This past month has seen a number of incredible stories about the cruise industry.
TOXIC CRUISE WATER? The Sunday Times in London published a blockbuster article about a British paint inspector, Brian Bradford, who was kicked off a NCL cruise ship after complaining about health risks which may be posed to cruise passengers and crew by a Hempel paint coating which was applied to potable water tanks on NCL and Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Whistle blower Bradford was hit with a "super injunction" to gag him from talking about the by the paint or discussing anything about his inspection of the cruise ships in question.
Its really amazing how corporations can endanger the public and then use their lawyers to cover the danger up.
The only ones to report on the story have been cruise expert Ross Klein in Canada and the British press. We are the only one talking about it here in the U.S. Most U.S. newspapers (the LA Times and NY Times being the exceptions) are in the hip pocket of the cruise lines. They accept cruise advertising revenue and publish colorful travel sections in their newspapers about the joys of cruising, but they look the other way when the cruise lines screw up. Our local newspaper, the Miami Herald, is absolutely the pits. But this story is far from over. It is only a matter of time before someone in the U.S. other than our small blog pays attention to it.
DISNEY COVER-UP? The other blockbuster article was by another British newspaper, the Guardian, which published a story about missing Disney Cruise youth counselor Rebecca Coriam. The article was featured in the newspaper's weekend edition with a photo of the Wonder cruise ship (below) on the cover. The article was written by U.K. journalist, documentary filmmaker, and best selling author Jon Ronson who sailed on the Wonder for a week to gather information. For a cruise line that supposedly caters to children and families, its disturbing to think that Disney is more concerned with its Magical Kingdom illusion than the distraught Coriam family.
ANOTHER CRUISE LINE HIDES BEHIND DOHSA: The most read article this month was from a guest blogger, a mother who wrote about the death of her three year old daughter in HAL's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Most cruise passengers do not understand that there is no recovery for pain, suffering, grief and bereavement when a cruise line's negligence kills a child.
CRUISE FIRES, CRIME, DEATH AND ANOTHER OVERBOARD: This month we have seen the usual type of calamities which you will never read on a cruise line or travel agents web site: a fire in the Red Sea which forced the evacuation of 1,200, another cruise fire which destroyed a Russian river cruise boat, an overboard passenger from a NCL cruise ship in Falmouth, Jamaica, the sentencing of a "serial rapist" to 10 years in jail after the rape of a 13 year old girl on a Carnival ship, life imprisonment for murder for a passenger who threw his wife overboard, and the death last week of a 60 year old woman and serious injury to her daughter on a Celebrity sponsored parasailing accident in St. Thomas.
JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CRUISE VICTIMS ("ICV"): If these type of stories concern you, consider joining the ICV which is a grass roots victims' organization consisting of families of passengers and crewmembers who have been injured or lost at sea during cruises. You can read about the ICV here.
GOOD NEWS FOR CRUISE LAW NEWS ("CLN"): Our readership continues to grow. So far this month, over 44,000 unique readers clicked on our blog and read over 127,000 pages. If statistics mean anything, CLN ranks as the 12th most popular law blog according to AVVO/Alexa. I'm convinced that people flock to our blog because there simply is no place else to read stories about cruising that the cruise lines don't want you know about.
If you have a story you want us to cover, let us hear from you.