Passenger Missing from Queen Mary 2?

Queen Mary 2This morning, a crew member from the Queen Mary 2 sent this message from the ship: "Missing woman on QM2. No details yet. Ship turned around and Coast Guard alerted."

The QM2 is on a voyage out of New York heading to the Caribbean (St. Maarten). AIS programs show the ship is sailing north, retracing its path.  The crew member states that the ship turned around around 8:00 A.M. this morning.

Yesterday, a young man went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas.  There have been 283 overboards from cruise ships since 2000.

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

Update:  BBC News is covering the story.

Sky News identifies the missing passenger as a 74 year old British woman.

Photo credit: Brian Burnell with permission was uploaded to Commons by George Hutchinson; CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

Queen Mary 2 AIS

Drama on Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2Today I had an interesting exchange of information from a guest aboard the Queen Mary 2.

It seems that last night around midnight a German guest (not our source of information) reported that his wife was missing from the ship. He thought that she jumped overboard. There were allegedly footprints on the couple's balcony table which made him believe that she climbed the table in order to jump. Announcements were subsequently made on the ship in German for the woman to report immediately to the reception area.

Night staff from housekeeping started searching in the public areas. The bridge was notified and the captain turned the ship around in order to search for a possible body on the water.  AIS tracking systems verified the maneuver.  

Fortunately, the woman was located in the cruise ship's night club, having fun. 

It seems that the management of the ship is still jumpy after a cook went overboard last month

Photo Credit: Ian Barbour licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons - Wikipedia
 

Cunard Crew Member Lost at Sea

A crew member reportedly disappeared from the Queen Mary II as the cruise ship was in transit across the Atlantic Ocean.

A person on the cruise ship who wishes to remain anonymous contacted me this morning to report that a crew member went overboard early this morning. The crew member apparently was not seen when he went overboard and the ship does not have an automatic man overboard system.  The cruise ship turned around to search for the man who went overboard many hours ago. The captain Kevin Oprey announced the overboard incident to the passengers.

The weather is bad with reports of fog as the search continues. The QM2 is sailing between Southampton and Halifax. 

The crew member is reportedly a male chef from Chile.

17 people have gone overboard from cruise ships so far this year

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

Photo Credit: Christian Bischof licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 via Wikipedia

Queen Mary 2

Carnival Joins Plane & Train Companies in Refusing to Permit Obese Passenger Aboard

Kevin ChenaisThe international media is abuzz over the plight of a young man suffering from obesity who has been refused transportation by planes, trains and even a cruise ship in his efforts to return from the United States to his home country of France. His family claims that he was discriminated against because of his weight (500 lbs) and deemed "too fat to travel."

In an article entitled "Too Fat to Travel? Man Rejected by Plane, Train and Cruise Ship," the Associated Press writes about Kevin Chenais, age 22, who is under medical treatment due to a hormonal imbalance.

He was in the U.S. undergoing medical treatment, and ran into a wall of resistance when he tried to return home. 

British Airways first considered him too heavy to fly. Then Carnival Corporation, the owner of the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, refused to transport him across the Atlantic. 

Virgin Atlantic stepped up to the plate and flew the young man to the United Kingdom. But the Eurostar under-sea train service refused to transport him to France, according to press reports

The train company said that Mr. Chenais posed a safety risk "to himself, our crew and all of the other passengers on board."

With the involvement of French consular staff, Mr. Chenais was transported by ambulance to Dover where he caught a ferry with the P&O Ferries company. A ferry representative said: "It's difficult to imagine the frustration that this gentleman has gone through. But for us, it's very straightforward as we are set up to carry people who have medical needs."

According to Mr. Chenais, Carnival, which rejected his request for a cabin on the trans-Atlantic voyage from the U.S., "declined to comment."

Should cruise lines, air carriers and trains be required to accommodate obese passengers under these circumstances?  

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

 

Photo Credit: Associated Press

ABC's "Uneasy Voyage: Dangerous Virus on Cruise Liners Leaves Hundreds Ill"

ABC News aired a video look tonight at the recent spate of multiple norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, focusing on the most recent outbreaks spreading to passengers and crew aboard the Queen Mary 2 and the Emerald Princess cruise ships. 

You can read about our articles about the Emerald Princess and the QM 2.

