Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Carnival Inspiration

The United States Coast Guard News reports that a Coast Guard  helicopter from San Diego performed a medical evacuation of 34 year old a passenger who was suffering from appendicitis aboard a cruise ship 35 miles southwest of San Diego on Sunday. 

The Carnival Inspiration contacted the Coast Guard early Sunday morning and requested a medevac for the passenger. 

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flew to the cruise ship, hoisted the passenger aboard, and transported him to San Diego for  emergency medical treatment. 

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Carnival Inspiration

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Matthew Baker Creative Commons 3.0

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From HAL Oosterdam

OosterdamThe Coast Guard News reports that a Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter medevaced a 84 year old passenger from the Holland America Line cruise ship Oosterdam near Glacier Bay last week. 

The helicopter flew from Sitka and hoisted the elderly passenger from the cruise ship and transferred her to Juneau.

The Oosterdam reported that the woman was possibly suffering from a stroke. The Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended that the woman be medevaced from he cruise ship. 

We first heard of the incident from another passenger who emailed us today, saying:

"While sailing on the Oosterdam on 9/5/14 in Glacial Bay Alaska, we had a helicopter medical evacuation. The conditions were very poor, heavy fog. The Coast Guard out of Sitka, Alaska did a great job. The Coast Guard in Alaska, work in hazardous conditions, and deserve many thanks."

If you have a thought about this case, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Sergey Yarmolyuk Creative Commons

Guernsey Coast Guard Medevacs Severely Ill Passenger from the MSC Opera

BBC News reports that a "severely ill" passenger had to be evacuated from a MSC cruise ship. 

The MSC Opera was anchored off Guernsey. According to the BBC, the Guernsey Coast Guard described the patient's illness as severe. 

Guernsey is an island near Normandy in the English Channel between France and England. 

Photo Credit: Guernsey Harbours via BBC Jersey

MSC Opera

Coast Guard Medevacs Ill Passenger From Carnival Fantasy

Carnival FantasyAccording to First Coast News, a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a 67-year-old woman from the Carnival Fantasy to a Jacksonville hospital yesterday evening.

The passenger was reportedly experiencing life-threatening symptoms.

The Coast Guard helicopter, based out of Air Station Clearwater, lifted the cruise passenger off the ship and flew her, along with her husband and a cruise line nurse, to UF Health Jacksonville.

Neither the cruise line nor the passenger has to pay for these emergency medevac services.

The United States taxpayers foot the bill.

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Carnival Ecstasy

A local FOX News station in Clearwater, Florida reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a passenger with a medical emergency from a Carnival  cruise ship.

The Carnival Ecstasy was sailing around 250 miles southwest of the Florida Keys on Thursday, when a 51 year old male passenger began experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.

The Coast Guard crew flew out to the cruise ship in a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. They hoisted the sick passenger onto the helicopter and flew the man to a hospital. 

FOX 13 News

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

The Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a cruise passengers from a cruise ship returning from Freeport Bahamas yesterday.

The Coast Guard deployed a MH-65 dolphin helicopter to perform a medical evacuation of a a 56-year old male passenger suffering severe pain aboard the Bahamas Celebration northeast of Palm Beach, Florida, on May 18, 2014.

The man was airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Video Credit: U.S. Coast Guard via DVIDS  

 

Time for Transparency: Senators Request Coast Guard to Make Cruise Ship Inspection Reports Public

The U.S. Coast Guard made a remarkable statement during the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conference in March regarding passenger safety aboard cruise ships.

It said that it targets cruise ships with a history of safety problems. That's a good idea, of course. But the NTSB failed to ask the Coast Guard a simple follow-up question - what cruise line(s) and what cruise ships have demonstrated a pattern of poor maintenance and safety concerns?

The Coast Guard didn't point the finger at any particular cruise line and the NTSB didn't ask the question that the public needed to know. 

Allure of the Seas Life BoatMy thought is that the NTSB didn't want to embarrass the cruise lines who organized the conference. This reveals one of the major problems inherent in cruising. The federal agencies which are suppose to be watchdogs of cruise safety are in bed with the cruise lines. 

In response to this situation, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.) (Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Coast Guard Admiral Robert Papp, Jr. asking that that inspection reports be made available to the public over the Internet. 

The senators wrote “ . . . we respectfully request that the records and results of the unannounced inspections be made public and easily available over the Internet for prospective cruise passengers to peruse before booking a trip.”

The senators added:

“We agree it is strategic of the Coast Guard to target ships and vessels that have a pattern or history of safety problems, but we further expect that consumers should also be privy to the insights and patterns that the Coast Guard already knows, in addition to the ones it discovers in the future. Furthermore, the Coast Guard does a disservice to the public when it shields from consumers the identity of cruise ships and lines that have a pattern of noncompliance.”

No response from the Coast Guard so far.

Coast Guard Medevacs Two Passengers From Carnival Splendor

The U.S. Coast Guard released a video showing a medevac of two passengers yesterday morning, approximately 135 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

The Coast Guard stated that it medevaced a 25-year-old man and 60-year-old woman at around 5:45 a.m. from the Carnival Splendor after the cruise ship being reported them ill and in need of emergency medical attention. Earlier, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 Hercules were dispatched.

The Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the two passengers from the ship and up and flew them to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. 

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from the Carnival Imagination

Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System reports that a San Diego-based Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter evacuated an ill woman from a Carnival cruise ship yesterday.

The Carnival Imagination was approximately 30 miles off the coast of Point Loma, California on May 7, 2014 when it contacted the Coast Guard and requested a medevac for a 41-year-old American woman, believed to be a passenger. She was experiencing abdominal pain.

Video (no audio) credit to U.S. Coast Guard video.   

 

Norwegian Gem Medevac Involved Honeymoon Couple

Two days ago we mentioned that the Coast Guard medevaced a sick passenger from the Norwegian Gem cruise ship. Like most other Coast Guard medevacs, there was not much information available regarding the identity of the ill passenger. 

Today a news station in Salt Lake Utah aired a short segment explaining who the passenger was and what happened on the NCL cruise ship.

KSL Utah explains that the medevac involved a honeymooning couple who were enjoying their cruise until the husband, Brent Killian, became ill and he needed medical evacuation.  

The Gem was approximately 180 miles east of North Carolina, requiring a Coast Guard helicopter to take him ashore for emergency medical treatment.

The wife, Jo, was naturally anxious when her newly-wed husband was hoisted into the sky, but she took everything in stride. The news station reports that the couple has already booked another cruise.

We have reported on other helicopter rescues of ill passengers from the Norwegian Gem.  Watch a video of the July 14 2014 medevac from the Gem here

  

Carnival Ecstasy Intercepts 41 Cubans at Sea

 Multiple news sources are reporting that a Carnival cruise ship spotted a boat packed with dozens of Cuban migrants in the Florida Straits Tuesday night. 

The Coast Guard says the Carnival Ecstasy spotted the migrants' vessel Tuesday evening. Officials say the small boat wasn't seaworthy and lacked lifejackets and navigation equipment. I think that goes without saying when Cubans or others from Caribbean islands take to sea in rafts or make-shift boats.

The Ecstasy stopped and took 41 Cubans aboard. Carnival then transferred the Cubans to the Coast Guard for return to Cuba.  Under the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, Cubans who make it to U.S. soil are allowed to stay in the U.S., but Cubans stopped at sea are returned back to Cuba. home.

Carnival Cruise Lines Rescues Cubans at SeaWe have mentioned many stories like this over the years. Usually there is great excitement by the cruise passengers that they were involved in the "rescue" of people at sea. Yes, the Cuban people were rescued from the sea but they are returned to Castro's Cuban and the conditions which caused them to risk their lives. 

Last week we commented on this issue in an article entitled Cubans "Trying for the American Dream" End With An Empty Boat. In that case, Carnival intercepted 24 Cubans who were escorted by the Coast Guard back to Cuba. 

I wonder whether any of the 41 Cubans picked up by the Carnival Ecstasy Tuesday night had tried to cross again after being picked up last week? 

 

Photo Credit: AP / Local 10 news

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Norwegian Gem

NCL Medevac Cruise Ship The Coast Guard issued a statement today that it rescued a man in medical distress from the Norwegian Gem cruise ship. 

The Coast Guard stated that the NCL cruise ship called for assistance when the ship was sailing around 80 miles off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina. The Coast Guard received the distress signal at approximately 2:30 PM.  It sent a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. 

As you can see in the video, it looks like the crew had a little difficulty getting the passenger into the helicopter.

The helicopter crew hoisted the man onto the helicopter round 5 PM and flew him back to land where he was transported by ambulance to Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City. 

Photo Credit: WCTI 12

March 28 2014 UpdateNorwegian Gem Medevac Involved Honeymoon Couple (VIDEO)

 

Bedfellows CLIA & NTSB Team Up for Cozy Meeting on Cruise Ship Safety

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is beginning a two-day meeting today in Washington D.C. regarding the topic of passenger safety aboard cruise ships. The meeting was requested and largely organized by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the trade group for the cruise lines, to showcase the cruise industry.

Participating in the meeting will be NTSB members, CLIA representatives, cruise line employees, Coast Guard officials, and delegates from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO is an United Nations entity which makes safety recommendations for cruise ships but is powerless to enforce the recommendations or discipline or punish cruise lines which ignore the recommendations.

The NTSB refused to invite the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization to Washington D.C. and NTSB Meeting Cruise Ship Safetyrefuses to permit the ICV to participate in the meeting.  The ICV is a grass-roots, non-profit organization consisting of thousands of members who are dedicated to making cruising safer. Our firm has many former clients who are members of the ICV, including Lynnette Hudson, the daughter of Princess Cruises passenger Richard Liffridge from Georgia who perished in a fire aboard the Star Princess cruise ship.

The NTSB hearing is opening now with remarks from the Coast Guard about cruise ship accident investigations and fire protection. It is a shame that the NTSB and CLIA refuse to permit the ICV's involvement in the meeting given the first hand experience of the ICV members in dealing with dangers aboard cruise ships.  Ms. Hudson previously inspected the cruise ship which killed her father to make certain that it finally had a fire detection and suppression system installed. She testified before the United States House of Representatives regarding the cruise ship fire which killed her father. You can read about that fire and Ms. Hudson's recommendations to prevent similar fatalities here: Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?

Other ICV members were aboard the Costa Concordia when it crashed into the rocks and killed 32 souls. 

When I realized that the NTSB was excluding the ICV, I send emails to the NTSB spokesperson, Eric Weiss, requesting an explanation why only CLIA members and cruise line employees were welcome. Mr. Weiss ignored my emails. But he recently spoke to a Miami Herald reporter stating that: “Security and crime is not in our jurisdiction. This is about cruise ship safety, not security.” 

The ICV has many members personally affected by the absence of safety systems and protocols on cruise ships. The ICV has participated in five Congressional hearings addressing safety issues such as engine failures and fires. It appears that CLIA and the NTSB are systematically excluding any organization with victims who have personal experiences regarding cruise ship dangers while inviting only employees and friends of the cruise lines who wish to shield the industry from criticism. 

I realize that the cruise lines are desperate for favorable press after the debacle of the Carnival Splendor and the Carnival Triumph, with both cruise ships igniting shortly after Coast Guard inspections, as well as the deadly disaster involving the Carnival-owned Costa Concordia. But excluding cruise victims and orchestrating a rigged meeting with dog and pony shows by CLIA and cruise line representatives is shameful. 

NTSB's relationship with the cruise industry has always been a mixed bag.

Years ago, the NTSB's chairman was Jim Hall, a man of personal integrity who never wavered from who his commitment to the safety of the traveling public.

Mr. Hall earned a reputation for objectivity and credibility when he was the NTBS's top dog from 1994 - 2001. He was involved in investigating serious accidents in both the aviation and cruise industries. He NTSB Cruise Safety Meetingvoiced his concerns that there would be continued problems in the maritime industry because there was no real oversight over the cruise lines. Consider the comments which Mr. Hall made to Newsweek last year:

"Jim Hall, head of the National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration, says the industry is watched over by “paper tigers” like the International Maritime Organization and suffers from “bad actors” much like in the poorly regulated motor-coach industry, which saw its latest fatal bus crash in Southern California earlier this month. “The maritime industry is the oldest transportation industry around. We’re talking centuries. It’s a culture that has never been broken as the aviation industry was, and you see evidence of that culture in the [Costa Concordia] accident,” says Hall."

After Mr. Hall retired as chairman, the NTSB went in a different direction. From 2006 - 2008, Mark Rosenker served as the NTSB chairmen but he catered to the cruise industry. In 2007, CLIA's Board of Directors wined and dined Rosenker during the annual Sea Trade cruise convention (now called Cruise shipping Miami) here in Miami. He gave a nice speech to CLIA (you can read here) which he began by stating " I am very pleased that your safety record is excellent." This was a rather amazing and outrageous thing to say given the fact that just a year earlier, the Star Princess ignited off the coast of Jamaica and burned through 100 cabins and killed our client's father, Richard Liffridge, mentioned above. 

