Passenger Medevaced from Diamond Princess

Diamond PrincessA cruise ship passenger suffering from an undisclosed medical condition has been medevaced from a Princess cruise ship sailing to Sydney. 

The ABC News network in Australia reports that a Westpac rescue helicopter was dispatched to the Diamond Princess after a passenger became ill.

A doctor, paramedic and rescue crewman were first winched down from the helicopter to the cruise ship to treat the passenger. The sick passenger was then winched up into the helicopter and flown to a hospital in Newcastle.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Barrylb creative commons 3.0

Another Critical Crime Warning for Nassau, Bahamas

The U.S. State Department has issued a critical crime warning for Nassau, Bahamas today. The warning is titled Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Nassau (Bahamas), Nassau Violent Crime.

The warning states that U.S. citizens residing in and traveling to the Bahamas to be aware of their surroundings and remain on heightened alert to avoid being a victim of crime. The warning states that armed robbery remains a major criminal threat facing U.S. citizens with the crime threat on New Providence listed as “critical.”

The last warning from the State Department or the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas was just last month when the State Department issued the 2015 Bahamas Crime Report which revealed that armed Nassau Bahamas Murderrobbery and sexual assaults were increasing. 

The most recent warning focused on violent incidents on March 22nd and 23rd which occurred in areas heavily frequented by U.S. citizen visitors and residents. One victim was was stabbed and killed and the other man was critically wounded and robbed. 

We picked Nassau as the most dangerous cruise destination in the world last year.

In 2014, Bahamas was the subject of four critical crime warnings to U.S. citizens (one from the U.S. State Department and three from the U.S. Embassy) and one warning from Canada. With the 2 warnings this year, that's a total of 7 warnings. I have never heard any country being the recipient of seven crime warnings in just 15 months. The last U.S. warning in 2014 mentioned that U.S. tourists have been raped and robbed at gunpoint, and there have been three reported sexual assaults on U.S. citizens, including minors, by jet ski operators on Paradise Island.

On the same day as this latest crime warning was issued, 59-year-old Phillip Vasyl (photo above), a wealthy Australian living in New Providence, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in his luxury homes in an exclusive gated community in Old Fort Bay in the Bahamas. Police said the victim’s wife is helping with their investigation. The police are questioning two of the home’s service workers, a gardener and a housekeeper. 

The murder sounds similar to the murder of Egdar Dart, a British citizen visiting his mother at her house in the Bahamas, when robbers broke into the home armed with a gun and a machete. That crime remains unsolved. 

The Nassau Guardian reports that there are 34 murders so far this year, up 35% from this time last year which was a particularly deadly period of time in the Bahamas. There were 23 murders last year.

The homicide rate for the Bahamas is over 30 per 100,000. In the U.S. the homicide rate is only 4.5 per 100,000. Most tourists and cruise passengers to Nassau don't understand this.

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Photo Credit: Tribune 

International Cruise Victims (ICV) Expands in Europe

The International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization just announced that it is expanding in Europe.

The ICV is a grass root non-profit organization operated by victims of crimes and families who have lost loved ones at sea. The ICV and the families have been successful in the scheduling of 8 Congressional hearing in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding issues of cruise ship crime, fires, sinkings, and man overboard situations 

Here is the press release:    

"To better serve victims and friends in Europe, International Cruise Victims maintains a separate organization known as International Cruise Victims – UK. During the past several months this organization has gained more and more press and notoriety.

ICV-UK is headed by Captain Michael Lloyd (photo right). He is a well-known authority in the Maritime Captain Michael LloydIndustry, having written several books and major papers aimed at improving cruise industry safety standards. He serves on the Executive Committee of ICV and is Executive Vice President of ICV-UK.

His major presentations include a recent one on March 2nd given to high level maritime executives at the Wellington in London on the need for proper safety issues concerning THE ABANDONMENT OF LARGE PASSENGER VESSELS.  His most recent presentation is titled THE INVESTIGATION OF INCIDENTS AND CRIME AT SEA. In addition, he has authored major papers on the need to improve safety standards for victims on the High Seas.

ICV is also pleased to announce that Captain Colin Smith will be joining our organization as Vice President with ICV-UK and working with Captain Lloyd to support our efforts in the European arena. Colin, who has a Master’s degree in Human Rights at sea brings to ICV an additional professional background of having served in various positions in the shipping industry.

