Medevac from Mein Schiff

 According to the Crew Center website, earlier this week the Greek Coast Guard medevaced a 55 year old cruise passenger from the Mein Schiff cruise ship.

On October 19, 2016, a helicopter medically evacuated the German passenger who was suffering from cardiac symptoms when the ship was sailing six miles south of the island of Ikaria. The helicopter flew the ill passenger to an airport in Samos where he was transferred by ambulance to a hospital. Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Video credit: Αεροδιακομιδή Ασθενούς από Πλοίο from Hellenic Air Force / Vimeo.



Medevac from the Carnival Vista

Today, a passenger aboard the Carnival Vista notified me that there was a medevac from the cruise ship. The ship had previously left Barcelona for Gibraltar. 

The passenger who contacted me wishes to remain anonymous. He took photos and video of the medical rescue. 

There was no mention whether the passenger was ill or had been injured.



Thomson Majesty Loses Power

Thomson MajestyI received the following information early this morning (Miami time): " My parents are on Thomson Majesty. Last night on the way from Livorno to Corsica, the cruise ship lost all power . . . It was drifting in the Med, with passengers in pitch black, without the use of toilets, without any great communication from staff."

The cruise ship regained power but returned to the port in Livorno. AIS websites like Marine Traffic show that the ship drifted for several hours late last night before returning to Livorno. 

Power failures in the cruise industry have been relatively common lately. The Thomson Celebration suffered an engine failure in July as the cruise ship was departing the port in Valletta, Malta.

October 22, 2016 Update:  Receiving word that there was a fire in the engine room. The cruise ship will head straight to Barcelona, skipping Corsica and Marseille. I am aware of no official statement from the cruise line.

October 23, 2016 Update: After undergoing unspecified repairs, the cruise ship finally left Livorno today heading for Barcelona. 

A couple of passengers have commented that there appears to be a gastrointestinal outbreak on the cruise?

Thomson Spirit Run Aground

A number of Portuguese newspapers are reporting that the Thomson Spirit, with over a thousand passengers aboard, became grounded while attempting to dock in the port of of Portimão, Portugal earlier this week. Portimão is located in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. 

On the day in question, the Thomson Cruises ship sailed down the Arade River to dock at around 8:00 A.M. but spent approximately one hour and-a-half stuck in the silt. The cruise ship managed to dock at 9:20 A.M.  

Problems concerning silting in the Arade River are reportedly known to the local port administration. The riverbed has not been dredged for almost a decade.

Crew Center was the first website to report on the incident. 

Photo credit: Portimaocruises Blogspot

Alleged Sexual Assault of Disney Wonder Crew Member

Disney WonderA Spanish newspaper reports that a Disney crew member was arrested after he allegedly sodomized a female crew member. La Voz de Cadiz reports that the incident allegedly occurred last Thursday when a Disney ship employee from the Disney Wonder assaulted a fellow crew members on the vessel, the Rhapsody, which is being used to house crew members while the Wonder is undergoing repairs in dry dock in Cadiz Spain.  

The arrested crew member is from St. Lucia. According to the newspaper account, he and the other crew member knew one another. They spent the night together. The newspaper (translated) states that the next morning, the man man wanted to have anal sex with the woman. "The woman, a British national, was strongly opposed to this practice, but, as reported, was forced by her partner." She reported the incident to the police who appeared at the shipyard and arrested the alleged assailant. The police took him to the police station and then to the police court, where he testified before the judge, who ordered his "admission to prison awaiting trial."

The Spanish newspaper refers to other incidents allegedly involving Disney crew members who are in Cadiz as part of the dry dock / ship modifications. In late September, a crew member of Indian origin, was reportedly arrested "in the vicinity of a shopping center in the capital . . . for indecent exposure with two children." The judge reportedly released him on charges. Earlier this month, the body of a Disney crew member from Poland was reportedly found floating in the water. The article states that "the case is still under a gag order."  

I was not previously aware of the alleged indecent exposure by the crew member or the death of the crew member mentioned in the article. 

I first learned of the arrest of the Disney crew member in an article from the popular Crew-Center blog.

Photo Credit: By Shorelander Own work, CC BY 2.5.

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Pacific Princess Hits Breakwater at Port of Nice

Pacific PrincessThe Pacific Princess hit a breakwater at the port of Nice this morning, according to a French newspaper.

