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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/

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Cruise Lines Are Now Responsible for more Disappearances and Deaths than America's Worst Serial Killer

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Elizabeth Galeana who was reported missing from Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas on July 25, 2006

60 people have now gone overboard and died on cruise ship vacations since the year 2000. This does not even include the number that have died from accidents, disease, fires, assaults, and other crimes on board or during shore excursions. America's worst serial killer, the Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway, had 48 victims. This last week, Robert Charles Browne's claimed 49 killings.
rockymountainnews.com July 28, 2006

See www.cruisebruise.com a list of some of the deaths and www.cruisejunkie.com for list of person's overboard, outbreaks of disease, and other events. I would encourage all victims and their families contact www.internationalcruisevictims.org for guidance, support, and to prevent future tragedies. And refer to www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com for a possible solution that could be implemented quickly.

The American Public should demand that Cruise ship deaths be given as much attention as a serial killer case. There are about 200,000 beds on the cruise ships. If there were 60 disappearances in six years, or about 10 a year in the same neighborhood and no changes were made in security, we would quickly fire the police chief and not go to that neighborhood. In fact, there is a serial killer on cruise ships; it is the total lack of independent law enforcement and regulation. Law enforcement should treat 60 disappearances like they would a serial killer case. They should cross-check all available data to see if there are any common elements such methods, circumstances, or the same passengers or crew members being present. Any thread of commonality could help solve some of the disappearances andr prevent others.

Cruise lines have little or no legal obligation to settle because they are not regulated. RCCL is incorporated in Liberia and for many years they flagged their ships in Liberia. A country with a dysfunctional legal court system and no regulations or laws to protect cruise line employees, customers, or stockholders. The Cruise lines have poured millions of dollars into lobbying efforts, at times using lobbyist closely connected to Jack Abramoff and we know what kind of tactics he used. That along with many thousands of dollars of campaign contributions have kept congress from passing any meaningful regulations, they are giant gambling operations. Kind of like a floating crap game. And I have never known anyone who ran a crap game to be concerned with those gambling. Its used to be the only thing you could lose is your life, but with over 60 individuals missing or gone overboard, fires, and viruses since the year 2000, you could lose your life or health. Imagine if Disney World had 60 disappearances and/or deaths in the last 6 years. The only significant actions taken by the cruise lines in the last year was to spend more money on public relations efforts and issue new sets of talking points to their employees answering the phone when the subject of safety and security come up. They do like to suck as much money from their customers as they can. They also suck as much blood, sweat, and tears from their employees as possible by offering low wages and few benefits.

Friday, July 28, 2006

60 People Overboard since the year 2000: It's Happened Again: A Passenger is Missing On Royal Caribbean's Voyager Of The Seas

cbs4.com Jul 28, 2006 7:52 pm

It’s happened again. A passenger has been reported missing from a luxury cruise ship. The female passenger was reported missing from Royal Caribbean Cruise lines “Voyager of the Seas”, which is currently cruising in the Mediterranean.

naplesnews.com news July 28, 2006
The FBI and international law enforcement agencies are investigating the disappearance of the 22-year-old daughter of a wealthy Naples automotive magnate who has been missing for three days from a cruise ship that was traveling the Mediterranean Sea, according to cruise line officials and family members.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Royal Caribbean Profits Sink and Shares Take a Dive




Pacific Business News, 07/27/06

www.usatoday.com/travel/hotels/2006-07-27-royal-sinks_x.htm

Travelweekly.com: AG Edwards: Caribbean cruise pricing weakening (07/26/2006)

http://www.cruise-ship-report.com/News/072606.htm :

Cruise Ship Report for July 2006 -- News for Cruisers
"Cruise Ship Readiness Tested in San Diego Mock Terrorist Attack "