Colin will be working with and supporting victims as well as assisting Michael with efforts to create laws which would protect passengers and improve cruise industry safety standards. ICV, an Associate member of Victim Support – Europe, now has the talent and resources to move forward in the EU in support of victims and policies to improve the safety standards of the cruise line industry.
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Ken Carver – Chairman; Telephone 602-852-5896

Jamie Barnett – President; Telephone 818-355-6462

Why Haven't Costa and MSC Fired Their Security Chiefs?

Security failed the tourists from the Costa and MSC cruise ships visiting Tunisia last week. The result: 17 dead cruise passengers and two dozen injured.

Tunisia acknowledges it. The risk of jihadists attacking tourists was readily foreseeable. Security analysts and security forces blew it.

In response to this failure, Tunisia fired the country's leading security experts as well as high ranking police officers.

Tunis Terror Attack CruiseTwo newspapers covered the firings.

Al Jazeera  published Six Tunisia Police Chiefs Dismissed Over Museum Attack. The article explains that Tunisia's prime minister Habas Essid fired six police commanders, including those in charge of tourist security and intelligence teams. In addition, a police officer working at the museum was arrested for abandoning his post during the attack. Four other armed police officers "were having coffees and a snack" when terrorists struck the museum. 

The Daily News published Tunisia Fires 5 Top Security Officials in Bardo Museum Attack Backlash. The article pointed out that the ousted officials include the director of Tunisia’s tourist police and the police chief for the neighborhood around the Bardo Museum. The decision was reportedly made after the prime minister visited the neighborhood of the attack and observed security problems. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi reportedly also criticized security failures around last week’s attack.

But what about the security chief at Costa and MSC, including ship security officers and fleet-wide security directors? Why weren't they fired? They are just as responsible for the security failure. The cruise lines picked the port and sailed their guests into danger without any security protection or warnings. The cruise industry is not only refusing to take any responsibility for the massacre but the spokesperson for the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) is boasting that "cruise ships are a safe and secure place for our guests in the rare event of a shore side incident."

MSC Cruises USA CEO Rick Sasso told Travel Pulse "There was no hint of terrorism or uncertainty in Tunisia before the attack . . . There are a zillion ports around the world, and we follow all of them. . . There was nothing going on there that indicated this should've been a concern."

I am amazed how clueless this cruise executive sounds. Tunisian soldiers were engaged in ongoing battles against Al Qaeda, there were prior suicides bombers which targeted hotels and museum attacks which targeted tourists. The UK issued a prior warning of a terrorist attack on tourist sites and the US repeatedly urged caution. ISIS was recruiting young men from mosques in Tunis to be trained and radicalized in Libya.  And MSC sails in like everything is fine.   

Tunisia should be commended for taking responsibility and cleaning house.

It's a shame that the PR department at CLIA and the CEO of MSC are engaged in their usual irresponsible shenanigans and gobbledygook.  

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Photo Credit: AFP/Getty via DailyMail

How the Next Jihadist Terror Attack Against Cruise Passengers Will Happen

USS Cole AttackFor the past couple of years I've been troubled by the increasing violence in North Africa and the Middle East and the unprecedented nature of the cruelty of jihadist terrorists who have beheaded and burned "infidels" alive. I have worried about various scenarios where cruise passengers are at risk of attack.

We already know that al Qaeda has planned to seize cruise ships and execute passengers.

 Our readers have sent us various scenarios of how cruise passengers are at risk on the high seas and in ports of call. 

A terrorist fires a RPG into a cruise ship: Libya is awash in weapons after Colonel Muammar Gadaffi was killed and lost control of the country. Automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades (RPG's), mortars, bazookas, and anti-aircraft guns have fallen into the hands of violent religious fanatics. The two Tunisian terrorist killed during the attack on Costa and MSC cruise passengers were trained in Libya. ISIS and Al Qaeda, of course, have access to weapons, including RPG's, throughout the Middle East.

Think it's far fetched? Think again. Al Qaeda has already used this weapon to attack tankers in the Middle East. In the video below, you can see the terrorists fire their weapons, yell Allah Akbar ("God is Great") and run off into the bushes. Cruise ships are easy targets, over three football fields long and 15 stories high, moving at only a few knots an hours while entering and leaving ports. A RPG would slice though a the aluminum hull like butter and cause fire, damage, injuries and death. They're sitting ducks without military escorts. 