Rosenker even promised CLIA that he would help the cruise lines keep "sensitive" information about maritime accidents away from the public, telling CLIA "there are provisions in the law to keep certain voluntarily provided safety information confidential."

Rosenker and CLIA were a perfect match. Both were interested in suppressing damaging information about cruise mishaps from the public.

After Rosenker retired from the NTSB, CLIA paid him as a consultant for the cruise industry. His job largely appears to tell everyone who will listen that  "the industry has an outstanding safety record and the most dangerous part of the cruise is undoubtedly the drive to the port. It is very rare that people are injured on a cruise ship,” as he told the cruise industry publication World Cruise Industry Review in 2010.  

In 2012 and 2013 Rosenker continued his gushing praise of a cruise industry which puts money in his pocket, telling a travel agent publication that “it is important for consumers to understand that cruise vacations are extremely safe. This industry is highly regulated with tremendous oversight.” Rosenker told another cruise industry publication that “every aspect of the cruise industry is heavily monitored and regulated under US, EU and international law.”

Senator Rockefeller admonished Rosenker during his testimony last year when he repeated the cruise industry's talking points before a Senate hearing on cruise ship safety issues last year, because of his obvious bias for the cruise lines.

The cruise line routinely hires from the NTSB, FBI, Coast Guard, USPH and other federal agencies. NTSB Cruise Safety MeetingMany former federal officials seem to pander to the cruise lines while in public office. Former Coast Guard officials often quickly turn into paid cruise line consultants who are pleased to appear in cruise industry publications still wearing their Coast Guard uniform and medals standing in front of an official Coast Guard logo while attesting to their wonderful experiences cruising.

Of course, no current or past federal employee should engage in such hyperbolic cheer-leading like this. It is unprofessional and unseemly. It is a conflict of interest. But some federal officials seem motivated to angle for private sector jobs in the rich cruise industry which pays no federal income taxes and is overseen, if all all, by poor, flag of convenience nations like Panama and the Bahamas and the "paper tigers," mentioned by Mr. Hall, at the IMO.

So the NTSB-CLIA love-fest begins this morning. Where is the integrity of Jim Hall? Where are the victims of cruise ship fires and sinkings? Who is speaking for the dead and injured?  Have all of the federal agencies crawled in bed with the cruise lines? 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger from Carnival Splendor

WAVY.com reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaces a cruise passenger from a carnival cruise ship last night.

The Carnival Splendor notified  the Coasy Guard around 10:45 p.m. last night that a 66 year old man was in medical distress. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina to assist.

The helicopter crew arrived at the cruise ship around 1:30 a.m. about 50 miles east of Wilmington and hoisted the passenger. The Coast Guard took him to Wilmington International Airport where he was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.  

 

Coast Guard Responds to Injured Passenger on Grandeur of the Seas

The U.S. Coast Guard provided emergency transportation for an injured cruise ship passenger this morning.

The Coast Guard released a statement that it medevaced a 93-year-old man from Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas in the lower Chesapeake Bay.

The Royal Caribbean ship contacted the Coast Guard via VHF-FM at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday night and reported that a passenger suffered a head injury and was in need of medical assistance.

The Coast Guard crew, together with Virginia Beach Fire Department personnel, responded with a 45-foot response boat. The crew arrived at the cruise ship at approximately 1:30 a.m. this morning. They transferred the man and his wife aboard the Coast Guard boat and took them ashore. The passengers were then transferred to local emergency medical services and taken to Virginia Beach General Hospital.

There is no indication how the passenger was injured.  Many people have informed us that the Grandeur encountered rough weather heading back to port, although it is unknown whether the passenger's injury was related to sea and wind conditions.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / J. Glover

Grandeur of the Seas

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger From Carnival Paradise

Carnival Paradise MedevacThe U.S. Coast Guard reports that it medevaced a 66-year-old passenger from a Carnival cruise ship yesterday when the ship was approximately 180 miles southwest of Marco Island, Florida. 

The Carnival Paradise contacted the Coast Guard around 2:00 PM yesterday regarding a male passenger who was suffering from an undisclosed medical illness while the cruise ship was sailing to Tampa.

A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched from the Coast Guard's station in Clearwater.

FOX News reports that when the Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived at the cruise ship, the aircrew lowered their rescue swimmer, hoisted the ill cruise passenger and transported him to Tampa General Hospital for medical care. 

Photo Credit: FOX 4

 

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy MedevacWPLG Local 10 News reports that a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a 21 year old passenger from the Disney Fantasy cruise ship yesterday. 

The 21 year-old man had finished two scuba dives near Key West and returned to the Disney cruise ship complaining of chest pain. The ship medical doctor took x-rays and determined that one of his lungs was partially collapsed.

The doctor consulted with the Coast Guard which medevaced the passenger.

Photo Credit: Coast Guard via WPLG Local 10

 

 

 

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Injured Passenger From HAL Veendam

Veendam Cruise ShipThe U.S. Coast Guard Sector in San Diego sent a helicopter to a cruise ship approximately 150 miles west of San Diego yesterday (January 23rd).

The Defense Video and Imaging Distribution Services reports that a 69-year-old woman fell down a stairwell and suffered head injuries and internal bleeding.

The video was taken by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Henry G. Dunphy.

The name of the cruise ship was not released. However, an AIS tracking site indicates that the Holland America Line Veendam turned around and began heading back toward San Diego.

You can watch the helicopter land after transporting the injured woman from the HAL ship.

The Veendam was last in the news when an elderly woman went overboard earlier this month. 

Photo Credit: Holland America Line via L.A. Times 

 

Fire, Fog & Medevac Mar Cruise Aboard Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic MedevacThis morning at 7:39 AM, I received the following information from a passenger on the Carnival Magic returning to port in Galveston:

"We sit outside the harbor in the fog this morning. Last night the coast guard had to airlift a passenger for medical reasons and yesterday morning we had a fire. Deck 11 forward. The crew says it was not a fire but hot electrical. Smoke was coming down to other decks, there is water and wet floors up there so they can call it what they want . . . Pic of the chopper attached."

We are also told Carnival had fans and machines out on deck 11 and there was standing water in the halls. One passenger said "it might have just been a hot circuit but they sure used a lot of water, which made no sense on electrical."

Passengers are now disembarking from the cruise ship.

Does anyone on this cruise have information, photos or video to share?

Please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Carnival's response:

"On Saturday morning aboard the Carnival Magic, there was a smell of smoke reported along a guest corridor. The issue was identified as an overheated electrical component within an air conditioning vent located within a guest stateroom. There was no fire. The issue has since been fixed. Guests were kept apprised of the situation with announcements over the ship’s public address system and shipboard staff were positioned in the area where the smoke was reported to advise guests and answer any questions.

Additionally, on Saturday afternoon, the ship rendezvoused with a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to airlift a guest in need of immediate medical attention. The guest was taken to a shoreside medical facility for further treatment.

Carnival Magic was on a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean that returned to its home port of Galveston earlier this morning."

Coast Guard Medevacs 68 Year Old Passenger from Carnival Elation

Carnival Elation Cruise ShipDefense Video and Imaging Distribution System (DVIDS) reports tonight on another medevac of a cruise ship passenger by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Today, the Carnival Elation cruise ship notified the Coast Guard that a passenger was suffering from cardiac symptoms and needed to be medically evacuated.

The Coast Guard in New Orleans sent a MH-65D helicopter to the Carnival cruise ship and hoisted a 68-year-old man from the ship.

The Coast Guard said that the passenger experienced symptoms of cardiac arrest.

The cruise ship was 60 miles offshore of the Southwest Pass, Louisiana.  

The helicopter transported the ill passenger to the LSU Medical Center.

 

Video Credit: Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / P. Alejandro Diaz

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Woman from Grandeur of the Seas

According to the Defense Video & Imagery Service, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 56-year-passenger today from a cruise ship. 

The Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas notified the Coast Guard at approximately 10 PM last night that the woman was is medical distress. The cruise ship was approximately 300 miles east of Orlando, Florida. At approximately 3:30 AM this morning, a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft and an MH-60 Jayhawk took off by Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The helicopter arrived at the cruise ship at 6:20 AM. and transported the woman to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.  

 

Poop Cruise Reveals Shortcomings of Port and Flag State Inspections

Cruise fan sites rushed to Carnival's defense following the CNN special on the Triumph fire.

CNN cited maintenance records and advisory notices showing one of the generators on the cruise ship was poorly maintained and lacked the recommended spray guards to prevent ruptured fuel lines from igniting. The documents revealed a ship not in compliance with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) recommendations from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

But cruise fan sites, primarily Cruise Critic and the increasingly popular Cruise Currents (formerly Mikey's Blog), cited documents which Carnival leaked to the press suggesting that the cruise line was in compliance with SOLAS. 

Carnival Splendor Fire You can see documents provided to cruise-friendly Cruise Currents here.

Cruise Critic quoted Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen saying that the U.S. Coast Guard inspected the Carnival Triumph days before the February 7th sailing and allegedly found it to be in compliance with all SOLAS requirements.

"The ship would not be allowed to sail if it were not in compliance with SOLAS requirements," Gulliksen said.

But this is where Carnival's argument falls apart.

The Coast Guard also inspected the Carnival Splendor a few days before it caught fire in November 2010. Remember a U.S. aircraft carrier had to sail to the scene and drop food from helicopters to the stranded passengers? The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard spent millions attending to the sticken ship before it was towed back to the U.S.  

Does the fact that the Coast Guard inspected the Splendor and permitted it to sail mean that the cruise ship was seaworthy and in compliance with SOLAS? Hardly. The Coast Guard investigated the Splendor and prepared a scathing report of its many SOLAS violations and deficiencies.

One of the Carnival ship's large diesel engines sustained a catastrophic failure with the rods and pistons cracking and exploding out of the engine which permitted lube oil and fuel oil to ignite. The post-fire investigation conducted by the Coast Guard revealed that the pistons sustained long term metal fatigue which was not checked due to an absence of appropriate maintenance and record keeping by Carnival. Other parts of the engine showed severe, advanced corrosion reflective of an absence of regular inspection and maintenance. 

Although the Coast Guard was critical of Carnival's neglect in inspecting and maintaining the engine which failed, it should be pointed out that the Coast Guard conducted an annual Control Verification Exam on November 7, 2010 and passed the vessel. What an embarrassment for the Coast Guard to have inspected the cruise ship right before the fire and permitted it to sail with passengers.

The root of the problems with the Splendor and the Triumph is that the inspections conducted by the flag and port states of these poorly maintained ships were inadequate.

The port state (where the ship is registered, like Panama or the Bahamas) is indifferent and incompetent. The reason why foreign corporations like Carnival flag their ships like the Triumph in places like the Bahamas is that it knows that the Bahamas will leave it alone. The business model of the Carnival's of the world is to avoid all U.S.taxes, wage and labor laws, and health and safety laws. A poop cruise is the result.

Yes, the U.S. Coast Guard conducts inspections sometimes when the cruise ships are in U.S. ports, but these "port state" inspections are hardly vigorous. The Coast Guard is facing a budgetary crisis and is grossly under-funded. They need a small army to perform a thorough inspection during the short time a single cruise ship is in a U.S. port. There are sometimes nearly a dozen ships in port over a weekend. The ships are huge of course. Coast Guard inspections are skimpy and are at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the rigorous Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspections.   

The cruise industry is extremely wealthy, but the cruise lines don't pay U.S. income taxes. There is simply not enough money in the U.S. budget to hire a sufficient number of Coast Guard inspectors to check on the every-increasingly large fleet of cruise ships.

As matters now stand, the U.S. spends many millions for Coast Guard and Navy services when the foreign-flagged cruise ships break down due to a lack of maintenance.

 

Photo Credit: cntraveler.com

Double Duty: Coast Guard Performs Medevacs of Passengers From Norwegian Breakaway and Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship MedevacThe last two days have been busy for the U.S. Coast Guard medevacing ill passengers from cruise ships.

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an 87-year-old woman from the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship off the coast of Ocracoke, North Carolina yesterday. 

The NCL cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard yesterday shortly before noon regarding an elderly passenger who required unspecified medical assistance.

A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flew to the cruise ship from Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The cruise ship was approximately 38 miles off the coast. the helicopter crew hoisted the woman aboard the helicopter and flew her to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. 

  

The second medevac involved the Coast Guard hoisting a woman from the Carnival Fascination cruise ship. The Coast Guard in Miami said that the Carnival cruise ship contacted it after a woman was showing signs of cardiac arrest on Sunday night.

The ship was approximately 38 miles offshore from St. Lucie County. 