The Princess Cruises' ship arrived at the Port of Nice at 6:15 A.M. this morning (Friday). The newspaper states that a leak was found in compartment no. 2 of the cruise ship. Twenty firefighters and divers reportedly responded to the incident.

The Forum Bateau website explained that the incident occurred in rough seas with an east wind over 45 knots, causing the port side of the cruise ship to strike rocks at the entrance to the Nice harbor before the ship docked.

The cruise ship was scheduled this depart Nice this evening, reportedly heading to Barcelona.  

The newspaper quotes a passenger aboard the ship as saying: "We felt the ship scrape port side . . . The captain told us later that the ship had hit the rocks. . . . for now, we're stuck here and we do not know for how long. We do not know if we will be able to continue our cruise."

The newspaper also quoted a passenger in another vessel at the port further as saying "I heard a big 'boom', a thud that reverberated throughout the harbor like an explosion."

The newspaper article contains photos and video of the Pacific Princess at port in Nice.

Photo credit: By Kate Rozdabara CC BY 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

October 14, 2016 Statement by Princess Cruises:  

"NICE, FRANCE (October 14, 2016 – 12:35PM) - Princess Cruises can confirm that during arrival at the port of Nice, under normal weather and sea conditions (at approximately 6:30 AM) Pacific Princess experienced an unexpected change in wind conditions and made contact with the breakwater wall resulting in damage to the port side of the ship under the water line. The water tight doors were already closed containing the inflow of sea water. The ship is safely alongside at the pier. There were no injuries and at no time were any guests or crew in danger. Guests are ashore enjoying excursions and site seeing. The ship has electrical power.

Divers are on scene assessing the damage to determine repair options and the amount of time required to complete. As a result of this incident we have made the decision to end the current cruise early so that necessary repairs can be made to the ship. We will be providing required transportation and lodging at our expense so that guests may proceed with their original onward travel arrangements as scheduled on Sunday, October 16. Additional details about these arrangements will be provided as soon as possible.

Pacific Princess is sailing with 669 guests and 382 crew members. The ship is on day ten of a 12 day cruise that departed Venice on October 4, and was scheduled to arrive in Barcelona on October 15, for an overnight stay before ending the cruise on October 16."

October 19, 2016 Update: At least one passenger is complaining that Princess Cruises is not honoring the promise of a "full refund" it made when it cancelled the October 16th cruise following the incident described above.

Lawsuit: Passenger Contracts Legionnaires' Disease on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas

Majesty of the SeasA passenger from Ohio who sailed aboard the Majesty of the Seas last November and developed Legionnaires' disease has filed suit against Royal Caribbean. The passenger alleges that only after he boarded the cruise ship in Miami, and the ship had set sail, did the cruise line notify him, via a notice placed under his door, that Legionella had been discovered in the ship's water system on prior cruises.       

Legionnaires' disease is one of the most serious diseases a passenger can contract on a cruise ship. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe pneumonia caused by inhalation or possibly aspiration of warm, aerosolized water containing Legionella organisms. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), contaminated ships’ whirlpool spas and potable water supply systems are the most commonly implicated sources of shipboard Legionella outbreaks. Symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches and headache. Although prompt antibiotic treatment can kill the bacteria, 5% to 30% of people infected with Legionella will die from the infection.  

After the cruise ended on November 13, 2015, Royal Caribbean sent an email to the disembarking passengers, stating that they may have been exposed to Legionella during the cruise. It stated that if passengers become ill, they should seek medical attention and undergo testing for Legionella. 

Royal Caribbean stated that two passengers had been confirmed to be infected with Legionnaires' disease from the cruise ship, and that one person was possibly infected. One person was infected during a cruise in July 2015 and one other person was infected during a cruise in October 2015. The email stated that Royal Caribbean had shut down the whirlpools on the ship after it confirmed the first case of Legionnaires' disease associated with the July sailing. The cruise line claimed that it treated the ship's water supplies with extra chlorine (the email mentions "two rounds of treatment with chlorine"), but water samples taken from showers confirmed the presence of Legionella.

Royal Caribbean also sent the email to those people who had booked cruises on the Majesty on future dates, advising that the risk of illness is "low but not zero" and suggesting to future cruisers that they may want to reschedule their cruises for a later date depending on their individual risk factors.       