Watch the video below with ABC's Matt Gutman reporting:

 

 

Cunard's QM 2 is Latest Cruise Ship to Sicken Passengers with Norovirus

Queen Mary 2 - QM 2 Cruise ShipCunard's Queen Mary 2 is in the news with reports that over 150 passengers have been stricken with norovirus as the cruise ship sails on a thirteen night itinerary in the Caribbean from New York.

The Daily Mail states that 150 - 200 passengers have fallen ill with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

There were reportedly norovirus cases on board the cruise ship during the transatlantic crossing to New York. The Daily Mail suggests that the cruise ship may therefore not been properly cleaned prior to this latest cruise.

Some cruise passengers are debating all of this on the Cruise Critic message board with one person speculating that as many as 500 people may have been affected during the cruise.  Carnival, which owns Cunard, said that although 130 passengers were affected only 19 currently have "active symptoms." 

The Travel Mole publication suggests that Cunard has been playing down reports that "hundreds" of passengers have been hit by the virus.    

If you are on the cruise, please leave a comment about how the cruise line has handled the situation.

 

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Frommer's Names Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria "Best Cruise Ships For Kids," Even Though 13 Kids Were Sexually Abused on Cunard Ships

Today, Frommer's travel website published an article "Best Cruise Ships For Kids."

When I saw the title, I thought to myself: oh no, not Frommer's.  The Frommer's people didn't include any of the Cunard cruise ships on its "best for kids" list did it? I prayed not.  I held my breath and clicked on the article - Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria - two of the "best cruise ships for kids."  

Jesus Christ.

There are times I become so angry at the way that cruise lines and travel writers work that I want to rip my monitor from the computer and smash it against the wall.

For the past three months I have been writing about the disturbing case case of a Cunard youth supervisor, Paul Trotter, who was investigated in January and arrested in February of this year for the Cunard Cruise Ship Child Sexual Predator sexual abuse of a child on a Cunard cruise ship.  I was the first one in the U.S. to write about it.  You can read the articles here and here.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.  

Where there is an arrest of a sexual predator for victimizing a child, there are at least a dozen victims.  

I asked in a follow-up article two months ago how many other children did the Cunard youth counselor sexually molest?  After all he worked on several Cunard cruise ships for 4 to 5 years. Many thousand of little kids were dropped of by their unsuspecting parents in the "play zone" managed by "certified" children specialists like Trotter. 

Since then I have corresponded back and forth with the English press.  Our firm has represented around 80 children and women sexually assaulted on cruise ships, including several women who have testified before our U.S. Congress.  "Do you represent other victims of Trotter?" the British press inquired. "What do you know about how many children were involved? I responded. There was little known about the extent of the harm to children on either side of the Atlantic.

The police officers in the U.K investigating the issue kept mum, but clearly they were onto something big.

Last week we learned that that the investigating police officers were going to release a statement. The truth emerged: Trotter molested at least 13 boys. To boot, the sick pervert took video of himself abusing some of the children, the police stated.

I immediately blogged about the serial Cunard child predator.  I posted my article on facebook, tweeted about it to my 9,000 Twitter followers, emailed the blog to 1,000 subscribers and sent it out on the RSS feed.  For the past week, I have written additional articles about the Cunard predator who worked on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria cruise ships.

Cunard Queen Mary Play ZoneThe police said that Trotter molested the children when he was assigned to the children's "play zone" on the ships.

The same kid friendly "play zone" from the Queen Mary 2 that Frommer's depicted in its article

It might as well be called a "prey zone" if truth be known.

Most U.S. travel writers and supposedly reputable newspapers looked the other way. Only a couple of cruise bloggers touched the story.  Why upset their cruise sales or anger the cruise line advertisers, especially with so much bad cruise news these days? 

There are many travel writers and journalists who are unabashed shills for the cruise industry, the Miami Herald being at the top of the list.  (The Miami Herald has not written about the Cunard child sex crimes even though Cunard is owned by Miami-based Carnival.)

But Frommer's is not in that bunch of unethical vagabonds and cruise cheerleaders.  Arthur Frommer was one of the few travel writers who congratulated the International Victims Organization for its five year struggle against the cruise industry to obtain the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act which President Obama signed into law to protect cruise passengers.  Arthur Frommer is a man of integrity, known for his straight moral compass. He is certainly not the cruise lines' bitch.

