99,900 Reasons for P&O Ferries to Install CCTV Cameras

Richard FearnsideIt was a dark night four and one-half years ago when 30 year-old Richard Fearnside disappeared from P&O Ferries' Pride of Kent ferry as it was sailing from Calais back to Dover. His girlfriend said that he was going to the top deck to smoke a cigarette. Richard never returned. P&O didn't sound an alarm until the ferry returned to port.

P&O Ferries could offer no explanation to Richard's parents, Bob and Marianne, regarding what happened to their son while the P&O ferry was cruising in the middle of the English Channel. Although other passengers and crew had disappeared from P&O ferries under mysterious circumstances in the past, the ferry company had not bothered to install a single CCTV camera on the decks of its fleet of P&O ships for safety and security purposes.

P&O chose instead to install surveillance cameras only in its duty free shops on the ferries. Jewelry and alcohol, it appears, are more precious to P&O than its customers.

Richard's mother, Marianne, wrote a letter to P&O Ferries CEO, Helen Deeble, about her son's disappearance and sought information. P&O sent a boorish response, not from Ms. Deeble, but from a public relations subordinate at the ferry company. The PR company man told her that installing safety cameras was a silly, impractical idea.

I sent an open letter to Ms. Deeble about the absence of CCTV cameras on the P&O ferries. Ms. Deeble chose to ignore my letter just like she initially ignored Marianne's letter.  

Marianne and Bob started a petition titled Install CCTV Cameras on Passenger Decks.  The public is asked to read the articles posted at that site and sign the petition for P&O to install CCTV cameras. Supporters Marianne and Bob Fearnsidecan also leave a reason why they are signing the petition. There are now over 99,900 signatures and over 99,900 reasons for doing so. Take a minute and read the reasons expressed on the change.org page. A few reasons to consider: 

  • If this can save one life it is worth any cost.
  • This is a sad end for a mother and father to never know what happened when something so simple may have helped to give some answers.
  • Ridiculous that CCTV watches over Duty Free Shop, but ignores passenger decks and safety.
  • It's imperative these cameras are installed there as been to many unexplained loss of people at sea.

Carnival Corporation named Ms. Deeble to it's Board of Directors last year. Carnival's fleet of cruise ships are largely not in compliance with the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act which required the installation of automatic man overboard systems whenever feasible. Unfortunately, she is not a director who will improve safety for Carnival's passengers. And being on the Carnival board will not lead her to take overdue action for passenger safety on  P&O Ferries.

But Richard's parents have continued their efforts, which are gaining traction. Representative James Carver told the parliament in Europe “(Richard's) name is added to an increasing list of missing ferry and cruise ship passengers, and I am humbled to be able to support his family’s campaign for mandatory CCTV and thermal imaging cameras on all ferries operating from British and EU ports," according to Kent Online

Let's move the petition past 100,000 supporters. Please sign here.  

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

The petition has reached 100,001 signatures!

Photo credit: Marianne and Bob Fearnside

Cruise Industry Supports Mass Murder of Whales in Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Whale SlaughterA reader of Cruise Law News asked me last week what I thought of cruise lines sailing to Denmark's Faroe Islands (sometimes called Faeroe Islands) where they slaughter pilot whales. I didn't know anything about the issue, but I promised that I would look into it. 

This weekend I read up on what I now feel comfortable calling the evil, murderous Faroe Islands. I am absolutely disgusted by what I read and by the horrific images I saw.

Around 1,000 pilot whales are killed each year in the Faroe Islands. But these are not far out at sea murders by huge Japanese ships away from civilization. These are well attended sporting events where the whales are chased into a harbor and killed by the locals with knives while their family members cheer them on. The locals call it the "Grindadráp Grind." I call it the killing 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 behind 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 Faroe Islands Whale Slaughterthis the sea turns bright red with blood."

Think this is horrific? The images are far, far worse

How do we stop this evil? One way is to boycott the islands. There are numerous cruise lines which still cruise there, notwithstanding efforts to persuade them to call on other ports.  

