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OLA and VOYAGER: Too Much Relief?

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2010 by

OLA ESMERALDA as BLACK PRINCE in September 2009 at Kristiansand, Norway. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2009.

Controversy is brewing over the U.N.’s recent charter of the 1966-built OLA ESMERALDA (ex BLACK PRINCE) and the 2001-built SEA VOYAGER (ex CAPE MAY LIGHT) to house earthquake aid workers at Haiti. The charter, reportedly costing $112,500 per day, is stirring international interest and allegations that one of the vessels, the OLA ESMERALDA, reputedly has ties close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The SEA VOYAGER, currently under Florida-based International Shipping Partners management, had been laid up since 2002 and was quickly reactivated, having undergone US Coast Guard trials off Jacksonville, FL before sailing off to Haiti. The OLA ESMERALDA was to have begun Venezuelan coastal cruising for her current owners, SAVECA (Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela) after her sale by longtime owners, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, last October. The start up operation was hampered by challenges from environmental groups and the ship has been idle until the recent charter.

9 Responses to OLA and VOYAGER: Too Much Relief?

  1. Patricia

    April 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Ta for the update about Black Prince.

  2. Mage B

    April 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you so much for these fascinating details.

  3. Brian

    April 11, 2010 at 3:57 am

    What does the UN get for $112K per day ?
    The Black Prince could accommodate 472 pax comfortably. The Voyager, 224. Total: 696. I assume that the crew accommodations are used by crew, not aid workers. If my math is right, that’s about $161 per person per day, double occupancy.
    Even with simple meals and laundry, that seems steep. The vessel doesn’t burn any fuel for moving, just for power, heat, a/c, watermaking, etc.

  4. Jonno

    April 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Oh good heavens. Is it not possible for the UN to do anything without all the critics jumping on the bandwagon. The UN people working hard in Haiti need to have a decent place to stay. I’d like to see all these armchair critics spend a night amongst the poor of Haiti and see whether they could resist the temptation to find better quarters elsewhere. The $112k is for BOTH vessels, which is in fact quite a bargain. The owners of these ships need to pay the crew, the mortgages, insurance and all sorts of other costs that ships incur when they are in service. There is a lot more involved than just food, laundry detergent and fuel.

    People who don’t know what they are talking about would be better off following the advice of the Buddha: Speak not unless you can improve upon silence!

  5. Donnie

    April 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I had no clue that the Cape may was in Service at all. I had heard some time again that it was going to be used as floating condos. I working aboard it when AMCV went into Bankruptcy.

  6. Luis Fonseca

    July 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I have been there, I know the Ola Esmeralda (ex-Black Prince) pretty well,
    the facts … its an old but in good shape 3 star level floating hotel. I really think that anyone working there deserves a decent place to stay.

    Talk is chip do something cost !

  7. Bob Board

    September 16, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I was on the May Light on it’s maiden voyage in 2001. We were the only ship at that time allowed in New York harbor in October 2001 just after the towers went down. It was Columbus day and the city was very much alive.
    It had been planned for us to take a tour of the towers that day.
    Have not been back to the city again but would like to do so soon.

  8. Osmond Naylor

    August 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    The comment about armchair critics is absolutely true. If these people were to see the true facts of what they are babbling on about they would still complain because they are not happy until they have something to be unhappy about. I was looking at Pot au Prince on Google Earth and was pleasantly surprised when I recognised the old ‘Black Prince’ which sailed in and out of the River Tyne on her route to Norwegian ports.

  9. Brian

    February 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    the UN overpaid.

    I don’t begrudge those vastly overpaid UN staffers having a safe place to sleep;
    but the UN contracting folks paid way too much.

    I’m pretty knowledgeable about:
    —UN pay rates
    —pocket cruiser charter rates
    —low standards of competence in the contracting folks at the UN.

    I’m prob’ly the most knowledgeable on these topics of anyone that’s ever even visited this blog.

    but go ahead, defend blatant corruption.

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