Friday, April 16, 2010

Universal Studios' Roller-coaster is Unsafe: To be dismantled

Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
From: zero
Subject: Re: RWS Battlestar Galactica is unsafe and will be dismantled

PRC construction firm has this habit of posting a lower winning bid,
build the ride first and fix any safety or quality issues later.

If they use inferior graded steel then RWS is screwed.

I would expect them to patch up the ride by reinforcing certain stress
points and leave it at that.

Ironically, you have watched Battlestar Galatica, the humans in the show
must "die" before they are saved by cylons again. Just like RWS now.

Battlestar Galactica being dismantled
Universal says tech experts doing ride inspection & review


(SINGAPORE) Universal Studios Singapore (USS) at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has announced that its main attraction, the Battlestar Galactica roller coaster, is coming down - parts of it anyway.

No ride, for now: While initial setbacks are not uncommon, the closure of the Battlestar Galactica ride reinforces the view that the theme park would be loss making for a while, says an analyst

In an announcement released yesterday, USS said that it is in the process of a 'complete ride inspection and review'.

USS added: 'The vehicle has been dismantled and components have been analysed, including an X-ray of its parts.'

USS is not saying why X-rays are needed but it said, 'no ride will be operated at any time unless it has passed all inspections and tests'.

The inspection and review includes an investigative team from the coaster's design, engineering and manufacturing company, Vekoma, as well as independent assessors.

The main contractor for USS is China Jingye Engineering Corporation (Singapore) which was awarded the $705 million contract in July 2008. It also won a $60 million contract to supply, fabricate and deliver 23,000 tonnes of structural steel to RWS.

It was reported that the installation of the theme park's attractions were also co-ordinated by China Jingye.

On March 26, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) shut down the ride about a week after the theme park opened.

A spokesman for SPF said: 'Police will reinstate the licence for Universal Studios Singapore to operate the ride once the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) has recertified the ride to be safe for use.'

CAB is composed of foreign technical experts recommended by Spring Singapore to assess safety standards for amusement rides in accordance with international safety standards.

Chong Kee Sen, an engineer and the honorary secretary of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore said: 'Carrying out tests is part of a verification process and does not automatically imply defects.'

'Generally, the onus is on owners to maintain their buildings. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) further requires that owners appoint a professional engineer to carry out periodic structural inspections. The general guideline for such inspections is 10-yearly intervals for residential buildings and 5-yearly intervals for other buildings,' he added.

M Sivakumaran of SMS Consulting Engineers said that usually all the welded joints on steel members are required to be X-rayed or should undergo similar non-destructive tests.

He added that the welded connections are to be designed for 'fatigue due to cyclic loading'. 'The allowable stresses on the welding are reduced significantly,' he noted.

Jonathan Galaviz, independent travel and leisure sector strategist said theme parks globally have a reputation for requiring significant capital reinvestment over time. 'If major ride attractions at any theme park are not operational for an extended time, the reputation of the theme park can be critically damaged,' he added.

Song Seng Wun, regional economist at CIMB-GK says: 'It is more important how Genting deals with these setbacks.' He added that investors would rather a 'health check' be done sooner than later.

RWS is owned by mainboard listed Genting Singapore. So far, analysts have mixed feelings about the stock but persistent bad news could change this.

Vincent Khoo, an analyst in UOBKayHian in Malaysia says that while initial setbacks are not uncommon, the closure of the Battlestar Galactica ride 'reinforces the view that the theme park would be loss making for a while'.

UOBKayHian remains 'cautious' on Genting Singapore's 'ability to generate significant revenues'. 'Generally I expect investors to stay at the sidelines until they can better assess the competitive impact of Marina Bay Sands (MBS),' he added.

Derek da Cunha, author of Singapore Places its Bets says that Genting Singapore may face some fallout with the closure of Battlestar Galactica but adds: 'Substantively, it is not as material to RWS' overall operations as its casino which is the key and central revenue driver.'

Singapore has a lot to gain from the success of both RWS and MBS and some feel the government will do all that it can to help.

'Since the government has already put its full weight behind the two IRs, you can rest assured that all the pieces will fall into place eventually,' said Mr Song.

Mr Galaviz is more sceptical. 'Both integrated resorts are private sector initiatives and it should not be incumbent on the government to support the IR's beyond marketing Singapore as a tourism hub. If either IR runs into operational or financial problems, it should be the private sector that solves those problems and not the government.'

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