The Coast Guard helicopter flew the woman to Broward General Hospital where she was reportedly in stable condition.  

 

 

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Carnival Victory

Carnival Victory Cruise Ship ABC News reports that a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter (MH-60) and aircraft (C-130) were dispatched from Clearwater Florida in response to an emergency request from the Carnival's Victory cruise ship this morning.

The cruise ship was reportedly near Cuba at the time of the call.

Cruise passenger Herman Lebron, age 88, was suffering from internal injuries and needed evacuation. 

Mr. Lebron was flown to Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West, Florida.

His current medical condition is unknown.

You can see the video of the medevac below, courtesy of  defense video and imagery distribution system.

Two days ago, we posted a story about the Coast Guard medevacing an ill woman from the Carnival Miracle cruise ship. 

Photo Credit: Carnival Victory - Wikipedia / Tomás Fano

Video: Coast Guard Medevacs 34 Year Old Passenger From Carnival Miracle

Coast Guard Medevac Cruise ShipChannel 7 San Diego reports that a Coast Guard aircrew medevaced a woman from a Carnival cruise ship today after she began internally bleeding approximately 600 miles south of San Diego.

The Carnival Miracle contacted the Coast Guard last night, requesting a medevac for the 34-year-old woman.

A helicopter flew from San Diego to met the ship, which was nearly 300 miles south of San Diego at the time of the rescue.

The helicopter crew hoisted the woman and transported her to San Diego where she was transferred to emergency medical personnel for further medical care. 

You can see a Coast Guard video of the amazing medical rescue below.

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Cruise Industry Retains Retired Coast Guard Rear Admirals to Repair Battered Image

Travel Weekly recently published an article titled "Lax Regulations of Cruise Lines is a Myth."

I'm used to reading articles from Travel Weekly which lean over backwards to be nice to the cruise lines. After all, Travel Weekly is a travel magazine which caters to people who love to cruise and travel around the world.

But I was disturbed to read that the article was written by former officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Jim Hull and Rear Admiral Tim Sullivan (both now retired from service). 

Their opinion piece claims that cruise lines are strictly regulated by the International Maritime Tim Sullivan - Coast Guard Retired Organization (IMO) and the Coast Guard.

They talk about the IMO's "rules & regulations" and the Coast Guard's allegedly "rigorous" annual inspections of cruise ships. They even go so far in their gushing praise of the cruise industry to state that they both take their families on cruises.

Although both of them are long since retired from the Coast Guard, the article includes images of them wearing Coast Guard uniforms.  A gigantic Coast Guard seal bearing the "Semper Paratus" ("Always Ready") logo is prominently displayed at the top of the article.    

Did the U.S. Coast Guard authorize these former employees to pose in uniforms and display the official seal of the Coast Guard seemingly approving an article by the for-profit travel magazine promoting the highly profitable cruise industry? Obviously not. 

So who are these former Coast Guard officials and why are they cheering for the cruise industry?

The answer, in an nutshell, is because they are consultants for the cruise lines.  

Take former Admiral Sullivan for example. He refers to himself on the professional business networking site, LinkedIn, as an "External Media Consultant for International Cruise Ship Association." His profile mentions that he is currently active in cruise vessels and shipyard external maritime public relations and consulting, among other activities. One of the consulting firms he worked for in the last few years lists BP and Transocean (remember the explosion and multiple deaths in the Gulf of Mexico) as well as numerous Fortune 200 oil & gas companies and drilling contractors like Chevron, Shell, Hess, Ensco and Diamond Offshore as clients. 

These are consultants for big business who are well paid to get large billion dollar corporations out of tight spots. They are certainly not consultants for the little guy or a family wanting a little fun on a holiday cruise. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I have great respect, as we all do, for the brave men and women in the Coast Guard who hoist ill passengers from the decks of cruise ships during dangerous medevacs far out at sea. 

But I have no respect when retired-Coast Guard officials turned cruise-ship-media consultants promote the cruise industry by wearing their Coast Guard medals & uniforms of their former-employer and mis-use the official Coast Guard seal for a travel publication.

In the Travel Weekly article, these former Coast Guard officials characterize everyone who disagrees with them as "uninformed." They also mock the "critics of the industry" who characterize the IMO as a "paper tiger."   

I have been to the past eight Congressional hearings where highly educated and informed Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen have debated the problems associated with the unregulated cruise industry. Cruise lines incorporate in places like Panama (Carnival) or Liberia (Royal Caribbean) and register their ships in places like Bermuda and the Bahamas is to avoid U.S. taxes, U.S. labor and wages laws, and U.S. safety laws and regulations. To summarily dismiss the very real and sometimes deadly problems discussed and debated in good faith in the Senate and Congress as a "myth" is disrespectful to the American people and their elected officials.    

Let 's talk about the IMO.  The reference to it being a "paper tiger" was made by a highly distinguished Chairmen of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jim Hall. The problem with the IMO, a United Nation's feel-good entity, is that it has no "rules" or "regulations" at all. All it can do is issue "recommendations" which it hopes the cruise lines will follow. If they don't, there is absolutely nothing the IMO can do.   NTSB Chairman Hall says the industry is watched over by “paper tigers” like the International Maritime Organization and suffers from “bad actors.” He referred to the cruise industry saying: “It is, and has been, an outlaw industry. People who book cruises should be aware of that.”

And let's talk about the Coast Guard. Unfortunately, it is underfunded and has fewer vessels than the rich, powerful, enormous and ever-growing cruise industry.  Does the Coast Guard rigorously inspect cruise ships? Hardly.  

Remember the Carnival Splendor which suffered an engine room fire three years ago? The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard spent millions of tax payer's dollars responding to the derelict cruise ship which had to be towed back to the U.S. 

What is not well known is that the Coast Guard conducted an annual examination the day before the fire and passed the vessel. This was one of the exams which retired Admiral Sullivan calls "rigorous." What an embarrassment for the Coast Guard to have inspected the cruise ship and permitted it to sail with passengers immediately before the fire broke out. Read Better Late Than Never? U.S. Coast Guard Releases Report Over 2 & 1/2 Years After Catastrophic Carnival Splendor Fire.

This is not the first public display of praise for cruise lines by Tim Sullivan. Last year, the cruise trade organization (CLIA) was under scrutiny for the widespread sexual crimes against women during cruises. CLIA wrote an article claiming that crime on cruise ships is rare: The Truth About Crime and Crime Reporting.

Who was the first person to leave a comment on the CLIA website?  No one other than former Admiral Sullivan! It's hardly a coincidence. He gushed praise for CLIA but never admitted that he is a consultant for them. He even added in his favorite phrase that he loves to cruise with his family:

"Ms. Duffy, I applaud you and CLIA for continuing to tell the cruise lines’ safety and security story. From my experience as a 36-year Coast Guard officer who has both overseen and enforced Federal regulations on our nation’s waters, I can attest that in my opinion, the cruise ships that ply US waters are in full compliance with all US regulations and still provide one of the best, safest and most secure vacation experiences available. I have taken multiple cruises in the last few years with my family and always felt relaxed, safe and secure! If I didn't, I and many others simply would not go! Cruise vessels are a "well regulated" industry. From my experience, your organization and the lines it represents, have always voluntarily and fully partnered with local, state and federal organizations on behalf of your passengers. It's the right thing to do and certainly in your best interests. I remain confident that the cruise industry, along with state and federal partners, will continue to do their best for their guests. Keep at it!"

What's particularly disturbing about former Admiral Sullivan's fawning praise is that the CLIA article was written in response to a story on CNN's Anderson Cooper (Predators at Seas: Are Your Kids Safe on Cruise Ships?) about a young girl who was sexually molested on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The CNN story clearly demonstrated that public safety required far greater oversight of the cruise industry. Rather than supporting the little girl who was raped, CLIA enlisted former Admiral Sullivan to opine that cruising is the "best, safest and most secure" vacation imaginable.  

In fact, investigating and prosecuting rapes on the high seas is not even the responsibility of the Coast Guard in the first place. If any federal agency is involved it's the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

CLIA knows that articles it plants in travel newspapers are picked up and posted on Facebook or re-tweeted on Twitter and reach a larger audience. Shortly after the retired Rear-Admirals' article was published in Travel Weekly, a well know travel blogger endorsed it lock-stock-& barrel in his article entitled Must-Read Article In Travel Weekly For All Cruise Travelers.   

Not everyone in the Coast Guard shares ex-Coast Guard Sullivan's endless praise for the cruise lines. A recent New York Times articles quotes current Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio, who testified at a Senate hearing in July about cruise ship dangers, saying that the recent cruise ship fires “highlight serious questions about the design, maintenance and operation of fire safety equipment on board these vessels, as well as their companies’ safety management cultures."

My view: The cruise industry has endured years of harsh media coverage. From that perspective, you can understand why cruise lines are starving for some good news for a change. But having retired Coast Guard officials on the cruise line's dole publish self-serving and misleading opinions and use Coast Guard logos without authorization and without disclosing that they are media consultants is disingenuous.  It's an affront to the working men and women of the Coast Guard.

The article reflects a desperate cruise industry which will continue to try and manipulate the public's opinion. In the process, the cruise lines will simply reinforce their image as not only being unregulated but lacking honesty.      

  

Photo Credit: Darley Consulting

Coast Guard Medevacs Carnival Passenger with Broken Legs

A local news station in Broward County reports that the U.S. Coast Guard has medevaced a seriously injured passenger from an unidentified Carnival cruise ship today.

The woman, who sustained injuries to both of her legs, was hoisted onto a Coast Guard helicopter and flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. 

The news station states that Coast Guard Sector Miami was notified by cruise personnel that the 52-year-old woman had fallen in an elevator, severely injuring both of her legs.

This was the second Coast Guard medevac of a passenger from a Carnival cruise ship today. Earlier this morning, a Coast Guard helicopter rescued a passenger from the Carnival Splendor.

Coast Guard Medevac Carnival Cruise Ship

 

Photo Credit: Local 10

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger From Carnival Splendor

A news station in Norfolk Virginia reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill passengers from a Carnival cruise ship near Norfolk to a local hospital today. 

The news station states that this morning at around 10:45 A.M., the Carnival Splendor cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard regarding a 57-year-old woman who required medical assistance.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. dispatched a helicopter crew to respond to the medical emergency.

The Coast Guard helicopter flew to the cruise ship, which was about 80 miles east of Norfolk, at around 12:30 P.M. The Coast Guard crew then hoisted the woman into the helicopter and flew her to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from Queen Mary II

Queen Mary IIWWLP reports that the Coast Guard rescued an ill 67-year-old man from the cruise ship Queen Mary II, 47 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. 

The cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard, requesting assistance for a passenger suffering from severe bleeding.

A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was sent with a rescue crew to medically evacuate the passenger. The helicopter hoisted the man and brought him back to Air Station Cape Cod for ground transport to Cape Cod Hospital.

The newspaper quoted a Coast Guard spokesperson saying:"Hoisting an injured passenger off an underway cruise ship takes a surprising amount of expertise and moving parts, and our crews take pride every time they do it. This case is a great example of our unique role as maritime first responders."

The Coast Guard last rescued a sick passengers from the Queen Mary II in December 2011 when it hoisted an ill 64 year old woman from the cruise ship off the coast of North Carolina.  You can see a video of that rescue below. 

Photo Credit of Queen Mary II: Brian Burnell via Wikipedia

 

What Governmental Shut Down? Coast Guard Drops Blood for Sick Passenger Aboard the Oosterdam Heading to Hawaii

Coast Guard - Oosterdam  The U.S. Coast Guard comes to the rescue again.

Our Federal Government may be in the middle of a shutdown, but the Coast Guard aircraft and helicopters are still flying to help cruise ship passengers in distress on the high seas.

The latest story comes from a newspaper in Hawaii, the Maui News, which reports that a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane flew over a 1.000 miles to "drop six units of blood, a pack of platelets, and two transfusion kits via parachute to medical personnel aboard the Oosterdam."

The heroics were in response to requests for assistance by Holland America Line (HAL) which was dealing with an ailing elderly passenger who was suffering from internal bleeding.  The situation was critical because the cruise ship was far out at sea, heading to Lahaina, Maui. 

You can see the blood drop in the video below.

Photo/ Video Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa McKenzie, courtesy US Coast Guard, via Maui News. 

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger from HAL's Westerdam

A CBS station in San Diego is reporting that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 75-year-old man who suffered a heart attack while aboard a Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship. 

The Coast Guard received notification late last night that that a HAL passenger was experiencing a medical emergency aboard the Westerdam cruise ship. at the time, the cruise ship was 15 miles off of Mission Bay, California. 

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from San Diego and the patient and the ship's nurse were hoisted and taken to the hospital.

You can see the medevac operation in the video below courtesy of Coast Guard News.

