Carnival Corporation is taking a proactive approach to marine operations among its operating brands and a huge fleet of ships, under the leadership of Admiral William (Bill) Burke, who has been on the job as chief maritime officer since late 2013.
“The job and goal is to avoid low probability, high-consequence events,” said Burke, who brings more than three decades of navy experience to the company. “After that there are other areas such as health, environment and safety and security.
“I’m a nuke-submariner, and generally what that means is we follow the rules because they are written in blood because there were problems that were overcome in years past. We want to be sure to avoid them in the future,” Burke continued. “I was the commanding officer of a ship and recognize it’s not very easy to run a ship and make changes, and also that an ocean environment is very unforgiving.”
Among the changes happening to the brands is a push toward a standard set of ship operating procedures, a project already underway when Burke got the job.
An expanded CSMART facility opening in 2016 will allow Carnival to send all officers to training annually in the Netherlands, with yearly evaluations planned.
Big changes are happening to combat engine room fires as well, with better early detection systems being added, and water mist systems extended to more parts of the engine room.
The biggest fuel savings will come from HVAC and engine optimization, according to Burke.
“We are focused on the diesel engines,” he said. “They can be made more efficient themselves. That’s going to be a strong area of interest in the next couple of years.”
More opportunities lay below the water line in further development of hull coatings and propellers, Burke added.
Shoreside, Carnival has added a team that focuses on energy savings, and may follow suit with a technical sourcing team.
Burke referred to “one fleet and several hotels,” thus bringing the fleet marine departments together across the brands, which will continue to offer different products catering to various market segments.
Joining the company late in 2013, Burke visited just over 20 ships in 2014, and said he makes it a point to be onboard for a leg of an itinerary.
“Not just in port, but I want to ride the ships underway,” he said.
In the Navy as a commodore in charge of a squadron of vessels, Burke said he recognized all ships have different people, different schedules and different challenges.
“As you leave them, you have to recognize that and take account of that,” he said.
“I generally think I’m direct in working with people, and I challenge them. I’m not a tyrant or a yeller; I want us to do well and I challenge them.
“I see ways to be better (at Carnival),” he continued, “but it’s more tweaking than wholesale change. That is exciting. There are high-quality people running our ships."