Passenger Overboard from Spirit of Tasmania

Spirit of TasmaniaAn Australian newspaper reports that a passenger aboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, traveling from Melbourne to Tasmania, went overboard last night when the ship was a little over 40 miles south-east of Victoria's Port Phillip Heads.

Passengers on the Spirit of Tasmania reportedly saw a 45-year-old man fall into water. The ferry turned around but could not locate the passenger. 

The newspaper says that an Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman indicated that the water temperature was about 12 or 13 degrees and thete were winds of 20 to 25 knots with swells of up to 2.5 metres. 

Search and rescue planes were deployed and cargo vessels and another ferry, the Spirit of Tasmania II, searched for the passenger without success.

there is no indication that the ferry was equipped vith CCTV which could shed light on the circumstances why the passenger went overboard.

Photo credit; ABC News, David Hudspeth

 

Shake-Down Port: Nassau's Tourism Police Arrest U.S. Cruise Passenger for Pot

The Bahamas Weekly reported that two U.S. cruise passengers were arrested at the port in Nassau for possession of marijuana on Wednesday.

The Bahamian newspaper reported: 

"Two adult American females from North Carolina are in custody after they was arrested for possession of dangerous drugs on Wednesday 22nd June 2016.

According to reports, shortly after 10:00am, officers from the Tourism Policing Unit acting on intelligence went to a cruise ship moored at Prince George Wharf, where they found the suspects in possession of a quantity of marijuana. The female suspects were taken into custody and are expected Nassau Bahamasto appear in court sometime today to be formally charged." 

I suppose that there are readers saying these two women got what they deserved, but being busted for a few marijuana joints meant for your personal consumption is no different than having a few drinks of booze that the cruise lines will be pleased to sell you with a little umbrella on top.  I suppose that's the difference, that the cruise lines frown on pot consumption because they can't make any money on it.  Cruise line make literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year selling cruise booze. 

You can get hammered on the cruise ships and the cruise lines look the other way. You can come back from Senor Frog's in Nassau knee-walking-drunk and the security guards will let you on the ship with a smirk. But a tote of the evil weed on your balcony and your cruise neighbors complain will result in the security officer placing a call to their friends in the Bahamas resulting in the "tourism police" in Nassau arresting you in your cabin.  

We have written about this scam many times but the game is always he same - this crime-ridden, poverty stricken little island looks at U.S. cruise passengers as easy targets. Nassau "tourism police" will be more than pleased to haul you from the It's-better-In-the-Bahamas cruise before a Bahamian magistrate who will shake you down for a few thousand U.S. dollars or a threat of 30 days in jail.  

If you are unfortunate to get caught smoking a joint here in Miami, few cops will take the time to arrest you but, worst case scenario, you may pay a small fine or enter into a diversion program. But in Nassau, you will get harassed to buy pot or coke the second you walk down the gangway and if you have a few grams of pot back in the cruise ship's cabin safe, you are still screwed. It's all about how many U.S. dollars that the Bahamian "justice'" department, overwhelmed by violent crime, can keep in its pockets from U.S. cruise passengers foolish enough to cruise there. 

Interested in the issue? Read: The Predatory "Sweet Spot" - Bahamian Tourism Police Arrest U.S. Cruise Tourist for Pot PossessionHigh Times in Nassau Will Cost You $500 or 2 Months in Her Majesty's PrisonReefer Madness: Bahamas Magistrate Taunts & Shakes Down Royal Caribbean Potheads

Photo Credit: TampAGS, for AGS Media - CC BY-SA 3.0.  

Four Cruise Passengers Busted for Cocaine Smuggling

WFTV-9 (ABC) reports that four women were arrested on charges of smuggling cocaine weighing a little over 6.5 kilograms at Port Canaveral last month after taking a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.  

The local ABC news station identified Lakisha Abney, Shawnta Aiken, Ciera Bryant and Shenique Milbourne as cruise passengers who departed on a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise last month. When the Royal Caribbean cruise ship arrived back at Port Canaveral on May 15, U.S. Customs officials reportedly Falmouth Jamaica Freedom of the Seasdiscovered five vacuum sealed packages of cocaine in Ms. Bryant' bra and girdle. 

