With the end of the year looming, there is renewed interest in how the cruise industry is faring in a time of economic uncertainty and record ship losses.
But how is the industry performing?
The question has become a flashpoint in the national debate over the cruise ship industry.
The Australian Business Review has asked several experts to give their take on the cruise business and the cruise ships it represents.
Key points:The cruise ship employs around 7,000 people and ships to more than 400 destinations in 20 countriesA number of cruise ships are being shut down after a deadly accidentThe industry is facing an unprecedented wave of ship closures, including the closure of the Carnival Line on Friday night, with the death of one crew member and the ship’s destruction at the hands of a fire crewThe issue has been raised in Parliament by Liberal MP Adam Bandt who said the cruise line’s closure was the latest example of the “increasingly precarious and unstable” situation facing the industry.
“This is another example of how the industry is falling into crisis,” Mr Bandt said.
Mr Bandt told the ABC that the cruise companies’ financial situation was “unprecedented”. “
That is the problem with the cruise lines, they’re going down like the Titanic, it’s not about making money.”
Mr Bandt told the ABC that the cruise companies’ financial situation was “unprecedented”.
“We’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
The cruise line has had to lay off nearly 5,000 crew members as of late.
Its chief executive, Richard Foy, said he was looking to the future, and was looking forward to a future where it could operate on the same terms as before.
“We’re really going to be focused on the next two or three years,” Mr Foy said.
While the company has been operating on a budget of around $20 million, Mr Foyle said it was now “at the point where we have to have a budget where we’re making the right decisions”.
“If we were to get into a situation where we couldn’t operate on a certain budget, then we would probably close the ship down,” he told AM.
He said he would like to have “a budget that’s sustainable” for the next five to 10 years.
The Federal Government said in a statement that the Government had “invested $200 million in a number of initiatives to help strengthen the cruise fleet”.
“The Government is determined to ensure that this vital and popular industry continues to flourish and continue to provide jobs to Australian workers,” the statement said.
However, the Government’s new $400 million cruise ship fund is only set to be available for two years.
In January, Carnival Australia said that its financial position was “under review”.
It also said it would be launching a public tender to secure the next fleet of cruise vessels.
Despite the difficulties of the current situation, Mr Banddt said he hoped the cruise company would survive the crisis.
“I think they’re gonna be okay, they’ve been through a lot of bad times before,” he asked.
“It’s not a good thing to lose a ship.”
Mr Foy told the Australian Financial Press that the company was “in the best of shape”, with the new management team being in place.
“They’re going to have an extremely positive outlook for the future,” he added.
The Australian Government said it hoped the public tender would attract a tender from a private company that could provide “significant” investment.
Meanwhile, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said that the current fleet of the Sydney-based Carnival Line was “not a suitable option” for cruise ships operating on its territory.
Mr Bando told AMSA the company’s future was “up in the air”.
“I do think we need to look at the future in a different way,” he explained.
“In terms of where the ship has to be at a certain time in terms of the amount of capacity that it needs, the current system doesn’t provide that and that’s what’s really worrying us.”
There’s a whole lot of factors that need to be considered and I think it’s really important that we don’t put ourselves in a position where we don´t have the capacity to get the ship to the destination.”‘
There are not enough people to meet the demands of the industry’The latest cruise line closure is the fourth to hit the company in less than a year, and follows the death in February of a crew member aboard the Carnival Triumph Line.
The Carnival Line’s last passenger ship to be cancelled was the Sydney Opera House in July, and the first ship to go down was the Carnival Princess in November.
Cruise lines are not the only ones struggling to meet demand.
There were a total of 2,936 cruise ship cancellations in 2016, according to the Australian Industry Group.
According to the AMSA, about 75 per