The fire on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship is being investigated by the Bahamas because Carnival elected to register the Triumph in that country to avoid U.S. taxes, labor and safety laws. As the "flag state" for the Triumph, the Bahamas is charged with the responsibility of investigating fires, casualties and crimes on that ship. The Bahamas requested the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard as well as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The questions arise will the Bahamas really conduct an objective and honest investigation? Will it ever release a copy of the final report into the investigation into the fire? And if so, when?
In considering these questions, remember that in the last disabling fire on a Carnival cruise ship several years ago, the public has still not seen the report of the flag state. In November 2010, the Carnival Splendor caught on fire and was disabled. Because Carnival flagged the Splendor in Panama, Panama was responsible for the official investigation. Panama called upon the U.S. Coast Guard to assist it. The Coast Guard finished its reports to the officials in Panama long ago.
The Coast Guard quickly sent out "marine safety alerts" about the design defects and construction and maintenance shortcomings in the Splendor engine room. Remarkably, the Coast Guard did not even identify the Splendor in its alerts.
It’s now going on two and one-half years later but Panama still has not released a report.
Will Panama ever release the report? Not if Carnival doesn’t want it to.
Who has authority to force Panama or the Bahamas to release a report or punish them if they refuseto do so? No one. There is no U.S. federal oversight organization. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is toothless. A former NTSB chairman called the IMO a "paper tiger." This is exactly how the cruise lines want the system to work.
Two years ago, Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam disappeared from the Disney Wonder cruise ship. The Bahamas was responsible for investigating the disappearance because Disney registered the Wonder in Nassau to avoid U.S. taxes, labor and safety laws.
The Bahamas sent a lone policeman to Los Angeles to meet the cruise ship when it returned to port. He conducted a short visit on the ship and concluded his report long ago. But the Bahamas refuses to send Rebecca’s mother and father a copy of the report.
After the Triumph was towed to Mobile, a newspaper article appeared in a Bahamian newspaper that the Bahamas was sending detectives to the U.S. to investigate a sexual assault on the Triumph. The Bahamas denied that the ship where the rape was alleged was the Triumph. It disclosed only that a Bahamian flagged ship was involved. The Bahamas promised to provide information once its detectives returned from the U.S. Of course, it has released nothing.
If your child vanishes on the high seas, or you are raped during a cruise, or your family flounders for a week on a stinky fire-stricken ship, flag states like the Bahamas and Panama don’t believe that they have any obligation to release any information to you. Their alliances are with the cruise lines which fly their flags. Companies like Carnival and Disney hide behind the foreign flags and are complicit in the conspiracy to deceive the public.
It’s a dishonest, secretive, rotten system. Its a system designed to conceal the truth and to avoid the foreign flagged cruise lines from embarrassment.