Crew Member from India Missing from Carnival Inspiration

The Times of India reports that an Indian crew member has mysteriously gone missing from a Carnival cruise ship while in transit from Mexico to Los Angeles since November 9th. 

Symron Santana Almeida, age 33, a resident of Cuncolim, India reportedly was employed as a wiper in the engine room of the Carnival Inspiration

The Times states that a Carnival spokesperson has been updating the family since November 12th. Mr. Almeida's brother, Siffo, has pressed Carnival for details and has demanded that it conduct a Symron  Almeida Carnival Inspirationproper investigation into the disappearance.

I first learned of the disappearance on Twitter when Mr. Almeida's neighbor, Mr. Vijay Prabhu, tweeted that "My neighbor Mr. Symron Almeida, from Cuncolim-Goa reported MISSING while sailing on board as employee of Carnival Cruise ship INSPIRATION. Ship Location Los Angeles USA. Family in distress. Please help.. My contact 9823034599."

Mr. Prabhu posted a letter dated November 10th from the Master of the cruise ship about the efforts to locate Mr. Almeida. The letter states in part: "The man overboard cameras were also reviewed and none of the footage captures a person falling in the water." 

I believe that the captain is referring to whether any of the ship's closed circuit televisions (CCTV) cameras may or may not have shown Mr. Almeida going overboard.  To my knowledge, the Carnival Inspiration is not equipped with automatic man-overboard cameras which would send a signal to the bridge whenever someone goes overboard. Modern systems today can record the person going over the rails and track them in the water via motion detection, infrared and radar technology. (MSC recently announced that it has begun implementing this technology on its fleet of ships; read MSC Cruises Implements New Man Overboard System Amidst Industry Delays).   

It appears that Carnival is one of many cruise lines which has not invested in this technology. 

Carnival is therefore left with having to review its shipboard surveillance / CCTV data to see if Mr. Almeida's movements on, around and from the Inspiration are shown by the cameras. This time-consuming, "old school" method is random and haphazard and may or may not have shown anything even if Mr. Almeida went overboard. 

The popular Crew Center website covered this incident and has a description of the contents of the Carnival Inspiration Captain's Letter  captain's letter:

I would like to share with you an update regarding one of our valued team members, Symron Santana Almeida, Wiper from our Engine team who was reported missing yesterday evening.

We started an immediate vessel wide search on board for Symron, and as you know, this search continued today into the early hours of the afternoon. The man overboard cameras were also reviewed and none of the footage captures a person falling in the water.

As per our protocols, our onboard investigation continues, and as of this time, unfortunately, Symron has still not been found. All appropriate authorities and our Corporate Office have been notified.

Our CareTeam has been in contact with Symron's mother and brother and we continue to provide every possible support to his family back in India.

We are saddened by this unfortunate turn of events and ask that you kindly join me in keeping Symron and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any member of the management team. We will keep you informed of any further developments.

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

Photo credits: Top - Symron Almeida Facebook page, with photo description "last day in engine room on Carnival Triumph." Bottom -  Vijay Prabhu Twitter page.

Carnival to Outsource IT Jobs to India?

Carnival HeadquartersCBS4 Local News is reporting that Carnival Corporation is eliminating 200 positions from its IT departments across its brands, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines and Princess Cruises.  

The local news station writes that a French company which holds itself out as a “global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services” is offering offering new jobs - with only six months of guaranteed employment - to Carnival's IT employees. CBS4 News says that the cruise line is pressuring its IT employees to sign agreements to participate in “knowledge transfer activities.”

Carnival told CBS4 that "all impacted individuals will become employees of Capgemini.”

But what Carnival did not admit is that "Capgemini is "outsourcing the work to India because that was the only way it could provide the IT services to Carnival at the rate paid to them by the company,” according to Sara Blackwell, a labor attorney, who is giving advice to the soon-to-be-displaced Carnival employees.

You can read about Capgemini's Indian operations here.

According to CBS4, a Carnival PR spokesman said that the move was to improve performance and not save money. "Asked if the employees were being asked to train others how to do their jobs, Frizzell responded: 'Not trained, but they will be involved in showcasing the processes related to the function in order for Capgemini to provide stronger and better service to Carnival Corporation and its brands.'”

Labor lawyer Blackwell told CBS4 that Carnival was dumping its IT employees: “The Carnival executives dumped oil in the ocean with the Princess Cruise line and now they are throwing away American workers for foreign slave labor. The executives of Carnival should be ashamed and should have to face the families that they have destroyed merely days before Christmas."

