.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

My Photo
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/

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

While rare, pirate attacks on cruise ships a cause for concern


by Michael Ventre
msnbc.com contributor
updated 9:45 a.m. ET, Tues., April 28, 2009

On Saturday night, the Italian cruise ship MSC Melody, with 1,500 passengers aboard, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Thanks to private Israeli security forces on the cruise ship who fired at the pirates, the assault was thwarted and the marauders were driven off.
Last December, the Oceania luxury cruise ship Nautica took evasive measures and outran a pirate ship off the coast of Yemen. In 2005, the Seabourn cruise ship Spirit, carrying 150 passengers and a crew of 160, was approached by two small boats filled with pirates armed with assault rifles and a grenade launcher. The captain of the Spirit took responsive action, even trying to ram one of the pirate boats, before eventually outrunning the bandits.
While pirate attacks on commercial ships have become more frequent of late, assaults on cruise ships remain rare. Still, rare is enough to cause some concern...
...Last year, more than 130 merchant ships were attacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, an increase of more than 200 percent from the previous year, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Earlier this year, to step up security in the region, the CTF 151, a counter-piracy naval force, was formed by the U.S. (It recently turned over command to Turkey.) That is the fourth such naval group in the region, joining those sponsored by the European Union, NATO and the French.

Cruise lines cancel Mexico stops over flu fear

MIAMI (AP) - At least three cruise lines have canceled stops at popular ports in Mexico over concerns about swine flu, while those that haven't are assuring passengers the ships are clean and risk is low because most reported illnesses there are inland.
Travel agents say customers are still booking trips that include visits to destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, but those itineraries are likely to change if the outbreak gets much worse. The federal government has warned against nonessential travel to Mexico.
Jennifer Michaels, an Atlanta real estate broker, is stocking up on antiseptic wipes ahead of a five-day Carnival Cruise Lines voyage leaving Miami on Thursday.

She hoped Carnival would skip a planned stop in Cozumel, but said she and her friends would go even if it didn't. "We'd probably still go and then just stay on the ship if they stop," she said. "I don't know if that would do any good anyways, but that's what we'd do." Michaels got her wish. After cancelling three scheduled stops in Mexico on Tuesday, the company said it would suspend all calls in the country for every ship now at sea and those leaving between Thursday and May 4.
Carnival is offering alternate ports on many trips, but will allow customers to reschedule if they wish.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cruise lines: No plans to cancel calls in Mexico due to swine flu


Several major cruise lines with ships sailing to Mexico this week say they have no plans to cancel or alter the voyages despite global worries about a potentially deadly outbreak of swine flu in the country.
Industry giants Carnival and Royal Caribbean both say in statements today they are monitoring the situation in Mexico but will go ahead with itineraries that include calls in the country over the next few days.
Four Carnival ships are scheduled to call on Mexican ports Tuesday: the Carnival Paradise and Elation in Ensenada, the Carnival Inspiration and Holiday in Cozumel.
"We do not anticipate that our guests' cruise experience will be impacted by this type of illness and will not be making any adjustments to our itineraries," the line said in an updated statement issued late Monday. An earlier version of the statement today had said there was no evidence of a pandemic.
ALSO ONLINE: Passenger describes coming under fire during pirate attackALSO ONLINE: USA TODAY's Veronica Stoddart blogs live from European river cruiseALSO ONLINE: The secret to shore excursions in the Mediterranean?
Royal Caribbean's statement noted it will conduct enhanced sanitizing of all high-touch areas on ships visiting Mexico and take other measures aimed at reducing the transfer of illness. Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas is scheduled to call Tuesday at Cabos San Lucas, Mexico.
A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises also tells USA TODAY the line plans to go ahead with calls in Mexico in coming days as several of its ships reposition to Alaska for the summer.
Two Princess ships, the Sapphire Princess and Coral Princess, are scheduled to call in Mexico on Tuesday -- in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, respectively. Both ships have additional calls in Mexico scheduled for later in the week as does a third Princess ship, the Star Princess."We're taking extra precautions and will follow guidance from health authorities," Princess' Julie Benson tells USA TODAY. "Our ships and medical staff are well prepared to handle a contagious disease, and we'll also be stepping up screening."
Another major line that visits Mexico, Norwegian Cruise Line, already has finished its winter season of voyages to the country and doesn't have ships scheduled to call again until the fall, says a spokeswoman.
A spokeswoman for Celebrity Cruises tells USA TODAY the line, which is just finishing its winter season in Mexico, will go ahead with one final cruise to the country now underway. The Celebrity Infinity is scheduled to visit Huatulco, Mexico on May 5, Puerto Vallarta on May 7 and Cabo San Lucas on May 8.
As worries about the outbreak have grown since Saturday, a number of individual countries as well as the health commissioner for the European Union have urged citizens to postpone or cancel non-essential travel to Mexico. Many airlines, including Continental, American, United and USAirways are waiving penalties for customers who want to postpone trips.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Armed Guards and Cruise ship's security force fends off attack by pirates


