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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.

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Location: Michigan, United States

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, March 25, 2007

Sleeping with the Enemy: Can We Trust the Testimony of ICCL & Cruise Lines plus Why Self-Policing Won't Work - Part 1:

Part 1:

Hearing: Crimes Against Americans on Cruise Ships
March 27, 2007 at 10:00 a.m., 2167 Rayburn House Office Building. This hearing of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will be web cast live on Tuesday, March 27, 2007.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cruise20mar20,1,255213.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true Congress revisits cruise crimes
Lawmakers want to know whether the industry accurately reports statistics.
By Kimi Yoshino, Times Staff WriterMarch 20, 2007

75 people have gone overboard since the year 2000. Last year was the worst yet with 22 persons going overboard.
When will the cruise lines take steps to improve safety and security for the millions of passengers they have each year. See http://www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com/ for a plan for enhanced security for crew and passengers
The subcommittee should ask how many of the employees of ICCL are former members of the coast guard or other government agency. Pretty cozy relationship if too many coast guard go to work for the cruise industry!
Another question would be: It is our understanding that cruise disappearances and other crimes are assigned to local FBI field offices throughout the country. Shouldn't there be a special unit trained specifically to handle the global logistics of these disappearances? Why do so many go unsolved?

We suggest that the federal government work toward protections for the safety, security, and civil rights of all crewmembers. Unless crime and safety records of all cruise line employees are maintained and monitored, we will never be able to improve conditions for passengers. We have no idea about the amount of crime, death, and disappearances that have occurred involving crewmembers. 5 Cruise Ship Employees Die under Suspicious Circumstances in Last 4 Weeks http://safecruise.blogspot.com/2006/02/5-cruise-ship-employees-die-under.htmlWe also believe that we should ask Congress to have the FBI or other agency investigate the fact that the cruise lines have hampered investigations to the point of destroying evidence, preventing the timely testimony of crewmembers, and contaminated crime scenes. If appropriate, the cruise companies should be charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law for aiding and abetting criminals and obstruction of justice.
See http://projectsafecruise.blogspot.com/ for an outline for enhanced security and safety for cruise vacations. While on a cruise vacation, American citizens have a right to have an independent, experienced, trained law enforcement person on each ship that they can immediately report crimes and safety problems. What works good on land should work well on the water. These "sea marshals" should:
Take reports of safety incidents as well as criminal activity. Some deaths and disappearances might be the result of lax or unenforced safety procedures.
Maintain database of incidents and provide some analysis of current procedures and conduct of parties involved and recommend improvements for all.
Develop a "Neighborhood Watch" or "Guardian Angel" type system that could include frequent customers, crewmembers, contract employees, travel agents, etc.
Create and "Amber Alert" type system to help find missing passengers.
Provide ongoing security and safety training to passengers, crew, travel agents, and organizers including shore excursion groups. This could include short entertaining presentations geared for different age groups covering subjects such as assault, identity theft, date rape, kidnapping, teenage and young child safety, security, safety, and health issues while in other countries or at sea, and threats for seniors.
It is my understanding that the Coast Guard might be going easy on the cruise lines because many of them go to work for the cruise lines when they retire. Did you know that Michael Crye, President of the International Council of Cruise Lines, worked for the Coast Guard in the past? Ted Thompson, executive vice-president is also retired Coast Guard. Michael and I were wondering if anyone from the media was researching how many free or reduced price cruises have been given to politicians and their staff member? It was obvious during the hearings by Congressman Shay's hearing the Congressman Mica had gotten more than just donations.
Using their advertising dollars and threats of counter suits, the Cruise Lines have intimidated the media and families of victims.
1 - A maritime attorney that Royal Caribbean threatened to file sanctions against one victim's Smith family if they pursue their lawsuit, asking for monetary damages if there are allegations they can't prove in court. Very unfair to do at the beginning of a trial.
2- In a heartless attempt to blame the victim, one cruise line issued flyers to the passengers as they got off one ship spreading falsehoods surrounding a recent man overboard incident.
3. We have been informed that aRoyal Caribbean's attorney made a statement at one news conference that they would sue any journalist who printed allegations from family or others that could not later be proven in court. Sounds like the strong-arm tactics of organized crime to us. A real threat to freedom of the press. That would mean that the press could print nothing about O.J. before or during his trial, on the chance he was found innocent.
4. One victim's family member who has talked to many media representatives said he was sure that many of them were being very cautious because of the amount of advertising money or threat of lawsuits. The press is working with one hand behind their backs.
5. During congressman Shay's hearings in March, the cruise lines and their representatives, including Congressman Micah of Florida, who received campaign donations of Carnival and RCCL, launched character assassinations many of the families and victims.
6 - I have talked to the executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and asked him why they did not cover the death of Elizabeth Galeana last month. She is from a very prominent family in Detroit. He said he would forward the info I sent them to one of his editors. I talked to the editor and he had decided not to cover the story but would not say why. I asked him a few questions and he seemed not to know any of the details of her disappearance even that she was from Detroit.