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger from Golden Princess

Local news stations in San Francisco are reporting that the U.S. Coast rescued a cruise passengers man suffering from acute kidney failure aboard a Princess cruise ship 40 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday morning.

A 79-year-old Canadian man was demonstrating symptoms of kidney failure while aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship which was sailing to Los Angeles. 

The Coast Guard helicopter lowered a crew member was lowered onto the ship and then hoisted the sick passenger and the cruise ship’s nurse up to the helicopter. 

The passenger flown to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto and was in stable condition Friday afternoon.

Video Credit: U.S. Coast Guard via NBC Bay Area

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger From Diamond Princess

KCAW reports that a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, based in Sitka, Alaska, medevaced a 72-year-old woman from the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Icy Strait on September 19, 2013.

The woman, suffering from convulsions, was safely transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Sitka, about 100 miles south of Icy Strait. EMS then transported her to Sitka Community Hospital for further care.

Seas were calm at the time of the medevac, with 12 mile winds and 6 miles visibility.

The video below is courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard / Air Station Sitka. 

 

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from Norwegian Dawn

Cape Code Today reports that U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 50-year-old man from a NCL cruise ship 160 nautical miles from Nantucket. The man was hoisted by a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and flown to meet an ambulance in Hyannis and then transported to Cape Cod Hospital. 

The cruise ship is reportedly the Bahamian flagged Norwegian Dawn. 

The passenger reportedly ruptured his spleen after being struck by a kayak in Bermuda on Monday.

The Norwegian Dawn is best known to Miami maritime lawyers as the cruise ship involved in the infamous "rogue wave" case in 2005. Passengers contended that NCL risked the passenger's safety by sailing in rough weather back to New York for a filming of The Apprentice with Donald Trump. A lawsuit filed by a different maritime lawyer against NCL ended in a defense verdict for the cruise line.  

Norwegian Dawn

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Daniel Schwen

Better Late Than Never? U.S. Coast Guard Releases Report Over 2 & 1/2 Years After Catastrophic Carnival Splendor Fire

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard finally released its report regarding the engine room fire which disabled the Carnival Splendor cruise ship on November 8, 2010.

The Coast Guard's reported concluded, in a nutshell, that cylinders in one of the large diesel engines sustained a catastrophic failure with the rods and pistons cracking and exploding out of the engine which permitted lube oil and fuel oil to ignite. The pistons sustained long term metal fatigue which was not checked due to an absence of appropriate maintenance and record keeping by Carnival.  Other parts of the engine showed severe, advanced corrosion reflective of an absence of regular inspection and maintenance.

Carnival Cruise Line - Splendor FireThe fire was not suppressed due to the failure of the CO2 system and mistakes and a lack of training by the ship's crew. The crew reset the automatic suppression alarm and failed to manually activate the water mist system which permitted the fire to spread. It took the crew two hours to locate the fire due to the firefighters' unfamiliarity with the engine room. The Coast Guard faulted the crew for using portable dry chemicals and carbon dioxide extinguishers rather than fire hoses. And the captain permitted the fire to continue by trying to ventilate the engine room before the fire was completely extinguished. 

You can read the report here

Although the Coast Guard was critical of Carnival's neglect in inspecting and maintaining the engine which failed, it should be pointed out that the Coast Guard conducted an annual Control Verification Exam on November 7, 2010 and passed the vessel. What an embarrassment for the Coast Guard to have inspected the cruise ship the day before the fire and permitted it to sail with passengers. 

Another interesting pint is the time line of the fire. The fire was not finally and completely extinguished for over nine hours. This is a far cry from the initial reports from the cruise line which tried to reassure the passengers that the fire was not a big deal and was under control, 

Its curious why it took well over two and one-half years for the Coast Guard to release its report. The reality is that the Coast Guard and the cruise line and the companies which the cruise line pay to become involved in the investigation exchange information and review a draft copy of the Coast Guard report before it is "official" and is released to the public.

A month after the fire, the Coast Guard issued two Marine Safety Alerts regarding the CO2 firefighting system on the Splendor ship which failed to operate. Here's our article about the Coast Guard's initial finding in December 2010: Carnival Splendor CO2 Firefighting System: "A Recipe for Failure."

 

Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Associated Press via New York Times

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger from Carnival Splendor

Over the weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a cruise passenger who suffered a heart attack from a cruise ship 150 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

The rescue involved a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to assist.

The video below shows the crew aboard the Jayhawk helicopter hover over cruise ship Carnival Splendor in the Atlantic Ocean, 150 miles east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The crew medevaced a heart attack patient and a nurse from the ship and took them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. 

 

 

Under Pressure, Carnival Agrees to Reimburse U.S. for Coast Guard & Navy Costs in Responding to Disabled Triumph & Splendor Cruise Ships

Under public criticism and pressure initiated by U.S. Senator Rockefeller, Carnival announced today that it will reimburse the federal government for costs of over $4,000,000 incurred by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy in responding to its Triumph and Splendor cruise ships. 

Senator Rockefeller set his sights on the cruise industry at a Senate hearing last year following the deadly disaster of the Carnival-owned Costa Concordia cruise ship.  Rockefeller grilled the cruise industry's CEO and questioned why the cruise lines avoided most U.S. taxes and did not reimburse the federal government Senator Rockefeller - Micky Arisonfor the services of some 20 federal agencies.

Senator Rockefeller recently sent a letter to Carnival CEO Micky Arison, who is worth over 5.7 billions dollars, demanding an explanation why Carnival paid virtually no U.S. taxes even though the Panamanian incorporated cruise line uses the services of the U.S. Coast Guard and other U.S. agencies on a daily basis.  Carnival's response was labeled "shameful" by Rockefeller.

NBC aired a special on the story and interviewed Rockefeller (and me) during the program. NBC's Rock Center commissioned an audit of Carnival which revealed that Carnival paid 0.6% in international, federal, national, and local taxes on its many billions of dollars in income over the course of the last 5 years.    

Numerous news sources, including the Huffington Post, published articles highly critical of Carnival. Since then, Carnival has been the butt of "poop ship" jokes and ridiculed for non-payment of U.S. taxes. Carnival has been clobbered in the arena of public opinion.    

Carnival released a statement today saying: “Although no agencies have requested remuneration, the company has made the decision to voluntarily provide reimbursement to the federal government.”

Senator Rockefeller responded by saying: “I’m glad to see that Carnival owned up to the bare minimum of corporate responsibility by reimbursing federal taxpayers for these two incidents. I am still committed Micky Arison - Senator Rockefeller  to making sure the cruise industry as a whole pays its fair share in taxes, complies with strict safety standards, and holds the safety of its passengers above profits.”

The issue of Carnival's avoidance of paying taxes and for U.S. services has been brewing for years. The International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization, a non-profit organization focused on crimes and disappearances of passengers on cruise ships, has addressed the issue of cruise tax avoidance for years.  ICV CEO Ken Carver sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the costs associated with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard responding to the disabled Carnival Splendor in November 2010.

Mr. Carver's investigation led to a response from the Navy which revealed that the Navy incurred $1,884,376.75 in responding to the disabled Splendor which included sending the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and helicopters to the fire stricken cruise ship.

Read: Your Tax Dollars At Sea - Who Pays When Things Go Wrong on Cruises?     

Congratulations to the ICV and CEO Ken Carver for raising this issue over the past years.

Carnival & Disney Cruise Ships Intercept Rafters Heading to South Florida

Cruise Ships Rescue Cuban ImmigrantsThe U.S. Coast Guard is reporting that yesterday two cruise ships responded to migrants at sea in two separate incidents. A Coast Guard representative characterized the migrants as floating in two "rustic vessels" south of Key West Florida.

The cruise ships involved are the Disney Wonder home ported in Miami, and the Carnival Conquest which is based in New Orleans. 

Carnival stated that the Conquest picked up 13 Cuban nationals about 40 miles from Key West. (The photo released by Carnival shows men aboard what appears to be a yellow rubber boat around 18'). The Carnival cruise ship then rendezvoused with a Coast Guard cutter near Key West to transfer the Cubans to the custody of the U.S.  

Disney stated that the Wonder picked up eight people about 45 miles from Key West, but did not disclose their nationality.  You can see photos of the boat of Cubans here.

Cuban Rafters - Cruise Ship RescueThe migrants were reportedly half way between Havana and Key West when they were stopped. 

Numerous media accounts are suggesting that it is currently unknown what would be done with the migrants, but that's nonsense. In all cases I have seen where cruise ships picked up Cubans on the high seas the Coast Guard sends them back to Cuba. 

Carnival has been under criticism for relying on the Coast Guard when its ships catch on fire and are disabled at sea but it does not reimburse the federal government, The cruise line took advantage of the event to try and get some good press. Its President Gerry Cahill stated in a press release:

“We are happy to have come to the aid of these individuals and to support the long-established tradition among the global maritime community of providing assistance to mariners in distress.” 

I'm not too sure that the Cuban refugees will be too "happy" when they end up in a jail courtesy of Castro's Cuba. 

Leave a comment or join the discussion on Facebook: Is this a "rescue" or an "interception?"

Cuban Rafters - Cruise Ship Rescue

 

 

Photo Credit:

Migrants in boat: Carnival via WWL TV

Chart: Daily Mail

Cruise Lines Depend on U.S. Coast Guard for Safety & Security But Pay Nothing

Coast Guard - Cruise Line - TaxesToday I read a press release by the U.S. Coast Guard about a maritime safety exercise conducted in the waters of Freeport Grand Bahamas.

U.S. Coast Guard crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback conducted a safety exercise with Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas on April 2, 2013. The exercise was called "Black Swan" and was described as "a joint offshore emergency exercise" coordinated by the Coast Guard, the cruise line industry and the Bahamian government.

You can see from the photos, taken Chris Todd, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, that multiple Coast Guard vessels were involved.

The cruise industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International association (CLIA) touted the exercise as part of the cruise industry's commitment to safety.  CLIA CEO Chritine Duffy said the exercise:

" . . . further strengthens the cruise industry's unwavering commitment to emergency preparedness in coordination with the Coast Guard and other government authorities . . . (and) underscores the focus we maintain on our No. 1 priority: the safety and comfort of our guests.” 

What CLIA does not mention is that the cruise industry does not pay for the Coast Guard services even though the cruise lines collect over $35,000,000,000 (billion) a year but pay less than 1% a year in local, state, federal and international taxes a year. 

The Coast Guard is severely under-funded but receives absolutely no reimbursement from the cruise lines. The cruise industry then uses the exercises (paid for by U.S. taxpayers) as part of its marketing to sell cruise tickets to the tax-paying public.  

The cruise lines have rightfully been criticized for not reimbursing the Coast Guard for rescuing vessel at sea.  But there are many, many other expenses which the Coast Guard incurs which the cruise lines do not reimburse, such as daily Coast Guard escorts into and out of U.S. ports, safety exercises, and medevac airlifts of ill crew members and passengers.

At a time of financial crisis in the U.S., it is obscene that the cruise industry gets a free ride from our federal government for services like this.  A friend just emailed me about this PR exercise by the cruise lines: "what a gross waste of money by US taxpayers in support of an industry that is so arrogant and exploitative of US resources." 

Coast Guard - Cruise Ship - Payment of Expenses

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from HAL's Zaandam Cruise Ship

HAL Cruise Ship MedevacTwo U.S. Coast Guard air crews from San Diego and Sacramento worked together to medevac a sick cruise ship passenger who was in need of emergency medical attention. 

According to NBC-7 San Diego, the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship, Zaandam, was sailing approximately 200 miles southwest of San Diego when a 71-year-old passenger began experiencing what is described as a serious internal medical condition. 

The HAL cruise ship was en route from Hawaii to Ensenada, Mexico. When the passenger became ill, the ship changed course to sail nearer to San Diego. 

A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew took off from San Diego to meet the ship. A C-130 Hercules airplane crew from Sacramento provided support during the rescue.

The top video shows the helicopter crew hoisting the ailing passenger from the cruise ship.

The bottom video is taken from the C-130 aircraft. 

Cruise Ship Fires & Missing Children: Will the Bahamas Ever Release Reports?

The fire on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship is being investigated by the Bahamas because Carnival elected to register the Triumph in that country to avoid U.S. taxes, labor and safety laws. As the "flag state" for the Triumph, the Bahamas is charged with the responsibility of investigating fires, casualties and crimes on that ship. The Bahamas requested the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard as well as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The questions arise will the Bahamas really conduct an objective and honest investigation? Will it ever release a copy of the final report into the investigation into the fire?  And if so, when?

Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship Fire In considering these questions, remember that in the last disabling fire on a Carnival cruise ship several years ago, the public has still not seen the report of the flag state. In November 2010, the Carnival Splendor caught on fire and was disabled.  Because Carnival flagged the Splendor in Panama, Panama was responsible for the official investigation. Panama called upon the U.S. Coast Guard to assist it. The Coast Guard finished its reports to the officials in Panama long ago.