woking.co.uk/newsml: " CRUISE TURNS INTO A NIGHTMARE FOR COUNCILLOR AND HIS FAMILY 27/07/2006
Cllr Philip Goldenberg and his family were aboard the Crown Princess on a nine-day cruise around the Caribbean and North America when the 113,000-tonne ship came perilously close to capsizing just off the Florida coast last Tuesday.There was widespread panic as the rolling ship sent furniture sailing overboard and left passengers fearing for their lives.Lift shafts and stairwells resembled waterfalls as the ship’s four swimming pools emptied onto the decks.Cllr Goldenberg said: “The ship suddenly tilted about 40 degrees to port and we would have tipped over if it had gone much further.“As I was sitting outside on one of the lower decks the side went downwards. “I froze, knowing there was nothing I could do and either the ship would right itself or else it would capsize with a massive loss of life of more than 4,000 people.”Cllr Goldenberg said he and his family were very lucky not to be injured but 240 passengers did not enjoy their luck. Those injured in the incident were treated on board, with 98 people being transferred to hospitals in Florida. All those have since been released apart from three passengers and two crew members, who are expected to make a full recovery. Cllr Goldenberg added: “The real problems were for the passengers outside at the top of the ship with water and people being flung out of the swimming pools and a lot of broken glass. “The shopping area in the middle of the ship looked as if it had been hit by a tornado.”Southampton-based Princess Cruises, which operates the Crown Princess, confirmed 58 of the 3,080 passengers were British but did not have any information on the nationalities of those injured. Cllr Goldenberg welcomed the news that an independent investigation would be conducted to discover the cause of the incident.He added: “All these cruise ships are very top-heavy, so any tilt is potentially dangerous, let alone one as dramatic as this. “It is particularly disturbing to learn that there was a similar incident with a sister ship in February.” A spokesman for the cruise company said that the incident was “regrettable”.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Poseidon Titanic Type Disaster Narrowly Avoided by Crown Princess Cruise Ship May be Common Event

  • Posted to Message Board regarding this article:
    'Listing' of cruise ship not isolated
    The sudden tilt this week near Port Canaveral is at least the 7th similar incident in the past year
    .Tom Stieghorst, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Beth Kassab, Sentinel Staff Writer Posted July 21, 2006


    I was on the crown princess when it "listed" and I can tell you that I am also an experienced cruiser and I will never do it again! This ship did not merely lean over a little bit, we were moving at 24 knots which is pretty fast, and then the boat started to turn which makes it feel a lot more like a crash than a tilt! Everything was broken on the ship and I was helplessly watching my children being washed out of the pool!!! The deck around the pool was actually busting up because of the massive force trying to rip the pool out of the deck! Unless you were there you have no idea how close we all came to actually capsizing... in only a few more seconds we would have gone all the way down! Thank God they were able to shut the computer systems down in time or I would not be writing this! Also the list was at least 20-25 not 15! Like I said you'll never know what the people on this ship experienced!
  • Future Passenger Apprehensive about Cruise Scheduled on Crown Princess in August but Princess Cruise Lines Say No Refunds

    I was shocked and quite shaken up to hear what happened to everyone on the Crown. I can't possibly understand what it would have been like to be on that ship when that happened. I am sure that Princess will need to deal with passengers suffering from nightmares/post traumatic stress. That is why I am petrified to go on Crown so quickly. My husband and I were set to sail on Crown on the 16th of August. I have been in touch with Princess. They so far have not been able to offer us any information or comfort about sailing on that date. They did tell us that it is set to sail today!! I just don't see how without a full investigation and based on what I heard an overhaul in clean up. They told my husband and I that we would not be able to cancel. It would be a 75% penalty. I asked them under these circumstances fearful passengers should have right to cancel. I am not saying no ever again to cruising and I surely know that anything could happen at anytime, anywhere, but to sail so confidently so quickly on the very ship gives me a chill. People are trying to reassure me stating that by our sailing date, everything will be fine and probably it would be safer since this unfortunate incident happened. I want to believe that but my nerves are telling me different. We only sailed once with Royal Caribbean and loved it. I am truly torn.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Our thoughts are with all of you!

    Check out the links to internationalcruise victims.org, Cruisebruise.com. cruise junkie.com and several maritime attorneys' who might be able to help you get a refund. The more publicity the is generated concerning cruise vacation safety, the more the cruise lines relax their refund and cancellation policies. Historically, they have been very stingy in offering about giving refunds or credits. Remember,. 90% of the fun and joy of a cruise vacation is "state of mind," and if you are apprehensive or concerned, you will not get your money's worth. They are selling an experience not just transportation. In the past you might have been lucky to get a $100 credit on a future cruise.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Emergency response haphazard, Crown Princess passengers say

www.floridatoday.com
BY DONNA BALANCIA 7/22/06
Cruise-passenger advocates are pushing for better emergency training of crew members, following the chaos that took place Tuesday aboard the Crown Princess, which tilted soon after departing Port Canaveral, and left hundreds of people injured.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Brimble's Fare Finally Refunded by P & O Cruise Lines

http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060712/SHIPPING/107120165

Thanks to the work done by families of cruise victims http://www.internationalcruisevictims.org/,

the cruise industry is receiving increased scrutiny.

