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Safe Cruise

Project Safe Cruise Press Release: See www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com & details below. Leave a message if you have experienced incidents involving poor security & safety practices of cruise lines. Hearings are scheduled; we will provide them to Congress. We must act to insure passenger safety. The current lack of safety & security is not acceptable especially after 9/11. On 5/12/05, we were on the Carnival Destiny near Aruba when an elderly couple disappeared without a trace.

Name:
Location: Michigan

Government could save $50 billion per year by having two shifts of white collar employees work each day. Office space costs $50,000/year for each employee yet we only use space 30% of time. We can no longer afford to have banker's hours for all. With over 2 million federal employees this cost-free paradigm change could avoid lay offs/furloughs and reduce pollution. See new plan at http://whitecollargreenspace.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 31, 2006

Lobbyists for Cruise Lines are Related to Abramoff Scandal

Influence Peddling by the Cruise Lines. Several Lobbyist and some firms for the cruise lines are involved in the Abramoff Scandal. 42 people have gone overboard since 2000.
Who is to blame?

Michael Scanlon, lobbyist closest to Jack Abramoff and others from Preston Gates Ellis Rouvelas & Meeds LLP were lobbyists for Norwegian Cruise. Abramoff, Kevin Ring and David Safavian were involved in the Abramoff scandal and worked at Preston. ICCL hired lobbyists from Barnes & Thornburg where Edward Ayoob and Michales Scanlon worked.

Go to cruise line lobbyists related to Jack Abramoff.blogspot.com/ for more information.

For 2005-2006 donations by Carnival employees to the ICCL Political Action Committee (PAC) go to:
http://cruiselinelobbyistrelatedtoabramoff.blogspot.com/
or
Political Money Line

Campaign Donations by RCL CEO according to http://www.fundrace.org/

Name, Occupation, Employer Contribution Address
Richard Fain
Information RequestedInformation Requested
to Bob Graham $2,000
700 Arvida Pkwy (map)Coral Gables, FL 33156

MR. RICHARD FAIN
C.E.O ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE
to George W. Bush $2,000
700 ARVIDA PKWY (map)CORAL GABLES, FL 33156

Fain, Richard
5/26/2004
$1,000.00
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Royal Carribean Cruise Lines/presid
[Contribution]
FRIENDS OF KATHERINE HARRIS
[View Image]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Winter Haven couple is steaming after being kicked off of cruise ship, left in Bahamas

www.tampabays10.com

by SaraDorsey.


Heather Russel, Cruise Line Passenger:
“It's been a nightmare, a complete nightmare.”
That's pretty much the general consensus among passengers getting off the carnival cruise ship sensation at port Canaveral today. But at least these people got a ride back to the us on the ship. Nathan Leslie and his wife Jennifer from Winter Haven were not so lucky.
Jennifer Leslie, Cruise Line Passenger:
“As we were getting back on the ship we insert our card and an alarm goes off we are escorted up to the desk escorted told we were being barred from the ship.”
The Leslie's were kicked off with two other couples and left in Nassau they say for complaining to the captain about bad food, a dirty ship and missing a $300 excursion to swim with the dolphins.
Jennifer Leslie, Cruise Line Passenger:
“We demanded our money back that's all we did. I simply just said I want my money back."”

Thursday, March 23, 2006

1 Dead, 11 Hurt in Cruise Ship Fire

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11975460/
MIAMI - A person was killed and 11 injured when a fire broke out on a cruise ship in the Caribbean early Thursday, a cruise line executive said.
The Star Princess was en route from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started in a cabin and then spread to other rooms, according to a statement from Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp. Carnival Corp. Chief Financial Officer Gerald Cahill confirmed the fatality and injuries during a conference call. He said at least two of the injured were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

12 Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Passengers Were Killed While on Shore Excursion in Chile

Our hearts and prayers are with all families that have suffered because of this tragedy. Safety and security improvements are needed for cruise ship passengers while they are on shore excursions as well as when they are on the cruise ships. One of our local TV stations had their cruise changed about a year ago. One week before the cruise, the cruise line canceled their stop in Venezuela because a week before a couple had gone on a shore excursion and disappeared. The cruise lines have control over the shore excursion companies just like Wal-Mart has over their suppliers.

