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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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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/

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Speaking with the Enemy: Royal Caribbean Flys its True colors

Royal Caribbean Tried to Keep Rape Victim from Testifying:
Just the threat of Dishman's testimony -- which the cruise industry tried to stop -- was enough to coax an agreement on the eve of the hearing among the industry, the Coast Guard and the FBI. The industry pledged to promptly report disappearances, rapes and thefts aboard its ships to the FBI, which is to keep tabs on the crime reports and compile an annual report. But it's not the first time the industry has made such promises. Only three security guards were on duty, for 3,000 people," she added later. "We're talking about a Royal Caribbean city that was lawless." That's not the image the cruise industry likes to project.
"The more I've inquired, the more I've learned that there is no shortage of cases," Congresswoman Matsui said. "Cruises operate in a legal vacuum. ... It's an unacceptable situation." Dishman's experience is similar to what others have reported after a cruise turned disastrous -- insensitive questioning by untrained cruise staff, poor evidence handling and, worst of all, no prosecution.
Cruise industry lobbyists met with the maritime subcommittee chairman, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, before last week's hearing. Cummings declined to comment on the conversation but Matsui's office said the lobbyists wanted Dishman, who is suing Royal Caribbean, removed from the witness list. "Incredibly, after everything Laurie has been through, these guys think it's appropriate to try to silence her," said Joe Trahern, Matsui's chief of staff. "Unfortunately, given how they've treated Laurie from the beginning, it's not surprising. The congresswoman obviously was not going to let that happen."
"Laurie showed great courage in coming to testify," Matsui said of Dishman. "Now it's up to Congress to do its part. That will include more hearings and continued oversight but, more importantly, ... legislation to prevent what happened to Laurie (Dishman) from happening again."
RCCL emails submitted at hearing show that web site associate
really wants to nail this woman - and the ICV.

The primary point right now is the ongoing cover up and misinformation campaign being waged by Royal Caribbean and CLIA. They asked the subcommittee to bar Laurie Dishman from testifying. Their statistics are bogus. If you go to the subcommittee web - site and look at Laurie Dishman's written testimony, it includes copies of emails her attorney got from Royal Caribbean RCCL between the editor of Cruisnewsdaily.com, Alan Wilson and Michael Sheehan, communications director for RCCL. See link below. The emails are at the end of the file. Alan asks Mr. Sheehan to try to fudge the date of the records request from Laurie's attorney to be only the day before her press release. In an email on8/17/06 Alan says and I quote:
"I'd love for you to say that you received the request on Aug 7." (A day before the press release on 8/8/06)
Also in this series of emails, Alan states referring to Laurie:
"I really want to nail this woman - and the ICV."
( http://www.internationalcruisevictims.org/ )
No where does Mr. Sheehan distance himself from this type of behavior. Using the term: to nail" when referring to a rape victim sounds like something the producer for "Girls Gone Wild" might say. I think Mr. Sheehan should be confronted about these emails. His phone is 305-539-6572, fax: 305-536-0140.

The following was posted to the cruisenewsdaily(CND) web site for December 16, 2005:

Comment from CND: As we said in our article, since the two accounts are completely different, obviously one of the parties is not remembering anything correctly. Our money is on the Royal Caribbean account being the most accurate. As a publicly traded company, it would be inconceivable that they would step forward with such a statement if they did not have documented proof of their actions and testimony of each of the involved people, ready to prove Mrs. Smith wrong should she challenge them.
CND unquestioningly supports Royal Caribbeans version of events.

Cruise Lines Untruthful when providing statistics? Misinformation?
How can CND imply that Royal Caribbean(RCCL) might fudge the date they received a record request and talk about Nailing the victim and the victims support group and at the same time state on their web site that Royal caribbean's account must be truthful compared to Jennifer Hagel Smith's? Not to mention the fact that the assault figures given by RCCL's head of security at the hearing on March 27, 2007 were lower than those they gave under court orders because of a law suit.
Cruise authority: Sexual assault risk higher at sea
By M.C. MOEWE Staff Writer
On March 27, for the third time, a congressional subcommittee is scheduled to question cruise company representatives about how crimes on board the giant vacation ships are reported and handled. What's new this time is an analysis of sex-related incidents tracked by Royal Caribbean International, which were made public as part of a civil lawsuit and published in September by The News-Journal.
While the incidents occurred on a single cruise line, they are representative of the industry as a whole, said Ross Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada who has studied the industry and maintains a Web site that tracks disappearances from cruise ships. During a hearing last year, an expert testifying with cruise line representatives said the risk of sexual assault and robbery during a cruise vacation is lower when compared to land statistics. But Klein, using the Royal Caribbean statistics, said the numbers don't add up. The civil suit documents showed the cruise line reported at least 109 sexual assaults or sexual batteries between 2003 and 2005 -- far more than the 66 sexual acts or contacts Royal Caribbean told Congress about last year. Company officials told The News-Journal that the numbers they gave Congress were correct and attributed the higher figure to a method of record-keeping that didn't meet legal standards for rape and related crimes.
In October 2004, Virginia resident Kimberley Dean Edwards, 42, said she was forcibly fondled by a fellow American passenger who entered a woman's restroom aboard Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Sea yelling "booty call." After ship employees declined to help her, Edwards said she called the FBI, but the agent who boarded the ship offered little hope and advised her to file a civil lawsuit to seek justice. "I don't count," said Edwards, adding her attack was not recorded on the court documents or the list of incidents submitted to Congress.

Cruise Lines Untruthful about Environmental Crimes? Cover-up?

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.
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.
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.


Anonymous chrisinsaus@earthlink.net said...

I'm a grad student with a travel project that requires learning as near to actual costs, fees, rewards, incentives, etc. which are standard business practices between GDS-vendors (air, hotel, cruise, car, package)-consortiums-agents-consumers. I'm sure these will probably vary per specific agreement and market demands, but would it be possible to help me with such information or point me in the right direction to find such data? Thank you very much for your time and help. I like your site.

5/08/2007 5:01 PM  

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