NTSB Cites Human Error in Carnival Pride - Pier Crash in Baltimore

Carnival Pride AllisionThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its report yesterday regarding the allision* between the Carnival Pride and the pier and passenger walkway in Baltimore last year. 

On May 8, 2016, the Carnival Pride was attempting to dock at the cruise terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, when the ship's bow struck the pier and an elevated passenger walkway on shore, causing over $2,000,000 in damages.

The Carnival cruise ship was returning from a cruise to the Bahamas. It had previously taken on a pilot while it was in U.S. inland waters. 

The staff captain later took the helm and was navigating the Pride to the terminal. As the ship approached the pier, the angle of approach was too steep and the speed was too fast.

The captain took control of the ship from the staff captain and applied full thrust away from the berth to slow the ship but not before the bow struck the pier support columns.

The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the crash was the staff captain’s errors during the docking maneuver (approaching the pier with excessive speed and at too steep of an angle) and the captain’s insufficient oversight. 

You can see photos of the extensive damage here.  

Read the full report here

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Photos credit: Top - CBS Baltimore; bottom - NTSB report via gCaptain.

* Definition of "allision:" the action of dashing against or striking upon; example - by a vessel against an object ashore, in contrast to a "collision" between two vessels.  

Carnival Pride Allision Baltimore

Grandeur of the Seas Spots Abandoned Vessel Near Bermuda

Grandeur of the SeasThis morning the Grandeur of the Seas, cruising from Bermuda to Baltimore, changed course and took steps to assist what turned out to be a small abandoned vessel adrift on the high seas.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship stopped and investigated the derelict vessel. Cruise ships often stop and administer assistance in circumstances like this. Royal Caribbean deployed a rescue boat and the crew also threw life rings into the water in the event that there were people aboard the vessel.  

The crew of the rescue boat observed that that there were signs that another vessel has visited the stranded boat before. The crew of the Grandeur then collected the life rings and brought the rescue crew back aboard, and returned on its cruise back to the U.S.

Lowering and raising rescue boats like this is potentially dangerous, but it is a task that crew members often perform on the high seas.

Photo credit:  Anonymous (above); cruise passenger Natt Penn (below).  

Grandeur of the Seas Bermuda to Baltimore (dereliict boat)

Norovirus Forces Grandeur of the Seas' Early Return to Baltimore

Grandeur of the Seas Multiple news sources in Baltimore are reporting that over 200 passenger and crew members aboard the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas are stricken with norovirus, requiring the cruise ship to skip a port and return to its home port in Baltimore a day early.

A local CBS station says that "just over 200" guests and crew members came down with symptoms of norovirus and the cruise ship decided to return early so that they could receive medical attention.

WBAL Radio reports that there was a medical emergency for one at least one passenger and an outbreak of norovirus among nearly 200 others. 193 passengers and 9 crew members are ill with norovirus.

One passenger who contacted us says that Royal Caribbean promised $75 credit for missing the port of Labadee. The ship will be subjected to enhanced cleaning. 

The Grandeur has been in the news for norovirus in the last year.

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

Photo Credit: J. Glover licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Grandeur of the Seas is Still Sick: Cruise Industry Heading Toward Record Breaking Year for Virus of the Seas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented passengers sailing on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore have been sickened on two consecutive cruises. 

The CDC website reflects that 97 passengers and 8 crew members on the Grandeur of the Seas became ill with vomiting and diarrhea. It left April 5 for a seven-day cruise and returns to Baltimore today.

Royal Caribbean Cruises notified passengers who will be boarding today to arrive late at the port Grandeur of the Seas - Baltimore - Noro Virusbecause the cruise ship will undergo another round of the so-called "enhanced cleaning."

The Associated Press indicates that Royal Caribbean believes norovirus to be the cause.

As is the situation with virtually all gastrointestinal outbreaks on cruise ships, the CDC has not announced an explanation how the outbreak took place. Contaminated food? Contaminated water? Sick crew members working while ill in the galley or dining rooms? Cruise passengers not washing their hands? (the cruise lines' usual excuse). Your guess is as good as mine.  

This is the second consecutive cruise on the Grandeur with a illness outbreak, The CDC reported that 111  passengers and 6 crew members became ill with norovirus on the Grandeur during its cruise from March 28 to April 5. You can read our report here.

The CDC has documented a total of 8 gastrointestinal illness outbreaks on cruises returning to a U.S. ports so far this year. (There was also a norovirus outbreak aboard the P&O Oriana recently). There were just 9 outbreaks in all of last year. Norovirus is cited as one of the reasons the public has less confidence in the safety and reliability of cruising, especially from people who have never cruised before.

This week we were contacted by many cruise passengers asking whether they could cancel the cruise which leaves today because of the ongoing outbreak. Unfortunately the cruise lines hold all of the cards in cases like this.  Fear of becoming sick is not a legally recognized reason to cancel a cruise and expect a refund. However, it all depends on the goodwill of the cruise line. A FOX News report indicates that the spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, Cynthia Martinez, said "if passengers don't want to take Saturday's cruise, Royal Caribbean staff will help them reschedule." 