[According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from January 2004 to July 2005, the cruise industry spent $2.9 million on federal lobbying, nearly $1 million more than Wal-Mart did during the same period. That may be why, according to Congressman Shays, "there's never been any real oversight. Ever."]
"Crime Rocks The Boats", Time.com By JULIE RAWE

The cruise companies skim the profits and force the shore excursion companies to bid very low to get the cruise lines blessing. The small companies then have little money left for security, safety, and insurance. This seems to be an ongoing policy by the cruise lines to cover-up crimes and accidents involving their customers and avoid any responsibility. Below is the news story from MSN.com about the tragic death of cruise passengers while on a shore excursion. It is followed by the first press release by Royal Carribbean. They are quick to point out that they "were on an independent private tour, not affiliated with the cruise line." They are independent for liability issues only. The shore excursion companies could not stay in business without the blessing of the Royal Caribbean.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11964601/
Updated: 8:49 p.m. ET March 22, 2006
SANTIAGO, Chile - A bus carrying cruise ship tourists plunged 300 feet down a mountain ravine in northern Chile, killing 12 people, all U.S. citizens, officials said.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
(ticker: RCL,News Release - 22-Mar-2006


Several Believed Killed or Injured in Bus Accident
MIAMI, March 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Several people are believed killed or injured in a bus accident in Arica, Chile. The guests were sailing aboard Celebrity Cruises' Millennium. They were on an independent private tour, not affiliated with the cruise line
Here is the link about the control Royal Caribbean has over shore excursion companies. When you get to the web page - do a find on the word: "Lipcon". He is the attorney that filed a law suit against them.

http://royalcaribbeanltd.blogspot.com/2005/10/empress-of-sea-cruise-of-91205.html

May 06, 2005by Gregg FieldsThe MIami Herald
The way cruise ships market and sell shore excursions is the subject of three lawsuits filed in federal court in Miami.Miami's leading cruise lines are ripping off their passengers by secretly pocketing some of the fees paid for shore excursions that were booked with purportedly independent operators, three related lawsuits allege.The cases, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Miami, name Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises and its Celebrity Cruises unit, and Norwegian Cruise Lines as defendants. The attorney filing the lawsuit, Charles Lipcon, is seeking class-action status for each complaint.In an interview, Lipcon said the companies say the excursion operators are independent, and the ship is booking the activities as a convenience for its passengers."What they don't tell you is they're keeping up to half of the money," Lipcon said. "It's an undisclosed charge."A Kickback!!
http://www.lipcon.com/news_article42.shtml
http://www.miami.com
/mld/miamiherald/living/travel/


http://blog.lipcon.com/2003/12/shipowner_
Shipowner Liable For Injuries On Tender To Shore Excursion Even Though Tender Operated By Third Party. Trial Court Erred In Directly Verdict Even Where Condition Was Open And Obvious Since Shipowner Should Have Reasonably Anticipated The Condition

floridatoday.com
Cruise-industry leader Carnival Corp. responds to FLORIDA TODAY questionsFLORIDA TODAY STAFF
Miami-based Carnival Corp. has grown into the world's biggest cruise vacation company through savvy marketing, creampuff U.S. tax laws and inexpensive labor recruited from poor nations around the world.Carnival's crews work 10-16-hour days, seven days per week, many of them primarily for tips. It avoids U.S. corporate income tax and labor laws - and posted profits of $1.85 billion last year - because it is incorporated in Panama. And, while ferrying North American passengers to exotic port of calls, it strikes deals with vendors to keep a share of the money customers spend on shore.Carnival controls more than the world's cruise market, about twice its nearest competitor, Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
FLORIDA TODAY: The company's annual report to the S.E.C. mentions sales onboard and in ports, where Carnival receives a percentage of revenues collected by concessionaires. Can you give an example of how that latter part works? Carnival: Concessionaires are independent companies contracted with the cruise lines to provide goods and services for guests during their cruise. At Carnival, we use concessionaires for such areas as shipboard spas, gift shops, art auctions, our fleetwide golf program and shore excursions. Carnival signs agreements with concessionaires' on-board revenues and the company receives a percentage of these sales.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Carnival Cruise Lines are Annoyed and Call Safety Concerns Absurd (Disgusting)

Carnival Cruise Lines show their true colors. Their apologies to those who have lost loved ones were obviously not sincere. Why should we expect them to give an honest and sincere reponse to the suggestions made by the victims families. And they continue to grossly understate crime statistics on cruise ships.