Other cruise lines have outsourced jobs before to minimize costs and maximize profits. Three years ago Royal Caribbean's call center was unceremoniously moved to Guatemala where workers earned substantially less with no real benefits.

Carnival is reportedly cutting 200 IT jobs,140 of which are here in Miami.

Carnival's outsourcing is part of Arnold Donald's costs cutting steps which he initiated years ago. Money saved - yes; but at the expense of terminating loyal employees? Not to mention running the risk of demoralizing the remaining staff while offering substandard services?

I hope that Carnival's outsourced IT sales office in India works better than the service center in India which I have to call when I'm having a computer problem.

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The CBS4 article was written by Jim DeFede, a former journalist for the Miami New Times who in the 1990's authored articles critical of Carnival penny-pinching ways, including Is Mickey A Greedy Corporate Pig?, which is one of my favorite articles in addition to an article written by Ted Kissell titled The Deep Blue Greed - The Arison Clan Built Carnival into a Money Machine by Cleverly Avoiding Tax Laws.

Photo credit: Coolcaesar at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedi

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

December 14, 2016 Update:  CBS4 updates its article (video below) regarding Carnival Corporation's termination of its IT employees. It turns out that the displaced Carnival employees do not have a guarantee of 6 months employment with the new foreign employer.   

Article: Carnival Cruise Line forces fired employees to train foreign replacements.

Breibart covers the Carnival outsourcing during this Christmas season . . . 

"This U.S. Company Just Laid Off Hundreds Of Employees For Reason You'll Never Believe!" via Faith Family America.  

 

Extreme Work Load & Grueling Hours Exhaust Royal Princess Crew Members

Royal Princess Cruise ShipA number of crew members have contacted us about the difficult work and long hours the crew are required to work aboard the Royal Princess cruise ship.

We are informed that 12 dishwashers signed off the Princess cruise ship in just the last 2 months because of what is being described as a heavy work load and extreme work hours, reportedly more than 14 hours work everyday.  Other crew members may be leaving as well before the cruise ship embarks on its transatlantic crossing to South Florida.

One of the problems which crew members face when a cruise ship repositions from Europe to the U.S. is that they have to work additional hours to prepare for inspections by the United States Public Health (USPH) inspectors. A failed USPH inspection is a kiss of death for a Food & Beverage supervisor or the senior managers of restaurant and galley operations. 

I'm sure that the guests aboard the newest Princess luxury cruise ship have no idea how hard and how long the crew members from Indonesian, Indian, and the Philippines work.

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Celebrity Cruises Hit with $2,500,000 Verdict

A blog discussing Goa India, and Miami's Daily Business Review, are reporting on a significant verdict that was recently reached against Miami-based Celebrity Cruises. 

The jury verdict involves a Celebrity crew member, Vincente Fernandes, from Goa, India. Back in September 2009, Mr. Fernandes was an assistant stateroom attendant on a Celebrity cruise ship. He alleges that there were shortages of sheets and towels for passenger cabins on the cruise ship. Cabin attendants had to compete to obtain them.

When Mr. Fernandes requested linens & towels to assist in preparing the passenger cabins, the linen keeper verbally abused him and then physically assaulted him. Fernandes was just 5 feet, 4 inches in height and weighed just 140 pounds. The linen manager who attacked him? He was twice Fernandes' size - 6 feet, 6 inches and weighed 280 pounds. Fernandes suffered a badly fractured leg which required surgery with the insertion of plates and screws.  

Celebrity flew Mr. Fernandes back home to Goa, India after the surgery. Celebrity paid no compensation to Fernandes and did not timely pay monies for the injured crew member's food and lodging, medical care, therapy or medication. Mr. Fernandes's lead trial lawyer, Ervin A. Gonzalez of the Colson Hicks law firm, assisted by Christopher Drury and Tonya Meister, argued that Fernandes suffered a deformed leg which will need several additional operations, including a knee replacement. 

The trial addressed only the issue of compensation. The trial court, the Honorable David Miller, struck the cruise line's defenses for pre-trial discovery violations. 

The cruise line was defended by David Horr and Eddie Hernandez of the Horr, Novak & Skipp law firm.

The jury awarded a total of slightly over $2,496,000 in damages, consisting of $1,750,000 in pain and suffering & mental anguish, $350,625 for medical expenses, and $395,400 for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.

