Cruise Lines Continue to Support the Bloody Faroe Islands, Despite Whale Slaughter

The tourist board of the Faroe Islands blocked me from accessing its Twitter page "Visit Faroe Islands" (@VisitFaroe) a couple of years ago after I pointed out that the cruise industry still sails its ships there despite the cruel tradition of slaughtering hundreds of pilot whales a year. I'm still blocked today by the Faroes tourism people and the sadistic and bloodthirsty practice still continues. Cruise lines still take their largely clueless guests to the Faroes and promote tours ashore.

The Faroes tourism website features a large photo (below) of a cruise ship and encourages visitors to visit by cruise or ferry.

I say don't @VisitFaroe . . . 

Beware, the images below (after the cruise ship), taken by the Sea Shepard volunteers, are gruesome.

Faroe Islands Cruise Travel      As I explained in Cruise Line Support Mass Murder of Whales in Faroe Islands, the local residents of the Faroe Islands massacre around 1,000 pilot whales a year. But these are not far-out-at-sea murders by huge Japanese ships away from civilization. These are well attended sporting events where the residents of the Faroes chase pods of the whales in motorized boats into a harbor and the locals hack at the whales with knives while their family members cheer them on. The whales suffer fear as they are separated from their families and die an agonizing death.  The locals call it the "Grindadráp" or the "Grind."' I call it the killing of families of defenseless mammals for fun by sick sociopaths. Here's what one person described:

"The whales are dragged to the shallow water, where participants in the kill then wade in the sea to around waist height. There they are slaughtered with traditional knives whose blades are usually 16 to 19 cm (6.3 to 7.5 in) long. Usually two deep cuts are made on either side of the animal’s neck, just Faroe Islands Cruise Travelbehind the blow hole, causing the head to drop forward; a third cut is then made through the middle of the neck down to the carotid arteries and spinal cord, which are severed. After a period of violent thrashing the animal is paralyzed and loses consciousness, dying of blood loss in most cases. With this the sea turns bright red with blood."

Mother whales are gutted and their baby whales ripped out.

Yesterday Fox News covered the horrific slaughter, showing images (video below), taken by Sea Sheperd volunteers, of the gruesome killing of these highly social mammals. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that a major U.S. television network focused on the gruesome slaughter. Many other newspapers in Europe are also carrying the disturbing images, like the Independent, Daily Mail, and the Metro

All of the major cruise lines still cruise to ports in the Faroes and profit by selling sell shore excursions to their guests. The local tour operators receive substantial income from the cruise line passengers.

The Bad Guys:

NCL promotes excursions to Torshavn, described as the "colorful capital city" of the Faroe Islands featuring es a "panoply of Nordic landscapes, with fjords, straits, deep green valleys, and a wonderful harbor dotted with colorful boats."  But no mention, of course, of the horrific whale slaughters.

Princess Cruises encourages it guests to buy tours to the Faroes with its "rough-hewn coastlines, towering sea cliffs, emerald-green valleys, and quaint grass-roofed villages," saying that the "air is Faroe Islands Cruise Travelsome of the cleanest in the world and the abundant sea birds chatter from every cliff and cove." But the cruise line obviously doesn't mention that the quaint "red-haired, freckle-faced Faroese people" murder hundreds of whales a year.  

Oceania Cruises joins parent company NCL in selling cruises to the Faroe Islands, characterizing the port of Torshavn as a "picturesque fishing town." 

Cunard makes money by convincing its guests to buy outings to the "colourfully painted wooden houses of the old town (of Torshavn) with turfed roofs." The captain of the  Queen Victoria is a native of the Faroe Islands and there was great fanfare when he sailed the Cunard cruise liner into the port of Klaksvik in the Faroes.

Other cruise lines which are on the Bloody-Faroes-Wall-of-Shame: Royal CaribbeanHolland America LineP&O Cruises, Regent Seven SeasViking Ocean Cruises, Seabourn, Windstar, Silversea, Royal Caribbean owned TUI CruisesNoble Caledonia, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Polar Cruises, and Smyril Line.  

The Good Guys:

A few cruise lines have discontinued supporting cruises to the deadly Faroes Islands in protest of the annual slaughter of pilot whales, namely two German lines, Hapag-Lloyd and AIDA. Disney Cruises also decided not to cruise to the Faroes after it learned of the ground swell of opposition to such a barbaric practice. So kudos to Hapag-Lloyd, AIDA and Disney which all decided to end their business Faroe Islands Cruise Travelrelationship with the Faroes. 

The public awareness of the barbaric, grisly practice is due to the tireless hard work of volunteers at the Sea Shepard organization.   

The residents of the Faroes defend their deadly practice of killing whales by pointing to their "heritage and tradition" of eating whale meat. (Read: Faroe Islands ‘cherish’ their bloody whale-hunting tradition).

But the Faroe Islands has a high standard of living today, and the whale meat is high in toxins and dangerous to eat anyway.

Cruelty for a long time is hardly a tradition.   

Most cruise passengers seem not to be aware of this cruelty. The violence inflicted on these sentient mammals is cruel and unconscionable. I say don't patronize cruises to this group of bloody islands or support cruise lines which do.