You can contact Ms. Martinez on Twitter - @CrisisCommChick / telephone (305) 982-2458 / email cynthiamartinez@rccl.com

Suing a cruise line for compensation when exposed to a gastrointestinal virus is a losing proposition because the CDC does such a poor job trying to determine the cause of the outbreak. In this most recent case the CDC has not determined the type of virus much less how the virus came on the cruise ship.

The last message we received was last night: "I will be traveling on the Grandeur this Saturday as well and our check in time was delayed 4 hours! I will be bringing my own bleach wipes on board. Wish us luck!"

Good luck!

Photo Credit: WBAL Baltimore

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Is Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas Safe to Sail After Fire?

Six weeks ago, the Grandeur of the Seas burst into flames on the high seas. It took two hours before the crew could finally extinguish the blaze. The cruise ship has since been in dry dock in the Bahamas under repair.

Yesterday travel agents and the cruise & travel media who Royal Caribbean invited aboard the cruise sailed on a one day cruise out of Baltimore for promotional purposes. Today passengers will sail on a one week cruise. One news station out of Baltimore broadcast that the Grandeur is "repaired and ready to sail." 

The problem is that repairs to the cruise ship are still ongoing.

Grandeur of the Seas Fire - Cruise Ship Over 150 passengers from 78 cabins were bumped from the cruise today because their cabins are still being reconstructed. 

Travel agents aboard the ship report that repair work is still ongoing. According to Cruise Critic, in addition to the 78 cabins which are not ready for passengers, several lounges (Diamond Club & South Pacific Lounge) which burned last month will remain closed.

The concern that I have when I hear news like this is whether the cruise ship is really ready to sail and, most importantly, safe for passengers to cruise? Remember that there has been no report released of what caused the fire in the first place. We previously wrote about the tendency of the cruise lines to bring their ships back to service quickly and long before the official analysis is completed, assuming an official report is ever prepared. Read What Caused the Grandeur of the Seas Fire?     

The investigation into the Grandeur fire is being overseen by the Bahamas, with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  Cruise Critic says that the "Bahamas Maritime Authority is currently drafting a final report on the incident."  Hogwash.  The Bahamas was responsible for investigating the fire which disabled the Carnival Triumph (the infamous "poop cruise" five months ago) and the Bahamas has still not finalized a report on that cruise fire yet.  

And there has been no report released on the cause of the other high profile cruise ship fire which occurred aboard Carnival's Splendor and left it disabled. That fire occurred over two and one-half years ago.  Another flag of convenience country (Panama) was responsible for overseeing that investigation, but has released nothing.

Its seems irresponsible to pile many thousands of travel agents and cruise passengers (not to mention the hard working crew) aboard the ship without telling the guests why the last time the Grandeur sailed several thousands of people stood at their muster stations in the middle of the night watching the lifeboat being deployed as the fire raged for two hours.

Grandeur of the Seas FireWhat caused the fire?  Why was the fire not extinguished by an automatic system? Is there even an automatic suppression at the mooring area at the stern of the ship? If not, shouldn't one be installed?

Were any of the travel agents and travel media asking these questions? Do any of the passengers boarding the cruise ship this morning care about these basic issues?

It doesn't seem so. A local CBS station in Baltimore aired these comments from travel agents: 

You always tell your clients things happen. Fires happen on land, they’re going to happen at sea,” said Paul Cathcart, travel agent.

“Nobody was hurt. You got free drinks. You got an extra day at sea,” said Donna Lopez, travel agent. 

Join the discussion on Facebook - was the fire caused by a cigarette? An electrical problem? Should the public trust the cruise lines to tell the truth?

 

Photo Credits:

Top: Cruise Critic Facebook

Bottom: Janeeva Russel / the Freeport News

Murder Aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas?

Enchantmemt of the Seas Cruise Ship MurderLast night I received an email from a person who follows cruising who received information that there may have been what is being described as a "murder / suicide" on an unidentified Royal Caribbean cruise ship. There was a vague posting of the alleged incident on the Disney boards

This morning I received another email from a passenger who just disembarked the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship.  The person's email is as follows:

"Just got off Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. They were detaining everyone on the 7Th floor and the police were there collecting statements. The crew wouldn't say what was going on but other passengers said there was a murder/death on the 7th fl. Post if you hear anything about it."

My understanding is that the Enchantment OTS is moored in Baltimore at the moment.  

Enchantment of the Seas Cabin 7110If you have any information about this alleged incident, please leave a message or post a comment on our Facebook page.

Update March 25 2013:  I received the following information this morning from a person who wishes to remain anonymous:

The deceased person is reportedly a woman in her 60's who allegedly was found on the floor by her husband.    

She reportedly had fallen inside the cabin earlier the same evening and hit her head and went to bathroom where she fell again this is when husband called for help. Nurses arrived to the cabin to attend the situation however she was pronounced dead at 5 AM.