A few days after returning home, the passenger began experiencing symptoms consistent with Legionnaires' disease. He visited his doctor on an urgent basis and he was immediately hospitalized. His lawsuit lists kidney, heart and pulmonary failure among other complications which he suffered as a result of the disease which he contracted on the cruise ship. 

The lawsuit alleges that Royal Caribbean was on actual notice of Legionella on its ship but notified the passengers only after Majesty sailed and was at sea. In addition to alleging that the cruise line was negligent, the lawsuit states that the cruise line "acted with deliberate and wanton recklessness" in refusing to advise passengers of the Legionella prior to the cruise. Royal Caribbean, the lawsuit alleges, acted in "callous disregard" of the dangers to the passenger's health in order to promote its economic interests.

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages, due to the cruise line's intentional misconduct.  

The lawsuit was filed by Miami maritime lawyer Domingo Rodriquez

There was a discussion regarding Legionnaires' disease and this particular cruise last year on the Cruise Critic boards. If the comments are accurate, some of the passengers apparently were not notified of the Legionella on the ship during the cruise but were notified only after the cruise was over. At least one person commenting said that he sailed on the cruise ending November 13, 2015 but never received an email from the cruise line. One poster mentioned that a family member who was on the cruise was allegedly admitted to the hospital with Legionnaires' Disease. She stated at the time: "we did not get the email about the ship being contaminated until the afternoon of Nov. 13, after we had just gotten off the ship . . . This was very irresponsible and unethical on Royal Caribbean's part."  

In my opinion, it is outrageous that Royal Caribbean kept sailing the Majesty if it knew that the ship's water supply was still contaminated with Legionella after multiple "extra-chlorine" treatments. It is Legionellaprobable that some of the passengers or crew members would become sick because, obviously, passengers are going to shower during cruises. Unfortunately, we have seen this cruise line take the "show-must-go-on" attitude to extremes over the years, whether it is recklessly sailing into hurricanes or repeatedly exposing its passengers to noro virus on successive cruises.

There have been a number cases of Legionnaires' disease on cruise ships over the years. The most infamous case involved the Horizon cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean's sister cruise line, Celebrity Cruises (before it was purchased by Royal Caribbean), back in 1994.

Following a deadly shipboard outbreak which caused Celebrity to cancel cruises and fly passengers back from Bermuda, passengers sued Celebrity alleging that the company defrauded them by refusing to disclose that Legionella was present on the cruise ship. An Associated Press writer wrote that: "on Saturday passengers on the cruise ship Horizon were told the risk of contracting Legionnaires' disease on board was low. On Tuesday they were hustled off the ship in Bermuda as a precaution." (Numerous passengers were nonetheless infected). The AP quoted passengers as saying at the time: "everyone is entitled to a worry-free vacation and this has been anything but that" and "the people who operate this line should be chastised" and "what they did to the passengers is unconscionable."

Celebrity subsequently sued the manufacturer of the ship's pool and whirlpool equipment, alleging that extensive press coverage of the disease outbreak stigmatized the company, thus hurting its reputation and reducing its profits. Celebrity obtained a $193 million verdict, although an appellate court subsequently reduced the verdict.

Regarding the recent outbreak, if Royal Caribbean was uncertain whether the Majesty of the Seas still had Legionella in its water system, merely warning future passengers that the risk of illness was "low" but not canceling cruises was, at a minimum, irresponsible. Not informing passengers who cruised on the ship of the disease until after they sailed is truly reprehensible conduct. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

Photo credit: Top -  CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia; bottom - By CDC (PHIL #1187) - CDC Public Health Image Library, Public Domain.

Legionella Royal Caribbean Email

Legionella Royal Caribbean Email


Accurate Cruise Crime Statistics Finally Available

Harmony of the SeasCrimes on cruise ships are finally being accurately reported pursuant to a new mandatory reporting law, as explained in a blockbuster article, published in an Arizona newspaper, titled Travelers Can Now Get 1st Comprehensive Reports of Cruise Ship Crime

Previously, cruise line crime statistics were disclosed on a website maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.  The database was roundly criticized as substantially under-reporting the crime problem on cruise ships. CNN reported as of 2013, of  959 crimes on cruise ships reported to the FBI since 2011, only 31 were disclosed on a web site maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Cruise lines are now required to report all crimes to the Department of Transportation. The number of reported sexual assaults on cruise ships jumped 550% in the first six months of 2016, going to 39 from six in 2015. Overall, reported crimes on ships jumped 408% to 61 from 12. 

