Today, Univision Noticias and Columbia Journalism School published the results of four months of investigation which resulted in a major multi-media presentation titled Vacations In No Man’s Seas – "The billion-dollar cruise industry operates under the laws of the tax havens where it operates, making it one of the least regulated industries in the United States."
The project is the result of the work of an alliance of journalists and students who tracked some 411 cruise ships around the world. The introduction to the project explains that "a team of reporters, graphic artists and video journalists from Univision News was in charge of analyzing and visualizing the data from Columbia University. They complemented the reporting and personal research with input from industry and legislative sources, as well as lawyers, cruise ship workers and passengers, all of whom tell their stories in this interactive article."
There are five chapters published in the presentation:
Chapter 1: Cruising, A Trip Far From U.S. Law (by Ronny Rojas & Maye Primera) – "Three U.S. companies control 80 percent of the global cruising market. Their ships carry up to 18 million passengers per year around the world, under the legal jurisdiction of the tax havens where they are officially registered."
Chapter 2: Crimes On Board: Investigation That Sink (by Patricia Clarembaux) – "Ships are cities with no police or 911 emergency hotlines. When a crime occurs, it’s the crew members who investigate and draw up the only available statistics."
Chapter 3: Sweatshops On The High Seas (by Damia S. Bonmati) – "Cruise ship employees work over 70 hours a week, with no rest days or paid vacations. If they suffer any mishaps, they are not protected under the United States justice system."
Chapter 4: Floating Cities With Less Regulations Than a Warship (by Alejandra Vargas M.) – "It’s estimated that a cruise passenger requires about 8.4 gallons of water a day, which then must be discarded because it’s contaminated by human waste."
Chapter 5: From Cruise Industry Investigation To To Executives (by Damia S. Bonmati) -c"The cruise industry has spent over $30 million in the last decade to influence lawmakers in Washington, particularly in fiscal and environmental matters. And high-ranking FBI and Coast Guard agents frequently ended up working for the industry they started out investigating."
This is a well documented presentation from a team of professionals, in a format not unlike the Panama Papers.
Photo Credit: By Calyponte CC BY-SA 3.0 wikimedia