Follow Sea Shepherd Global - Operation Bloody Fjords Eyewitness Account.

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Photo credit: Top - Faroe Islands Tourism; others - Sea Shepherd Global; video - Sea Shepherd Global via FOX News.    

 

 

Oceania Cruises' Regatta Loses Power Near Hawaii

Regatta OceaniaCruise veteran Linda Coffman reports on her blog that Oceania Cruises' M/S Regatta experienced a power loss this morning while cruising near Hawaii. According to Ms. Coffman, the power was restored and guest services have been restored.

"At approximately 2:00 a.m. local time in Honolulu, HI (7:00 a.m. local time in Miami, FL) Oceania Cruises' M/S Regatta experienced a failure of its power generation plant. All guests and crew are safe and accounted for. The power plant has been restored and all guest services are fully functioning. The ship is currently making its way back to Honolulu to effect a technical assessment and the vessel's current ETA alongside in Honolulu is 1 p.m. local time. At the time of the power loss, the vessel was approximately 20 miles off the coasts of the island of Oahu."

No other information has been disclosed.

There is no information available regarding the cause of the power loss.

Power losses of cruise ships at sea is a relatively common occurrence. In 2016, there were at least 18 power losses of cruise ships operated by the major U.S.-based lines. 

Does anyone on the ship have additional information?

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Photo credit: Kalle Id - CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

AIS Image: MarineTraffic

Regatta Hawaii

A "Creative Solution?" Crew Member Raped Aboard Oceania Marina

Our firm represents a young crew member who was raped while she was unconscious aboard the Marina cruise ship operated by Oceania Cruises. 

We usually do not write about cases we handle, but we are doing so only after the Oceania defense lawyers in Miami felt compelled to write an article about the case on their website.  

The young woman (identified as Jane Doe in order to maintain her confidentiality as a victim) was found unconscious on the floor of her cabin by her roommate. The cruise ship doctor diagnosed anal tears and other signs of rape injuries. Oceania MarinaThe ship doctor did not permit the crew member to leave the ship (which was in the South Pacific) for medical rape-crisis psychotherapy or counseling. The crew member contracted herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), and sustained substantial physical and mental injuries, due to the rape.

After Oceania refused to cooperate, we flew the rape victim to Miami, where the cruise line and hiring agent are located, in order for the cruise line to provide medical and psychological treatment within their network of doctors. We allege that Oceania refuses to provide the rape victim with ongoing and uninterrupted medical and therapy, as well as the "maintenance and cure" to which she is entitled as a crew member. 

The defense attorneys explained on their web page that the case "stemmed from the crew member's allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a fellow crew member. She filed suit against the defendants in Florida state court alleging Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, failure to provide medical treatment, failure to provide maintenance and cure, and failure to pay seaman wages. In addition to those claims, the crew member brought common law tort claims arising from the cruise line’s alleged conduct for false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, spoliation of evidence, invasion of privacy, and fraudulent misrepresentation."

The federal judge ruled that all of the causes of action were subject to international arbitration and, as such, the case cannot be pursued in state court in Florida. The cruise line defense firm rejoiced in the decision, stating that "we invite you to contact us to discuss the ruling, its effect, or for other creative solutions to your legal issues."

Of course, this case is not remotely "solved." 

Next week we will proceed in the court-ordered arbitration process and will seek to bring this disturbing case to a hearing as soon as possible. 

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

 

Photo Credit: Jordandkatz licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Oceania Cruises Pockets Cancer Victim's Refunded Airfare

National Geographic Traveler magazine ombudsman Christopher Elliott is often asked to try and recover canceled cruise fares when passengers suffer serious illness, a death in the family or other misfortune.

All cruise passenger tickets contain draconian terms and conditions, drafted by the cruise line attorneys, which address what happens when a passenger is forced to cancel a cruise because of sickness or death. Depending on when the cruise is canceled, the cruise line will keep all or a Oceania MS Marina substantial portion of the passenger's money.   

Mr. Elliott writes about the plight of a couple from Canada who booked what they described as a cruise of a lifetime with Oceania Cruises aboard the Oceania Marina in the South Pacific for $43,000 ($29,000 for the cruise fare and $14,000 for the airfare). But the wife was diagnosed with lung cancer and they had to cancel the vacation. The couple did not buy insurance.

Oceania pocketed the entire $43,000 even though the cruise line sold the couple's cabin to another couple and even though the airline refunded the $14,000 airfare to Oceania.

A cruise line keeping a refunded airfare is clearly illegal "unjust enrichment." I find it outrageous and unconscionable.  It seems no different than theft to me, and a theft by a large rich corporation while the victim is in a weak and vulnerable position.  

Mr. Elliott was successful in convincing the cruise line to return the couple's airfare. The fact that Mr.Elliott writes a widely-read consumer blog no doubt helped.

Oceania refused to refund the cruise fare. Yes, the couple should have purchased insurance. But I find this scenario repugnant. It may be technically legal but it is still unconscionable and immoral. Oceania promptly sold the cabin to other passengers, remember. Oceania didn't lose a penny. In fact, it obtained a double profit. Cruise corporations should not be permitted to make double profits because of the death and personal suffering of their guests. 

