Will NCL Ignore Captain Kirk?

Captain Kirk William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the 1960 classic science fiction television series Star Trek, reportedly recently urged Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to stop offering "swim with dolphins" excursions on its upcoming Star Trek themed cruise.

According to the Hollywood Reporter (THR), Mr. Shatner is hosting the "Star Trek: The Cruise" voyage aboard the Norwegian Jade this coming January. He and the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), asked NCL to end the swim-with-the-dolphins outings supported by the cruise line. He wrote a letter to NCL's CEO Frank Del Rio, saying: 

"Aboard the USS Enterprise, it was Captain Kirk's duty 'to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations' in order to advance and diversify our own. The exploitation of any species for profit and entertainment would have violated the Prime Directive. 

THR writes: "Shatner argued he's 'happy' his fans can sail on the themed-Norwegian Jade voyage, but insisted condemning captive animals to a 'lifetime of suffering' for entertainment cannot be justified. Surely, Star Trek fans would appreciate the decision to allow dolphins to remain in the wild — and prosper." 

NCL, of course, could not be reached for comment, according to the article.

NCL was last in the news for its exploitation of rare macaws in its development in Belize at Harvest Caye. The cruise line reportedly obtained numerous birds (toucans and other macaws) and animals and reptiles from the Belize government from the wild and/or rescue and rehabilitation centers for NCL Frank Del Rio display in cages for the benefit of cruise visitors. 

The prospect of CEO Del Rio responding to the commander of starship Enterprise? Between slim and none, in my opinion. Del Rio, who collected over $30,000,000 as CEO for NCL in 2015 alone, has a well deserved reputation for looking for every possible way to put money in the cruise line's coffers. 

NCL is just one of many cruise lines which sell exploitative swim-with-the-dolphins excursions to its guests.

Del Rio is probably the least likely cruise executive "to boldly go where no other cruise CEO has gone before."

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

Credits: Captain Kirk - Star Trek.com; Frank Del Rio - Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images and Storify.

Tunisian Government to Israeli Passengers: You Are Not Welcome, Stay on the Ship!

A number of news sources are reporting that the Tunisian government prohibited Israeli passengers from disembarking from a cruise ship at a stop at the Port of Tunis.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), a U.S.-based cruise line, told the Israeli citizens that they were not welcome by the Tunisian government and had to stay aboard the cruise ship.

The ship involved is the Norwegian Jade.

B’nai Brith Canada released a statement yesterday stating that there were approximately 20 Israelis Norwegian Jade - Tunis Tunisiaon board the NCL ship. They did not know in advance that they could not leave the ship during the port of call.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), “the cruise line had a responsibility to its passengers and (to) advise them of this discriminatory policy in advance,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant said in a statement. “Better still the cruise line should avoid ports that have such policies.”

The cruise blog Cruise Hive publishes a statement by NCL about the incident:

"During Norwegian Jade’s port call in La Goulette, Tunisia on Sunday, March 9, 2014, a small number of guests holding Israeli passports were not allowed to go ashore because of a last minute decision made by the Tunisian Government. Port taxes for the call in Tunisia are being refunded to these guests.

We apologize for any inconvenience to our guests and appreciate their understanding. We are reviewing this decision with the appropriate officials." 

NCL's statement is pathetic. NCL should not be down-playing the incident like this. The Tunisian government's action should be immediately and unequivocally denounced in the strongest language possible.  

This is not about returning nominal port taxes to inconvenienced guests. It is about much deeper and important issues. No citizens of any nation should be subjected to such discrimination.  The fact that an Arab nation would exhibit such contempt and hostility against Israel is particularly despicable.

What lessons were learned from the hijacking of the Achilles Lauro cruise ship and the murder of passenger Leon Klinghoffer? Have we forgotten his death and the terror inflicted by an Arab terrorist group against cruise ship passengers in the Mediterranean and ending in the murder of a Jewish passenger?  

Tunisia's actions sent a clear message to Israeli citizens.  NCL's response should be equally clear. The only reasonable action is for NCL and the cruise industry to boycott Tunis as a port.

Tunisia Cruise Shipping Miami 2014March 11, 2014 Update:  NCL is boycotting Tunisia.  Here's the NCL statement by CEO Sheehan:

“We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests. We are outraged by this act and the fact that we were not notified in advance of this practice. We apologize sincerely to our guests who were affected and want them to know that we have taken the appropriate action in response.”  

NCL announced the boycott during the Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM2014) today.  I walked by the Tunisia delegation (photo left). They must be feeling rather foolish.  

 

Photo Credit: Top - Wikipedia / Ivan T.; bottom - Jim Walker

Death on NCL's Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade Cruise Ship Katakolon GreeceAccording to a news account in Greece, a 25 year old Filipino crew member aboard the Norwegian Jade died when the cruise ship was in Katakolo, Greece.

In addition to the skimpy information contained in the newspaper, we learned that the incident occurred early this morning when cruise passengers were preparing to disembark for sightseeing ashore (including visiting the ruins of Olympia).

A mooring line snapped while the crew member was standing on a mooring deck platform (at the level of deck 7). The crew member was violently struck by the recoiling rope. He was knocked overboard and into the water at the port.  According to the news account, divers took several hours to retrieve the dead man's body in the murky water. 

The crew member was not fitted with either a harness or a life vest and he was not wearing a hard hat. (Some people say that his hard hat was subsequently found floating in the water).

This afternoon, the Norwegian Jade (previously named the Pride of Hawaii) continued on to its next port of call in Piraeus.  The Jade is flagged in the Bahamas.  It appears that the ship sailed without a representative of the Bahamas Maritime Authority conducting an inspection of the rope or analyzing the NCL Norwegian Jadeaccident and taking statements from the crew and witnesses.  The ship is now continuing to sail to Pireus this evening.   

Cruise lines like NCL have worked hard to strip crew members of their rights.  Crew members from the Philippines, in particular, are limited under the Philippines Overseas Employment Agreement (POEA) to very small death benefits even in cases like this where the cruise line failed to enforce basic safety procedures.  

You can read our article about the POEA here. NCL took the lead in enforcing unfair arbitration clauses which deprive seafarers of their rights under maritime law.

Without significant financial consequence to the cruise line in cases like this, there is no incentive to improve safety of the ship's hard working crew. 

If you have information about this fatality, please leave a comment below.     

Photo credits: Norwegian Jade - janiahola.fi; web cam - NCL; scene of accident - ekathimerini.com

NCL Norwegian Jade Death Greece

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