A USS Cole-style kamikaze attack on a cruise ship:  Remember the U.S.S. Cole? 17 service men USS Cole Attackand women were murdered when suicide bombers rammed their speed boat loaded with explosives into the U.S. navy ship. Such an attack during a fueling operation while a fuel barge is alongside a cruise ship would result in a tremendous explosion with many hundreds of deaths.

Blowing up a tour excursion bus:  There have been many tour buses filled with tourists which terrorists have attacked over the years. A bus with Korean tourists was exploded in Egypt last year. The saying "safety in numbers" doesn't apply to cruise passengers; its more likely to make you a target when you come off of a cruise ship and board a bus with fifty other passengers. You can see what a terrorist attack on a bus looks like in the video below.

Al Qaeda embeds themselves as crew members or passengers: After 9/11 and the attack on the twin towers, my office received a call from an agitated U.S. crew members (a musician). He was upset that other crew members on a U.S based cruise ship which sailed into Miami were literally cheering while watching televised images of the death and destruction. Some cruise lines boast that their crew come from 60 different countries. This may well be an asset in most circumstances but it underscores the fact that the crew members have loyalties to other countries and other causes than those shared by U.S. Tourist Bus Attackpassengers.

A reader of my recent article for Yahoo Travel titled Is Cruising Safe? A Chilling Look at an Industry Under Siege offered this scenario:

". . . This isn't about the ports and the safety of them. A terrorist could be among you at the buffet, laying by the pool, playing slots, drinking at the bar … they lay in wait. They're completely legitimate looking like one of us. 50 of them could board a ship as a passenger with a clean record. They've been trained in other countries. They've lived in the countries they're in for years and they lay in wait anticipating their marching orders. Then three days into the cruise, they take over the ship and start killing passengers . . . And that's how it'll go down."

The cruise industry needs to wake up. Tunis was preventable. Greater attention to Al Qaeda and ISIS is necessary to avoid a similar if not worse attack on innocent passengers. Dangerous ports need to be avoided. In the past, Princess Cruises used security teams / police to accompany tour bus excursions in Egypt. Maritime security teams are also required in foreign ports of call to address the risk of waterborne attacks. Cruise lines are overflowing with cash. The cruise industry collects around $40 billion a year, pay their crew members peanuts and doesn't pay U.S. taxes. The industry needs to start investing some of those tens of millions of dollars into substantial security to keep their guests safe. 

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Photo Credit: USS Cole diagram - Reuters; bus explosion - AP via Yahoo Travel 

With Fingers Crossed, Cruise Lines Start Media Campaign to Downplay Threat of Terrorism

The cruise industry's favorite publication, Travel Weekly, just published an article titled After Tunis attack, Impact on Cruise Sales Pondered

The article speculates whether cruise sales will drop following the Islamic State's massacre of cruise passenger's in Tunis last week. 

In the last couple of years, first quarter "wave" sales were negatively impacted by the Costa Concordia disaster in January 2012 and the Carnival Triumph "poop cruise" in February 2013. The article Tunis Tunisia Terrorsuggests that whereas the sinking and engine room fire could arguably be blamed on the cruise lines, the public is not likely to fault the cruise lines for the terror attack last week.

I disagree with that premise. Costa and MSC sailed into a country with a history of fighting between Tunisian solders and Al Qaeda resulting in dozen of soldiers killed and wounded over the last two years. Tunisian men have been recruited to train in ISIS camps in Libya. There had been prior attacks against a popular museum in Tunisia and a suicide bomber blew himself up in a hotel frequented by tourists. What did the cruise lines think would happen after Tunisians were radicalized and trained to use automatic weapons in Libya and then returned home? 

The public can easily conclude that the cruise lines sailed their guests into harm's way without warnings or any thought of providing security for the excursion buses.

But the cruise supporters are out in full force spinning the story to exculpate the cruise lines. 

Bud Darr, a mouthpiece for the Cruise Line International association (CLIA), argues that the terror attack against cruise passengers "was not targeted at cruise passengers."

Another CLIA representative said: "Cruise ships are a safe and secure place for our guests in the rare event of a shore side incident."  

The editor of Cruise Week, Mike Driscoll, spun the attack-on-cruise-passengers as not a "black eye" for cruising "because it's not the cruise lines' fault, and it didn't happen on a ship." 