The Customs officials searched Ms. Bryant after noticing that her voice and hands were shaking and she was not making eye contact. The officials then searched Ms. Abney, Ms. Aiken and Ms. Milbourne who Ms. Bryant identified as her traveling companions. The officials reportedly found several vacuum-sealed packages containing cocaine in each of the women’s bras and girdles.

The four women from the Washington D.C. and Maryland area are seen on Facebook posing for what appears to be a fun cruise.

The cruise in question called on Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica, George Town Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico. WPTV said that "while in Jamaica, the women met a man who gave them the cocaine and the bras and girdle to hide the drugs in." 

In April, WFTV reported that two Royal Caribbean crew members were arrested for smuggling cocaine aboard the Freedom of the Seas into Port Canaveral.

Photo credit: Shawnta Aiken Facebook page.

Story and video credit: WFTV-8 (ABC) 

MSC Magnifica Security Guard Inadvertently Discharges Gun in Port in Venice

MSC MagnificaAccording to the Italian newspaper Gazzettino, this past weekend there was "panic" onboard the MSC Magnifica cruise ship docked in Venice after a security guard inadvertently fired a gun while passengers were boarding the ship. 

The facts are a bit sketchy. The newspaper says that a security guard left a handgun in a pouch inside a basket which was somehow passed through a metal detector. The weapon was then found by another security guard on the Magnifica. Another Italian newspaper mentions a baby carrier that the gun may have been placed on. In any event, a security guard on the cruise ship handled the gun when it unexpectedly discharged. A bullet from the gun ricocheted off the floor and struck a wall of the ship, "wreaking havoc." No one was injured. but a nearby passenger reportedly hear the gunshot and fainted, according to the newspaper. 

Comments to the weird article suggest that the Magnifica has armed security personnel because the cruise ship allegedly encountered a recent security incident involving pirates during an African itinerary.  (To our knowledge, with the exception of Costa and MSC, most cruise lines do not carry guns). 

Hat tip:  Cruise Hive

Photo Credit:  MSC cruise ship (Orchestra shown in Venice) - Jim Walker  

Mismanagement and Lies Plague Cruise Ship Grounding

The U.K.'s Marine Accident Investigation Branch has concluded that a cruise ship which hit rocks and lost power last year was due to poor planning and "poor bridge team management and navigational practices." The cruise ship sustained major damage to its hull which disabled one or its two propellers. Yet, what makes this grounding particularly egregious is that the captain ordered the cruise director to tell the passengers after the dangerous grounding that "all is well" and he proceeded on with the cruise while neither the master, the cruise line nor its shoreside managers reported the incident to the U.K. Coast Guard. 

The controversy arises out of an incident In May of last year, the Bahamas-registered cruise ship, the the MV Hamburg, owned by Conti Group, bareboat chartered to Hamburg Cruises SA, and managed at the time by by V.Ships, grounded on charted rocks in the Sound of Mull, Scotland on its voyage to Tobermory.  

According to the MAIB report (Crown copyright, 2016), the Bahamas-registered passenger ship had MAIB Report Hamburg Grounding Crown Copyright, 2016previously left Bremerhaven, Germany bound for London, England. The ship was scheduled to complete a cruise around England, Ireland and Scotland, including Tobermory, Scotland.  The U.K. had issued a gale warning for the Irish Sea prompting the master of the Hamburg to increase the speed of the ship so to reach the protected bay of Tobermory before the weather deteriorated.   

The Tobermory harbor association informed the ship that it could not safely enter Tobermory Bay because other smaller cruise ships were moored in the bay.  However, the master decided to proceed toward Tobermory with a new plan to drift in the Sound of Mull, outside of the bay, until the other ships left the bay. The weather conditions included a moderate swell and the wind was force 6 to 7 gusting up to 40 knots.

Having been unable to enter Tobermory Bay on arrival, the bridge team did not re-evaluate or amend the passage plan.

After one of the cruise ships left the bay and, later, the second cruise ship pulled its anchor and proceeded to depart the bay, the Hamburg proceeded toward Tobermory.  Meanwhile, other vessels, the motor yacht Nahlin and a bulk carrier, Yeoman Bridge, approached the area. 