Bob Dickinson, president of Carnival Cruise Lines, threw his hands up in the air and said he was annoyed that they were even discussing the Smith case, calling it a "non-event." *

"It has nothing to do with safety on cruise ships, and the fact that we need to get up here and defend our safety record is absurd," Dickinson said
. *

Hell with taking any action to improve cruise ship safety and secruity, they don't even want to discuss it: Dickinson suggested the panel refrain from discussing the Smith case. "I hate to see you talk about it because you're giving it legs," he said about the story.**

Any action they take will be geared towards improving their public image: Royal Caribbean International President Adam Goldstein said the industry has been giving travel agents "talking points" to emphasize ship security, if customers ask about the Smith case and other safety matters.**

The cruise companies are clueless just like the hundreds of criminal cases involving cruise ships. There are no clues because they have botched investigations and ruined evidence. The cruise lines have again demonstrated their total disregard for the welfare of their customers. And their split personality just like when they kept two sets of books to avoid getting caught when they were illegally dumping toxins into our oceans. Dickinson should immediatley issue a public apology to the International Cruise Victims Organization and then step down.

Well, Mr. Dickinson. We're annoyed that 47 people have gone overboard since the year 2000. We're annoyed that hundreds of family members have been treated with no respect or no real concern. We're annoyed that 93% of the sexual assaults have gone unprosecuted. We think it is absurd that the cruise ship companies have not been charged and arrested for destroying evidence and tampering with crime scenes. Mark our words: business as usual for the cruise lines will be a "non-event." We will not stop until "Sea Marshalls" or another type of independent, trained, experienced security/law enforcement staff are aboard each ship.

* http://www.newsday.com:
Cruise executives optimistic despite fuel prices, safety issues
By ADRIAN SAINZAssociated Press WriterMarch 14, 2006
MIAMI BEACH, Fla

**Cruise execs: Crime concerns overblown
BY SCOTT BLAKE "FLORIDA TODAY" March 15, 2006

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Can Cruise Industry LIARS be trusted? They are LIARS and FELONS because they lied about illegal dumping at sea!

The victims, all members of the newly formed International Cruise Victims Association, submitted a list of 10 suggestions, including mandatory rape kits and thorough employee background checks, to members of Congress. Shays said the information will be useful in deciding whether further laws are needed to govern the cruise line industry. Can the cruise industry be trusted to give trughtful answers and honest responses to the questions and demands made by the families of cruise victims?

It is very doubtful since the cruise companies are convicted felons because they lied and falsified records related to numerous counts of illegal dumping:

To keep waters pristine, punish the pollutersBy ROBERT TRIGAUX, Times Business Columnist © St. Petersburg Times published May 19, 2002
In the late 1990s, Miami's Royal Caribbean Cruises paid $27-million in fines and penalties to settle ocean-dumping complaints in Florida, California, Alaska, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Now comes Miami's Carnival Corp., the world's biggest cruise company with 43 pleasure vessels, which last month pleaded guilty to six felony counts and agreed to pay $18-million in fines and restitution. The charge? Carnival lied by filing false statements with the Coast Guard on oily discharges from a half-dozen Carnival cruise ships, including the Paradise, Tropicale and (sailing from the Port of Tampa) Sensation. Aboard Carnival ships, on-board engineers went so far as to illegally override sensors meant to prevent dumping of oily wastewater.

