskalis, Boka Vanguard is the largest vessel of her type ever built, and is able to carry cargoes of more than 110,000 tonnes (at 134,000-gross tons, Carnival Vista is one of the largest vessels the ship has ever carried).
Boka Vanguard is capable of providing an offshore dry dock facility, allowing ships and floating oil rigs to be raised out of the water for inspection or maintenance without a break in production. This is what has been done with Carnival Vista.
The semi-submersible ship was almost used for the relocation of Costa Concordia after she sank off the coast of Italy in 2013, but Costa Cruises (also owned by Carnival Corporation) decided to refloat her instead.
To lift Carnival Vista out the water, the two ships had to rendezvous off the coast of Freeport, where Boka Vanguard then sank her 70m by 275m deck beneath the water. Carnival Vista then maneuvered into position over the submerged deck before it was refloated.
The entire operation took around 24 hours, according to Carnival Cruise Lines.
Carnival Vista will stay positioned atop the “floating drydock” while repairs are made through much of the remainder of July.
In late July, she is due to be offloaded from Boka Vanguard off the coast of Freeport and sail to her homeport of Galveston, Texas to resume her Caribbean cruise season. Carnival Vista’s first post-repair cruise is scheduled for July 27th.
This project marks the first time a cruise ship has been repaired aboard a semi-submersible vessel acting as a floating dry dock, especially one the size of Carnival Vista, but may become a more common occurrence for urgent repairs mid-season.
The floating dry-dock concept offers shorter timelines and immediate availability amid a booming dry-dock market for the maritime sector, with most shipyards in the Caribbean and Europe squeezed for space.