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Cruise Ship Sinks !!!!!

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The "Pride of America," one of the cruise ships Norwegian Cruise Line plans to use in Hawaiian cruises, sank Wednesday morning in the German port of Bremerhaven, where it was undergoing a major overhaul.

The Norwegian newspaper Afterposten reported that four people were hurt when the 984-foot ship listed and then sank. The paper said police thought a storm might have blown water into openings in the hull.

Because the water at the dock is shallow, twelve of the ship's 15 docks remained above water after it hit bottom. But the listing sent cabin furnishings flying, so it is thought there is significant damage to anything that wasn't nailed down, even if the hull proves not to have been seriously damaged. Additionally, generators and electrical wiring on the lower levels may suffer saltwater damage.

The German news agency DPA said a gale that swept over Bremerhaven before this happened, with top winds of 105 mph, may have caused the sinking but certainly hampered rescue operations.

The Pride of America was to have been delivered to NCL in April, and the cruise line intended to do inaugural sails down the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, through the Panama Canal, and up the U.S. Pacific Coast, before sailing to Hawaii in time to begin interisland cruises over the summer.

NCL won permission to reflag the ship as American in return for using U.S. crew and following U.S. environmental laws. The company, owned by Singapore-based Star Cruise, has hired hundreds of people in preparation for the service, many of whom have already undergone training at sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line entered the Hawaiian cruise market at the end of 2001 after American Classic Voyages, operator of two aging cruise liners on interisland service, collapsed into bankruptcy following 9/11. At the time a Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard was working on two new cruise ships for American Classic. Norwegian Cruise Line agreed to commission the completion of those ships as part of its deal to do Hawaii-only cruises. The Pride of America is a lengthened version of the ship that had been closest to completion in Mississippi. The new work was being done in Bremerhaven.

A federal law designed to nurture U.S. cruise companies bars foreign-flagged cruise ships from doing all-U.S. cruises. They must make at least one foreign port call. Norwegian Cruise Line has been detouring to Fanning Island in Kiribati to meet the terms of the law. The detour is time-consuming and there isn't much to do on Fanning Island.

(January 14, 2004)

At Gulfstream Race Track, yesterday, thousands of racing fans picked the wrong horse, and lost. Yes, folks, thousands lost!

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That was a good one Jeff. Almost had me.

Howard :grin:

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