Travel Weekly interviewed a travel agent who said “I think we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that this will not have a negative impact.”

Travel Weekly published statements from the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) who claims that "cruise lines have worked for many years with security and law enforcement authorities around the world to ensure passenger safety." CLIA claims that it has procedures to provide “an immediate and effective response to any (security) incident.”

I don't believe it for a second.

The day before the attack the cruise executives were salivating over expanding their markets into North Africa and making greater profits. Their minds were on money, not security.  

Costa and MSC were caught flat-footed in Tunis. 

A former cruise line security chief was highly critical of the absence of any security for the Costa and MSC cruise passengers.  

CLIA and Travel publications like Travel Weekly will continue issuing statements and publishing stories claiming that cruise passengers are safe and sound in North Africa and the Middle East. But the specter of dead passengers certainly will scare customers away and drive down cruise sales, especially in the Mediterranean. If the cruise industry is going to cross its fingers, it better be in the hope that ISIS doesn't target a cruise ship. 

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Photo Credit: International Business Times  

One Dead After High Speed 5 Catches Fire Near Piraeus

According to a Greek newspaper, a high speed catamaran, High Speed 5, undergoing repairs in an area near Piraeus Greecearea, called Keratsini, caught on fire today. 

40 fire fighters and 13 vehicles battled the fire. 

Unfortunately, the ship's Chief Electrician lost his life during the firefighting operations. 

The vessel is operated by Hellenic Seaways. 

March 23, 2015 Update: Nine crew members and maritime workers were arrested today in connection with this fire. Another Greek newspaper reports that authorities "detained a safety supervisor, the ship’s captain and chief engineer, as well as six men responsible for the different crews that were carrying out repairs and maintenance on the High Speed 5."

 

Man Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas

NBC News and local WPTV are reporting that a man has gone overboard from Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas last night. 

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss says that search crews are looking for a man who "either voluntarily jumped or fell" from a cruise ship overnight near the Florida Keys. NBC News quotes Royal Caribbean saying that that the passenger had "climbed over a railing," based on an after-the-fact review of surveillance cameras.

Liberty of the SeasThe cruise ship returned to port in Port Everglades, Florida, as planned this morning.

The incident happened about 20 miles off Marathon, Florida.

A Coast Guard cutter out of Miami and a boat crew based in Marathon are searching for the passenger. 

Royal Caribbean has not installed an automatic man overboard system on the Liberty of the Seas, or any other of its cruise ships

This year, people have gone overboard from the Carnival Triumph, Carnival Glory, Star Cruises' Super Star Libra, Celebrity Constellation, Princess Sapphire Princess, and Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

Update“A review of the ship’s closed-circuit camera footage observed a 47-year-old male guest from the U.S. climbing over the railing and going overboard from deck 12,” according to a press statement from Royal Caribbean International.

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Photo Credit: Hassocks5489 via Wikipedia Creative Commons 3.0

Argentinian Police Bust Royal Caribbean Crew Members with 15 Kilos of Cocaine

The Merco Press and Crew Center reports that Argentinian Police arrested two Royal Caribbean crew crew members on the Splendour of the Seas cruise ship for trying to smuggle cocaine to sell in Europe. The cruise ship was anchored in the port of Buenos Aires.

The crew members had taped the coke to their bodies. They had also hidden the drugs in a backpack.

The Splendour Of The Seas had arrived in Buenos Aires on last Monday from Punta del Este. it was Splendour of the Seas - Cocaine Smugglingscheduled to leave for Brazil and then sail to Europe. After the arrest of the two crew members, customs officials searched their cabins and other locations on the ship with 8 narcotics dogs and 20 inspectors and found additional cocaine for a total of 15.8 kilos.

The crew members, who were not identified, were a Croatian and a Chilean traveling on an Australian passport.

The drugs were worth approximately one million euros.

Drug smuggling on cruise ship is big business. So far this year alone, crew members have been busted for smuggling over 43 kilos of cocaine. In January, three cruise passengers were arrested on the Horizon with 20 kilos. Earlier this month, five crew members tried to smuggle 7 kilos drugs on the Norwegian Sun from Roatan to Tampa. 

Drug busts on Royal Caribbean ships are common. The company claims that drugs on its ships are "rare," that's hardly true. 140 pounds of cocaine were found in two drug busts on Royal Caribbean cruise ships (Grandeur and Enchantment) in Jamaica.