In a typical one-week voyage, the average-size cruise ship produces 8 tons of trash; 210,000 gallons of sewage; 25,000 gallons of oil-contaminated water; and a million gallons of "gray water" from sinks, showers, galleys and laundry facilities.
Cruise ships must pay big bucks in ports, or at sea with expensive pollution filters, to get rid of all this waste legitimately. And cruise ship captains often are awarded incentives to find ways to lower operating expenses. That's one reason why it's been a favorite shortcut for cruise ships to dump their gray water and even sewage far from land at night when the chances of detection from the occasional Coast Guard boat or plane are minimal.
Cruise ship owners can be influenced in the same way. Fining them serious sums of money is a start. The bad news is that Carnival did not seem to learn any lessons from the industry's past mistakes. The company's guilty plea in April is for illegal actions that seem remarkably similar to those that got Royal Caribbean in deep trouble several years earlier.
Let's compare the two:
CARNIVAL: Not charged with illegal dumping, but for lying about it.
ROYAL: Not charged with illegal dumping, but for lying about it.
CARNIVAL: Pleaded guilty that six Florida-based cruise ships repeatedly dumped waste into the sea between July 1998 and January 2001.
ROYAL: Pleaded guilty to fleetwide conspiracy and obstruction of justice that its ships saved millions of dollars by dumping oily waste into the ocean in the mid-1990s.
CARNIVAL: Ships' staffs would "fool" an on-board alarm, called the oil content meter, that warns when water containing too much oil enters the discharge system. By flushing clean water past the sensor, a "low" reading allowed ship to discharge oily water undetected.
ROYAL: Ships rigged pipes to bypass antipollution equipment. On Royal's Sovereign of the Seas, engineers on a voyage from San Juan to Miami were ordered to cut up pipes connected to an antipollution device and drop them in a dumpster. Similar steps occurred on other Royal Caribbean ships.
CARNIVAL: Ships have to keep "oil record books" of oily waste disposal and allow inspections. When engineers fooled ship sensors to discharge oily bilge waste, they falsified records.
ROYAL: Ship engineers admitted that oil record books were falsified so routinely that they were known as eventyrbok, which means "fairy tale book" in Norwegian.
In March 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency cited six cruise companies, including three based in Florida, for fouling the Alaskan air in Juneau, Seward and Glacier Bay National Park. The EPA recently proposed the first federal limits on air pollution from large ocean-going ships.
Shortly after Carnival pleaded guilty in April, the cruise giant, Royal Caribbean and other ship operators were sued by environmental groups that claim the companies improperly dump water along California's coast.
The groups allege that cruise ships in foreign ports take on ballast water, which is pumped into the bottom of a ship to keep it balanced at sea, then jettison it elsewhere. That water can contain exotic organisms that pose a threat to native flora and fauna.
Carnival's $18-million penalty last month isn't chicken feed, but it won't slow down a corporation with nearly $1-billion in quarterly sales and a market value topping $19-billion. To cruise operators of that size, environmental fines often are viewed as little more than a "cost of doing business." Instead, fines need to become serious bottom-line reminders to operate with more respect for the water they sail upon.
Otherwise, all of this becomes just another eventyrbok.

internationalcruisevictims.org
Originally Posted USA TODAYNov. 7, 2002 — Since 1993, the Justice Department has handed out over $48.5 million in fines to 10 cruise lines for illegal dumping.
April 1993. Princess Cruises, $500,000 criminal fine for dumping garbage off the Florida Keys.
April 1994. Palm Beach Cruises, $500,000 criminal fine for discharging waste oil from bilges, causing 2 1/2-mile oil slick off the coast of Florida.
Sept. 1994. American Global Lines, based in Hawaii, $100,000 criminal fine for dumping of demolition materials.
March 1995. Regency Cruises, $250,000 criminal fine for discharging plastics from two ships during cruises.
November 1997. Ulysses Cruises of Miami and Seaway Maritime of Greece, each fined $75,000 for dumping oil in the Atlantic. Ulysses also fined $75,000 for dumping plastic bags full of garbage.
June 1998. Holland America, $1 million criminal fine for discharging oily bilge waste in waters off Alaska.
1998 and 1999. Royal Caribbean Cruises pleaded guilty to 30 charges and was fined $27 million for a fleetwide conspiracy to dump oily bilge wastewater into U.S. waters.
April 2002. Carnival Corp. fined $18 million for falsifying ship records to cover up dumping of oily bilge wastewater from six ships.
July 2002. Norwegian Cruise Line fined $1 million for falsifying ship records to cover up dumping of oily bilge wastewater by one ship.
Source: Department of Justice.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

1 1/2 billion people live in New York City according to cruise ship companies?

That's what the cruise industry would have us believe. That's the same kind of distortion of the facts that they are using to downplay the problem of crime during cruise vacations.