The Coast Guard quickly sent out "marine safety alerts" about the design defects and construction and maintenance shortcomings in the Splendor engine room.  Remarkably, the Coast Guard did not even identify the Splendor in its alerts.

It's now going on two and one-half years later but Panama still has not released a report.

Will Panama ever release the report?  Not if Carnival doesn't want it to.

Who has authority to force Panama or the Bahamas to release a report or punish them if they refuseto do so?  No one. There is no U.S. federal oversight organization. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is toothless.  A former NTSB chairman called the IMO a "paper tiger."  This is exactly how the cruise lines want the system to work.

Two years ago, Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam disappeared from the Disney Wonder cruise ship.  The Bahamas was responsible for investigating the disappearance because Disney registered Disney Cruises Rebecca Coriamthe Wonder in Nassau to avoid U.S. taxes, labor and safety laws.  

The Bahamas sent a lone policeman to Los Angeles to meet the cruise ship when it returned to port. He conducted a short visit on the ship and concluded his report long ago. But the Bahamas refuses to send Rebecca's mother and father a copy of the report.  

After the Triumph was towed to Mobile, a newspaper article appeared in a Bahamian newspaper that the Bahamas was sending detectives to the U.S. to investigate a sexual assault on the Triumph. The Bahamas denied that the ship where the rape was alleged was the Triumph. It disclosed only that a Bahamian flagged ship was involved. The Bahamas promised to provide information once its detectives returned from the U.S. Of course, it has released nothing.    

If your child vanishes on the high seas, or you are raped during a cruise, or your family flounders for a week on a stinky fire-stricken ship, flag states like the Bahamas and Panama don't believe that they have any obligation to release any information to you.  Their alliances are with the cruise lines which fly their flags. Companies like Carnival and Disney hide behind the foreign flags and are complicit in the conspiracy to deceive the public.

It's a dishonest, secretive, rotten system.  Its a system designed to conceal the truth and to avoid the foreign flagged cruise lines from embarrassment.  

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger From Carnival Conquest

The U.S. Coast Guard saves the day again.

This time Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans medevacs a 46-year-old man from the Carnival Conquest cruise ship approximately 60 miles south of Southwest Pass, of Louisiana on February, 16, 2013. The cruise passenger was reportedly suffering from symptoms associated with a brain hemorrhage.

Click on the "Rescue" category to the left and you can watch a large number of medical evacuations performed by our U.S. Coast Guard of ill and injured cruise passengers and crew members each year. 

Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station New Orleans.

 

Who Pays for the U.S. Coast Guard to Respond to Cruise Ships in Distress? You Do!

At this moment the 210 foot Coast Guard cutter Vigorous is escorting the disabled Carnival Triumph back to the U.S. The Coast Guard performs a remarkable job responding to emergencies such as cruise ship fires and the numerous helicopter medevacs involving ill or injured passengers who need medical treatment back here in the U.S.

But who pays for these services?  

Cruise lines have no obligation to pay the Coast Guard or other U.S. federal agencies for services like this. Most people don't know this. Many people also don't realize that the cruise industry pays no U.S. federal taxes because companies like Carnival and Royal Caribbean are registered in foreign Coast Guard Vigorous - Carnival Triumphcountries like Panama and Liberia and fly the flag of countries like the Bahamas.  The industry collects around $35 billion a year, mostly from tax-paying U.S. citizens. But unlike you or me, the cruise lines are essentially exempt from paying the U.S. government anything on all of the billions and billions it collects each month.

So when it comes to paying for a Coast Guard escort of a foreign flagged ship back to an American port, you pay. That's right. Joe the plumber pays. Even though the cruise lines pay no federal taxes and you do, you pay. Even when the cruise ship fire occurs due to the negligence of the cruise line, you pay. 

Remember the last cruise engine fire which disabled the Carnival Splendor in November 2010?  The U.S. sent out an aircraft carrier (U.S. Ronald Reagan) and various U.S. Coast Guard vessels. You paid for all of that too.

The CEO of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization Ken Carver, requested information from the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request. The U.S. Navy timely responded to Mr. Carver's FOIA request. The Navy disclosed that it delivered 60 pallets, weighing over 37,000 pounds, of "bread, luncheon meat, pop tarts, canned crab, water and paper plates."

Considering the cost of positioning an aircraft carrier, dispatching multiple aircraft and helicopters, and delivering tons of food and water to be dropped onto the cruise ship, the Navy stated that it spent $1,884,376.75 responding to the fire aboard the Carnival Splendor cruise ship. 

This figure does not include the costs incurred by the U.S. Coast Guard in responding to the crisis. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard has not yet provided any information in response to Mr. Carver's FOIA request dating back to earlier last year.

The Coast Guard's costs were undoubtedly another $2,000,000 or so in personnel and fuel costs for their vessels and helicopters.

I mentioned this issue last year in an article Your Tax Dollars At Sea - Who Pays When Things Go Wrong on Cruises? 

So here we are again with another foreign-flagged cruise ship disabled due to fire, operated by a foreign incorporated cruise line which pays no U.S. income taxes calling on good ole Uncle Sam to spend a few million dollars to bail it out.

Its time to re-examine why these cruise lines collect billions but pay no taxes and why you and me have to pay when their cruise ships catch on fire on the high seas and they call on U.S federal agencies for help.     

Emergency Medevac of Sick Passenger from Crown Princess?

Coast Guard Rescue Crown Princess Cruise ShipI am being told by a reliable source that the U.S. Coast Guard is about to conduct an emergency medevac of an ill passenger from the Crown Princess cruise ship which is heading to Galveston and will arrive tomorrow.

It is less than clear whether there is any connection to the norovirus outbreak on the cruise ship.  The cruise has been under red level disease alert throughout the crossing from Europe.

The ship is facing heavy swells and the helicopter is facing strong winds.

The last medevac from the Crown Princess was in March.  You can see the video here.

Does anyone have information to confirm this latest story?

December 21, 2012 Update:  There's an update to this story we reported this morning:

The incident involves a 68 year old woman who was suffering from internal bleeding and had to be medevaced by a Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter which flew 140 miles south of the Mississippi River's Southwest Pass to the Princess cruise ship. The Times Picaynue states that the cruise ship alerted the Coast Guard station in New Orleans about 2 AM this morning, reporting that the woman had received blood transfusions on the ship. At the time, the ship was about 200 miles offshore. 

 

Photo and video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Fire Destroys 80' Yacht Off Miami Beach

Bliss Yacht Fire Miami Beach The U.S. Coast Guard issued a press release today stating that an eighty foot yacht caught fire off of Miami Beach this morning.  

The incident occurred around 10 a.m. today. The 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Sitkinak was in the process of boarding a vessel when the 80-foot motor yacht Bliss caught on fire before the boarding commended. It is less than clear whether the Coast Guard was boarding the Bliss or some other vessel.

Three people aboard the yacht were forced to jump into the water and were picked up by the Coast Guard cutter. 

The Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue vessels responded and extinguished the fire but not before the Bliss sank. The yacht remains partially submerged, and must now be salvaged and towed back to shore.

The fire produced a huge smoke plume which could easily be seen from shore.

Photos: U.S. Coast Guard

Bliss Yacht Fire Miami Beach

Busy Weekend For Cruise Ship Medevacs: Coast Guard Rescues Sick Passenger From Carnival Inspiration

Carnival Inspiration Medevac - Coast Guard HelicopterThe U.S. Coast Guard issued a press release indicating that it medically evacuated a passenger from a cruise ship 50 miles southwest of Point Loma yesterday afternoon.

The Carnival Inspiration cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard yesterday shortly before noon requesting a medevac for a 26 year old man who was experiencing rapid heart rate and possible cardiac complications.

Coast Guard Sector San Diego dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to fly to the cruise ship to perform the medevac.

The aircrew hoisted the man and the ship’s nurse to the helicopter and transported them to San Diego, where they transferred the ill man to emergency medical personnel.

This was the third medevac from a cruise ship this weekend.  Previously the Coast Guard rescued a pregnant passenger from the Disney Magic and flew her to a hospital in Galveston, Texas.  And an ill passenger was hoisted by a helicopter, operated by the Australian Navy, from the Sea Princess cruise ship and taken to a hospital in Australia.   

 

Photo / video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Hurricane Sandy Sinks HMS Bounty - 14 Rescued, 2 Missing at Sea

The HMS Bounty, a three masted sailing ship which was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando and more recently was featured in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, sank in the Atlantic after encountering high winds and heavy seas brought by Hurricane Sandy.

The ship was reportedly sailing from Connecticut to St. Petersburg, Florida when it began taking on water and lost propulsion last night. 

According to the HMS Bounty Organization's website, the ship's position was off the coast of North HMS Bounty - Sank - Hurricane SandyCarolina, at N 34°22' W 074°15'. 

There were 16 people aboard the ship including crew as well as passengers.

Last night, the Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 aircraft to the area. This morning two Coast Guard helicopters arrived and hoisted 14 people who had abandoned ship and were in 25-foot lifeboats. Two individuals are missing.

The news accounts raise the question why the ship was sailing given the advance warnings of the storm.

The situation reminds me of the loss of the Windjammer Fantome, a tall masted ship which sank in 1998 during Hurricane Mitch.

October 29, 2012 Update:  ABC News is reporting that the two individuals lost at sea went overboard when they were attempting to transfer to lifeboats. "What we know is that the whole crew was getting ready to board the life rafts, and as they were about to board, three people ended up on the water. One was able to get out [of the water] and get into rafts, and the other two are still unaccounted," Lt. Junior Grade Brendan Selerno told ABCNews.com.

The survivors were taken to Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina. Two people were admitted to the hospital, one with a broken arm and another with an injured back.

Other news sources are reporting that one of two missing crewmembers, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was found this evening but she was npn-responsive.  The 63-year-old captain, Robin Walbridge, remains missing.

A video of the Coast Guard rescue is below.  it is dramatic; you can hear one of the crew say the "raft flipped 2 PIW" (two people in water).

October 31, 2012 Update: The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to search for the captain and is hopeful that he may still alive in his survival gear.

 

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas: "Profits Over Passenger Safety?"

Today the Barbados Free Press takes a look at the failure of the captain of the world's largest cruise ship to timely notify the U.S. Coast Guard that a passenger had been spotted going overboard.

Notwithstanding an eyewitness account, the cruise ship intentionally did not follow its own man overboard protocols and delayed 2 hours before finally contacting the Coast Guard in Miami.  Royal Caribbean's conduct is particularly egregious considering that the cruise ship was not in the middle of the Atlantic when the incident.  It had left Fort Lauderdale a few hours earlier and was heading to Nassau, within quick striking range of Coast Guard aircraft, helicopters and cutters.  Here's what the Barbados Free Press (BFP) has to say:

"A few days ago on Sunday September 16, 2012 at about 9:30pm a passenger was seen falling overboard from the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

Allure of the Seas - Passenger Overboard - DelayThe Allure of the Seas never called the Coast Guard for assistance in searching until two hours later. By that time it was far too late for the lost passenger.

When BFP’s own pilot Robert heard about the incident, his first comment was surprise that Royal Caribbean built the world’s biggest and most expensive cruise ship – at a cost of some US$1.2 billion dollars – and didn’t include an onboard helicopter and alert flight crew to handle rescue situations and medical emergencies. The initial cost and ongoing expenditure would be nothing in relation to the overall operation, but Royal Caribbean made a decision to exclude the helicopter and instead build more cabins. Similarly Royal Caribbean does not maintain a quick launch rescue boat with a standby ready crew on alert. “Profits over passenger safety” seems to be the Royal Caribbean motto even at the design stage.

The outrageous failure of the Allure of the Seas captain to call for help for a passenger overboard and the failure of planning, design and operations in dealing with passengers overboard is just the latest in an ongoing series of cruise disaster stories."     

Read more here.

 

Image Credit:  Barbados Free Press

Allure of the Seas Overboard: Royal Caribbean Struggling to Justify Late Notification to Coast Guard

With the Coast Guard ending its delayed search and the 21 year old woman still missing at sea, Royal Caribbean is struggling to justify the two hour delay it caused in reporting the latest person overboard from the Allure of the Seas.  Its excuse is a whopper - it claims that it first had to first search the ship to make certain that the passenger was still not onboard. 

This statement is coming from a cruise line PR executive Cynthia Martinez, who is obviously unfamiliar with well established maritime rules and even her company's own man overboard protocols.  According to International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommendations and Coast Guard regulations, cruise ships are required to notify the Coast Guard if the person overboard is not "immediately" observed in the water.  