The officer of the watch and an inexperienced cadet on the Hamburg plotted the vessel's position on a paper chart, but were doing so 'infrequently and irregularly." At one point, the cadet observed that his plotted position of the ship was some distance away from the officer's position but closer to the shoals. However, he did not consult the officer and assumed his plotting was incorrect. This led him to remove his plotting from the paper chart using an eraser. 

The master was preoccupied with the marine traffic as the Hamburg approached the shoals and permitted the ship to hit the rocks. The ship "shook violently" as it struck the rocks but it did not become fast on the rocky shoals.  The port propeller was damaged with large portions sheared off and malformed; the port propeller shaft was distorted; the port rudder was displaced; and, the hull was heavily indented from the stern to mid-ship. The full extend of the damages was unknown to the master at this time. 

The ship temporarily lost power, due to the activation of a switchboard trip, and navigational systems and radar were temporarily shut down. Officers on the ship informed the mater that the main port engine had shut down and there was a problem with the port propeller and that it could not be used.  

The master decided proceeded on to Tobermory on one engine. The master ordered the cruise director to make an announcement to the passengers "telling them that all was well and that the cruise would continue." The MAIB report also noted that "despite the loud noise and vibration resulting from the grounding, the bridge team did not initiate the post-grounding checklist, (and) no musters were held . . "  

Upon entering Tobermory Bay, the master observed that there were many smaller boats which were moored in the bay. He decided to avoid the congestion and drop anchor near the entrance to the bay rather than at the position designated by the Tobermory bay association. A marine manager from the bay association arrived near the Hamburg in a powered rigid inflatable once the Hamburg had stopped and tried to communicate with the ship via VHF radio but was initially unsuccessful. She later communicated with the bridge team, advising them that there was more shelter further inside the bay but the officer of the watch said that the Hamburg would not proceed further into the bay. The ship began to drag the anchor and came perilously close to grounding again. The master then elected to back the ship out of the harbor and pull its anchor without further contact with the harbor association.

After leaving Tobermory Bay, the master attempted to notify the designated person ashore at the ship's managers, V.Ships, to notify him of the grounding. The master spoke to V.Ships office, but he did not reach either the designated person ashore or the back-up contact, identified in the report as the V.Ships fleet manager, according to the MAIB report. The master then telephoned the technical consultant at Hamburg Cruise SA.  "It was agreed that the vessel would proceed to Belfast, Ireland for an underwater inspection." The Hamburg Shipping consultant then informed V.Ships of the grounding.

Incredibly, neither the master, Hamburg Shipping nor V.Ships reported the grounding to the U.K. Coast Guard, or the Tobermory harbor association or the MAIB. The report then continues:

" . . . the Dublin Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) was alerted to the accident when the concerned mother of a crew member telephoned them. She had been having a telephone conversation with the crew member about the accident when mobile phone contact was suddenly lost. Fearing the worst, she contacted the coastguard. Dublin MRCC, which was aware of Hamburg’s new destination port, warned Belfast MRCC that the passenger vessel might have been involved in a grounding. Belfast MRCC then contacted Hamburg and, in conversation with the master, established that the vessel had grounded earlier in the day. The master also confirmed that Hamburg was proceeding using one of its two propeller shafts since one had been rendered unserviceable by the grounding, but stated that he was content with the situation and was not in need of assistance."

While the Hamburg proceeded to Belfast, weather conditions worsened overnight. With with only one working propeller shaft, Hamburg struggled to make progress to Belfast. The master chose to "heave-to" in the Irish Sea and wait for the gale force winds to abate before continuing on passage for Belfast. ("Heave-to" in the report means "when a vessel is headed into the wind and swell with its engines MAIB Report Hamburg Groundingrunning but her position does not change.") The MAIB found the decision to sail for Belfast “without first developing a plan with the vessel’s senior officers, technical managers and the relevant authorities ashore” was “inappropriate and incurred additional unnecessary risks.”

The full extent of the damage to the Hamburg was revealed only after divers inspected the hull once the ship arrived in Dublin and was later taken to dry dock. It took approximately three months to complete the repairs to the ship.  