Kathleen Taylor, a night shift manager on board the Pacific Sky, told the inquest that incidents of nudity and public sex on board P&O cruise ships happened up to 20 times a night.P&O said after that testimony that unruly passengers would be kicked off future cruises.International Cruise Victims has lobbied the US Congress with a ten-point plan to tighten security on board cruise ships and address what it sees as a fundamental problem: the hazy legal jurisdiction of ships once they enter international waters.The advocacy group was formed early this year after several US families found they had similar cruise ship horror stories after family members mysteriously disappeared at sea.It lists dozens of cases of apparent crimes at sea.The group wants faster reporting, revision of alcohol serving procedures on cruises, and tighter security including independent marshals on board ships.“It’s to post international police on a boat and have them being independent to the ship itself because cruise liners are driven by profit, they’re not driven by responsibility, security and safety,” Mark Brimble said.P&O have just announced they will refund Brimble’s fare. An earlier insurance claim lodged by the family was rejected because illegal drugs were listed as the cause of death.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

War,corruption, murder in Liberia fueled by revenues from companies wishing to register their vessels in Liberia & save $ & avoid regulations

The civil war and corruption in Liberia was fueled by US business, with revenues from shipping companies wishing to register their vessels in Liberia, responsible for keeping the Taylor Government in power, according to US press reports in 2003.
The Washington Post reported that the country's only source of money at the time was the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) in Vienna, Va., which sends at least $18 million a year - or about one-third of its own revenue - directly to the Liberian government.
LISCR sells cheap registration fees and low taxes to ship owners -- 30 percent to 40 percent of the Liberian government's income in 2002.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines operate cruise ships that were registered or flagged in Liberia. As recently as April 8, 2002 when ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD (RCL) filed Form 20-F with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the period ending December 31, 2001, a majority of their ships were registered in Liberia. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and most of its many subsidiaries are still incorporated in Liberia per Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 24, 2006 for the year ending December 31, 2005. http://safecruise.blogspot.com/2006_04_01

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Senator Waxman Accuses Carnival Cruise Lines of Profiteering by Seeking Lucrative FEMA Contract for Katrina Relief

PRESS-REGISTER,July 8, 2006 Mobile Alabama:
Report asserts Carnival sought Jeb Bush's help
By SEAN REILLY, Washington Bureau

Far from offering its services reluctantly, Carnival Cruise Lines sought to enlist President Bush's brother in its quest to win a $236 million deal to place Hurricane Katrina evacuees aboard three of its ships, according to e-mail exchanges cited in a new congressional analysis.
But while Florida Gov. Jeb Bush helped the company make contacts, there is no indication that he acted on some of its key requests, according to the analysis, released this week by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Two days after Katrina struck Aug. 29, another company representative named Ric Cooper e-mailed Jeb Bush to ask for help getting "in touch with the right people" at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pitch the ships-for-shelter plan.
Bush responded that he would forward the proposal to then-FEMA Director Michael Brown.
Within three hours, Brown told Cooper, "I personally think this is a great idea." the report says.
Two days after that, Carnival was awarded the cruise ship charters for temporary housing.
One of the vessels involved was the Mobile-based Holiday, which was used as a shelter in Mobile from mid-September through late October before moving to Pascagoula. A government review later found the overall deal "reasonable" under the circumstances, but noted that taxpayers were at one point paying an average of almost $500 per day per passenger because of low occupancy.
Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, has accused Carnival of profiteering, in part because the contracts reimbursed the company for what it would have earned under normal operations, including revenue from casino games and liquor sales.

Did Governor Bush feel obligated to help Carnival because of the massive amounts of money Carnival and its employees spend each year on lobbying and campaign donations?
See http://cruiselinelobbyistrelatedtoabramoff.blogspot.com/
And

greenwichcitizen.com June 30, 2006
Shays Introduces Cruise Ship Safety Legislation
By Joan Lownds
...Carnival, the world's largest cruise line, reported $353 million in profits in the last quarter, while Royal Caribbean netted $716 million last year. The Center for Responsive Politics reported that the cruise industry spent more than $2.9 million on federal lobbying from January 2004 to July 2005. During the second round of hearings in March, U.S. Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., a member of Shays' congressional committee, repeatedly dismissed the idea that security needed to be tightened aboard cruise ships.
According to open secrets.org, Mica received $3,000 in campaign contributions from Carnival for his 2005-06 campaign. He also received $1,000 from Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean's chairman and CEO. Fain donated the same amount for Mica's 2004 and 2002 campaigns, and Mickey Arison, Carnival chairman/CEO, contributed $1,000 in 2002. "We all know that Congressman Mica feels a great allegiance to the cruise line, and receives contributions from them, so he was not very objective about the issues and of course didn't want to upset his friends in the industry," Rivkind said...