Royal Caribbean knows better than to act like this. It has some highly experienced mariners and former Coast Guard commanders working for it, like former Coast Guard Commander Captain Howard Newhoff Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seaswho was awarded a medal of commendation by President Reagan in the 1980's and whose skills and service to this country are beyond reproach. He must be shaking his head in disgust after reading the PR statements dreamed up by the cruise line's PR team members who don't know the difference between port and starboard. 

Royal Caribbean said that the Coast Guard was notified when the cruise ship found “the incident on the recording . . . from the video, we could pinpoint the exact time and location using Global Positioning System and provided that information to the Coast Guard.”

Nonsense. The Coast regulations require immediate notification. The GPS coordinates should have been sent to the Coast Guard immediately. Searching the largest cruise ship in the world and pouring over CCTV images from hundreds of cameras first?  A person can float for tens of miles over the course of the unnecessary two hour delay.

Maritime experts on Ring of Fire Radio voiced their displeasure about the delay from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., over 2 hours after the passenger fell overboard. Gerald McGill, a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a former Commanding Officer of two Coast Guard cutters, states:

"The most troubling aspect of this tragedy is why the ship waited two hours before notifying the Coast Guard. Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said the process of making sure a passenger is not onboard takes some time. She said such verification is necessary before the Coast Guard is notified 'and they commit to sending assets to help search.'

However, in this case a witness reported seeing another passenger go overboard and video footage verified this. The important fact was that “someone” had fallen overboard. Determining who had fallen overboard should not have delayed notifying the Coast Guard. Hopefully the FBI investigation will address this issue."

Delayed notification causes the Coast Guard to expend additional resources and expands the search grid of the Coast Guard cutters, helicopters and aircraft. The expenses increase substantially. And most importantly the chances of the person being rescued - which is why immediate notification to the Coast Guard is required in the first place - decrease dramatically.

 

Check out our facebook page to see what people are saying about how Royal Caribbean handled the situation. 

Coast Guard Medevacs Crew Member From Cruise Ship, 290 Miles at Sea!

Just another day (or night) for the Coast Guard.

When a crew member from the Celebrity Summit cruise ship began experiencing severe abdominal cramping,  a Coast Guard station in Elizabeth City, North Carolina launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter as well as a HC-130 Hercules aircraft to assist in the medevac. The helicopter had to lower one of its crew members, pick up a nurse from the cruise ship and then hoist the sick cruise employee to fly him to a hospital in Norfolk Virginia.  All of this happened at night, 290 miles out at sea. 

I didn't know that helicopters could fly that far and back.

 

 

Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard Medevacs Ill Cruise Passenger From Carnival Glory

The U.S. Coast Guard website reports that it medically evacuated a 41-year-old woman from the Carnival Glory cruise ship today.  The passenger reportedly exhibited stroke-like symptoms.

The cruise ship was approximately 55 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts at the time of the emergency.

Coast Guard Sector Boston received the word from the Carnival cruise ship at approximately 3:35 p.m. In response, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the scene. Carnival Glory Cruise Ship Coast Guard MedevacThe helicopter hoisted the ill woman up to safety and then transported her to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.

The Coast Guard website quotes a John Tomaszewski , a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Boston, "our crews launched swiftly . . . they were able to hoist her and get her the care she needed.

The Coast Guard did not comment on the passenger's medical condition.  

The last medevac from the Carnival Glory occurred, according to our records, in May 2010 when the Coast Guard in Miami rescued that a 36 year-old pregnant woman who needed emergency medical treatment.  

Read about other Coast Guard rescues here

Coast Guard medevacs like this are always the highlight of Cruise Law News.  The Coast Guard just celebrated its 222nd birthday! 

Anyone with photos, video or information about this latest Coast Guard rescue, please leave a comment. 

 

Photo: Space Coast Blogger

U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Injured Passenger From Carnival Fantasy

Carnival Fantasy Cruise Ship - Injury - Coast Guard MedevacA newspaper in Savannah reports that yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 63 year old woman from a cruise ship sailing in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 60 miles east of Savannah to a local hospital in Savannah. 

Coast Guard Sector Charleston received notification at about around 10:08 p.m. Saturday night from crew members aboard the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship via VHF-FM marine radio channel 16. The cruise ship reported that  that the woman had fallen down some stairs, suffered a laceration on her head, and was in need of medical attention that could not be provided on the ship.

The newspaper states that at approximately 11:14 p.m., the Coast Guard launched an MH-65 Dolphin air rescue crew which arrived on at the cruise ship around 11:40 p.m. The helicopter hoisted the injured woman and a cruise ship nurse from the deck of the cruise ship and transported them to the hospital. 

The newspaper does not mention where the cruise passenger was from.

There have been a number of Coast Guard medevacs from the Carnival Fantasy recently.  On April 24, 2012, the Coast Guard medevaced a 56 year old man from the Fantasy when it was 60 miles southeast of Jacksonville, Florida. A week later, the Coast Guard rescued a 57 year old man from the same ship while it was sailing 160 miles southwest of Marco Island.

 

Photo credit:  Wikipedia

Coast Guard Medevacs Pregnant Crew Member

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a woman from a cruise ship 145 miles south east of Galveston, on Apr. 1, 2012.

The Coast Guard station in Houston-Galveston received a report at approximately 8:08 p.m., that a 44-year old female crew member aboard the cruise ship, Carnival Magic, was having complications with her pregnancy. A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and rescue crew arrived at the scene at approximately 10 p.m. The rescue crew hoisted the woman off the cruise ship Carnival Magic and transported her to awaiting emergency medical services at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

To watch other rescue videos and articles, click on "Rescue" under the "Topics" section to the left.

  

 

Video Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

Coast Guard Medevacs 47 Year Old Passenger From NCL Jewel

Yesterday a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter medevaced a 47 year old woman female off a cruise ship.  The cruise ship was approximately 115 miles northeast of Cape Henry.  

The captain of the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard at around 5 PM, reporting they had a passenger with severe abdominal pains who needed medical attention ashore.
 
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. were dispatched to the scene.  The helicopter crew hoisted the woman and her husband off the cruise ship at approximately 7 PM.
 
The couple were taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
 
 
 

 

Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard

Unbelievable . . .

Click on "CC" on player for English subtitles: 

Coast Guard Medevacs 73 Year Old Passenger From Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship

A 73 tear old passenger from the Carnival Triumph received a ride of a lifetime when an U.S. Coast Guard helicopter plucked him from the deck of the cruise ship and flew him to Galveston for emergency medical treatment.

The Carnival cruise ship was around 120 miles off the coast of Galveston when the Coast Guard performed the medical evacuations early Friday yesterday morning.

Carnival notified the Coast Guard around 10 PM Thursday night that the cruise passenger had a blood clot in his foot and needed immediate medical treatment.  An MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter was dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Houston around 11:40 PM>  As you can see from the Coast Guard video below, they helicopter crew successfully lifted the passengers from the Triumph cruise ship. He was flown to the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston.

We have reported on around a dozen Coast Guard - cruise ship medevacs this year.

 

Video credit:  U.S. Coast Guard via Houston Chronicle

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill passenger from the Queen May 2 cruise ship off of the coast of North Carolina.

The video below shows the the skilled crew of a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter lifting a 64 year old woman from the deck of the QM2 cruise ship.  The passenger was suffering from severe abdominal pains.  The cruise ship was sailing 110 miles off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina on December 20, 2011.  The Coast Guard flew the ill woman to a hospital in Norfolk Virginia. 

 

 

Video Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard

Rescued Passenger Kisses and Waves Goodbye to Cruise Ship

One of the stories I never tire of reporting is when a Coast Guard helicopter plucks a sick cruise passenger from the deck of a cruise ship and takes the passenger ashore for emergency medical treatment.

The skill of the U.S. Coast Guard in rescuing people from cruise ships is rather remarkable. The Coast Guard can fly 200 miles out to sea to medevac ill and injured passengers and crew.  Other than England, Canada and perhaps a few other countries, you will not see anyone performing life saving heroic missions to rescue the needy on the high seas other than the U.S. Coast Guard.     

Below is a video of a Coast Guard helicopter hoisting a young woman from the deck of the Explorer cruise ship as the ship returned from a Caribbean cruise.  The helicopter took the passenger to a hospital in Key West.

At the end of the video, you can see the young lady in the rescue basket waving to the cruise ship, and kissing goodbye perhaps to a loved one below.

 

 

Video credit:  U.S. Coast Guard

Your Tax Dollars At Sea - Who Pays When Things Go Wrong on Cruises?

This week the United States Coast Guard rescued two cruise passengers - one ill young man from the NCL Gem cruise ship sailing off the coast of North Carolina and a second young woman from the Explorer cruise ship who was suffering from an appendicitis attack near Key West Florida. 

When we report on these type of rescues, we sometimes hear from readers of Cruise Law News complaining that the cost of the medical evacuations should be borne by the sick passengers themselves. 

We especially hear these complaints when a passenger inadvertently goes overboard.  Was the passenger acting negligently or was he or she under the influence of alcohol (a major money Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship Fire maker for the cruise lines).  If so, many people protest loudly and angrily that the cruise passenger should bear the extra fuel expenses and other costs incurred by the cruise ship and the Coast Guard searching for the missing passenger.   

Federal agencies are prohibited by law from seeking reimbursement of the costs associated with search and rescue of this type. 

So who bears the expense when the cruise lines act irresponsibly and the cruise goes terribly wrong?

Consider the fire last year aboard the Carnival Splendor which caused the cruise ship to lose power off of the coast of Mexico.  The Carnival ship was disabled due to the negligent design of the cruise ship itself which risked the lives of 4,500 passengers and crew.  As we reported before, the U.S. Coast Guard blasted Carnival for its defective engines and poorly designed safety instructions which caused several thousands of passengers to find themselves helplessly adrift at sea without lighting, air conditioning or hot water on the high seas. 

Carnival quickly considered legal claims against the companies which designed and manufactured the engines which failed.  Carnival did not hesitate making a claim against these companies for the revenues lost while the Splendor sat in dry dock being repaired.

But who paid for the enormous costs associated with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard responding to the emergency?  

You will recall that the U.S. Navy sent an aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, to the scene as the mostly U.S. passengers bobbed around on the high seas.  The Navy utilized four aircraft and helicopters to assist the stricken Carnival ship.  The Navy made twenty-four airlifts of food and provisions which its aircrew skilfully dropped onto the Carnival cruise ship to feed the passengers.  

How much did this cost and who was paying for it? 

I inquired around and the only knowledgeable source was the International Cruise Victims ("ICV") organization whose President, Ken Carver, had requested information from the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request.

The U.S. Navy timely responded to Mr. Carver's FOIA request.  The Navy disclosed that it delivered 60 pallets, weighing over 37,000 pounds, of "bread, luncheon meat, pop tarts, canned crab, water and paper plates." 

Considering the cost of positioning an aircraft carrier, dispatching multiple aircraft and helicopters, and delivering tons of food and water to be dropped onto the cruise ship, the Navy stated that it spent $1,884,376.75 responding to the fire aboard the Carnival Splendor cruise ship.  

This figure does not include the costs incurred by the U.S. Coast Guard in responding to the crisis. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard has not yet provided any information in response to Mr. Carver's FOIA request dating back to earlier this year.

The Coast Guard's costs were undoubtedly another $2,000,000 or so in personnel and fuel costs for their vessels and helicopters.

There is a certain irony that cruise lines, which structure their businesses to avoid U.S. taxes and U.S. safety regulations, are dependent on the generosity of our Federal agencies in responding to emergencies when they get themselves into a jam.  

Cruise lines incorporate in foreign countries like Liberia and Panama and register their cruise ships in foreign Aircraft Carrier Ronald Reagan - Carnival Splendorcountries like the Bahamas in order to avoid U.S. laws and all U.S. income taxes. The cruise industry collects over $35,000,000,000 (billion) a year in income from mostly income-tax-paying-Americans, yet it avoids U.S. corporate income tax by incorporating itself and registering its ship abroad.

But when the cruise ships catch on fire and are adrift on the high seas, cruise lines like Carnival are the first to make a distress call to the United States and ask for favors from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. 

When cruise passengers were thinking of suing Carnival last year for the inconvenience caused by the cruise fire aboard the Splendor, I was the first one to say don't do it.  Many of the major news networks and newspapers picked up on the my don't-sue-Carnival message, like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fox News,  ABA Journal, Gadling, and the U.K's Mirror.

At the end of the day, it was not the cruise passengers who filed suit.  It was Carnival who made legal claims against the companies which designed and manufactured its engines.  Carnival made millions in the process.

Did Carnival, the only one suing, repay the U.S. government?  

Not a penny.

So who paid for all of the millions of dollars in emergency services expended by our U.S. Navy and Coast Guard arising from the negligence of the tax-avoiding, foreign flagged and incorporated cruise line which stranded thousands of tax-paying Americans on the high seas?

You, the American taxpayers.    