When Cruise ship companies refer to the figure of 31 million passengers; it is bogus and very misleading. There are only about 200,000 beds altogether and they are not always full. Crime statistics should be compared to a city of about 125,000 or less since the ships are not always full and passengers spend at least 25% of their time on shore and the ship crime statistics do not include crimes while on shore. We are not even sure if all 200,000 beds are accounted for by ICCL. On their web site they say there are a total of 184 ships with total births of around 200,000 yet ICCL only represents 90 ships or definitely less than 200,000 births.

1- To get the 30 million passenger figure, ICCL multiplies the 200,000 berths by 3 years times 52 weeks a year and thus inflate the population used for crime statistic comparisons by a factor of 156. That is like saying that New York City has a population of 1.5 billion or 156 times about 10 million people.
2- There are probably many categories of crime that are not counted by the cruise lines. I believe they do not count crimes unless they are reported before they leave the ship. They may not count robberies of less than $5,000. And crewmembers are quietly told not to report crimes. The case Kendall Carver's daughter was not even reported as a crime. Letting the cruise industry keep their own statistics is kind of like asking the mafia how much money they have laundered in the last three years. ATTENTION ALL JOURNALIST and GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: Someone Needs to Evaluate the raw data from which ICCL gets their conclusions.
3- The crime figures for cruise vacations should be compared with the crime statistics for a gated community not just a general metropolitan area. The crime statistics do not include in data on crimes reported by crewmembers and they are part of the smaal city, too. So we should expect crime to be less on the cruise ships than it is in a gated community with no lower class citizens.
4- It is not just the fact that the numbers of crimes are under-reported by the cruise industry it is the high percentage of cases that are not investigated or prosecuted properly and the fact that there is no data collected by an unbiased authority.

'I don't Want The Next Person To Go Through The Same Thing'
KOMO - Seattle,WA,USA March 7, 2006

Michael Pham of Sammamish testified in Washington, D.C. Tuesday that something has to be done to better police the cruise ship industry. His testimony before a the House Subcommittee on National Security comes ten months after his mom and dad disappeared somewhere between Barbados and Aruba.

Pham and others, many of them featured on a website called InternationalCruiseVictims.org, are asking congress to place tougher regulations on the cruise industry. Cruise ship employees are effectively their own police force, while at sea they control crime scenes and investigations, and are not required to report comprehensive crime statistics.
Records show that in the last three years as many as 28 people have disappeared from cruise ships (only 5 of them were ever found) and as many as 178 people claim to be victims of sexual assault while on board cruise ships.

But representatives speaking for the cruise industry, while admitting the numbers are real, say the problems are extremely rare. In the same time frame cruise lines carried up to 31 million passengers.

Friday, March 10, 2006

More families share cruise ship horror stories at Congressman Shays Hearing on March 7, 2006

More families share cruise ship horror stories
Stamford Advocate - Stamford,CT,USA
... There was a Massachusetts woman who went missing from an Alaskan cruise for days before her family learned of it; parents who vanished from a Caribbean cruise ...
Washington resident Son Pham testified about the disappearance of his parents aboard a cruise last May. He and family members had paid for the seven-day Caribbean cruise as a Mother's Day present. The couple vanished from the ship's deck, leaving behind a purse and sandals.

Pham said it took three hours after family members alerted crew members to the disappearance before ship personnel made an announcement over the ship's speakers and four hours before the Coast Guard was alerted. Although officials have said the couple likely committed suicide, Pham said that his parents were happy and looked forward to visiting their native Vietnam later that year, their first trip back in three decades.

"Nothing will change until the cruise industry admits that we do have problems, we do have issues," Pham said.