So how did Frommer's pick two Cunard cruise ships where unspeakable crimes against children occurred?  The best cruise ships for kids?  Why not just pour salt into the wounds of the parents grieving the loss of their children's innocence? Why did Frommer's include a photograph of the crime scene where Trotter abused the little innocent victims, for Christ's sake?

I'm don't know.  Perhaps someone at Frommer's can explain?   

 

Photo credit: QM 2 "Play Zone" - Cunard via Frommer's    

Did Cunard Child Supervisor Molest Other Children During Cruises?

Earlier this week, we reported on the arrest of former Cunard child supervisor Paul Trotter on allegations that he abused a child and possessed indecent photographs of children on his computer.

The British police investigated Mr. Trotter (photo below, playing piano on Cunard cruise ship) after the parents of a child, identified only as being under the age of thirteen, brought the matter to the attention of authorities after the cruise.  The initial newspaper articles indication that Mr. Trotter worked aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth cruise ships, although one reader brought to my attention that he also worked aboard Cunard's Queen Victoria.

You can read our last article about Mr. Trotter here.

Cunard Cruise Children Activities Supervisor Paul TrotterThe disturbing thing with Mr. Trotter is that he reportedly worked for Cunard on various cruise ships over the course of five years.  The issue arises whether he allegedly molested other children during cruises. 

It is currently unknown whether Cunard terminated Mr. Trotter's employment or whether he voluntarily resigned.

Any expert in child sexual abuse will tell you that child predators are extremely manipulative and will position themselves to interact with children to satisfy their deviant sexual interests.  They cannot be cured.  They will abuse children again and again if given an opportunity.

It would be naive to think that any sexual predator, working for years and years with children, abused only one child and was promptly caught and prosecuted for that singular crime.  Although the police investigation resulted in an arrest on charges of abusing one child, we know that the British police announced that they are speaking with the families of other children in England who cruised with Cunard as well. 

We have been contacted by other families who cruised on Cunard asking for information on Mr. Trotter - what cruise ships did he work on and exactly when was he a child supervisor on these ships? 

We asked Cunard for this information.  We will update this article if we receive a response.

Certainly families who cruised with Cunard are entitled to know whether an alleged child predator was supervising their children during their cruises?

 February 16, 2012 Update:  Cunard's response is below:

"We are deeply shocked by these allegations as the safety and well being of our customers is of paramount importance to us.  A thorough police investigation is underway which we are supporting and co-operating with fully.  Given that the police inquiry is ongoing, we cannot comment any further or answer any questions at this stage.

What we can say is that we are working closely with the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK-based charity which specializes in supporting children and families to ensure that affected families and children are offered appropriate support.  Following these allegations being made, we also asked the NSPCC to conduct an independent comprehensive review of our facilities, policies and procedures.  This review is underway and we will be implementing any recommendations resulting from this review." 

April 20, 2012 Update:  Cunard Youth Supervisor Admits to Sexually Abusing 13 Boys During Cruises
 

Photo credit: stretch gp23 YouTube

Fire & Rough Weather Mar Queen Mary 2 Cruise

A fire broke out on the Queen Mary 2 Wednesday night.

Cruise Critic, which characterizes the fire as "small," explains that "fire was caused by one of QM2's gas turbines, which are situated below and behind the ship's funnel. They're used to augment power to the ship's main quartet of diesel turbines, allowing the ship to travel at a higher maximum speed  . . . "

Cunard issued a statement claiming that the fire was "immediately extinguished."  The Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Fire - Rough Seascruise line also claims that "neither passengers nor crew were adversely affected, and neither was the operation of the ship."

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website contains a reference to a post on Cruise Critic which provides a different perspective on the incident:

"A gas carbine in the engine room of the QM2 caught on fire this evening. Cunard staff were given a 90 minute warning in order to prepare to deploy the lifeboats. Guests had their children dropped off and their animals picked up from the kennels. Apparently it is now under control, but people are understandably shaken up."    

Last December, the QM2 suffered a major engine room incident - Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion.  

The QM2 will be arriving today in New York late due to what the cruise line describes as "high winds and active seas." 

It is a scary proposition that the Cunard cruise ship was contemplating the use of life boats in such rough weather.

It will be interesting to hear the first hand accounts of the QM2 cruise passengers once they disembark today from their transatlantic voyage.

If you were on the cruise and have comments, photos or video to share, please leave a comment below.