In June last year, the ship's captain, Joao Manuel Fernandes Simoes, was prosecuted for failing to prepare a passage plan under SOLAS and failing to report the accident contrary to the Merchant Shipping Regulations. He admitted failing to properly plan the Hamburg's passage into the bay, and to report the incident to authorities. A Belfast magistrate fined him a total of £800 plus costs. No penalties were levied against the cruise line or the ship's managers. 

The MAIB comprehensively addressed errors by the bridge team and the failure to modify the ship's passage plan and other factors which led to the grounding. A number of newspapers and news organizations like the BBC covered this aspect of the MAIB report. In my view, accidents like this can happen even with the most experienced bridge team and mariners at the helm. But, to me, the media has not addressed the most egregious and indefensible aspect of the incident, namely the misleading and deceitful information ordered by the master to be told to the passengers, the decision to proceed to cruise to Belfast without fully understanding the compromised and unseaworthy condition of the ship, and the refusal of the master, cruise line officials and ship managers to notify the U.KS. Coast Guard, the Tobermory harbor association or the U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

The master should have obviously sounded a crew alert and mustered the passengers as required by the Safety Management System checklist while the officers checked the extent of the damage and determine whether it was necessary to abandon ship or disembark the passengers in Tobermory. The master's decision to sail on to Belfast in a damaged ship in rough weather seems particularly cavalier and dangerous to the passengers and crew members.    

Credit: Photos and report U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (Crown copyright, 2016).

Foreign-Flagged Cruise Industry Spends Millions of Dollars Lobbying U.S. Congress

The cruise lines and the cruise industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International Organization ("CLIA"), spend many millions of dollars lobbying our U.S. Congress each year.

In 2015, CLIA spent $1,380,000 lobbying Congress. Carnival Corp. spent an additional $898,710, plus $80,000 on behalf of subsidiary Carnival Cruise Line and another $80,000 for subsidiary Holland America Line. Royal Caribbean Cruises spent $464,000 in donations to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. These figures are revealed by the OpenSecrets website

Cruise Lines Lobby CongressSince 1997, the cruise industry has spent over $52,000,000 lobbying Congress through 2014, according to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein. Considering the $3,000,000 in 2015 and the $1,000,000 spent this year, the cruise industry has invested over $56,000,000 into the coffers of Congress. 

I familiarized myself with these donations after reading on Twitter that CLIA is publicizing its annual Congressional Cruise Caucus. This is an event sponsored by CLIA in Washington D.C. where CLIA, its partners and travel agents meet with Congressional leaders to network with Congressmen and Congresswomen and discuss policies which will advance the interests of the cruise lines.   

The cruise industry exists and thrives because of special policies which benefit no one but the billion dollar cruise lines:

  • Because of loopholes in the Federal tax code which excludes taxes income generated by foreign incorporated companies and foreign registered ships, cruise line pay virtually no federal taxes. Carnival Corp., for example, paid taxes of only 0.6 during a five year period
  • The cruise industry uses the infrastructure of U.S. ports, the resources of the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Homeland Security, Customs & Border Protection, U.S. Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Protection and another 20 U.S. agencies for free, although cruise lines pay virtually no U.S. taxes; 
  • The cruise industry does not comply with U.S. labor laws like minimum wage or overtime laws and works their ship employees well past a 40 hour work week because cruise line are incorporated in places like Panama (Carnival) or Liberia (Royal Caribbean). 

All of this special treatment exists because of the reluctance of our U.S. Congress to try and regulate the cruise industry.  The Congressional Cruise Caucus and the millions of dollars spent a year spent lobbying our Congressional leaders help the cruise industry grease the system. 

Photo Credit: Consumerist

Disney Earns an "A-" in FOE Environmental Report Card which Flunks Costa, Crystal, MSC and P&O Cruises

CLIA - Stewards of the Maritime Environment?On the recent #WorldOceansDay which trended on Twitter this week, the cruise industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), and CLIA travel agents tweeted photos of pristine aqua-colored waters and a beautiful healthy reef in what appears to be an idyllic location somewhere in the Pacific.  

They posted tweets claiming to be "stewards of the environment."   