Oceania's parent company, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), likes to do this too. NCL kept the cruise fare of a passenger whose brother died and the funeral was on the day of the cruise. NCL said "sorry, no refund." The passenger also tried to donate his cabin to a child with cancer, but the cruise line refused that too. NCL then sold the cabin on the Norwegian Sky for a double profit.

Speaking of children with cancer, NCL also refused to return the cruise fare after a family learned that their five year old child was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo emergency medical treatment. NCL pocketed the family's money and sold their cabin for more profit.

NCL also refused to either refund or credit the cruise fare to a 66 year old passenger and his wife after she was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent emergency surgery.

It's cruel, greedy, heartless and outrageous conduct by Oceania and NCL.  Yes, it's technically legal. All cruise lines have their lawyers write their tickets to protect only the cruise line's interests. But it's unfair and unjust.

If cruise lines can't apply compassion to situations where their guests are stricken with cancer, and companies like NCL and Oceania are motivated only by money, legislation should be passed to protect consumers when they are in a time of crisis. Cancer victims shouldn't be victimized a second time by a greedy cruise line. They should be entitled to a full refund so they can pay their medical bills and try and beat cancer.   

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Photo Credit: M/S Marina - Jordandkatz - licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Fire on the Oceania Insignia Cruise Ship Sends Three to Hospital

The St. Lucia News Online reports that a fire aboard Oceania Cruises' Insignia cruise ship has resulted in three people being sent to the hospital this morning.

The online newspaper states that a fire broke out on the Oceania cruise ship which was docked at Port Castries this morning.

The newspaper further states that according to the St. Lucia Fire Service, one of the three persons is being treated for exposure to the fire (smoke inhalation & respiratory distress). There are no reports Oceania Insigniaregarding the medical condition of the other two persons. The reports do not mention whether these individuals are passengers or crew members.

There are hearsay comments on the Cruise Critic boards that a crew member died, although this has not be confirmed at this time.

The information currently released is that sometime after 9:00 a.m., the fire broke out in the engine room of the Insignia which was moored in Berth 5 at Port Castries. 

The Insignia is an old ship, constructed in 1998. 

December 11 2014 Update: Oceania has confirmed that the fire caused three (3) deaths. The cruise line released this statement:

"Three crewmembers and two contractors who were working onboard were transferred to a local medical facility. We are deeply saddened to learn that two contractors and one crewmember did not survive. We extend our deepest condolences to their families during this very difficult time." 

According to the St. Lucia News Online, the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) stated at a press conference that the three men died after sustaining "severe burns." 

If you have information regarding the fire, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Ivan T.

Twitter and Cowardly Cruise Lines

For the past two years, I have been interested in the use of Twitter as a method of educating the public about dangers on cruise ships.  Dangers that are real.  Dangers that the cruise lines don't want the public to read about.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter is well aware that I tweet daily on issues that the cruise lines don't discuss - sexual assaults of women and children, mistreatment of crewmembers, and the disappearances of people on the high seas. 

Yes, I know that I am annoying.  There are lots of cruise fans and travel agents on Twitter who use the #cruise hash-mark to market the joy of cruising, and I spoil the fun.  50% of the people who Oceania Cruises - TwitterI interact with on a routine basis disagree with me 100% of the time it seems.  But I know that my message is getting out there.  I would like to think that if one parent realizes that its not safe to leave your kids unsupervised on a cruise ship, then my last 5,500 tweets have been a worthwhile exercise.   

I am particularly fascinated by the way that cruise lines use Twitter and other social media.  Are they engaging in discussions with the public where they address unpleasant subjects with candor and in the process develop a reputation of transparency?  Or, are they just using Twitter and Facebook to create fan pages or other cult clubs?  Do they run and hide when they read tweets critical of their business practices? 

Earlier this week, I wrote an article about Oceania Cruises trying to convince a Judge in Miami to impose a limit of liability of only $65,000 in a case where it is alleged that an Oceania Cruises crewmember raped a 13 year old child on the Regatta cruise ship.  Stories like this are important.  Most parents don't understand the significant number of sexual assaults which occur on cruise ships.  Few parents could possibly imagine that if a crewmember raped their little girl, the cruise line would try and make certain that the child didn't receive fair and just compensation for her physical and emotional injuries.

I tweeted a few references to my blog article about Oceania Cruise's disturbing behavior.  I always invite a cruise line's response.  I even invite disagreeing cruise lines and travel agents an Oceania Cruisess - Twitteropportunity to write a guest blog - unedited - to tell the other side of the story.            

Oceania Cruises, which has been following me on Twitter for over a year, had no interest in discussing the story.   Instead, it "un-followed" me. 

"Unfollowing" critics seems like a poor way to manage a business' online reputation.  Instead of explaining its conduct or at least expressing concern for the girl's well being, the cruise line just turned and ran.   

Twitter is a proving ground of truth and transparency.  Twitter is not a place where slick unprincipled marketers can withstand scrutiny.  It is not a place where cowardly cruise lines like Oceania can survive.