The FBI also indicated that it will respond to sexual assaults on cruise ships more aggressively, whereas in the past the FBI would routinely not respond to reports of shipboard rapes and the Department of Justice working with the FBI would often systematically decline to prosecute such crimes. 

The new disclosure law is the result of efforts by the Cruise Victims Organization (ICV) and its chairman Ken Carver who organized hearings before Senator Jay Rockefeller. 

Adjusted on a per capita basis, sexual assault on cruise ships occurs with a similar regularity as you might find on land, according to an article titled How Safe is Your Cruise? Crime on Cruise Ships Compared to U.S. Cities.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

October 21, 2016 Update: Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein cautions that although the the International Cruise Victims Association and others (including me) have reportred on the new crime reporting law "what has not been said is that crime statistics are based on incidents classified and subsequently reported by a cruise line. The cruise line determines whether an incident constitutes "sexual assault" (many cases of molestation of minors are classified as "sexual contact: groping" or as "inappropriate touch," neither of which is a crime under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 - CVSSA) so while the new disclosure of data is welcomed, it only gives insight into the scale of the most serious incidents, and it only applies to ships operating from US ports (and may not include incidents involving non-US citizens on these ships, and incidents against US citizens on ships operating out of non-US ports). Before jumping on the bandwagon of accolades for the new disclosures, we must look closely to see what is not being reported so we don't assume the problem is less serious than it is. My comments are based on review of incident reports submitted by cruise lines and the tendency for these reports to misrepresent as "sexual contact" incidents that the victim clearly sees as sexual assault (but, again, sexual contact is not reportable under the CVSSA)."

Photo credit: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images via azcentral




Two-Year Old Nearly Drowns on Carnival Splendor

Carivanl Splendor DrowningLocal news stations in Miami are reporting that a two year old child nearly drowned in a swimming pool on the Carnival Splendor this afternoon.  

NBC-6 says that the Miami Fire Rescue department responded to reports of a 2-year-old nearly drowning on a cruise ship, the Carnival Splendor, at the Port of Miami. The station reports that "the child was stabilized by paramedics and will be transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Pediatrics unit."

With this latest incident, fifteen (15) passengers drowned or nearly drowned on cruise ships without lifeguards, including twelve children, over the past three years. After every such tragedy, many cruise fans quickly cast all of the blame on the children's parents for not paying attention. But three adults drowned in cruise ship swimming pools without lifeguards in just the last two years.

Lifeguards, of course, are needed on cruise ships. Lifeguards do more than just keep kids safe in pools. A certified lifeguard, trained in life saving measures, can immediately provide immediate CPR on the scene.  

My view remains that children need a combination of trained and experienced cruise ship lifeguards and parents, closely supervising their children, to stay safe on today's gigantic water parks on the high seas.  

A child drowned on the Carnival Victory in October 2014. The Miami New Times wrote about the death of 6-year-old Qwentyn Hunter on the Carnival cruise ship with no lifeguards in Kids Drown in Cruise Ship Pools With No Lifeguards on Duty.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: NBC-6

Middle East Cruises: Houthi Rebel Rocket Strike in Yemen Overshadows Hope for Tunis?

EuropaThe hope of a revival of tourism in Tunisia increased this past week after the Hapag-Lloyd's Europa reportedly became the first cruise ship to return to the port of Tunis (La Goulette) since a total of 59 tourists were killed in two terrorist attacks last year.

A French newspaper covers the story with an article titled Arrivée du Premier Bateau de Croisière Depuis les Attentats du Bardo (Arrival of the First Cuise Ship Since the at Bardo Attacks). The article shows images of smiling merchants and happy tourists on camels at the port. 

These images are a far cry from the last images we posted of Tunis last year. ISIS terrorists killed 38 tourists on holiday at the beach resort of Sousse in June 2015; earlier, terrorists gunned down 21 cruise passengers from Costa and MSC cruise ships at Tunis' Bardo museum, in March 2015. The terrorists slaughtered the passengers after they were transported by excursion buses from cruise ships at the port to the museum.  

We were critical of the cruise lines which sailed passengers into danger and did not provide security or even issue warnings to the guests. 

