The mega cruise ship Oasis of the Seas made a return visit to Halifax today (May 31), making a late morning arrival. The ship was here in June last year for the first time, and drew crowds then. It drew crowds this time too, but at least one of the favoured vantage points was closed to the public.
There is a light haze of forest fire smoke in the sky as the Oasis of the Seas enters port today.
Point Pleasant Park, a 75 Hectare/185 Acre woodland on the extreme south end of the Halifax peninsula has a clear view out to the sea. Its forest floor is kept in a natural state (except for obvious dangers) and is littered with branches, deadfalls and leaves and is presently tinder dry. Its canopy is contiguous with densely populated neighbourhoods and due to the high fire hazard has been closed to the public, as have many municipal nature parks and all forests in the Province.
The Halifax area is densely treed and a large forest fire in the northwestern metropolitan suburb has resulted in the evacuation of more than 16,000 people and the destruction of hundreds of houses and many businesses. Another larger fire in the southwest of the Province is also out of control.
The wisdom of inviting cruise passengers to come to Halifax while there is a public emergency, and smoke inhalation hazard has to be questioned. The average cruise passenger demographic coincides with those who have been warned to stay indoors due to smoke exposure. Fire and emergency services are concentrating on the fire and do not need a sudden populaton increase of 6,000 people and the attendant risks.
When the Oasis of the Seas was delivered by STX Europe, Turku, Finland in 2009 it was the largest such ship in the world. It is now fourth largest as other ships in its class have been deemed to be minutely larger. After some cabins were added in 2019 it was re-calculated at 226,838 gross tons. Its maximum occupancy is now 6,699 with a crew of 2,181. It was the first cruise ship to exceed the 6,000 passenger capacity. [Some troop ships in World War II carried more than 12,000.]
When the Oasis of the Seas was in Saint John, NB, yesterday, May 30, it was reported to have had 5,931 passengers on board. In my opinion they should have stayed there and given them a second day ashore or just put to sea for the day.
A less distinguished ship arrived at Gold Bond Gypsum this morning. The Lake Pearl is classed as a bulk carrier and its owners refer to it as a "Semi-Open Hatch Box Shaped Geared Bulk Carrier". That mouthful simply means that its holds are squared off in shape and the hatches are the full width of the holds. "Geared" means that it is capable of loading or unloading its own cargo with its own cranes.
Both ships appear no worse for the wear unlike the cruise ship Carnival Sunshine which suffered considerable internal damage in a storm last Friday May 26- Saturday May 27 off the Carolinas. Oasis of the Seas was en route from the Bahamas to New York and Ocean Pearl from Charleston to Halifax at the time, so must have been in the same area.