Royal Caribbean seems more interested in catching passengers who try to smuggle a bottle of wine aboard, than intercepting large quantities of cocaine smuggled by their own employees.

Read: Cruise line crew members busted yet again.

Photo Credit: Merco Press

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Update on Terror Attack Against Cruise Tourists in Tunis

Cruising for Trouble As the death toll increases in Tunis, the former Director of Princess Cruises says that cruise security was lax and the cruise lines failed to assess the danger associated with sailing passengers into Tunis.

Commander Mark Gaouette told IHS Maritime that cruise security measures for passengers should have been stronger.

"I believe the risk management process failed to properly assess the extremely volatile situation in North Africa," he said.

". . . at a minimum, more security should have been required for that excursion in the form of armed police or military escort, and armed presence at the museum itself."

Commander Gaouette is the author of "Cruising for Trouble: Cruise Ships as Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists and Common Criminals."   

The death and injury tally ranges around 17 dead and 20 to 25 passengers injured.

I remain amazed that the Costa captain piloted the Costa Fascinosa out of the port in Tunis and left 13 passengers behind, not knowing whether they were dead or injured. I can't help but think of Costa Captain Schettino leaving passengers behind as he fled the sinking Concordia in Giglio. Do I have this wrong? To give the Fascinosa captain the benefit of the doubt, I can only assume that he may have been concerned that terrorists might attack the ship itself and slam RPG's into it's hull or gun their way up the gangway and look for hostages. In that sense, maybe it was prudent to escape the port as soon as possible, although it begs the question why Costa was there in the first place.    

MSC Cruises TunisYahoo Travel published an article titled How the Cruise Industry is Coping with ISIS Attacks on Passengers in Tunisia by Sid Lipsey / @sidlipsey. It includes comments which I made last month about the threat of terrorism in Tunis against cruise passengers. 

Why any cruise line would sail into Tunis is beyond me. In 2013 and 2014, many dozens of Tunisian soldiers were killed and even more injured in deadly attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda and other Islamic fighters, according to an article titled Terror and Politics in Tunisia in the publication World Affairs. Tunisia is a major recruiting ground for ISIS. Recruits are trained in Iraq, Syria or Libya and then return to Tunisia radicalized.    

Costa and MSC have stated that they will not call on Tunisia in the foreseeable future. To me that's like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, as the saying goes. Whether these cruise ships will actually stay away remains to be seen. We have seen cruise lines announce with great fanfare that they are leaving a Caribbean port after a cruise passenger or employee has been killed ashore. They always return after the media attention dies down.

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March 21 2015 Update: Is Cruising Safe? A Chilling Look at an Industry Under Seige - an article I wrote for Yahoo Travel.

 

Photo Credit: International Business Times 

 

Who Said the Biggest Whopper at Cruise Shipping Miami 2015?

Anyone who has attended a Cruise Shipping Miami convention knows that cruise executives make comments which hype the cruise industry. 

It's interesting to attend the convention and watch the cast of characters. Who will say the greatest whopper in their efforts to promote the cruise industry? The executives are all type A personalities, full of energy, often talking off script, with no one fact checking their comments. They get carried away at times with their hyperbole.

Cruise Ship - TerrorismSo who made the most outlandish statement this week?  

I was tempted to give the hype award to NCL's Frank Del Rio who first bragged that his cruise line is way ahead of competitors Carnival and Royal Caribbean in preparing to do business in Havana. He then remarked that "Libya, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon could be more lucrative than Cuba." Huh? I couldn't help tweeting "have you heard of ISIS?

Well today the news broke that Islamic terrorists targeted and killed tourists in buses attending a museum in Tunisia while the Costa Fascinosa and MSC Splendida sent thousands of passengers ashore to Tunis on excursions. CNN reports that some of the tourists came from the Costa and MSC cruise ships. Unfortunately, thinking of how "lucrative" but ignoring how dangerous a port may be is a trademark of the cruise executive mindset. 