Change.org has a petition to stop Carnival-owned Holland America Line from stopping at the islands. They have branded their efforts as #GRINDSTOP, a term started I believe by the Sea Shepherd organization. The petition is addressed to Stein Kruse who is, in my opinion, the epitome of a pompous, indifferent cruise executive if there ever were one. The petition is also directed to other uppity-ups at HAL who obviously could care less about whales as long as the money generated by cruise excursions to the islands is an issue.

Care2petitions also has a petition to stop cruise lines from supporting the slaughter in the Faroes. It is addressed to Carnival-owned Cunard and P&O Cruises, as well as Fred Olsen Cruises and Cruise & Maritime. 

The Dodo also has a campaign against the hunt and a petition which you can sign.

The official Sea Shepherd Anti-Grind campaign is here.

There are other cruise lines which have scheduled port call in the Faroe Islands. Travel agents tell me that Royal Caribbean Cruises and Royal Caribbean-owned Azamara, as well as Princess Cruises and Faroe Islands Whale SlaughterNorwegian Cruise Line (NCL) sail to the Faroe Islands and showed me itineraries confirming that they sail there. 

Disney took the Faroe Islands off its schedule recently and was smart enough to see the storm of public opinion forming against cruise lines supporting such a place.

Pilot whales are highly intelligent. They sense fear when they and their pods are under such a vicious attack. Mother whales are gutted and their baby whales ripped out. The violence is unconscionable. So is cruising there on a family vacation.

Please take a moment and sign the petitions. Make a promise to yourself not to sail on a cruise there. Complain to your travel agent, and tell the cruise lines to stop supporting the Faroe Islands. It's the least we can do to stop the carnage and suffering.

Photo Credits: GreenTravelife - above; Sea Shepherd - bottom. 

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

Update: Faroese law actually codifies this barbaric practice

P&O Ferries No-CCTV Camera Controversy: Expect a Long Fight

Following intense public pressure brought by Richard Fearnside's mother Marianne, P&O Ferries has posted comments on its Facebook page stating that it will be discussing the use of CCTV cameras with the "wider shipping community" and will be raising this issue with the "UK and European Maritime safety authorities."   

Don't believe it. This is a stall tactic.  P&O Ferries can install CCTV anytime it wants. It doesn't need to discuss this with rival ferry companies or obtain permission from any governmental authority.

I have attended over a half-dozen U.S. Congressional hearings over the past 8 years which have addressed over-board passengers from the U.S. based cruise lines. Cruise lines don't like to be told what to do. They resist man over-board systems at every turn. They drag their feet. They say anything and everything to delay. I've seen every cruise line trick in the book. The cruise lines first say "It's not practical."  When they lose that fight, they change their tune: "No new laws are necessary because we will voluntarily agree to install man over-board systems," but they don't. After the lies are revealed and legislation is passed, the cruise lines will try and change the law. When that doesn't work, the cruise lines don't comply with the law.

If the U.K. ferries are like the U.S. cruise lines, expect a long fight.

Today, I received a mocking tweet on Twitter from a self-proclaimed U.K. ferry executive, Paul D. Paul WoodburyWoodbury:

"A USA 'maritime lawyer' on P&O Ferries! CCTV throughout is not a practical proposal. They're ferries not TV studios."

To me, Mr. Woodbury demonstrates the U.K. ferry business interests at their worst. Disrespectful to the dead. Arrogant. Flippant. And more interested in bottom line corporate profits than human life.

Mr. Woodbury's resume indicates that he worked for P&O Ferries for four years and "played a key role in safety management."   

This is the ferry lines' mind set. Be prepared for it. They don't care about you or your family.  Your pain and sorrow have no place on their profit & loss statements. They want it done as cheaply as possible. They are shameless. And they won't do the right thing until you force them to.

 

Leave a comment on our Facebook page if you have a thought to share.

Is this of interest? Read our other articles about the P&O Ferries - Richard Fearnside CCTV debacle:

Have you signed the petition yet? I did, so should you.

 

Photo Credit: P&O Ferries (top); LinkedIn (bottom).