Jail Time for Captain of Reef-Destroying Caledonian Sky?

There's still considerable talk about the ecological damage caused by the Caledonian Sky cruise ship which smashed a wide area of coral reef in Raja Ampat, Indonesia two weeks ago.

The local Minister for Maritime Affairs was quoted as saying that the damage to the ancient coral reefs was "devastating and irreparable," according to an article in Rappler titled Indonesia says captain of cruise ship that destroyed coral reefs may face imprisonment.

The Bahamian-flagged cruise ship ran aground at low tide, although it was equipped with radar and GPS monitoring instruments.

The ship was reportedly carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew members on a 16-day trip from Papua New Guinea to the Philippines.

The ship's operator, Noble Caledonia, was operating the vessel under a long term charter from Salen Ship Management. Noble Caledonian offered a token apology but concentrated on defending itself and its master who grounded the vessel on the reef, saying: "We are one of the leading expedition cruise companies which specializes in expedition tours to remote locations such as this, in addition to which we take protection of the environment very seriously indeed. The Master on duty at the time is one of the world’s leading expedition Captains."

The master, Keith Michael Taylor, on paper at least, seems to be an experienced mariner, according to Captain Taylor Caledonia Sky his resume on Linked-In. Before working for Salen Ship Management for the past two years as the captain of the Calendonian Sky, he served as a captain with Orion Expedition Cruises from 2008 to 2014 and, before that, for Windstar Cruises for one year.  He also served as a captain for Clipper Cruise Line for eight years and for Spice Island Fleet, Great White Fleet and Windjammer Barefoot Cruises dating back to the early 1990's.

Newspaper accounts, however, are highly critical of the captain. Some suggest that he did not wait for a report of the damage to his vessel or the reef. Tugs pulled the cruise ship across the reef, further damaging the coral. One newspaper says that Captain Taylor attempted to break free from the reef and made the damage even worse even though he was ordered to stop. He then sailed the ship out of the jurisdiction. One newspaper said that the captain "seems to be content by leaving the matter to the insurance company." 

Approximately 17,200 square feet of coral were destroyed in the mishap, although a more recent estimate placed the extent of the damage much higher.  Estimates of the damages are in the range of a little over $1 million to over $18 million.  But the destruction cannot be easily fixed and the reefs may take over 100 years to regenerate.  

One newspaper reported that the local ministry said “the destruction of the Radja Ampat coral reefs, which were developed by nature over hundreds of years, occurred in less than one day. It is simply impossible to restore that part of Radja Ampat. Fish that were normally seen in that particular area are all gone.”

Photographs posted (bottom) after the grounding show rubber dinghies deployed bearing the name of the Swedish management company, Salen Ship (salenship.com).

Captain Taylor committed an environmental crime under Indonesian law; he is subject to imprisonment for recklessly destroying the country's natural coral resources. But whether he spends even a day in jail seems unlikely. As explained in my recent article The "Trump Effect" - Cruise Industry Reinforces Its Image as an Enemy of the Environment, there are few travel industries which can wreak havoc on rare, bio-diverse marine habitats as effectively as the cruise lines. And there are no cruise lines willing to see their captains face criminal responsibility when they run aground on or drop or drag an anchor over an ancient coral reef.

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

 Photo credit: Top - Linked-In; Middle - Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs; Bottom - Indonesia Expats 

Caledonia Sky Reef Damage

 Salen Ship Management - Caledonia Sky

Finally, First U.S. Female to Captain Cruise Ship

Celebrity Cruises announced with great fanfare today that it appointed Kate McCue as the master of the Celebrity Summit cruise ship. She reportedly will be the first U.S. woman to captain a large cruise ship when she joins the Summit next month.

McCue has been with sister brand Royal Caribbean for 15 years.  

Royal Caribbean first named a woman as a captain of a cruise ship in the male dominated industry in 2007 when it appointed Swedish mariner Karin Stahre-Janson as the master of the Monarch of the Captain Kate McCueSeas.

Royal Caribbean named its second female cruise ship captain, Lis Lauritzen, aboard its Vision of the Seas in 2011.   

In 2010 Inger Klein Olsen took the helm of Cunard's Queen Victoria and joined this very small group of women in the male dominated industry.

Later Sarah Breton became the first female captain in P&O Cruises’ 170 plus year history when she was appointed to sail the Artemis.

In 2012 Silversea Cruises promoted Margrith Ettlin to the position of captain aboard the Silver Explorer

Sexism has been a problem for the industry over the decades.  Having women in places of authority and control can only make the cruise lines a fairer place for crew members to work.

Kudos to all of these pioneers and best of luck to Ms., er, Master McCue!  

Update: Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva - What Say You, Master Mariano Manfuso?

Master - Coral Princess - Princess Cruises - Captain Mariano ManfusoThe disturbing circumstances surrounding the "disappearance" of Princess crew member Angelo Faliva continue to fill the newspapers and television airways in Italy as the cruise line continues to keep the Faliva family in the dark. 

U.K. security officer, Officer Michael Groves, has weighed in with his opinion regarding the sorry state of affairs surrounding Princess Cruises' attempt to spin a story that it has no idea what happened to young Angelo Faliva.  Officer Groves writes:

"I read with sadness the news that yet another young, vibrant and seemingly happy crew member has apparently "disappeared" from yet another cruise ship, the Coral Princess and yet the company, his employers can only really round off the incident as “We are really very puzzled . . . We do not know what happened.”

Puzzled – lets look at that word. As we all know its definition means to be perplexed or confused, to ponder or study over some perplexing problem or matter.

Sorry I am more than puzzled, I am appalled! I am appalled that yet again a monolithic liner – a modern ‘floating’ city with reams of close circuit television camera’s (CCTV) affixed to numerous points both internally and most certainly externally on board the Coral Princess, appears to have yielded no footage at all?"    

Princess Cruises' deplorable handling of this case was highlighted by the reportedly cold treatment of Mr. Faliva's sister, Chiara, by the Master of the cruise ship, Captain Mariano Manfuso, after Ms. Faliva Coral Princess - Master - Princess Cruises - Captain Mariano Manfusotraveled from Italy to California - where Princess Cruises is based - to try and find information about her brother.

Why have Princess Cruises and Master Manfuso (photos above and to the right) not cooperated with the Faliva family?  Why has Master Manfuso not turned over copies of all of the vessel's logs and reports to the Faliva family?  

Why didn't Master Manfuso make certain that the cruise ship's surveillance tapes from hundreds of cameras were immediately turned over to the FBI or to the Bermuda investigators?  Why the delay? 

How can I sit in my office in Miami and look online at Princess' grainy bridge cam (below) for the Coral Princess, but Princess' security guards and supervisors can't monitor the hundreds of high resolution surveillance cameras on the ship itself to determine when a crew member goes overboard?

Was Master Manfuso put on the sideline after the cruise line lawyers and risk managers took over the "investigation?" 

Is the cruise line engaged in a cover up? 

What is going on aboard your cruise ship Master Manfuso?  

The world is watching.

 

 

Coral Princess - Bridge Cam - Princess Cruises - Surveillance Cameras - Angelo Faliva

 

 

Credits:

Top photograph of Captain Manfuso                Flickr photo.klick's photostream

Bottom photograph of Captain Manfuso          mincomercio.gov.co  

Coral Princess bridge cam                                 Coral Princess, Princess Cruises