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald came close to winning the award, saying "wherever we go, we have a responsibility to those places we go to." Someone needs to remind Mr. Donald that his Carnival Magic cruise ship destroyed around 12,000 square feet of an ancient reef when it dropped an anchor on a protected seabed in the Cayman Islands. It will take millions and millions of dollars to try and restore the reef. Caymans' Department of Cayman Islands Crushed ReefEnvironment concluded that Carnival together with a local pilot and the port agency are at fault. But Carnival denies responsibility and refuses to pay for the damage (it made a token $100,000 contribution as a "donation.") The Caymans is afraid to disrupt its business relationship with Carnival and is dropping the matter. Unfortunately, Carnival bullies another weak U.S.-dollar-dependent Caribbean island.    

But the winner is Royal Caribbean's Adam Goldstein. Referring to the environmental issues of waste, recycling, and emissions, he said that these were "areas in which the industry has led the world." Wow, that's delusional.

The fact of the matter is that Royal Caribbean has a history of being one of the worst cruise ship polluters in the world, with an embarrassing history of dumping plastic and discharging oil from Biscayne Bay to pristine waters of Alaska. It was fined $27,000,000 after pleading guilty to multiple counts of felonies including lying to the Coast Guard. It received an "F" in the Friends of the Earth (FOE) report card for air pollution reduction. 

Carnival has an even worse environmental record. Carnival has received an "F" in the FOE report card for its sewage treatment for six consecutive years. 22 of Carnival's 24 cruise ships don't use modern equipment and utilize ancient (35-year-old) waste treatment technology which leaves fecal matter, Bunker Fuel Cruise Ship Pollution bacteria, heavy metals and other contaminants in the water.

Royal Caribbean and Carnival are no worse than other cruise lines. Last year I posted videos exposing MSC cruise ships dumping garbage and plastics overboard in the night in a marine sanctuary. The cruise industry presents an endless nightmare to the air and the oceans. The cruise lines routinely burn cheap high-sulfur bunker fuel, dump untreated human waste in international waters, and destroy old coral reefs as a normal course of its business. 

It's painful to hear the cruise executives' hyperbole after seeing cruise tourists attacked in North Africa and the damage which cruise lines inflict on the environment. But they can't help themselves, it's Cruise Shipping Miami. 

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Photo Credit: Top - AP via Mail Online; middle - Don Foster's Dive Cayman via Cayman Compass; bottom - http://stoppollutting-cruiseships.blogspot.com/

Terrorists Kill Tourists as Costa Fascinosa and MSC Splendida Visit Tunis

Costa FascinosaNewspapers are reporting that several gunmen stormed a popular museum in Tunis, Tunisia today killing 17 tourists, as well as a police officer and Tunisian civilians. Some news accounts report that as many as two dozen people were also injured.

Two cruise ships were in port and had sent thousands of passengers into the city on excursions. CNN says that some of the cruise passengers were at the museum at the time of the attack. The Daily Mail reports that "a Tunisian tourist guide told how he 'stared death in the face' as terrorists opened fire on his clients in the attack which saw people shot as they exited cruise ship buses parked outside the museum."

CBS News says that the terrorists targeted tourist buses when they arrived at the museum. The terrorists, dressed in police uniforms, then opened fire on the tourists before they could reach the museum.   

According to the Italian newspaper, The Local, a Costa cruise ship, the Fascinosa, with 3,161 registered passengers, was docked in Tunis at the time of the attack. Costa issued the following statement:

"On the occasion of today scheduled call some guests on cruise on board our Costa Fascinosa had a tour in the city. All the shore excursions organized by Costa during today stop in Tunis have been Tunis Terror Attackimmediately recalled on board," the company said in a statement.   

CNN says that the MSC Splendida was also in Tunis at the time of the attack.

The Italian newspaper stated that the Bardo museum is visited regularly by tourists, with many disembarking from Mediterranean cruises. 

Commentators believe that the group is affiliated with an Islamic terrorist organization like ISIS. Tunisia is a major recruiting ground for ISIS. 

The siege was the most violent attack on tourists in over a decade.

Mail Online has dramatic photos and video of the attack.

Costa stated on its website that the Costa Fascinosa left the port of Tunis at 1:55 PM. Upon departure, the captain reported that 13 passengers had not returned to the ship

This is a scenario which we have been concerned about. Read our recent article:  Experts: ISIS Poses Terrorist Threat to Cruise Ships in Mediterranean.

March 19 2015 Update: USA Today reports that "MSC Cruises said nine passengers from the Splendida were killed, 12 injured and six unaccounted-for, according to the AP. The Costa Fascinosa said 13 passengers had not returned on board when the ship left the port."