 

For additional information about the Carnival Splendor fire and cruise ship fires in general, consider reading:

Carnival Splendor CO2 Firefighting System: "A Recipe for Failure"

"Coast Guard Blasts Carnival Splendor for Fire Negligence"

Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything? 

  

Photo credit:  bottom photo / U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - providencefox.com

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger

WSVN - TV reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a cruise passenger after she experienced symptoms of appendicitis.

The incident occurred on December 12, 2011 on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas cruise ship about 130 miles southwest of Key West.  A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the 21 year old cruise passenger and transported her to the Lower Keys Medical Center. The cruise ship was sailing back to Port Everglades, Florida.

This is the second Coast Guard rescue of a sick cruise passenger yesterday.  Earlier today we reported on the Coast Guard medevacing an Ill NCL passenger off the coast of North Carolina.  

 

 

December 13, 2011 Update and Correction:  An astute reader of Cruise Law News noted that the cruise ship is not Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas but, instead, is the SAS' Explorer.  Thanks to Tom Roesser from Hawaii who you can follow on twitter at @tomsroesser

Thanks Tom!
 

 

 

Video Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard via WSVN

U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Sick Cruise Passenger From Carnival Spirit

The LA Times reports that yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard saved the life of a 77 year old cruise passenger from the Carnival Spirit while the cruise ship was 230 miles southwest of San Diego. 

The cruise passenger reportedly showed signs of a stroke and was medically evacuated from the Carnival cruise ship by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter dispatched from San Diego.

The video below shows the helicopter lifting someone who appears to be a nurse, then the ill passenger, and finally a member of the helicopter crew.

Thank God that ill passengers have the benefit of skilled and dedicated men and women of our country's Coast Guard to help them out in tight spots like this:    

 

 

 

Video credit:

U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego; produced by PADET San Diego: and edited by Petty Officer 2nd Class Henry G. Dunphy

Coast Guard to Rescue Three Passengers from HAL Cruise Ship Oosterdam

At this moment the U.S. Coast Guard is in the process of medevacing three elderly passengers from a cruise ship 100 miles east of from Hilo, Hawaii. 

The Republic reports that an 86 year old man appears to having a heart attack, an 82 year old man has symptoms of internal bleeding, and a 76 year old woman is suffering from abdominal pains.

The helicopter deployed two helicopters and a plane to the Holland America Line cruise ship, the Oosterdam.  The cruise ship is headed for San Diego.  The Coast Guard intends to take the ill passengers to Hilo Medical Center.

A cruise ship in the middle of the ocean is not where you want to be if you are gravely ill. 

The newspaper reports that a Coast Guard flight surgeon made the decision to medically evacuate the elderly passengers after hearing about their conditions from the ship's medical staff.

We have covered lots of cruise ship medevac stories, but none involving three separate passengers in need of emergency medical evacuation.

If you are on the cruise ship and have information or photographs or video of the medevac, please leave us a comment below. 

 

 

Video Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard / Department of Homeland Security

Norwegian Gem Rescues Disabled Sailboat Northeast of Bermuda

According to WAVY.com, on October 29, 2011, the Norwegian Gem cruise ship responded to a distress signal initiated by a disabled sailboat which had lost power and was taking on water.  The sailboat was 256 miles northeast of Bermuda, and it would have taken days for a Coast Guard cutter to respond from the U.S. 

The Coast Guard sent a C-130 aircraft from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina and coordinated the arrival of the NCL cruise ship which was in the area.  

The Norwegian Gem deployed a lifeboat which the NCL crew tethered to the sailboat which had five sailors aboard.

 

 

Video Credit:  WAVY.com

 

Are the FBI and Coast Guard Underreporting Cruise Ship Crimes?

One of the key provisions of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 is that crimes on cruise ships are suppose to be posted on the internet in order to provide a warning to the U.S. public. 

After listening to testimony over the course of the last five Congressional hearings, Congress concluded that cruise ship crime in general, and sexual assaults in particular, were such a problem that the U.S. public needed to be warned. 

Just last month, in the case of Jane Doe v. Princess Cruises, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal held that " .  .  . if congressional reports are to be believed, sexual assaults and other violent crimes on cruise ships are a serious problem."  The Eleventh Circuit cited the testimony from cruise line executives from the March 2006 Congressional hearing that 178 passengers on North American cruises reported being sexually assaulted between 2003 and 2005.  During that same period, 24 people were reported missing and four others reported being robbed. 

In the March 2007 hearing, a FBI representative testified that from 2000 through June 2005, the FBI opened 305 case files involving “crime on the high seas.”   During those five years about 45% of the crimes that occurred on cruise ships involved sexual assaults.

In September 2007, a Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI testified before Congress that “sexual assault and physical assaults on cruise ships were the leading crime reported to and investigated by the FBI on the high seas over the last five years, 55 percent and 22 percent respectively . . . . Employees were identified as suspects in 37 percent of the cases, and 65 percent of those employees were not U.S. citizens.”  The FBI representative also testified that the majority of cruise ship sexual assault cases are not prosecuted.

Although these numbers are significant, I have always thought that the crime statistics reported to Congress are probably just a fraction of the actual number of crimes which occur during cruises.  For example, in 2006, Royal Caribbean told Congress that 66 rapes and sexual assaults reportedly occurred over the course of the preceding three years.  However, in a subsequent civil case we handled, a trial court here in Miami ordered the cruise line to produce its raw crime data to us.  The reports revealed that the total number of sex-related crimes were actually around 273, including allegations of sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching during a shorter time period.

The Los Angeles Times covered the story in an article entitled "Cruise Industry's Dark Waters."   

With the new cruise safety law, cruise lines were finally required to report incidents of homicides, suspicious deaths, missing U.S. passengers, assaults, sexual assaults and thefts over $1,000 to the FBI.  The U.S. Coast Guard, in turn, is responsible for posting the FBI cruise ship crime statistics on the internet for the public to view. 

So what do the crime statistics the Coast Guard posted on the internet reveal?

According to the United States Coast Guard Investigative Services' quarterly report from July 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011, not a single reportable crime occurred.    

Let me repeat that.  According to the just released FBI / Coast Guard report - not a single reportable crime occurred during the third quarter of 2011.

According to the FBI / Coast Guard's first quarter and second quarter reports, only a total of ten sexual assaults occurred in the first six months of this year. 

For 2010, the FBI / Coast Guard report disclosed only 28 sexual assaults on cruise ships.  For the first nine months of this year, the number has dropped to only 10 sexual assaults.

These numbers are not only far less than in any of the prior years, but they are even less than the number of crimes the cruise lines will admit occurred.  For example, last month a newspaper in New Zealand reported on a study which concluded that the risk of being sexually assaulted was twice as high on a cruise ship than ashore.  Royal Caribbean responded to the article by stating that it had 24 incidents of rape or sexual assaults last year.  Yet, in their 2010 report, the FBI / Coast Guard disclosed that Royal Caribbean had only 6 such incidents in all of 2010.    

The FBI does not inform the public of alleged crimes which are under investigation (this is permitted by the cruise safety law) and this may partially account for such low numbers.  But the reality is that the FBI investigations rarely lead to a prosecution.  Not disclosing crimes because they are allegedly "under investigation" by an agency whose investigations rarely lead to a prosecution does the public a real disservice.  

Also, the numbers which the FBI and Coat Guard chose to disclose to the public do not include incidents which the FBI determines lacks sufficient evidence of a federal crime or the FBI deems unworthy of conducting a full investigation.  This is the rather amazing part of these statistics.  The cruise safety law was passed in large part because of an incident where a passenger was clearly sexually assaulted, yet the FBI prematurely closed its investigation the same day that the cruise ship returned to Los Angeles after the crime occurred.  I am talking about the case of Laurie Dishman whose Congresswoman in California, Doris Matsui, was instrumental is passing the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act in the first place.

Based on the FBI and Coast Guard's current method of responding to the cruise safety law, these agencies would probably not even disclose the cruise ship crime against Ms. Dishman if it occurred today.    

There is something very wrong here.  What should the U.S. public conclude by reading the recent third quarter FBI / Coast Guard statistics suggesting that not a single crime occurred on a cruise ship over the past three months?   Around 3,500,000 passengers sailed on cruise ships over the past ninety days, millions out of U.S. ports, and not a single crime occurred?

What a joke.

The FBI and Coat Guard are making a mockery of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act  - a law victims of crime worked hard to enact in order to protect future cruise passengers.

Its time for Congress to take another look at the way the cruise lines, FBI and Coast Guard are reporting - or in this case - not reporting cruise ship crimes.  

 

For an insight into the actual number of incidents of sexual assaults and crimes on cruise ships, we suggest following sites:

Sun Sentinel Data Base

Professor Ross Klein Cruise Crime Analysis October 30 2007 - September 1, 2008

Professor Ross Klein's Analysis  of Reports of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault on Royal Caribbean International, 1998 - 2005

Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Missing Passenger, Blake Kepley

Blake Kepley, a Fallbrook High School graduate was last seen between 12 and 1 a.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011. His family reported the 20-year-old missing at about 2:30 p.m. that same day according to the Village News; however, Sign On San Diego reports that the family notified the cruise line as early as 7:00 a.m. Both reports maintain that Holland America waited until 4:00 p.m. before contacting the Coast Guard to report that Kepley possibly went overboard.

The Coast Guard immediately began the search; however, was unsuccessful in locating Kepley and the search was suspended nearly 24 hours later after covering more than 352 miles. Kepley went missing between Sikta and Ketchikan during his Alaskan cruise aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam.

For more information click on NBC’s San Diego News Report:

If you have any information or tips regarding the disappearance of Blake Kepley, e-mail us at jwalker@cruiselaw.com

Video credit: NBC San Diego

Coast Guard Medevas Ill Passenger From Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a press release indicating that  a MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Sitka safely medevaced a woman from the cruise ship Celebrity Millennium during an Alaskan cruise.  The Coast Guard helicopter transported the passenger to Hoonah where she was then flown by aircraft to Juneau. 

The passenger, a 59 nine year old woman, reportedly was suffering from symptoms of a stroke.

Medical evacuations by helicopter are routine during emergencies like this while cruise ships are in relatively close proximity to U.S. and Canadian ports of call.

Cruise Law News Featured in Article - "Coast Guard Blasts Carnival Splendor for Fire Negligence"

Cruise Law News was featured in an article yesterday about the Carnival Splendor fire and the new Coast Guard marine bulletins criticizing the cruise line's fire suppression system which malfunctioned.  The article is by Joel Siegfried in the National Examiner entitled "Coast Guard Blasts Carnival Splendor for Fire Negligence."   The Examiner is one of the newer and very popular internet newspapers, with a readership of around 1,000,000.

The Examiner also has an interesting photo slideshow showing the defective fire suppression Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship Fire - Towed to San Diegosystem on the Carnival cruise ship.  Here is the article unedited:

Two just released reports by the United States Coast Guard are highly critical of the Carnival Splendor concerning a fire at sea which disabled the vessel on November 8, 2010.  Upon learning of this report, many of the passengers who were aboard the Carnival Splendor "Cruise to Nowhere" were incensed about the ship's inability to properly manage an automated emergency fire suppression system, which was reported on a KGTV interview segment on Friday, December 24, 2010.

To gain insights into this incident, we contacted Miami Florida based maritime attorney James Walker, who also writes the Cruise Law News Blog.  Mr. Walker previously advised passengers not to sue Carnival Cruise Lines over this latest incident, even though the Company has a long history of shipboard fires, cited in his comprehensive article "Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?"

For Carnival Cruise Line alone, these have included a fire on the Carnival Ecstasy, shortly after leaving leaving Miami on July 20, 1998, that was extinguished by fire boats, causing damages exceeding $17 million; the Carnival Tropicale in September 1999, which left the ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with 1,700 passengers and crew members for almost two days after the fire disabled the engines; and the June 18, 1995 fire aboard the Carnival Celebration which forced 1,700 passengers to evacuate.   

We asked Mr. Walker to give us his views on the Carnival Splendor fire. He graciously responded with the following remarks on Christmas Day.

"In the 1999 fire on Carnival's Tropicale there where problems where the crew members didn't speak English well enough to provide safety instructions. So here we are over 10 years later with another breakdown in communication with the fire instruction manual on the Splendor written in broken English.  Italian officers and Filipino crew scratching their heads trying to decipher an instruction book written in broken English as the cruise ship burns.  What a frightening spectacle.  No one realized the instruction manual didn't match the fire suppression system for two and one-half years?  This certainly gives the public an insight into the consequences of flagging cruise ships in Panama.  The marine safety bulletins reflects Carnival's negligence."