7 - Florida Today Exposes Carnival "Sweat Ships": The Under Belly of the Cruise Ship Industry
Sweatships The campaign: "A ship owner can go any place in the world, pick up anybody he wants, on almost any terms. If the owner wants to maximise profit at the expense of people, it's a piece of cake... It's a sweatshop at sea." Paul Chapman, a Baptist minister Sweatships Press ReleasesLife is no holiday for sweatship workers, says new report. 9 September 2002floridatoday.com January 31, 2006

8 - ICCL and Cruise Lines use distorted statistics:
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. 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. 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. 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. 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 small 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. 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.
9 - Can Cruise Industry LIARS be trusted? They are LIARS and FELONS because they lied about illegal dumping at sea!
Miami-based Royal Caribbean has agreed to pay record fines in recent years for illegal discharges and falsification of the oil record book. In 1999 the company pleaded guilty to 21 felony charges for dumping bilge water and chemicals, falsifying records and lying about it, and agreed to pay an $18m fine. More recently, prosecutors took Carnival Corp, the world ’s largest cruise operation; to court in Miami and in April 2002 secured $18m in penalties and a pledge that the company would overhaul procedures. This followed allegations that engineers on six cruise ships were dumping waste by fraudulently operating equipment and falsifying records.
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.

10 - Gov Jeb Bush's Role in Katrina Contract for Carnival Cruise Line Questioned Based on Amount of Campaign Contributions made by Carnival Employees
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/Politics/Florida/floPOLFL03030106.htm 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.

11 - Safe Cruise: RCL Changes Murder Theme Cruises to Pirate Theme Cruises
Can you believe this? http://www.whodunitcruises.com/
still offers mystery cruises in association with Royal Caribbean. After January 19, 2006 they now offer PIRATE Mystery Cruises. Before that date they offered MURDER Mystery Cruises. Besides changing the theme they have also removed offensive words like KILLER and CRIME and DYING and DEADLIER. And they have removed phrases like:

We finished our killer cruises for 2005 !! But 2006 will prove to be even a deadlier year !

Partners in Crime (AKA- Travel Agents)

CLICK HERE to see is how the web page appeared as of 1/19/06 according to MSN Search cache:

CLICK HERE to see is how the web page appears after 1/19/06:

It took RCCL over 6 months after George Smith disappeared to realize how insensitive such theme cruises are. How about "Project Safe Cruise" as a theme. But they probably will go with sea serpents or domestic spying or the Abramoff "Black Hat" cruise (You get what you pay for?)

Is Royal Carribean profting from George Smith's murder?
How insensitve can they be?
They let amatuers investigate a fake crime scene for 168 hours (7-day cruise). They only gave Dr. Henry Lee 4 hours to investigate a real murder. Maybe they sjould have bought him a ticket for the Murder theme cruise.

12 - In an ongoing effort to avoid regulations, taxation and negative publicity, the Cruise Lines continue to wage war against the government and the media. They have used lobbyists related to the Abramoff scandal to spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress. cruiselinelobbyistrelatedtoabramoff.blogspot.com/ They and their employees contribute millions of dollars to the same candidates. safecruise.blogspot.com/2005_12_01 They keep information and statistics secret concerning crimes, assaults, deaths, accidents, and disease from the government and victim's families. They incorporate and flag their ships in poor third world countries to avoid health, safety, security, and environmental rules. The worst being Royal Caribbean whose fees paid to Liberia helped finance Dictator Charles Taylor's Reign of Terror and mass murder. safecruise.blogspot.com/2006_04_01
Now it appears they have used their advertising dollars to limit freedom of the press and pressure the media to stop covering their serious safety and security problems. The New York Post September 13, 2006 by Keith Kelly.
The blogs and other media are talking about the NY Daily News reporters on Bravo's new reality show, "Tabloid Wars." How close to reality is it? A reporter at NY Daily News sent me an email on January, 31, 2006 stating that the story she had written about disappearances on cruise ships had been killed because the paper was afraid of losing ad revenues. Since January14, 2006, I had been providing her with some background data on the serious problem of cruise ship security and safety. She had interviewed several members of victim's families. Add the millions of dollars of lobbying expenditures and campaign donations and then the advertising money that gets thrown around. Someone has to put a stop to it. I will feel bad if Caitlin's job is threatened but not as bad as I would if more people die, disappear, or are assaulted or robbed because security and safety are not improved on the cruise ships.
I am very concerned the our freedom of the press is being eroded by foreign corporations like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, whose underhanded tactics include intimidation, extreme litigation, use of slave labor, control over the Congress to keep from being regulated because of their massive lobbying money, ad money, campaign donations, etc. They even used lobbyist closely related to the Abramoff scandal.


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