The head of La Goulette cruise terminal, Malek Ghanemitold, was recently quoted in a newspaper stating that the "the arrival of the liner Europa does not in itself signal the resumption of cruise liner activities in Tunisia. But it’s very important because it sends out a positive and reassuring message.”

We are hopeful that Tunis will not have a recurrence of terrorism but, as the last year proves, ISIS can attack anywhere. The U.S. travel warning for Tunisia indicates that ISIS, al-Qa’ida and other Islamic terrorist groups have targeted Tunisian government and security forces and popular tourist sites. The U.K. foreign office advises against all but essential travel to certain locations in Tunisia. (See the advisory for details). According to the U.K. advisory:

"A state of emergency is in effect in Tunisia, imposed after a suicide attack on a police bus on 24 November 2015. It has been extended a number of times, most recently on 19 September 2016 for an additional month to 19 October.

The threat from terrorism in Tunisia is high. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations."

NSV 2 missile attackWhile many newspapers touted the reopening of the cruise terminal in Tunisia, the media largely ignored a missile attack against a UAE ship in the waters of Yemen.  

On October 1, 2016, Houthi rebels destroyed an Emirati (UAE) vessel near the the Red Sea port city of Mokha.The Houthi rebels reportedly used a sophisticated Chinese anti-ship missile. The naval ship which was attacked was a high speed vessel ("HSV"), named the HSV 2 Swift. The ship was formerly operated by the U.S. Navy and recently had been leased to the UAE. There is a dispute whether the vessel was a civilian craft carrying humanitarian aid or an UAE navy vessel.

The Houthi (Shia) rebel group has been in armed conflict with the more moderate and Saudi Arabian backed Sunni government in Yemen. The U.S backs the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in their conflict against Yemen.  

Although this missile attack is seemingly unrelated to shipping in the Mediterranean, the attack demonstrates the considerable danger posed in the Middle East by Shia militant groups, apparently supplied by Iran with sophisticated weapons. ISIS and al-Qu'ida operate in Yemen, which was the location of the infamous terrorist attack by Islamic terrorists against the U.S.S. Cole which was being refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000 when a suicide boat loaded with explosives attacked the U.S. ship and blew up. The terrorist attack killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured 39 more.  

Several U.S. naval experts and commanders as well as senior NATO officers have recently expressed their surprise that ISIS has not attacked cruise ships in the Middle East.  

The location of the attack is also critical. The Bah Al-Mandab straits are at the pinch-point between the Red Sea, flanked by Saudi Arabia on the east and Egypt to the west, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. Cruise ships sailing to and from the Mediterranean and to or from the Indian Sea pass through these straits. 

You can see photographs of the dramatic damage to the NSV 2 here

For more information about Yemen, watch this video about the war in Yemen.   

The video showing the attack on the HSV 2 Swift is below. 

Have a thought?  Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

Photo credit:  Top: By Dudva - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia. Middle: HSV 2 Swift - Live Leak; Video credit: Nachrichtensignal 301 YouTube


Arbitration on the High Seas

Investigative journalist Karen Foshay of KCRW published a muli-media presentation this week, chronicling the plight of seafarers who work long hours, away from their families and far from home, for a pittance.

When the crew members become injured, these "foreign" (i., e., non-U.S.) ship employees are barred from filing suit in the U.S. against their U.S.-based employers. Instead, they are forced to resort to filing arbitration claims where their disputes are resolved by arbitrators (usually paid for by the shipping company), in contrast to a judge and jury. 

The situation is particularly unfair to Filipino crew members who have to agree to a scheduled compensation scheme where they are limited to small pay outs when they are seriously injured due to the negligence of their employers.

Take a minute and read or listen to the the articles and watch the introductory video below. 

Her two-part special is entitled  Troubled Waters - a private justice system leads to secrecy and mistreatment on the high seas.

The investigation has two parts: Part one is titled the Secret World of Arbitration: 


Part two is titled Low Wages on the High Seas: 


Watch the video below:  Troubled Waters: KCRW Investigates Exploitation on the High Seas. 


Deadly Amazon River Fire Update: International Expeditions' La Estrella Amazonica

One of the cruise stories I have followed closely this year is the tragic story of a couple from Nebraska who perished due to a fire in their cabin aboard the La Estrella Amazonica, a luxury river cruise ship on the Peruvian Amazon.   