Well that is certainly open to debate. It seems to me that the cruise industry is nothing short of a menace to the ocean, air and reefs where it sails.

This is an industry which has historically treated the oceans as a dumping ground for human waste and garbage generated by its passengers. The dumping has continued to this day as MSC demonstrated two years ago when it was MSC Dumping Plastic Bagscaught dumping plastic bags into a marine sanctuary.

According to the Friends of the Earth (FOE) environmental group, "an average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew produces about 21,000 gallons of sewage a day, enough to fill 10 backyard swimming pools in a week. That adds up to more than one billion gallons a year for the industry, a conservative estimate, since some new ships carry as many as 8,800 passengers and crew. In addition, each ship generates and dumps about eight times that much "graywater" from sinks, showers and baths, which can contain many of the same pollutants as sewage and significantly affects water quality."

Consider what Royal Caribbean did to the ancient reefs around the port of Falmouth. In order to squeeze its gigantic. bunker-fuel-belching Allure and Oasis of the Seas into the tiny Jamaican port, it oversaw the obliteration of millions of cubic feet of ancient living coral which it pulverized and then dumped on acres of old mangroves (photo below). A reader sent me a Google Map showing the destruction of the barrier reef and the mangroves.

A large portion of the beautiful reefs in the Caymans (often damaged by cruise ship anchors and chains, photo below) are slated for destruction as another cruise-industry-beholden leader of a tourism-dependent-Caribbean island plans to dredge and fill to build a huge, monolithic concrete cruise pier in George Town harbor to try and accommodate the increasingly over-sized Miami-based monster cruise ships.

The cruise industry's assault on the maritime environment is not limited to the powerless and poor Caribbean islands.  The cruise industry has literally targeted the far corners of the world.  In Cruise Ship Pollution: Cruise Sewage And Air Pollution A Rising Concern As Ships Sail Toward Northwest Falmouth JamaicaPassage, the International Business Times (IBT) reports that the cruise industry plans to try and send cruise ships through the Northwest Passage, a route newly opened by melting Arctic ice, even though "the colossal vessels may also bring sooty diesel emissions and swimming pools of sewage into a long-pristine environment."  

So which cruise line will be taking what the Daily Beast calls the "titanic risk" into the Arctic? It's the notoriously polluter, Crystal Cruises, which will be heading to the Arctic in August. It sold out a cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity in just three weeks. Approximately 1,000 passengers are paying about $22,000 each (excluding extras such as a $4,000 helicopter ride or a three-day, $6,000 excursion exploring a glacier) according to the Wall Street Journal.  From an environmental perspective, Crystal Cruises is considered by environmentalists as the "worst of the worse." It is one of four cruise lines to be given an "F" this year from the Friends of the Earth which issued its environmental report card yesterday. I suppose it is only fitting that such a cruise line would be the first cruise line to tear through the Arctic; if it can collect a minimum of $22,000,000 in cruise fares from one cruise into the virgin, pristine area, what else is important?  It is always about the money, right?   

Crystal Cruises will be forever known to environmentalists as the cruise line whose Crystal Harmony dumped around 35,000 gallons of grey water, sewage, and bilge water in a marine sanctuary in Monterey Bay. According to the L.A. Times, Crystal Cruises said didn't have to report the incident to authorities because it broke no laws. It is "perfectly legal" under maritime laws to discharge even untreated wastewater more than 12 miles offshore, and the ship was 14 miles offshore at the time, Carnival Cruise Line Crushes Coral Reef in Caymanssaid Crystal spokeswoman Mimi Weisband.

"We didn't break any law," Weisband said. "We did break a promise."

The city of Monterey thereafter banned all Crystal cruise ships for life.

In the 2010 Green Report Card by the environmental group Friends of the Earth, Crystal Cruises received the lowest grade, "F." Cruise spokesperson Weisband responded with hubris, saying that Crystal Cruises "deserved an A ... if not an A+."

FOE's latest environmental report card is below. The usual suspects, Crystal, Costa, MSC and P&O Cruises, have again received "F's." All of the other lines, except Disney Cruises which received an "A-," received a "C" or "D."  