 

October 10, 2011 Update:  We are receiving some interesting and intelligent comments from a number of cruisers who were on the QM2.  Sounds like a bumpy ride and a fortunate ending to a potentially dangerous situation.  Here is a quote from a passenger who emailed me rather than leaving a comment:

"The biggest problem with the fire on the QM2 was its location. It was NOT as previously reported in an engine room, but in a gas turbine up on deck 12. The problem was this was an open deck and the winds were very strong that night. Yes the fire was minor but the risk was that it could have been spread by very high winds. In fact after the fire was contained, the captain announced that there would be an observation team on deck 12 all night as there were some burning embers.
We learned later that if the fire had not been contained we would have had to board lifeboats in very rough waters (20-25 ft seas). Many of the passengers were needing assistance when we tendered in calm seas, because of age and physical limitations, walkers, wheelchairs etc. At the time of the fire we were more than 250 nautical miles out to sea.  Just wanted to clear up a few facts. Thank you." 
  

 

Photo credit:  Wikipedia (Malis)   

Passenger Smuggles Nine Illegal Immigrants into New York on Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship - New YorkThe New York Daily News published a weird cruise story this morning about a man from Malaysia who smuggled nine illegal Chinese immigrants into Brooklyn aboard the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested five women and four men after the luxurious QM2 arrived at the New York Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

Fatt Kwee Wong told the federal agents that he was paid $3,000 for each of the nine passengers who also paid him around $500 each when they boarded the cruise ship in Dubai.  Wong aroused the suspicion of the U.S. immigration officials when he was stumped when asked the names of his nine travelling companions.

The illegal immigrants were not stowaways and their names appeared on the boat's manifest.

It is a rather amazing spectacle for nine Chinese people to board a cruise ship in Dubai and sail into the harbor in New York.  So much for Cunard's security protocols.    

 

Photo credit:  AFP
 

Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion

A temporary power outage on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in September was caused by the "catastrophic failure of a capacitor and explosion in an 11kV harmonic filter" on the vessel, according to the U.K.'s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which issued a marine safety report yesterday.

On September 23rd, the Queen Mary 2 was approaching Barcelona early in the morning when the vessel lost lights and power, causing the cruise ship to drift off of the coast of Spain.  No Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Explosion - Blown Out Doorexplanation for the power failure was provided by the Captain or the cruise line.

There are excellent articles regarding this incident published today by Cruise Critic - "Power Outage on QM2 Found to Be Result of Explosion" and another by Gene Sloan's CruiseLog - "Safety officials issue warning after explosion on Cunard's Queen Mary 2:" 

The explosion near one of QM2's main electric switchboard rooms (photo below) when a capacitor failed and leaking oil sprayed onto high voltage bars, causing a "major arc flash event. The explosion blew the steel door to the room out of its frame! (photo, left)  "The blast ... also caused serious damage to an adjoining steel door into the main switchboard room, the stiffeners on the bulkhead of the compartment were buckled, and the steel cover plate on a cross-flooding duct was blown out into the main switchboard room," the report says.  "Fortunately there were no personnel in the vicinity."

The reporting of this latest incident raises the issue of the safety of foreign flagged cruise ships, and comes after a string of recent disturbing mishaps.

Yesterday, we reported on Passengers Poisoned By Gas On Princess Cruise Ship

Earlier in the week, the negligence of Holland America Line permitted a drunk passenger to enter a restricted area and drop an anchor as the cruise ship was underway - Drunk Passenger Drops Cruise Ship Anchor

Last week, a passenger died on the Carnival Splendor under mysterious circumstances and Carnival added to the mystery by issuing a terse and questionable statement that the death was "medical related" notwithstanding a small army of FBI agents spending the day in the cabin and leaving with bags of evidence - Death on a Fun Ship: What Really Happened on the Carnival Liberty?

And two weeks ago, the cruise industry faced the spectacle of what an engine room fire can due to a new mega ship as the disabled Carnival Splendor drifted around off of the coast of Mexico for the better part of what seemed like forever.       

But the cruise industry will never admit that it has a safety problem.  Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises (USA) and chairman of the marketing committee for CLIA, disagreed with me yesterday in an article about cruise safety issues in Cruise Critic.  Sasso said "I challenge people to measure the cruise industry's safety record against any other industry  .  .  .  Any critic that says cruises are unsafe -- sorry, it's just B.S."  

Right out of the horse's mouth.

Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Explosion

 

Credit:  maib.gov.uk (via Cruise Log)