Image Courtesy: Panama Canal AuthorityThe Expanded Panama Canal welcomed its first cruise ship, the Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder, through the new locks on April 29, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).“The milestone signals the further diversification of traffic through the Expanded Canal and with it, introduces new repositioning opportunities for the cruise industry,” the ACP said.said Panama Canal Deputy Administrator Manuel Benitez. “Today’s historic transit marks the beginning of cruise lines being able to include the new locks as part of their itineraries, opening up additional transit options and allowing cruise passengers to witness first-hand this feat of modern engineering.”The Disney Wonder transited the Expanded Canal in a southbound direction from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The Disney Wonder’s Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida, to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.The 2,713-passenger ship was transformed in late 2016, expanding its length to 299.92 meters.The Disney Wonder is one of several cruise ships to have transited the canal during the 2016-2017 cruise season that ends in May. However, the transit on April 29 marked the first time a passenger vessel utilized the new locks of the Expanded Canal. Other lines such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line all sent passenger vessels through the original locks.By the close of the 2017 fiscal year, which ends September 30, the total number of passenger ships is expected to reach 233, representing a total 237,298 passengers to have transited both the original and new locks.On April 1, the Panama Canal began accepting booking requests for passenger vessels in the new locks. So far, 18 reservations have already been made for passenger vessels to transit the Expanded Canal for the 2017-2018 season, a number which is expected to increase in the coming months, ACP informed.
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Athens-based boxship owner Diana Containerships has completed the sale of one of its Post-Panamax container vessel and secured a debt-free balance sheet.The earlier announced sale of the m/v Hamburg was finalized with the delivery of the vessel to its new owners.The 2009-built ship was sold to an unaffiliated third party for a price of USD 21 million.Part of the proceeds from the sale of the vessel were used by the company to repay in full its existing indebtedness.The full and final repayment of the loan was made on July 23, ahead of schedule, according to Diana Shipping. The loan to Diana Containerships was originally agreed in May 2013 and refinanced in June 2017.Diana Shipping said that, in addition to the full repayment of the outstanding principal amount, the company received aggregate interest and other payments, including a discount premium in the amount of USD 5 million, of approximately USD 19.8 million during the life of the facility.“With the repayment in full of the Diana Shipping Inc. loan, the company has no outstanding debt on its fleet of four modern container vessels,” Andreas Michalopoulos, Diana Containerships’ Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, said.“The transition from a highly leveraged company in breach of financial covenants during the first half of 2017 to a debt free balance sheet today represents a remarkable turnaround for the Company, which can be largely attributed to management’s successful refinancing of its outstanding RBS credit facility in June 2017, its ability to raise additional equity capital and the strategically timed sales of certain of its containerships at attractive prices during the past 8 months.”Diana Containerships’ fleet currently consists of 4 container vessels, two Post-Panamax and two Panamax.