March 20 2015 UpdateUpdate on Terror Attack Against Cruise Tourists in Tunis

March 21 2015Is Cruising Safe? A Chilling Look at an Industry Under Seige - an article I wrote for Yahoo Travel.

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Photo Credit: Bottom AFP

Passenger Overboard from Carnival Triumph

A passenger on the Carnival Triumph appears to have gone overboard last night.  

Another passenger tweeted "Little boy fell overboard on carnival triumph still haven't found him." You can see photographs taken by the passenger here. (Update: This information is incorrect. Carnival states that the missing passenger is a 54 year old man. See below)

The incident allegedly happened when the cruise ship was near Progreso, Mexico. 

Carnival TriumphCarnival Cruise Director John Heald states on his Facebook page that "they are conducting a search and rescue - thoughts with the family at this time."

There is a discussion on a Cruise Critic message board.

According to AIS tracking systems, the Triumph arrived in Progreso in the early afternoon yesterday. It did not leave until around 11:00 P.M. last night, The tracking systems show no Williamson turn or circles indicating that the cruise ship itself was involved in a search. Perhaps the ship deployed rescue craft.

I have requested information from Carnival tonight but have not yet received a response. 

If you have information, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

March 18 2015: I received this statement this morning from Carnival:

"Yesterday evening, a report was received of a potential man overboard on Carnival Triumph which was confirmed through a review of the vessel's camera footage. The missing guest is a 54-year-old male. The ship is presently conducting search and rescue operations in conjunction with Mexican authorities who also have vessels on site at a location off the coast of northern Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico.

Carnival Triumph was on the last leg of a four-day cruise from Galveston, Texas. The ship's arrival into Galveston tomorrow is expected to be delayed until approximately 11 a.m. 

Our foremost care and concern is with the loved ones of our missing guest at this very difficult time. Carnival's CareTeam is providing support to the individual's traveling companions."

Read our recent articles about passenger overboards:

March 9 2015 - Carnival Glory Loses Passenger Overboard - Why No Automatic MOB System?

March 16 2015 - Cruise Industry Refuses to Install Technology to Keep Guests Safe at Sea

 

Man Overboard from Star Cruises MV Super Star Libra

A newspaper in Malaysia is reporting that the body of a man who fell overboard from the Star Cruises MV Super Star Libra was found last night.

The body of Mulianto Raik, age 50, an Indonesian, was found by fishermen in Malaysia waters. 

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Penang Maritime District 2 took possession of the body and Star Cruises Super Star Libra turned it over to the police for investigation.

Mr. Raik had disappeared from the Super Star Libra on Friday March 13, 2015. A search and rescue operation took place after surveillance film showed that he had fallen from the cruise ship. 

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein at least 247 have gone overboard from cruise ship since 2000.

The cruise ship was originally operated by Norwegian Cruise Line from 1988–1997 as the Seaward and from 1997–2005 as the Norwegian Sea. it has operated from 2005–present as the SuperStar Libra. It is flagged in the Bahamas.

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Cprogrammer Creative Commons 2.0

CLIA: What Can You Say When Your Lawyers No Longer Agree With You?

The Miami Herald published an interesting article last week entitled Watch Out for the Fine Print, a well written and researched article by prominent Miami maritime lawyers Robert Peltz and Carol Finklehoffe. It explains how cruise lines strip the rights of U.S. consumers by burying exculpatory fine print in the cruise line tickets. It's a must read for every cruise passenger thinking of taking their family on a cruise vacation.

But the article didn't sit well with the cruise lines. The cruise lines' trade organization, CLIA, fired off a letter to the Herald written by CLIA's vice president of public relations, Michael McGarry. CLIA said the article was unfair because CLIA has "publicly and transparently" proven that the "well-being of passengers and crew always comes first."  You can read the gobbledgook letter here.

The irony is that maritime attorneys Mr. Peltz and Ms. Finklehoffe were, for the longest time, leading lawyers for the cruise lines. Ms. Finklehoffe is the current chair of the Maritime Law Association's Cruise Lines and Passenger Ships Committee. Mr. Peltz is the past chair and a well respected maritime commentator and author.  Both attorneys are now engaged in the representation of cruise passengers. 

Their article contains lots of information the cruise lines prefer that you not know. You can read it here

 

Here's an article I wrote five years ago: Seven Clauses To Be Aware Of In Your Cruise Contract

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