We first wrote about the deadly fire which took the lives of Larry and Christy Hammer in April in our article titled Fire, Bandits Plague Amazon River Cruises in Peru

The Hammer daughters, Jill and Kelly, attribute the cause of their parents' deaths to the absence of basic safety features aboard the river cruise ship, which International Expeditions of Alabama stated they designed, built and owned. But the ship, the daughters contend, lacked functioning in-Larry and Kristy Hammer, Kelly Hammer Lankford and Jill Hammer Malottcabin fire alarms, safety-rated power strips, and a crew trained in fire suppression and life-saving techniques. Moreover, the Hammer children believe that International Expeditions (IE) has demonstrated that it's more concerned with its marketing image than the circumstances that killed their parents. 

According to the daughters, they hired experts to inspect the ship after the fire, but IE refused to cooperate.

"A team of experts inspected the ship on April 27th, despite IE's attempts to block that inspection. Rather than having the ship at the agreed-upon meeting spot, IE sailed hours upriver to a location which was not accessible by road. A seaplane had to be chartered for the inspection team to get on the boat. Although IE agreed that the team could have unlimited access to the ship and unlimited time, IF allowed the team only 3 hours and 45 minutes on the ship and pernitted them to see only a few select cabins. Furthermore, IE did not allow the team to see several portions of the ship, and denied the team access to the historical records from the fire control panel and surveillance videos."

The daughters have focused their efforts on finding information about their parents' final moments and warning the public of potential dangers associated with cruising on ships registered overseas, even if owned by an American company (La Estrella Amazonica is flagged in Peru).  People Magazine covered the story is an article titled Determined Nebraska Sisters Seek Answers in the Mysterious Deaths of Their Parents Aboard Luxury Amazon Cruise which contained disturbing information that the Hammers' wedding rings were missing after the fire "and were likely stolen off their dead bodies," Jill told the magazine. 

The Omaha World-Herald explained that shipboard surveillance videotape indicates that fire alarms weren’t sounding, as smoke poured from a light fixture, and crew members appeared confused and disorganized as they tried to locate the source of the fire and wasted over 22 minutes before extracting Larry Hammer. This raises concerns whether the crew members were trained for emergencies or had the proper certificates to serve as crew.

The U.K.'s Mail Online contained similar information in an article titled Nebraska Couple Died in Amazon Cruise Inferno After 'Alarms Failed and Confused Crew Took 20 Minutes to Pull Them From Their Burning Cabin - and Then the Ship Continued its Voyage.'

I communicated with the Hammer daughters regarding the recent status of their search for information: 

"Ever since our parents were killed on International Expeditions’ (IE) Amazon boat La Estrella Amazonica, we have been desperate to figure out how this tragedy happened. IE has denied our pleas for information on multiple fronts:

  • First, we asked IE to provide us with other passengers' contact information so we could learn about our parents' last night alive. They refused, despite some passengers’ requests to IE to provide us with their contact information. Thankfully, these passengers persevered and found us despite IE’s attempts to prevent contact.
  • Second, we pleaded with IE to provide us with documentation that anyone other than IE itself cleared the boat as “safe enough” to sail 48 hours after our parents died. We also asked IE to provide us with documentation that the boat was "thoroughly inspected." They remain unable to do so.
  • Third, [IE president] Van Perry claimed in an interview before our parents were killed, “if something goes wrong, I’ll be the first to say, ‘It’s my fault. It’s not someone else’s fault.” Yet, he and his company have shown no interest in acknowledging that multiple levels of failure on IE’s boat killed our parents.

We continue in our quest forTanswers and accountability from IE and Van Perry. We remain committed to doing our best to prevent this tragedy from striking more travelers." 

October 13, 2016 Update: The Lee Summit Journal published this article with new information: After their parents’ death, sisters question safety measures on cruise ship.

October 14, 2016 Update: The Mercury News newspaper published Parents’ death in riverboat cruise sends Menlo Park daughter on quest for answers. Before the accident, International Expeditions said that it designed, built and owned the river cruise ship, but now claims that these representations were a "mistake and misunderstanding."

Photo credit: Larry and Christy Hammer with daughters, Kelly Hammer Lankford and Jill Hammer Malott - credit to: Kelly Hammer Lankford and Jill Hammer Malott via People Magazine.