CLIA reacted to the bad grades of its cruise members like it always does, by attacking FOE.  The "dirty industry," as FOE rightfully calls it, defended itself like any carbon-based industry does when scrutinized by an environmental group concerned with global warming and the obvious degradation of the environment. The cruise industry scoffs at the FOE but the truth is that the industry can do much, much better. Kudos to Disney which again has led the way in sewage treatment and water compliance while demonstrating transparency in the process.

Photo Credit:

CLIA Cruise Forward PR Photo: Cruise Line International Association

Don Foster's Dive Cayman via Cayman Compass

Friends of the Earth Report Card - Friends of the Earth 

Friends of the Earth Report Card  

Outbreak on the Silver Spirit Found to be Caused by E. Coli

A gastrointestinal sickness outbreak on the Silver Shadow in March was found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be caused by Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).

The outbreak occurred during a cruise from March 3 - 21, 2016. The outbreak sickened 37 people according to the CDC report on the incident. The CDC concluded that 24 of 388 (6.19%) passengers and 13 of 366 (3.55%) crew members fell ill due to the disease.

Outbreak News Today said that "according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Silver SpiritETEC is a major bacterial cause of diarrhea among travelers and children in the developing world. ETEC is increasingly recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness in developed nations, such as the United States. Infection occurs when a person eats food, or drinks water or ice contaminated with ETEC bacteria. Human or animal wastes (e.g., feces) are the ultimate source of ETEC contamination."

Silversea Cruises was last in the news several years ago when the USPH caught crew members hiding perishable food and galley equipment in crew quarters on the Silver Shadow and flunked the cruise line. CNN covered the scandal. You can see the video here

The Silver Shadow failed another USPH inspection last year as well. 

The Silver Spirit, on the other hand, has always scored highly by the USPH (93-100) in the last 6 years, and it scored a 98 during the last inspection in January. However, in a lawsuit filed by a Silversea crew member (aboard the Silver Spirit and Silver Wind) in 2011, the crew member alleged that his employment as a bartender was terminated after he complained that he was required to fill expensive, premium top-shelf brand liquor bottles with cheaper brands and to fill empty expensive French champagne bottles with cheaper Italian sparkling wines. The case is Marin Asenov v. Silversea Cruises, Ltd., Case No. 0:11 CV 62360 WJZ. You can read the allegations in the lawsuit here.   

Photo credit: This image photographed by Brian Burnell with permission was uploaded to Commons by George Hutchinson. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15252523

Canada Issues Another Crime Advisory for the Bahamas

Canada has issued another travel advisory, warning that travelers to the Bahamas "should exercise a high degree of caution (due to) high rates of crime, especially in Nassau."

The Canadian government said that "crime occurs mainly in Nassau and Freeport. There has been an increase in armed robberies targeting tourists in Nassau. Incidents take place in populated and isolated areas, and even in daylight hours. Do not carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewelery. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure Canasa Warning about Crime in the Bahamasat ail times. If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and do not resist. Home invasions are also of concern in Nassau."

The government also warned that "sexual assaults are on the rise in Nassau." Canada specifically warned that "there have been reports of jet-ski operators assaulting their clients in New Providence and Paradise Islands".

Two months ago the Nassau Guardian reported that a Bahamian taxi cab driver was arrested on charges that he raped a US woman visiting Nassau. 

Nassau's Tribune newspaper published an article in September 2014 about the last Canadian crime warning for the Bahamas. The US government, through the State Department and the US Embassy, has issued numerous warnings about crime in Nassau affecting cruise passengers and tourists.

We have written frequently about the high incidents of murder and armed robbery in Nassau (New Providence). Last year, the country experienced a record number of murders. The murder rate in the Bahamas is far more than 30 per 100,00, compared to the U,S, per capita rate or around 4.5 per 100,000.

We have also written about Canadians residents and citizens becoming victims of horrific violent crimes in the Bahamas. You can read a few of our articles here and here.

Many cruise passengers chose to decide to stay on their cruise ships while in the port of Nassau.

June 9, 2016 Update:  The Nassau Tribune covered the Canadian travel advisory.  The Bahama Journal quoted the leader of the opposition party, Dr. Hubert Minnis, saying:

"“Record high murder rates, and countless stories of the latest violent crime dominating the front page of our papers have had a chilling effect on the entire country and it continues to bleed out beyond our islands. As horrific as the crime rate has become, what’s more astounding is the lack of action from the Government.” 