Shays hears cruise safety plea
Connecticut Post - Bridgeport,CT,USA... the behest of a Greenwich, Conn., family whose son disappeared on his honeymoon cruise. ... He went missing after 4 am A large bloodstain was found early the next ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Press Release: PROJECT SAFE CRUISE - A Win/Win Solution to Cruise Disappearances and Other Crimes

March 7, 2006 Press Release: PROJECT SAFE CRUISE - A Win/Win Solution to Cruise Disappearances and other Crimes

Are Cruise Ships Safe? Not Yet, But We're Working on it!
Here is the Challenge we wish to direct towards the cruise lines,

Now posted at http://www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com/ and www.safecruise.blogspot.com

In memory of all families and individuals that have suffered any type of loss
while on a CRUISE VACATION, we Challenge
All cruise line companies,
The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL),
Owners,
Stockholders,
Employees,
All media organizations,
Interested members of the public,
Members of Congressman Shays subcommittee and related government agencies,
And all related business; including but not limited to travel agents, hotels, airlines, suppliers, tourist groups, gift shops, restaurants, tour companies, and advertising firms

To participate in, support, and/or sponsor Project Safe Cruise, a joint government and private sector demonstration project. Project Safe Cruise will consist of a one week cruise in 2006 that will showcase the type of security and safety system that could be put in place by cruise lines to insure the safety and security of all passengers and crew and at the same time preserve evidence of crimes and/or accidents. On this Maiden Voyage we hope to offer short entertaining seminars and panel discussions by various security experts and perhaps some celebrities, on missing persons, identity theft, date rape, kidnapping, teenage and young child safety, security, safety, and health issues while in other countries or at sea, investment scams for seniors, how to buy art work, etc. We must focus on a positive solution that will benefit all parties involved and prevent future tragedies. If you are interested in learning more and perhaps joining the cruise or if you represent the press or would like to sponsor or help plan the cruise or if you have had similar experiences involving poor or non-existent safety and security procedures on a cruise please leave contact information in the comments section of http://www.safecruise.blogspot.com/ or http://www.safecruise.blogspot.com/ Or send an email to safecruise@hotmail.com or to mailto:safecruise@hotmail.com
With the help of former FBI and NYPD law enforcement experts, we ask you to do this as a way of honoring the 47 people who have gone overboard since the year 2000. Most of whom are presumed dead.
>Each year the cruise lines and their employees:
>Take in billions of dollars in profits
>Spend millions of dollars on advertising
>Spend over ten million dollars on lobbying
>Donate untold monies to various political campaigns

We believe the cruise lines are able and are in fact obligated to invest in a project that could pay dividends to all parties involved in the cruise ship safety and security issue, including the cruise companies and related business, victims and their families, government oversight agencies, and all future passengers and crew.

We acknowledge that cruise lines have security and safety procedures in place. However, we also believe that there is an urgent need to enhance them for the following reasons:
*The number of people overboard has increased significantly in the last five years.
*A common element of each disappearance and in other cruise ship crimes and safety incidents is the lack of good evidence and/or successful investigations. Few if any crimes have been prosecuted.
*Overnight cruise ship operators carry close to ten million passengers on over 90 ships that call on hundreds of ports worldwide.
*While on a cruise vacation, American citizens have a right to have an independent law enforcement person on each ship that they can immediately report crimes and safety problems.

It has been suggested that cruise ships are small floating cities. They should have law enforcement available just the same.
The need for enhanced security will grow over time as the number of "first time" passengers increase. They, especially, should be informed about the rights and protections available to them while on the open sea or on foreign soil. There currently are no reliable, in-depth, or up-to-date statistics on the number, type and frequency of cruise crimes and accidents among passengers or crew. These need to exist so that trends can be monitored and improvements put in place to reduce the number of tragedies.


There are growing threats in the form of bird flu and other illnesses, terrorist threats, and pirate attacks that underscore the need to have personnel in place that have the expertise, the experience, the training and authority to act, communicate, investigate, and monitor incidents quickly and effectively. Mysteries may be good for books, movies, and television shows but they offer no comfort or closure to those who have lost loved ones. We offer our support and prayers to all families as they struggle to resolve the tragedies of the past. Although we will never be able to prevent all deaths, crimes, or safety incidents that occur on cruise vacations, we can make a difference. And we can at least put a system in place that offers assurance to each and every American passenger that everything humanly possible was done to protect and/or save his or her friends and family while on a cruise vacation. A brief description of Project Safe Cruise is provided below. Specific dates, details, and additional information will be posted at http://www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com/ when it becomes available.
Project Safe Cruise could be a win-win solution for parties on both sides of the cruise ship safety issue. Look at it as an outside the box idea, a partnership if you will. Even though focusing on prevention is less glamorous and less dramatic than solving crimes, it is more efficient and gratifying, especially if we save one life or reduce the suffering of one family. We must work with the cruise lines to set up a cadre of independent contract employees that would act as security ombudsman who would –
- Know how to deal with a terrorist situation.
- Have the authority to lock down crime scenes and secure the chain of evidence.
- Deal immediately and directly with the FBI, Coast Guard, and other agencies and organizations in all ports of call.
- Provide ongoing security and safety training to crew and travel agents and organizers including shore excursion groups.
- Record and maintain a database of incidents and present some analysis of current procedures and conduct of parties involved and recommend improvements for all.