Video: People Magazine. 


Three People Medevaced from P&O Cruise Ships

Two crew members and a passenger were reportedly medevaced from two P&O cruise ships within a 24 hour period, according to several newspapers in Australia.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that Rescue 500, the Queensland Government air rescue helicopter service, medevaced a male patient from the Pacific Pearl about 70 nautical miles east of the Gold Coast. Other news sources say that the man is a passenger who suffered a head injury. 

The sick patient was transported to hospital while the vessel continued south to Sydney. 

A cruise passenger and a crew member experiencing unrelated medical problems were also medevaced from the Pacific Jewel.

A video from Rescue 500 Brisbane via Mail Online show the medevac from the Pacific Pearl.


Phoenix Reisen's Albatros ist Kaputt

MS AlbatrossA number of German newspapers are reporting that the cruise ship M/S Albatros, marketed by the German travel company Phoenix Reisen, broke down this week. The ship suffered mechanical problems which delayed her departure to Dover from the Columbus Cruise Center in Bremerhaven (CCCB). 

The cruise ship was originally scheduled to cruise from Bremerhaven with 800 passengers on Tuesday evening, but problems with the the hydraulic system of the rudder delayed her departure. The problem was reportedly repaired and the Albatros departed 11 hours late on Wednesday morning.

The same problem quickly reappeared when the cruise ship was approximately 25 kilometers from the port of Bremerhaven. Two tugs towed the ship back to port for additional repairs. 

The Albatros was built in 1973 in Finland for Royal Viking Line as the Royal Viking Sea.  She has also sailed under the names Royal Odyssey, Norwegian Star, and Crown over her 43 year history.

She is the second Albatros for Phoenix Reisen as she was the replacement of the original SS Albatros.

Photo credit: By Andreas Trepte - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5.

Carnival Passenger Robbed at Port in Belize

Belize CityOn September 13, 2016, a passenger on the Carnival Magic was robbed at gunpoint at the port of Belize. We received the following information from the passenger:

"We were at the port next to the belize sign taking pictures. A vendor selling wood and jewelry was trying to sell us some of his handmade work when a male on a bicycle threw down his bike and pointed a gun at me. He then put it under his shirt when my friend turned around. My friend thought it was a joke and wasn't cooperating that's when the man pulled the gun back out racked it and pointed it at us. He told us to empty our pockets. My friend gave him 15$ all he had left and I gave him 25$ he then saw my phone and told me to give it to him. I delayed giving to him as I was thinking about my options. After a few moments I decided it wasn't worth it and gave it to him. He then started yelling at my friend to give him his wallet which he did not have. The man then asked where it was my friend replied in my room. Finally the male said don't make this a big deal and got back on his bike and rolled away. I preceded to run to the first police officer I could find and let them know what happened. The police had several officer driving around in cars and motorcycles trying to find the assailant. They told us it was the 1st time in 2 years this happened in or by the port. They could not locate him and took us to the police station where we gave statements and made reports. 2 hrs later they took us back to the port where we went back on the ship and made report to carnival. They said it never happens. Made report to guest services then wrote statement to security and told me to call corporate office when I get off ship. Called the office they did not seem to care much and I told them why do they go to unsafe ports their reply was this never happens. To future cruisers I would suggest to not get off on this port."

Carnival contacted the passenger after the cruise, stating that it is going to increase awareness with cruise guests and also increase police and security at that port.

Last March, cruise ship passengers were robbed at gunpoint while on an excursion at the Altun Ha Maya ruins site in Belize. Earlier in March, a couple in Belize from a cruise ship reported that they were victims of an attempted armed robbery near the Museum of Belize.

As we mentioned in our last article, the Minister of Tourism of Belize was quoted earlier this year saying that that violent crime has been decreasing in the country. He said that over one million people visited Belize last year and crime against tourists was "rare."

Carnival and other cruise lines which call on this port should issue warnings to their guests that these type of crimes have occurred at port, in Belize City and during excursions from the port.

Source of information: Carlos Martinez

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.  

September 29, 2016 Update: Several people pointed out that the Belize sign near where the robbery took place is outside of the gates to the port. So the robbery did not technically take place "at the port" to the extent that this means "in the port." 

Robbery Belize Cruise Port

Robbery Belize Cruise Port


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