Mr. Fernandes counsel, Ervin Gonzalez, summed the case up as follows: 

"Celebrity pounded Mr. Fernandes, a five foot four and 140 pound cabin steward, to a pulp, through its employee, a six foot six 280 pound assistant linen manager brute. As a result, Mr. Fernandez's leg was shattered. His knee was destroyed and will need to be replaced in ten years. The 2.5 million dollar verdict cannot replace his knee and make him healthy but it will at least help him find economic stability. Without the civil justice system, Mr. Fernandes would be broken, financially devastated and discarded."

Crew Member from India Disappears from MSC Opera

This evening a number of news organizations are reporting that a crew member went overboard from the MSC Opera cruise ship. 

BBC News reports that the crew member went overboard when the cruise ship was south of the Isle of Wright.  

The News identified the crew member as a 33 year-old Indian national named Fernandes Elroy.

The cruise ship was sailing into Southampton early this morning.

MSC Opera Cruise ShipMSC Cruises said staff were alerted at 5:30 AM on today that Mr. Elroy was missing.  The company claims that CCTV, which was checked at 6:30 AM, allegedly showed Mr Elroy jumping overboard around 1:30 AM, according to the The Isle of Wright Radio

A Coast Guard helicopter and lifeboat carried out an unsuccessful search. 

We have reported before on disappearances from MSC cruise ships in the past which you can read about here and here and here.

There is usually very little, if any, investigation conducted by the cruise lines to try and find out why crew members disappear on the high seas. Few cruise lines have automatic man overboard detection systems, unfortunately.  There is a tendency by the cruise lines to quickly conclude that the person committed suicide. Even if the evidence supports a suicide explanation, there is no effort to determine whether the working conditions (long hours, long contract, low wages and work pressure and emotional abuse) were factors involved in literally pushing the crew member emotionally over-the-edge.

Professor Ross Klein reports that 206 people have gone overboard from cruise ship since 2000.

If you have information about this latest overboard, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Consider reading another article about working conditions and crew members going overboard: Is Royal Caribbean Working Its Crew Members to Death?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / VollwertBIT 

Royal Caribbean Cruises - An Epidemic of Sick, Injured & Neglected Crew Members

Today I received a telephone call and two emails from crew members from Trinidad, India and Nicaragua. 

Their stories all sounded the same. 

They worked on cruise ships as a waiter or assistant waiter until they suffered back, shoulder or Royal Caribbean Crew Member = Trinidadwrist injuries.  After being sent home, they had to call and email the cruise line repeatedly before a medical appointment was finally scheduled.  They received only $12 a day for living expenses.  And their "case managers" - the employees at the cruise line responsible for arranging their medical treatment - would never return their e-mails.

Halfway through their stories, I would interrupt them with the question: "So you worked for Royal Caribbean?"

Right now this particular cruise line has embarked on a purge of removing ill crew members from its "sick lists" and slashing the medical treatment and daily stipend provided to the ship employees. 

We have addressed this problem in prior blog articles -  Cruise Ship Medical Care - Royal Caribbean Gives Their Crew Members the Royal Shaft and "Titanic Dreams" - Royal Caribbean Wins "Worst Cruise Line in the World" Award.

Royal Caribbean requires its waiters and assistant waiters to carry trays weighing up to 50 lbs.  The Royal Caribbean Crew Member - Trinidad waiters work over 12 hours a days, 7 days a weeks, carrying the trays over their shoulders.  The result is a rash of neck, shoulder, wrist and back injuries due to the repetitive heavy load and strain.

Once their bodies are broken, the crew members are of little use to the cruise line.  Royal Caribbean sends them back to their home countries, where they are neglected and then abandoned. 

The extreme cost cutting measures are the result of this particular cruise line being caught between the dream of having the most ostentatious cruise ships in the world (the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas), and the reality of being unable to even sell out the Oasis of the Seas for its inaugural cruise. 

For every ten inquiries we receive from injured crew members - like Trinidadian crew members Mr. Ambris (above) and Ms. Villafana (to the right) - nine are former Royal Caribbean crew members.  

Once all of the hoopla over the arrival of the Oasis of the Seas dies down, will Royal Caribbean shift its focus back to the welfare of its hard-working crew members?  Or will receiving emails and calls from Royal Caribbean crew members continue to be a daily occurrence?