And

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Why Royal Caribbean Needs an Anti-Terror Expert as Security Chief

There may be a close connection and little difference between modern day pirates, gangs, organized crime, and terrorist groups.

Forget Johnny Depp and cutlasses. Pirates today carry AK-47s and use speed boats to plunder gas tankers and aid ships - with six attacks this week alone.
Rise of modern-day pirates By Sean Coughlan
BBC News Magazine July 6, 2006
"Off Acheh, Malacca straits: Armed pirates in an unlit speedboat, blue hull, length about 10 metres. Approached a bulk carrier underway. They tried to board from stern. Raised alarm, crew mustered and activated fire hoses and directed search lights. Noticing crew alertness, pirates aborted boarding."
This isn't a scene from a movie, it's a real-life report of a pirate attack on Monday off the coast of Indonesia.
The pirates are not always foiled. The International Maritime Bureau's piracy monitoring centre has already recorded six attacks this week, including two which succeeded in robbing ships carrying relief to tsunami-affected areas.

Romantic gloss 'blinds public to the evil of piracy'
Times Online - UK, July 7, 2006
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent
PIRACY on the high seas, given a romantic gloss by films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, is a growing risk to seafarers, with 340 deaths since 1992. The number of attacks has grown fivefold since the late 1980s, from 50 a year to more than 250 in each of the past seven years, according to a report by MPs. Last year there were 264 reported attacks, including an attempt to hijack the Seabourn Spirit, a cruise ship carrying British passengers, off Somalia.
More than 650 passengers and crew were taken hostage from ships last year; 152 were injured and 11 remain missing. Victims are often thrown overboard and left to drown. In 2003 British officers on board an Isle of Man-registered supply ship were held hostage until a ransom was paid.
“There is nothing remotely ‘romantic’ about the perpetrators of these appalling crimes, or their detestable activity.”
The report condemned the many shipping companies that force officers to work more than 84 hours a week while at sea. “There is evidence that the resulting tiredness makes ships an easier target.”

Most of the 302 passengers on the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit last November were asleep when the captain said “stay inside, we are under attack”. Two boats were making a dawn raid, 100 miles off the coast of Somalia. Norman Fisher, 55, was on board. He said: “I saw a small boat with about five people in it. They had some kind of a rocket launcher, which they fired at the ship. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.” The crew defended the ship with a device that directs soundwaves towards a target. It appeared to work because the pirates left without managing to board.

Antigua joins battle against human trafficking
Tuesday June 20 2006, by Marabel Jacobs
Just recently 13 Dominican Republic nationals entered the country on a cruise ship and were later found in a house on St. Georges Street. Some 30 Haitians ended up in Barbuda and 13 Chinese nationals were dumped in the Five Islands area.

“We discussed the facilitation of arranging and assisting with illegal entry as trafficking is the exploitation of migrants and resources. You are thinking now of prostitution and forced labour, even the removal of organs. Trafficking is a crime and it is akin to other crimes like drug trafficking and firearms and gun crimes and prostitution. It is associated with violence.”
According to Walker security concerns were raised at the meeting with respect to terrorists using the opportunity to come through the region during the upcoming World Cup event. He revealed, however, the conference committed to a thorough screening process.