The U.S. Coast Guard has been investigating the fire which disabled the 113,300 gross register Carnival Splendor Fire - Faulty CO2 Valve - Coast Guard Bulletintons (GRT) Italian built  Concordia-class cruise ship Carnival Splendor, and have released two marine safety alerts dated December 21, 2010, ominously titled "Wrong Directions: A Recipe for Failure" and "Simple Failures Render CO2 System Inoperative", about an unnamed vessel, but clearly about the Carnival Splendor.  The Coast Guard has confirmed that fact to industry publication Professional Mariner.

According to the reports, the two alerts each "address critical concerns uncovered during an ongoing marine casualty investigation and should be of vital interest to Ship Builders, Classification Societies, Owner / Operators and others involved with vessel operations."

Their findings are unequivocal and damning of the Carnival Splendor, drawing conclusions that the fire itself could have easily been controlled and extinguished, if not for numerous flaws in the training, maintenance, and operation of the Splendor's emergency automated fire control system.

Everything possible that could have gone wrong, did in fact go terribly wrong, starting with the ship's Fire Instruction Manual (FIM) which had incorrect, outdated, or erroneous instructions, illustrations and diagrams, similar to giving the owner of a Mercedes-Benz a maintenance manual for a BMW, after it had been translated from German into English by someone fluent in Japanese. 

But that was just for starters.  Valves that released carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, which is commonly used on engine and electrical fires, did not open, and completely failed to release the gas, which would have deprived the fire of oxygen. In addition, pipes leaks, some elements of the distribution system were designed in such a way as to retain water at low points that were unable to be drained, and caused corrosion. Seals and pipe joints also had flaws.

The ship's Master, Captain Claudio Cupisti, made the decision to release CO2 from the fixed fire fighting system on Monday, November 8 at about 6:00 p.m. PST.  It failed to operate as designed. Subsequently, crewmembers were unable to activate it manually, and CO2 was never directed into the machinery space.

There were also serious questions raised about the testing and maintenance of the Splendor's CO2 emergency fire extinguishing system, and the training of crew in its use.

Eventually, crew members manually extinguished the fire, but not before it had caused extensive Confusing Fire Instruction Manual - Carnival Splendor Cruise Fireelectrical damage, which rendered the vessel dead in the water 55 miles off Punta San Jacinto on the northern Baja California coast, and 110 miles southwest of San Diego, requiring it to be towed back into port.  The U.S. Navy had to airlift 70,000 pounds critical food and water, including cans of Spam, to it by Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and Gruman C-2A Greyhound logistics aircraft from the San Diego based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).

All 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members ended their three day voyage to nowhere in San Diego on Thursday, November 11, when the massive 1,000 foot long ship was expertly guided into the B Street Embaradero Cruise Ship Terminal by six tug boats at 8:30 a.m. local time.

Before the Coast Guard pointed out these failures, we had contacted Carnival Cruise Line on November 18, 2010 with a list of nine specific questions relating to the ship's mechanical and electrical redundancy, asking why the fire was able to do such destructive damage. These questions were ignored by Ms. Aly Bello, a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines.

A follow up request specifically asked for a conference call interview with a senior executive or naval engineer from Carnival Cruise Lines, or a written reply by such an expert authority to those questions.  Once again, that request was ignored. Instead, we were provided with press releases about cancellations in sailing schedules and the financial impact on the company.  We again contacted the Company, and pointed out that in parallel instances in the aviation industry, we were able to talk with company officials, even during times of stress and turmoil for that carrier.  Once more, our requests for additional information and interviews were ignored.

Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect a cruise ship company, which is literally under fire, to be willing to discuss their own culpability, especially in light of the fact that the cruise industry has been reluctant in the past to discuss safety practices, or issues of Norovirus shipboard disease outbreaks, and as attorney Walker confirmed, has a long history of mishandling fires at sea.

Even in this instance, the U.S. Coast Guard seems to be walking on egg shells, by keeping the vessel's name, which is clearly shown in one of the photographs contained in their report, invisible in the report itself.

Finally, Carnival Cruise Lines declined offers by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to Leaking CO2 Hoses / Pipes - Marine Safety Bulletin - Carnival Splendor investigate this incident, and instead turned the matter over to the Panama Maritime Authority, the country in which the vessel is registered.  The U.S. Coast Guard requested to join the investigation, and Panama consented.  The NTSB provided two experts to assist the Coast Guard, following its request for technical assistance.  Information on the progress of the investigation will eventually be released by the Panama Maritime Authority.

Any air carrier in the United States which operated in a similar manner would have questions raised about its lack of transparency, and loss of public confidence in that company's crisis management abilities.

 

Photo credits:

Top photo:  Carnival Splendor towed back to port in San Diego (AP via National Examiner)

2nd photo:  Broken CO2 valve  (Coast Guard via National Examiner)

3rd photo:  Wrong fire instruction manual (Coast Guard via National Examiner)

Bottom photo:  Leaking CO2 piping / hose connections (Coast Guard via National Examiner)

Carnival Splendor CO2 Firefighting System: "A Recipe for Failure"

Yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard issued 2 Marine Safety Alerts regarding the CO2 firefighting system on Carnival Splendor cruise ship which failed to operate following an engine room fire on November 8, 2010.

The first alert indicated that the fire instruction manual (FIM) did not match the actual CO2 system aboard the cruise ship.  The second alert revealed that the pipes and hose connections of the fire suppression system "leaked extensively," actuating arms to valves were loose, a wrong type of sealant was used on the pipe threads, and a valve failed to work.

The Professional Mariner confirms that these 2 Coast Guard alerts pertained to the Splendor.

The bottom line?   A newly constructed cruise ship, flying the flag of Panama, with a confusing fire instruction manual, poor maintenance, and faulty equipment - endangering the lives of U.S. passengers. 

Coast Guard Reports - Carnival Splendor Cruise Fire

 Marine Safety Reports - Carnival Splendor Fire

 

U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Sick Teenager from NCL's Jewel

The United States Coast Guard crews medevaced an ill thirteen year old from the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Jewel cruise ship near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on Saturday. 

The boy had symptoms of acute appendicitis.  The Coast Guard lifted the boy and his mother from the deck of the Jewel and flew them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

This is the type of story which we have reported on frequently.  Medical rescues like this are a regular occurrence when there is a medical emergency and the cruise ships are within the range of Coast Guard helicopters.  As I have said many times, a cruise ship is one of the last places on earth you want to be if you have a serious medical issue. 

One of the most infamous involving appendicitis aboard a cruise ship is Carnival v. Carlyle.  A family from Michigan sailed on Carnival's Ecstasy when 14 year old Elizabeth felt ill with abdominal pain.  The family took their daughter to the ship infirmary.  The  foreign trained doctor repeatedly told the family that the child had only the flu.  When the family returned home, a qualified doctor diagnosed a ruptured appendix and infection, but due to the delayed diagnosis and treatment the young girl was rendered sterile.

Carnival defended the case by claiming that it was not responsible for the malpractice of "independent contractors."  The cruise line and the cruise industry fought the case for a decade and finally won before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The bottom line?  The family went on a family cruise vacation and their daughter returned home sterile due to the gross negligence of the Carnival ship doctor.  After ten years of litigation, the young girl received nothing.    

So when I see a helicopters picking up a sick kid off of a cruise ship, I know that one parent's prayers have been answered.  They will not have to suffer like the Carlyle family from Michigan.

So, thanks to the the U.S. Coast Guard!

The medevac was filmed by a passenger, Allan, aboard the Jewel:

    

 

Credit:   CNN iReport

U.S. Coast Guard Medevacs Another Passenger From Holland America Cruise Ship

Last night, the U.S. Coast Guard performed a medical evacuation of a 75-year-old passenger who became sick while cruising on the Holland America cruise ship, Oosterdam, about 180 miles southwest of San Diego.

A HC-130 Hercules aircraft from the Coast Guard station in Sacramento located the HAL ship ship.  A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter dispatched from the Coast Guard's San Diego station then medevaced the passenger to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

The medevac came just 2 days after the Coast Guard assisted the disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor into San Diego.

In October, the Coast Guard conducted essentially an identical rescue.   A 74-year-old passenger with pancreatis was rescued from HAL's Oosterdam 36 miles from San Diego and sent via helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital. 

The U.S. Coast Guard spends millions of dollars a year assisting passengers who are sick or injured on foreign flagged cruise ships.

Coast Guard Medevac - Cruise Ship - Medical Rescue

Photo credit:

U.S. Coast Guard via Cruise Critic member Copper10-8 (depicting medevac from HAL Noordam)

Another Cruise, Another Coast Guard Rescue

The Coast Guard is reporting that it medically evacuated a 17-year-old female passenger from a cruise ship 83 nautical miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C. Monday.

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a phone call from a crewmember aboard the cruise ship Carnival Pride at approximately 8 p.m. stating that there was a female aboard who was experiencing symptoms of appendicitis.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City was launched at 9:30 p.m. to respond. The helicopter crew arrived on scene at 11:30 p.m., and hoisted the 17-year-old female, her mother and the cruise ship’s nurse. The helicopter crew then transferred them to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.
 

Coast Guard Rescues Sick Passenger From Carnival's Spirit Cruise Ship

Cruise Law News is a big fan of the United States Coast Guard which came to the rescue of a 79-year-old passenger aboard the Carnival cruise ship Spirit yesterday. 

According to 10News.com, the Carnival cruise ship was about 570 miles south of San Diego when the vessel notified the USCG that a passenger was experiencing health problems.  At around 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, a 41-foot-long Coast Guard utility boat met the cruise ship at the entrance to San Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship - Passenger MedevacDiego Bay.  The sick passenger and a member of the cruise ship's medical staff were taken by the Coast Guard to the San Diego Harbor Police dock. The patient was then taken by ambulance to Scripps Mercy Hospital.  The nature of the passenger's medical problem and her current condition were not discussed. 

For other articles on Coast Guard medevacs, consider reading:

U.S. Coast Guard Medivacs Passenger From HAL Cruise Ship

Helicopter Medevacs Passenger from Princess Cruise Ship

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Cruise Passengers

 

Photo credit  U.S. Coast Guard via 10News.com

U.S. Coast Guard Medivacs Passenger From HAL Cruise Ship

Medivac defintion: "Air transport of persons to a place where they can receive medical or surgical care; medical evacuation."

"Medivac" is a word that you hope the cruise ship doctor has heard before if you become seriously ill or injured during a cruise.  As I have mentioned in prior blogs, a cruise ship is the last place you want to be if you have a life threatening situation with your health.  Elderly passengers are particularly vulnerable when they have to rely on the medical skill and experience of ship doctor trained outside of the U.S.   

Over one-half of the passengers who seek medical treatment during cruises are over age 65.  Many passengers have pre-existing medical conditions including heart conditions.  Elderly passengers are at risk for complications on cruise ships with noro-virus and are then at the mercy of the ship doctors. 

Luckily for passengers on cruise ships near U.S. ports, the U.S. Coast Guard can come to the rescue.  U.S. citizens don't appreciate just how fortunate they are when a U.S. Coast helicopter arrives on the scene and saves the day.  Sometimes we hear of the Canadian Coast Guard rescuing Americans, like here.

Here we have a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Astoria pulling an injured passenger from the deck of the Volendam cruise ship operated by Holland American Line. 

The passenger apparently sustained head and back injuries in a fall as the cruise ship was headed from Seattle to Hawaii.  Luckily for him, the ship was still a hundred miles from Oregon. Thanks to the Coast Guard, the cruise passenger was taken to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for medical treatment.

 

 

Credit:

Video - U.S. Coast Guard (via NWCN.com / Washington News)
  

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Cruise Passengers

This was a busy weekend for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard - Medevac - Cruise PassengerLast night around 7:15 p.m., the Carnival Glory cruise ship notified the Coast Guard in Miami that a 36 year-old pregnant woman needed emergency medical treatment.  The Carnival Glory departed the Port of Miami at 4 p.m. Sunday and was en route to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Coast Guard sent an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to the ship and safely hoisted the woman at about 8:30 p.m. (video below), and transferred her to Broward General Hospital.

On Saturday, the Carnival Inspiration cruise ship notified the Coast Guard around 3:00 a.m. that a  63-year-old cruise ship passenger with internal bleeding needed evacuation.  The ship was about 115 miles west of Marco Island. The Coast Guard helicopter arrived and took the passenger to Tampa General Hospital around 8:00 a.m. 

Later Saturday night, the Norwegian Jewel reported that a a 42-year-old man with acute appendicitis needed to go to a hospital.  The cruise ship was 20 miles east of Atlantic City Saturday.  A Coast Guard helicopter transported the passenger to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City for treatment.

A cruise ship is not the place you want to be if you are critically ill.  The U.S. Coast Guard does a fantastic job performing medical evacuations of cruise passengers and searching for passengers and crew when they go overboard. 

 

 

 

Credits:

Photograph           United States Coast Guard

Video            United States Coast Guard via Palm Beach Post