(Please note that I cannot verify any of this information or any comments below). 

The cabin was thereafter sealed at some point until arrival into port where investigations will begin.

We were also provided with a copy of a photo of the door of the cabin in question which shows a plexi-glass cover over the key hole and key card slot with a lock around the handle.  

The FBI has told news stations in Baltimore that there are "suspicious undertones" surrounding the death.

A local CBS news station in Baltimore aired a short video on the investigation.

March 28, 2013 Update: The AP is reporting that an "autopsy shows that a Virginia woman found dead aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship died of natural causes.

FBI spokesman Rich Wolf has identified the woman as 64-year-old Katherine Kennedy, of Midlothian, Va. He says Kennedy died of heart disease.

Her husband found her dead Sunday in her cabin on the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship. FBI agents met the ship when it arrived in Baltimore on Monday to begin investigating the unexplained death.

Wolf says Kennedy also had a laceration on her forehead, but authorities determined that she got the cut when she fell down. They said it had nothing to do with her death."

Photo Credit:

Top: Rageousgtx at en.wikipedia

Bottom: Anonymous

Baseball Legend Earl Weaver Dies Aboard Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Ship

Earl Weaver DeathSad news today in the world of professional baseball with word that legendary baseball manager Earl Weaver died at age 82.

Mr. Weaver was a one-of-a-kind manager who led the Baltimore Orioles to success, winning several American League pennants and the 1970's World Series while leading the league in ejections. Although short in stature, Weaver was viewed as a huge figure in professional sports for his strategy and leadership and his fiery confrontations with baseball umpires. 

News accounts indicate that he died after suffering an apparent heart attack on a Celebrity cruise ship, the Silhouette. There is not yet a clear indication of exactly how he died other than he reportedly collapsed in his cabin after dinner. He was sailing aboard the Celebrity cruise ship as part of a baseball theme cruise.

Don't let the recent videos being shown today of a docile, grey haired grandfather fool you.  

Earl Weaver was a force of nature.  

Just watch the video below if you want to gain an insight into his passion and competitive nature. Please overlook the curse words, that's not the point.  This is the manager who you want on your side, no doubt.  

And yes he made it into the Hall of Fame.

Happy eternal cruising Earl Weaver.

 

Video credit: Via David Brown / Yahoo Sports / YouTube vlud

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Reported Aboard Celebrity's Mercury Cruise Ship

Carbon Monoxide - Celebrity Cruises - Mercury Cruise ShipMultiple news sources are reporting that six crewmembers on Celebrity's Mercury cruise ship at the Port of Baltimore are being treated for exposure to carbon monoxide. 

Fire rescue officials took the the six crew members  to local hospitals. 

According to WBAL TV in Baltimore, the Baltimore fire department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright said crews responded to the scene at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday to treat the victims.

Cynthia Martinez, the PR spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises (the parent company of Celebrity Cruises) issued a statement that crew members were performing a welding operation on board the ship inside the engine room Friday. The members began to report respiratory problems and other medical issues after they completed their work and reported to the ship's medical facility.

A local ABC station reports that "at least 5 medical units, a Hazmat team, and an EMS Commander are currently at the scene treating the victims and taking carbon monoxide readings to Mercury Cruise Ship - Celebrity Cruises - Carbon Monoxide determine the air's quality."

The cruise line PR spokesperson also said: "Out of an abundance of caution, the ship staff contacted city fire and rescue, which responded Saturday to treat the 6 crew members and transport them to hospitals."   Ms. Martinez claims that all six crew members were walking when they entered the ambulances to go to the hospitals. 

The TV station in Baltimore also reports that a Hazmat crew is trying to determine where the leak was coming from.

Update February 14, 2010:

One of the writers at the online cruise community CruiseMates.com brought the following article to my attention: "6 Workers Sickened On Cruise Ship In Baltimore" written by the AP and published on the web site of a local CBS affiliate WJZ in Baltimore. The article contained the photo below.  It has  a little more detail and indicates that the Hazmat team did not find carbon monoxide on the ship: 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Mercury Cruise Ship - Celebrity Cruises"Baltimore City Fire and hazmat officials went on the ship and tested for CO and found nothing."

This does not appear particularly surprising, because the testing was done 12 to 18 hours after the suspected exposure.

Cynthia Martinez, the PR spokesperson for the cruise line, is attributed saying that the Mercury cruise ship can hold a couple thousand passengers.  The cruise ship was heading to Baltimore at the time of the incident. She indicated that the six ill six workers had been working in the engine room, welding pipes with welding gear Friday night at the time of the suspected exposure.

There have been no reports by the hospitals or the cruise line regarding the current medical condition of the ill crewmembers.  

The Mercury was cleared to sail to South Carolina and has no passengers are on it until they board in Charlston. 

 

 

Credit:

Celebrity Cruises' Mercury cruise ship        Baltimore Sun

Hazmat photograph               AP  / CBS Baltimore affiliate WJZ