The cadre could be staffed by ex-military and ex-law-enforcement personnel who would get salary and/or some free cruise or vacation packages for their work, kind of like how many campgrounds have frequent campers act as hosts. What works good on land should work good on the water including a Neighborhood Watch or Guardian Angel type system that could include frequent customers, crew members, contract employees, travel agents, etc. Design an Amber Alert system for use on ships. The use of this and an independent cadre perhaps named Sea Marshals would provide the most important factor or element for preventing and solving crimes: TIME. The former FBI and former NYPD investigators I have been talking with are drafting a cruise ship security plan and a letter to send to the Cruise lines. Perhaps, Homeland Security or the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations might do this as a demonstration project.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More than 200 Caribbean cruise ship passengers take ill

USA Today - USA - March 6, 2006

Royal Caribbean International said 243 of 3,252 passengers on board the Explorer of the Seas had caught a norovirus, a common cause of infectious gastroenteritis prevalent in hospitals, nursing homes, cruise ships and other semi-enclosed environments. All those affected were treated.
(Related story: Congressman Shays wants more data on cruise ship crime. The House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations holds second hearings on March 7, 2006)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Gov Jeb Bush's Role in Katrina Contract for Carnival Cruise Line Questioned Based on Amount of Campaign Contributions made by Carnival Employees

Associated Press Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL - Feb 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- A top House Democrat released e-mails Tuesday detailing Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's role in pushing a $236 million federal contract for Carnival Cruise Lines to house Hurricane Katrina victims

The Carnival Cruise Lines contract has turned out to be enormously expensive," Waxman wrote to Gov. Bush, the president's younger brother. The Carnival official, Ric Cooper, has been a major political donor to the Florida and national Republican parties, including $65,000 to the state GOP in 2002, and $50,00 to the RNC in 2004, Waxman said.

Go to
http://cruiselinelobbyistrelatedtoabramoff.blogspot.com/
to see a listing of campaign contributions made by other Carnival Cruise Line employees.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cruise Lines Disclose Crime Data in Advance of Next Week's Congressional Hearing on Cruise Ship Safety

Miami Herald - FL,USA
Posted on Sat, Mar. 04, 2006 BY AMY MARTINEZ

The world's major cruise ship operators have disclosed that 204 criminal or potentially criminal incidents happened aboard their ships in the past three years. Analyst Nicholas Palarino notes in the memo that some 30 million people took cruises during the same three-year period, suggesting that crime on cruise ships is somewhat rare. Even so, Palarino recommends that cruise lines be more forthcoming with passengers about the risks involved with cruising.

