Italian prowess in the field of passenger vessel design, outfitting and technology is near legendary status in the international marine community. Even as the grip on these high-value, niche vessels loosens — largely due to cost-cutting competition from the Far East — a quick peak a the world orderbook and recent deliveries of cruise ships quickly tells who currently reigns supreme in the cruise shipping market. Evidence of Italian influence in the passenger vessel segment is undeniable, and over the years the country's shipbuilders have catered to some of the world's most discerning and quality demanding customers, such as U.S.-based Disney Cruise Line. A recent delivery, which espouses the expertise of the Italian ship construction community was delivered this spring from Fincantieri's Venice-Marghera shipyard. Built for Holland American Line of the Carnival Corp., Zaandam is a 61,000-ton ship, which measures 780 x 115 ft. (238 x 35 m) and can cruise at up to 23 knots. The luxury ship is in stark contrast toward the trend of "bigger is better," (which, by the way, Fincantieri has helped to foster and delivered ably with its construction of such mega-ships as Grand Princess) and embodies the shipowner's desire to re-develop and renew the tradition of excellence, which has been the hallmark of the Holland America Line, one of the world's oldest lines specializing in passenger transport. Zaandam's 720 cabins are designed to afford maximum luxury and space for its 1,824 passengers, and every detail of the ship — from its technologically advanced marine products and systems to its interior materials and artistic accents — were chosen with purpose. Zaandam is the seventh vessel built by Fincantieri for HAL, and this ship is the third to carry the name for the company, with the first ship debuting in 1882 and the second in 1939. Fincantieri will also deliver another five ships for the line over the next few years. Among these to be built is Amsterdam, a sistership to Rotterdam, which will feature the Azipod propulsion system. The other four in the program are a new class of 84,000-ton Panamax vessels. Headquartered in Trieste, Fincantieri is separated into three business units: the Merchant Ship Business Unit, the Naval Vessel Business Unit and the Cruise Ship Business Unit. The company offers seven shipyards strategically positioned throughout Italy, as well as two of the largest and most renowned centers for ship design in Genoa and Trieste. Bigger, Faster, More While cruise ship design, development and construction sometimes seemingly dominate the Italian shipbuilding scene, it is far from the Italians' exclusive area of expertise. Shipyards such as Rodriquez Cantieri Navali SpA have long served the lucrative niches of producing technologically advanced people and car carriers. Volcan de Tauro is the latest incarnation of the company's popular and proven Aquastrada class, and was delivered to her owner Armas Ocean Jet in the spring. The 374 ft. (114 m) steel construction monohull exhibited a maximum speed of 45 knots and a service speed of 40 knots at 90 percent MCR and a full load at sea trials. The former and latter were made possible through Rodriquez' own SMS stabilization system installed, a Seaworthiness Management System, which is comprised of four lateral fins and two T-Foils. The Aquastrada TMV 114 is the 220th vessel delivered by the specialty yard since 1956, when the first commercial high speed vessel was launched. Currently, the yard is building 32 patrol boats capable of 40 knots for the Italian Coast Guard, and scheduled for delivery over the next two years. Crockford Named Commercial Director Rodriquez Cantieri Navali has named Sam Crockford as the commercial director to oversee the sales and marketing of all products manufactured by the shipyard. The current product range includes high-speed commercial vessels, patrol boats, luxury yachts and the Seaworthiness Management System. Crockford has a degree in marine engineering from the State University of New York Maritime College, and has served in several related industry posts including positions with a major diesel engine manufacturer, and with a supplier of advanced propulsion systems for high speed ferries. "Classic Italian" From Finland? Bragging rights for the title of most prolific cruise ship builder has lately centered on Italy and Finland, Fincantieri and Kvaerner Masa Yards to be exact. While the Italian contingency has pulled ahead of late, the Finnish shipyard located in Helsinki has recently delivered M/S Costa Atlantica for Costa Crociere SpA, a 85,700-gt, RINA-classed cruise ship which is the first in series of a Panamax-Max size liner. The 700 billion Italian lira (approx. $340 million) ship is particularly noteworthy, as it is the largest in the Costa Crociere fleet, and the largest built for a European cruise line. Considering that the ship is a first-in-series, the timeframe from order to completion has been remarkably compact: the order for the new ship was placed in early 1998; hull assembly began March 19, 1999; launching took place November 11, 1999; first cruise was July 16, 2000. Designed to carry 2,680 passengers in 1,057 staterooms and 902 crew, the interior styling of the ship is described as "classic Italian," designed by Joe Farcus. To add an extra bit of Italian flair, each of the ship's 12 decks has been named after movies directed by the famous Federico Fellini. Costa Atlantica is powered by diesel-electric machinery, consisting of six Wärtsilä NSD 9L46D diesel engines, providing a total power of 62,370 kW. Each is connected to an alternator producing electricity to the ship's main electric network. The engines provide power for a pair of azimuthing electric Azipod propulsion units, providing a service speed of 22 knots. Costa Atlantica First To Earn RINA's Green Star Italian classification society RINA has launched Green Star, which it is dubbing the new environmental standard for shipping. The recently delivered Costa Atlantic from Kvaerner Masa-Yards for Costa Crociere is the first ship to meet the green standard, earning both the Clean Sea and Clean air voluntary notations from RINA. The Clean Sea notation means that bunker tanks must be installed over double bottoms to prevent accidental discharge of oil in a low-speed accident. Ships must also be fitted with holding tanks for all black and gray water waste, and must meet the standards set down in the voluntary IMO Marpol Annex IV. Special requirements ensure garbage is disposed of safely, and ships must not use TBT-based anti-foulings. The Clean Air notation sets limits on SOx and NOx emissions from the engines, and requires compliance with the voluntary standards of Annex VI to Marpol. There is a three percent limit on sulfur content in fuel that can be burnt, and RINA also sets requirements for refrigeration gases and their containment in the case of an accident. Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise line, has applied for the Green Star logo for three sisterships currently under construction at KMY. NOL Elects Deputy Chair And New Directors NOL has named Cheng Wai Keung as deputy chairman, and has further expanded by appointing Marvin J. Girouard and Dr. Friedbert Malt as non-executive directors. He has been with NOL since 1992 and has further developed his working knowledge of the company as a member of the executive committee since 1997, while Girouard, the current chairman and CEO of Pier One Imports, and Dr. Malt, a prominent German banker, both bring a wealth of knowledge to NOL's board. Wijsmuller Granted Major SPM Job Through its subsidiary, Cory Towage Limited, The Wijsmuller Group has been awarded a contract for marine services at the Ash Shihr oil export terminal in Yemen for Canadian Occidental Petroleum Yemen, which is familiarly known as CanOxy Yemen. The Ash Shihr terminal deals with crude originating inland, which is piped to the terminal storage tanks from where it is then pumped to loading tankers at the single point mooring buoy (SPM) — three miles offshore. The SPM can handle the largest tankers and regularly receives vessels of 300,000-dwt.