Photo credit: Tribune newspaper

Expedition Cruise Ship Ortelius Suffers Engine Failure

OrteliusLast weekend, the Artic expedition cruise ship Ortelius experienced an engine failure in Hinlopenstretet, near Vaigattøyane, and had to be towed' back to Longyearbyen, according to a newspaper in Norway.

Svalbardposten.reports that the Oceanwide Expeditions ship was sailing south through Hinlopenstretet, with 39 crew members and 105 passengers aboard, when it sustained an engine failure.

Engineers from the Netherlands were helicoptered out to the Ortelius on Saturday night in order to work on the ship's engine, and reportedly were working on the engine while it was under tow to prepare the ship for the next trip scheduled this week.

According to the Maritime Executive, the ship was built in Poland in 1989 and originally named Marina Svetaeva and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science.

Photo credit:  Gatorsaver911 - (taken by passenger Allen Powell of the Marina Svetaeva in Antartica. CC BY-SA 3.0,, commons / wikimedia).

Coast Guard Medevacs Two Passengers From Norwegian Breakaway

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced two people from a NCL cruise ship this afternoon. 

The rescue was initiated when the Norwegian Breakaway, returning to New York from Bermuda, contacted the Coast Guard indicating that a 28 year old woman aboard the cruise ship was experiencing stomach pain. A 38 year old man was also reportedly complaining of stomach pains. 

A Coast Guard helicopter and aircraft were dispatched from Elizabeth City this morning and flew approximately 260 miles to the cruise ship to airlift the two passengers to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. They reportedly are in stable condition. 

Video credit: Defense Imagery and Video Distribution Center

 

 

Celebrity Infinity Crashes Into Ketchikan Dock

Multiple news sources are reporting that the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship allided with a dock in Ketchikan, Alaska  

As you can see in the video below, posted on YouTube by Maria Harvey, the cruise ship slowly smashes into a dock at Berth 3.  The Alaska Dispatch News says that "longshoremen, port security personnel and Celebrity employees noticed something was wrong with the ship's approach and moved out of the way." 

News accounts state that there was damage to the hull of the Infinity including a hole in the ship above its waterline. The harbor director reportedly estimated the damage to the dock will cost $2-3 million to repair. 

Wind in the area was reported to be gusting to around 45 miles per hour, although the Coast Guard did not yet release a determination of the official cause of the incident. 

Mishaps between cruise ships and docks like this are infrequent but they do happen from time to time. Usually, a pilot is at the helm when the ship is docking at port.  One of the last such incidents occurred back in 2011 when a MSC cruise ship, the Opera, struck a dock in Buenos Aires. It was also caught on video which was posted on YouTube.

Fortunately. there were no reports of injury of either the crew members or passengers.  Seven years ago, the Costa Europa cruise ship smashed into a concrete pier in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The collision ripped a hole in the hull of the cruise ship and flooded a crew cabin, resulting in the death of three crew members.

Video Credit: YouTube video Maria Harvey

Police Arrest Cook for Attempted Murder of Chef on Celebrity Constellation

Celebrity ConstellationNewspapers in Italy are reporting that the local police in Salerno, Italy arrested a 31 year-old Jamaican, man employed as a cook in the galley of the Celebrity cruise ship, the Constellation, for "attempted murder aggravated by petty reasons."

The cook, identified only as "OG," attacked a 38 year-old Indian, head chef, with what is described as a "big knife," according to the L'Unione Sarda newspaper. The cook stabbed the chef in the stomach, seriously injuring him and requiring emergency medical treatment at the the Salerno hospital where the chef was admitted in critical condition. 

The newspapers say that the cook started his shift at 5 A.M. and reportedly was already in a state of alcoholic intoxication. The cook apparently took offense to the chef's instructions.  

Pursuant to maritime law, the act of a crew member attacking another crew member with a dangerous weapon renders the ship "unseaworthy" and creates strict liability on behalf of the maritime employer for the attack.  