I believe the 30 million people figure is bogus and very misleading. There have been 47 people go overboard since the year 2000 and most incidents involve cover-ups by the cruise lines and/or poor or delayed investigation and mishandling of evidence and the contamination of crime scenes. Please DO NOT let the ICCL and cruise industry keep using the figure of 30 million passengers in the last three years when comparing crime statistics with metropolitan areas.
1 – When ICCL refers to the figure of 30 million passengers is bogus very misleading. There are only about 200,000 beds altogether and they are not always full. Crime statistics should be compared to a city of about 125,000 or less since the ships are not always full and passengers spend at least 25% of their time on shore and the ship crime statistics do not include crimes while on shore. We are not even sure if all 200,000 beds are accounted for by ICCL. On their web site they say there are a total of 184 ships with total births of around 200,000 yet ICCL only represents 90 ships or definitely less than 200,000 births. To get the 30 million passenger figure, ICCL multiplies the 200,000 berths by 3 years times 52 weeks a year and thus inflate the population used for crime statistic comparisons by a factor of 156. That is like saying that New York City has a population of 1.5 billion or 156 times about 10 million people.
2 - There are probably many categories of crime that are not counted by the cruise lines. I believe they do not count crimes unless they are reported before they leave the ship. They may not count robberies of less than $5,000. And crewmembers are quietly told not to report crimes. The case Kendall Carver's daughter was not even reported as a crime. Letting the cruise industry keep their own statistics is kind of like asking the mafia how much money they have laundered in the last three years. ATTENTION ALL JOURNALIST and GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: Someone Needs to Evaluate the raw data from which ICCL gets their conclusions.
3 - The crime figures for cruise vacations should be compared with the crime statistics for a gated community not just a general metropolitan area. The crime statistics do not include in data on crimes reported by crewmembers and they are part of the smaal city, too. So we should expect crime to be less on the cruise ships than it is in a gated community with no lower class citizens.
4 - It is not just the fact that the numbers of crimes are under-reported by the cruise industry it is the high percentage of cases that are not investigated or prosecuted properly and the fact that there is no data collected by an unbiased authority.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Takeover of Ports by United Arab Emirates Could Reduce Security for Cruise Ship Passengers

.sun-sentinel.com
British judge weighs challenge by Miami company to Dubai port dealBy Jane Wardell the associated press Posted March 1 2006
DP World, the state-owned port operator in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, won the support of the P&O board after a bidding war for the 165-year-old company, but members of the U.S. Congress have expressed concerns about the company owning significant operations at six major U.S. seaports.Eller, which provides stevedoring services to 90 percent of cruise ships at the port of Miami, also argued that the deal breaches its joint venture contract with P&O. Eller has filed a similar lawsuit in the United States.

econbrowser
From notes posted by Movieguy:
This Federal Government information is false and exceedingly misleading.
I do not understand why such a "fact sheet" can contain so many supposed "errors". I consider it an embarrassment and disservice to the American public.
I have verified that the sale of P&O to DP World will include the acquisition of ALL existing operations of P&O Ports North America. My verifications include communications with Bell-Pottinger, the public relations firm handling this matter. There is no question that the acquisition involves all P&O North America activities and operations on the East Coast and Gulf Coast.
Therefore, the aquistion will include the transfer of operations at 22 U.S. ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, not 6 ports as stated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. DHS, in its fact sheet as cited above, has failed to acknowledge the ongoing P&O North America operations at 16 additional ports located on the East Coast and Gulf Coast.
The acquisition will involve, at a minimum, the transfer of P&O North America operations at 55 terminals, not 11 or 16 terminals as stated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Eliminating from consideration the cruise ship terminals that P&O North America presently operates, the number of terminals accounted for in my calculation of 55 is reduced to 49 terminals. DHS has failed to acknowledge the sale and transfer of 39 to 44 of the East Coast and Gulf Coast terminal operations of P&O North America.
Operations accounted for in the 55 identified terminals at existing P&O port terminal operations do not include all grain elevator operations, or additional terminals that appear to be necessary to support the stated operations of P&O at selected ports. This potential consideration is reflected in the P&O operations by port listing outlined below. See PORT And TERMINAL LOCATIONS for more details.
No updates of the information released by DHS or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been released as of the time of this comment post.
"The Passenger Ship Terminal known as New York Cruise Terminal for passenger ship service is operated by P&O Ports North America for the City of New York." - http://www.panynj.gov/- "Under a 20-year operating agreement with the City of New York, P&O Ports North America, Inc. is the exclusive provider of terminal management and stevedoring services for the New York Cruise Terminal. Among P&O Ports' customers are Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, NYK Cruise Co. Ltd, Hapag Lloyd and Clipper Cruise Line."

Jennifer Hagel Smith Publishes List of Cruise Ship Safety Tips for Children

http://www.greenwichtime.com/
By Hoa NguyenStaff Writer
Published February 24 2006
Jennifer Hagel Smith, who vaulted into the media spotlight following her Greenwich husband's disappearance from a honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean, has published a list of 12 safety tips for children and their parents aboard cruises
They are posted at:
Cruise Safety Tips for Kids and Their Parents

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