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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/

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Still Sleeping with the Enemy: Cruise Line Self-Regulation Cannot and Will Not Work; What Does Senator McCain have to Say about That?

At the end of the Hearing entitled: Crimes Against Americans on Cruise Ships, on March 27, 2007, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md, chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee stated: he'd give the cruise industry and federal law enforcement agencies six months to see what the voluntary agreement produces, then hold another hearing.
Representative Cummings please be aware that the cruise lines have had almost two years to clean up their act since the death of George Smith and eight years since hearings were held in the Senate.
Who Gave This Statement? Was it a witness at the hearing on 3/27/07?
No it was the
"I believe that continued failure by the international cruise industry to abide by all U.S. and
International laws and regulations for operation in and out of our ports and to meet high standards with regard to passenger safety and well being will result in action to restrict access, not expand it. I challenge them to improve their operations and I warn them that if they don't, the Congress will act. But that situation aside, we still must act to give the cruising consumer more choices. Additionally, opponents of this measure claim that U.S.-flagged vessels cannot compete and grow due to what they deem the unfair operating environment on international vessels. As evidence, they point to recent press accounts that highlight environmental, health and safety problems on board internationally flagged vessels."
On June 15, the committee handed Sen. McCain a modest gain by approving his bill to allow foreign-built cruise ships to operate between U.S. ports. Sen. McCain is a longtime critic of the cabotage laws that hold domestic maritime markets for vessels owned, built, registered and crewed in the U.S.
The legislation passed by voice vote in the committee was an amended version of S.1510, Sen. McCain's bill to give foreign-owned, built, flagged and manned cruise ships virtually unlimited and unregulated access to purely domestic cruise routes...
It appears that Senator McCain's bill made it easier for the international cruise lines to operate unregulated at American ports of call and Congress never made good on this threat. Meanwhile 75 people have gone overboard since the year 2000 and hundreds of others have suffered rape, death, and other crimes. The worse part is that we do not have any reliable statistics because there is no oversight and most of the crimes go unsolved and unprosecuted. The Self-regulation and self-policing by the cruise lines cannot and will not work:
1 - LET's PRETEND: If I were a bar owner in a small town, would the authorities let me enter into a voluntary agreement to report crimes? Considering that my employees or my self might be the prime suspect especially if it involves a disease or safety violation. If someone hits their head in the restroom and dies, can I just take the body to the morgue and then report the incident? I think not. What if there was a fight and he was thrown up against the wall? What if one of my employees were involved? What he slipped due to a safety violation? We have inspectors for coalmines and they still have poor safety records.
2 - Illness and accidents are a major concern also. In these cases, the cruise line or its employees could be at fault and cannot be expected to arrest themselves. If the U.S. government can inspect the food preparation operations on international cruise ships why can't we have law enforcement that could also protect the life and health of Americans.
3 - Even with oversight and regulation, look at the number of violations that still occur:
4 - How and by who are the gambling operations regulated on international cruise ships. They are a great place to launder money. http://safecruise.blogspot.com/2006/05/casinos-on-cruise-ships-related-to.html
5 - The crew on cruise ships work under very poor work conditions that are akin to forced labor. They must have a reliable authority to immediately report crimes and violations and safety concerns to or there is no way we can guarantee the safety of the American passengers.

6 - Reporting crimes after the fact is not needed as much as having
7 - Cruise vacations are a prime vacation destination for America's middle class and the government has abandoned us again. Americans have the right to be re-assured while on a cruise by having independent law enforcement on every ship where 50% or more of the passengers are U.S. citizens. Americans must have someone on their ship other than a private security guard that they can trust and then report incidents to. With the help of Bob Booth, a former FBI agent and Gil Alba, a former NYPD of http://www.gilalba.com/, we have a proposal for a demonstration project outlined at http://www.projectsafecruise.com/ which we have presented to Gary Bald at RCCL. We would also like to share it with the other cruise lines and the subcommittee. Independent "Sea Marshals" could be stationed on each chip and deputized by whatever country flags the ship and work under an agreement with the FBI, Coast Guard, and the State Department. See the web site for more details.

8 - Would we allow Disney World or other theme parks to operate out of the jurisdiction of local law enforcement and medical examiners?

How many more people must get killed at the intersection before we put up a stoplight? We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore. Take a cruise that is. Americans should be encouraged to travel domestically until independent law enforcement is on every cruise ship.


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