Photo credit: Megadri CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

June 1 2016 Update: Maritime Executive covers the story and includes a photo of the knife(s) allegedly used in the attack.  (Photo credit: Italian Maritime Border Police via Maritime Executive)

Cook knifes chef on Celebrity Constellation

Carnival Elation Losses Power Again

Three years ago this month, the Carnival Elation suffered a problem issue with one of the two units used to propel and steer the cruise ship and had to resort to the use of a tug to make it back to port in New Orleans.  That was at a bad time for Carnival.  The cruise line was at a low ebb in terms of public relations when four of Carnival's ships, the Triumph, Elation, Dream and Legend, all faltered in the course of a couple of weeks, experiencing propulsion, electrical or mechanical problems at sea. 

Last night around 1:45 A.M., the Elation lost power. According to passengers tweeting about the iCarnival Elationncident, the Elation drifted for an hour in the dark as the ship was heading back to port in Jacksonville.

News4Jax reports that notwithstanding the captain's announcements, "panicked passengers grabbed life vests and ran to the deck." WJXT news reporter Heather Leigh posted photos on Twitter showing cruise passengers descending stairs on the cruise ship with life jackets in their hands.

News4Jax reported that "passengers said that were very concerned and that they never really got an explanation as to what was happening and why."

The news station said that according to the U.S. Coast Guard, "an air compressor went out on one of the air conditioning units. When the crew tried to reset the system, it shorted out the power to the propulsion system. It didn't last longer than an hour and they ended up using power from the emergency generators to get back into port."

Some passengers commented that they smelled something burning on the ship, as mentioned in the video below. Once the power was established back on the ship, it turned on and off repeatedly.  

This is the second Carnival owned cruise ship to develop power problems in less than 24 hours. Yesterday evening, the Carnival owned Adonia, operated by Carnival brand Fathom, lost power to its elevator, air conditioning and bathroom systems for 30 minutes. The U.S. Coast Guard ordered it to return to Miami for an inspection. 

Photo credit: P. Alejandro Diaz - CC BY 2.5, commons / wikimedia.

 

More Trouble for Fathom: Coast Guard Orders Adonia to Return to Miami after Experiencing Blackout

Late yesterday afternoon, Fathom's Adonia experienced a power loss, causing its elevators, bathrooms and air conditioners to stop working for around 30 minutes. "Following orders from the U.S. Coast Guard," the Adonia returned to Miami yesterday. 

Fathom downplayed the incident saying that it was only a "short-term electrical difficulty.”

Prior to being the flagship for Carnival's so-called "voluntourism" brand, Fathom, the Adonia was in the Micky arison Twitterfleet of the Carnival brand P&O Cruises. After drydock, it was brought to Miami but quickly failed an initial Coast Guard inspection leading to Fathom canceling its first cruise. The Coast Guard said the most serious remaining problem were with "numerous sliding fire screen doors that are inoperable."

A lawsuit was filed against Fathom and Carnival after they enforced Cuban discriminatory policies prohibiting natural born Cubans from entering Cuban, in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Once cleared to sail, the Adonia experienced a relatively small norovirus outbreak during the ship's first cruise to Cuba.

Social media, including Twitter, has not given the Adonia's latest trouble much attention. One of the few tweets about the Adonia yesterday was posted by Carnival chairman Micky Arison before the power failure, saying: "I'm preparing #Adonia to sail to Havana with Capt Sarah Breton."  It's a confusing tweet because Fathom subsequently released a statement saying that the Adonia was cruising to the Dominican Republic. 

There is some discrepancy in reports about the incident whether the cruise ship was heading to Cuba or the Dominican Republic. News 7 quoted a Fathom statements saying that the power failure occurred "on the initial leg of its journey from Miami to the Dominican Republic."  But another local news station, Local 10, quoted a second statement by Fathom: "Fathom will now arrive into Havana for the two-day call at 7:30 a.m. May 31, and will depart at 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) on June 1. Unfortunately it has been necessary to cancel the call to Cienfuegos and the ship will proceed to Santiago de Cuba as scheduled."

The news account also said that the Adonia apparently left PortMiami at 3 A.M. this morning. 

Photo credit:  Twitter/Micky Arison via News 7

 

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