http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/July-August-2005/
The Magazine at the Intersection of Law & Life, "The Dread Pirate Bin Laden: How thinking of terrorists as pirates can help win the war on terror." By Douglas R. Burgess Jr.
If the war on terror becomes akin to war against the pirates, however, the situation would change. First, the crime of terrorism would be defined and proscribed internationally, and terrorists would be properly understood as enemies of all states. This legal status carries significant advantages, chief among them the possibility of universal jurisdiction. Terrorists, as hostis humani generis, could be captured wherever they were found, by anyone who found them. Pirates are currently the only form of criminals subject to this special jurisdiction. Second, this definition would deter states from harboring terrorists on the grounds that they are "freedom fighters" by providing an objective distinction in law between legitimate insurgency and outright terrorism. This same objective definition could, conversely, also deter states from cracking down on political dissidents as "terrorists," as both Russia and China have done against their dissidents. Recall the U.N. definition of piracy as acts of "depredation [committed] for private ends." Just as international piracy is viewed as transcending domestic criminal law, so too must the crime of international terrorism be defined as distinct from domestic homicide or, alternately, revolutionary activities. If a group directs its attacks on military or civilian targets within its own state, it may still fall within domestic criminal law. Yet once it directs those attacks on property or civilians belonging to another state, it exceeds both domestic law and the traditional right of self-determination, and becomes akin to a pirate band. Third, and perhaps most important, nations that now balk at assisting the United States in the war on terror might have fewer reservations if terrorism were defined as an international crime that could be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court. For now, these possibilities remain distant. But there are immediate benefits to pointing out that terrorism has a precedent in piracy. In the short term, it is a tool to cut the Gordian knot of definition that has hampered antiterrorist legislation for 40 years. In the long term, and far more important, it provides the parameters by which to understand this current and intense conflict and the means within which it may one day be resolved. That resolution will begin with the recognition among nations that terrorism is a threat to all states and to all persons, the same recognition given to piracy in 1856. Terrorists, like pirates, must be given their proper status in law: hostis humani generis, enemies of the human race.

http://www.cindyvallar.com/modernresources.html Modern Piracy Resources Compiled By Cindy Vallar 6/30/06

miami herald June 5, 2006
Royal Caribbean hires No. 3 at FBI to oversee security
BY AMY MARTINEZ
Gary M. Bald, who last week stepped down as director of the FBI's National Security Branch -- the agency's no. 3 post -- will carry the title of vice president for global security at Royal Caribbean, a new position with broad responsibilities. Bald will report directly to company Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. Bald spent nearly 29 years at the FBI, most recently as chief of its worldwide counterterrorism, counterintelligence and intelligence programs, directing 19,000 employees.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why Cruise Line Self-Policing and Voluntary Reporting Won't Work

Cruise guards 'ignore drugs'
Luke McIlveen The Courier Mail July 04, 2006
SECURITY officers aboard the Pacific Sky cruise ship were ordered to turn a blind eye to drug use because passengers were "on holiday" and their privacy came first.
dailytelegraph.news.com.au Cruise chief breaks silence, July 04, 2006
And the ship's binge-drinking culture was encouraged by bar staff, who were paid commissions on the amount of alcohol they sold per night...Mr Dobjeckie spoke to The Daily Telegraph after Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge issued a plea for him to come forward.
"We knew of people giving ecstasy to people, that sort of thing," he said.
"There was marijuana smoke coming out of the cabins but we just had to walk on past.
"The staff captain told me more than once: 'You are security, not policemen, you're not paid to think'."
Dianne Brimble, 42, died aboard the Pacific Sky in September 2002 after a massive overdose of the date-rape drug fantasy, or liquid ecstasy.
Mr Dobjeckie said in his 10 years on cruise ships, he had seen "plenty" of sexual assaults.
"There were always women filing complaints about sexual harassment," he said.
"A report would be done up but nothing would be done."
He said he was outraged by evidence from P&O staff who claimed they could not remember the persons of interest being allowed back into the cabin where Mrs Brimble died.
"I'm sorry, you don't forget somebody dying in those circumstances on board. And you don't let suspects just walk into the crime scene to clear up the evidence," he said.
"What really gets me is that these guys were allowed to remove evidence while the poor Brimble family weren't even allowed back to their cabin to get a change of clothes."
The Gold Coast security worker said he expected that P&O would now try to smear his name.

Note: Evidently passenger privacy was more important to the cruise line that passenger safety. First, privacy does no one any good if they are dead or missing. Second, perhaps the tag line should read: " because passengers were "on holiday" and their [meaning the cruise line's] privacy [or lack of bad publicity] came first.' This underscores the need to have independent law enforcement staff on each cruise ship, see www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Family Plants Tree in Connecticut in Memory of Cruise Victim George Smith

The Advocate, Stamfor CT, July 4, 2006
As the family of George Smith IV battles for more information about his disappearance a year ago, a ruby red horse chestnut tree will stand in Cos Cob to serve as a symbol of who it is they are fighting for."With everything going on, I think George gets lost sometimes," his sister, Bree Smith, said after yesterday's tree dedication ceremony in Strickland Brook Park. "When we go past, either driving the car or when my parents are at work, they'll know that a part of George is here in Cos Cob. He stays here."

Our thoughts and prayers are with George Smith's family. We salute them for their tireless efforts to seek the truth in George's death and to hold the cruise lines accountable. The greatest tribute to George is the hope that their dedication will prevent other families from suffering the same tragedy and heartache in the future.

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