Published Date: 27 April 2009
AN ITALIAN cruise ship with 1,500 people on board fended off a pirate attack 500 miles off the coast of Somalia when its Israeli private security force exchanged fire with the bandits.
The MSC Melody was 200 miles north of the Seychelles during a 22-day cruise from Durban to Genoa, Italy, when six men in a small, white boat approached at about 5:30pm on Saturday and opened fire with automatic weapons.Domenico Pellegrino, the cruise's director, said the pirates retreated after the security officers returned fire and sprayed them with water hoses. The ship then continued its journey, with windows darkened.None of the 1,000 passengers or 500 crew were hurt."It felt like we were in war," said Ciro Pinto, the ship's commander. "They tried to put a ladder up. They were starting to climb up but we reacted, we started to fire ourselves. When they saw our fire, and also the water from the water hoses that we started to spray, they left." Mr Pellegrino said all MSC cruise ships were staffed with Israeli security agents because they are "the best trained".This is not the first attack on a cruise liner. However, Saturday's exchange of fire between the Melody and pirates is one of the first reported between pirates and a non-military ship. But Andrew Mwangura, of the Mombasa-based East African Sea Farers Assistance Programme, said: "Having weapons on a passenger or merchant ship is dangerous. They should have used other means to shake off the pirates, like a loud acoustic device."MSC Melody is proceeding to the Jordanian port of Aqaba under the escort of a Spanish warshship.

BBC: Italian cruise ship foils pirates

Friday, April 24, 2009

General Petraeus tells Congress that Ships should consider armed guards

By LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writer Lara Jakes, Associated Press Writer – WASHINGTON – The global shipping industry should consider placing armed guards on its boats to ward off pirates who have become increasingly violent, the U.S. military commander who oversees the African coastline said Friday.
Gen. David Petraeus, who came to the Capitol to talk about a wide variety of issues, told a House committee Friday that just trying to outrun or block pirates from boarding cargo ships isn't enough to deter sea bandits off the Somali coast who are becoming more aggressive. The Pentagon is starting to study how to better protect merchant shipping, but hasn't yet come up with a formal plan. The shipping industry has resisted arming their boats, which would deny them port in some nations.

In response to questions from a House Appropriations subcommittee, Petraeus said defensive preparations short of armed guards "can work. You can have water hoses and others that can make it more difficult."
But in a wry tone, he added: "It's tough to be on the end of a water hose if the other guy is on the end of an RPG. So you've got to think your way through that calculation as well." An RPG is a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Naval forces from several nations currently patrol the waters that Petraeus described as many times the size of Texas. But he said there is no way for any military to be able to safeguard all commercial ships that ply those waters.

The region is one of the world's most crucial shipping lanes, with oil vessels and other merchant ships carrying billions of dollars worth of cargo. Authorities say pirates are well aware that ship owners have been willing to pay an average of $2 million ransom for each seized ship.
Petraeus said the Navy would continue to patrol the region, but added that some shippers in the past hadn't taken even basic steps to avoid pirates. "We started off by saying, 'If you just speed up, when the pirates approach you that will help. If you take evasive action, that's even better. And if you unbolt the ladder that allows the pirates to climb onto your ship before you set sail, you get extra credit for that,'" Petraeus said. "These were not being taken before."

Joe Cox, president of the Chamber of Shipping of America, cautioned that deploying armed guards aboard cargo ships could escalate violence if pirates expect a gunfight. "If you asked us two weeks ago, we would say, 'No guns on ships,'" Cox said Friday. "Now the reaction is, 'Let's talk.' That's not a ringing endorsement of going in that direction. But we know, under the current circumstances, something has to be done."
The Washington-based trade association represents 32 shipping companies. Cox also called on the government to remain committed to securing the high seas. "We don't want them to abrogate the responsibility," he said. Pirates have hijacked more than 100 ships off the Somali coast over the last year, including one in a dramatic standoff between pirates and the U.S. Navy earlier this month in the Indian Ocean. A U.S. sea captain was held hostage for five days before three of his captors were shot and killed by Navy SEALS. A fourth pirate is now being held in New York, where he awaits prosecution.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Man Missing After Falling Off Norwegian Cruise Lines Ship


posted: 5 HOURS 44 MINUTES AGO
comments: 202
filed under: World News
MIAMI, Fla. (April 19) - The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 39-year-old man who went overboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship off the Bahamas. Passengers on a Norwegian cruise ship, seen here in an undated file photo, watched as a 39-year-old man fell overboard near the Bahamas early Saturday morning, officials said. The Coast Guard said it suspended its search for the man Saturday evening after patrolling 590 square miles. Click through this gallery to learn about others who have been lost at Sea.

The incident happened early Saturday morning, about 60 miles north of Nassau. The man was not immediately identified, but fellow passengers saw him go overboard. The ship was headed to Nassau, its first port of call on a three-day voyage. Several cruise ships in the area were assisting Coast Guard crews in the search. The Coast Guard says in a release that it suspended its search around 8 p.m. Saturday after searching 590 square miles.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Plan To Tackle Somali Pirates Outlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton


4/15/2009 4:07 PM ET (RTTNews) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton on Wednesday outlined a four-step strategy to tackle the escalating piracy problem off the coast of Somalia."We may be dealing with a 17th-century crime, but we need to bring 21st century assets to bear," Clinton told reporters at the State Department.The four-point plan announced by Secretary Clinton included expanding international efforts to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden, tracking and freezing the assets of pirates, promoting the deployment of defense mechanisms on board ships and improving the situation in Somalia.She said that the United States would send an envoy to the Somali donors conference in Brussels on April 23 to discus ways to improve conditions in the Horn of Africa country, which has not had a proper functioning government since the fall of the last government in 1991. "Our envoy will work with other partners to help the Somalis assist us in cracking down on pirate bases and in decreasing incentives for young Somali men to engage in piracy," she said.She said that she will discuss ways of expanding the international anti-piracy operations in the region with countries that have already deployed naval vessels in the Gulf of Aden to combat escalating piracy there.

Secretary Clinton stressed on the importance of tracking and freezing assets of the pirates, stating that it was "time to eliminate the financial payoff of piracy." She also reiterated the U.S. policy of "making no concessions or ransom payments to hostage takers."She also reminded the shipping industry that it too has a responsibility in contributing to the fight against piracy and said that she has instructed the U.S. State Department to "work with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in their self-defense measures."The Gulf of Aden, which is one of the world's busiest sea lanes, has been affected by piracy in recent months and more than hundred pirate attacks have been reported in the waters off Somalia since the beginning of 2008. Generally, the crew and the vessels are returned unharmed on receiving the demanded ransom. The pirate attacks off the Somali coast have escalated in recent weeks despite the presence of some 20 warships, deployed by navies of the NATO, the European Union, Russia, China, and India, in the region to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy.The UN Security Council also has approved four resolutions since June to promote international efforts to fight the escalating piracy problem off the coast of Somalia, and has authorized counties engaged in anti-piracy operations to conduct land and air attacks on the pirates after obtaining prior permission from the Somali government. by RTT Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A search and rescue operation continues for an Indian tourist, who went missing after he accidentally fell from a cruise ship off Kendi Island


April 14, 2009 20:06 PM

PENANG, April 14 (Bernama) -- A search and rescue operation for an Indian tourist, who went missing after he accidentally fell from a cruise ship off Kendi Island, continues as searchers have yet to find any sign of him.Penang marine police operation officer DSP Rosli Sufien said the operation was jointly conducted by the police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Marine Department, and Fire and Rescue Department."We have not found any sign of the victim until late this afternoon," he said when contacted today.Shetty Noojady Nithyananda, 49, went missing while his wife was rescued after they accidentally fell from a cruise ship about 15 nautical miles south of Pulau Kendi at 10.20am yesterday.Rosli said police had yet to ascertain how the couple fell from the ship, which was heading for Penang from Singapore.He said police had yet to record a statement from the victim's wife, Shetty Kasturi Nithyanda, 47, who had been admitted to the Glenagles Hospital here.-- BERNAMA

h2 class="sidebar-title">Links