The U.S. Coast Guard reports that it is searching for a 37-year-old man who fell overboard from the Carnival Victory approximately 30 miles northwest of Cuba.

The Coast Guard 7th District received a report from the Carnival Victory that a crewmember fell overboard and dispatched a HC-144 Ocean Sentry from Miami and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton  to search. The Coast Guard did not state when the crew member went overboard or when it received notification from the Carnival ship. 

People provided information on social media that the crew member went overboard as the ship was north of Cuba as it was heading back to Miami.

Carnival has not invested in automatic man overboard technology which would immediately send a signal to the bridge when someone has gone over the railing. Current systems on the market include infrared and and motion detection systems detect when someone goes overboard and then automatically tracks the person in the water via radar technology. There are a number of systems available, however the Carnival Corporation owned ships do not utilize the systems due to costs.

You can see examples of available systems here and here.

The majority of crew members who go overboard do so intentionally to end their life. There is no public information available to explain what happened in this particular situation, although some people are reporting that the employee was allegedly performing maintenance on the stern of the ship.

The search grid via MarineTraffic (right) shows that the Carnival ship conducted what appears to be a minimal search for the crew member, and is now continuing to return to Miami.

Read Rosie Spink’s article: People fall off cruise ships with alarming regularity. Can anything be done to stop it? via Quartz.

According to cruise expert Ross Klein, there have been 342 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships and large ferries since 2000. The last person to overboard from the Carnival Victory involved a 26 year old passenger last December.

The Carnival Victory is on a four night cruise to Cozumel, leaving Miami on July 1st and scheduled to return tomorrow, July 5th.

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

July 6, 2019 Update: Relatives of the missing crew member identify him as Gaffar Satwilkar:

A passenger on the ship suggests via Twitter that “crew member fell according to other crew members while conducting maintenance on the back of the ship.” Another crew member stated that his harness broke or it not put on properly while working on a lifeboat.

The Sun Sentinel recently published an article, the Top 10 Highest-Paid CEOs in South Florida. Included in the top ten  list, are three cruise executives: Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s Frank Del Rio, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Richard Fain, and Carnival Corporation’s Arnold Donald.

#1: Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s Frank Del Rio:

The highest paid cruise executive in 2018 was NCL’s Frank Del Rio, who collected a whopping $22,590,000 last year (up from $10,490,000 in 2017).

Mr. Del Rio received compensation valued at $2.9 million in 2016, down from almost $32 million in 2015. According to Seatrade Cruise News, Mr. Del Rio received compensation valued at $31.9 million in 2015, including nearly $17.8 million in stock options and $10.3 million in stock awards. His cash income was about $4 million including a salary of over $1.8 million, and a bonus of $1,900,000. Other compensation in 2015 included a cash automobile allowance, tax preparation service and a country club membership totalling $140,651.

#2: Royal Caribbean’s Richard Fain:

Royal Caribbean’s Chairman Richard Fain was the second highest paid cruise executive last year. In 2018, he collected $13,510,000 (versus $13,343,413 in 2017 and $10,405,684 in 2016). Mr. Fain was the highest paid cruise executive for 2016 and 2017.  Mr Fain has a net worth of over f $123,000,000.

#3: Carnival’s Arnold Donald:

CEO Donald was the third highest paid cruise executive in 2018. Last year, he collected $13,510,000 in 2018 (versus $13,050,000 in 2017) as the CEO of Carnival Corporation,  including stock awards of $7,000,000.  Mr. Donald has recently been in the news after he was ordered to appear together with Carnival Corporation’s board of directors before United States District Court Judge Patricia Seitz Carnival’s regarding Carnival’s ongoing violations of probation following its guilty plea to oil pollution, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

In the latest quarterly report by the Court Appointed Monitor (CAM), Carnival corporation’s “highest levels of management” were criticized for the cruise company’s ongoing failure to comply with its environmental probation.

Mr. Donald has a net worth reportedly over $68,500,000 and owns over 600,000 shares of Carnival Corporation stock personally and via a trust worth nearly $28,000,000.

How Much is Enough?

Last year, the three cruise line executives collected a total of $48,500,000 in compensation.

Mr. Del Rio alone collected $54,490,000 in just two years (2015 and 2018) and a total of $ $68,390,000 in the last four years.

Counting Nickels and Dimes

In an earning call in 2015, Mr. Del Rio made this statement: “… we have looked across the fleet to identify areas where marginal changes … can be implemented to improve performance. A few examples include a 6.7% average increase in beverage prices, the introduction of a nominal room service fee and lower costs from renegotiated shore excursion agreements. To put into perspective how these small changes can add up quickly, every dollar increase in yield translates to approximately $15 million to the bottom line.”

So how many NCL crew members must work over 12 hours a day, seven days a week, thirty days a month for eight months without a  day of vacation in order for CEO Del Rio to collect over $22,000,000 a year?

CEO’s like Del Rio benefit from an industry where the cruise lines pay no U.S. taxes and comply with no U.S. wage or labor laws which permits them to exploit workers from around the world. Meanwhile, they nickel-and-dime their tax-paying customers whenever they have a chance.

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

Photo: Frank Del Rio – CNBC; Richard Fain – CNN Larry King Live; Arnold Donald – St. Louis Post.

The United States Coast Guard medevaced a 59 year old passenger from a Carnival Cruise Line ship earlier this week.

On Monday, July 1st, the Carnival Imagination contacted the Coast Guard station in San Diego at approximately 6:30 P.M. requesting an air evacuation for a man who suffered a stroke. The Coast guard station dispatched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter which flew approximately 45 miles northwest of San diego to meet the Carnival ship. The helicopter crew medevaced the ill cruise guest from the ship and transported the patient to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla around 9:20 P.M.

The Coast Guard performs many dozens of medevacs from cruise ships each year. There are no expenses to either the guest or the cruise line by the U.S. government for performing such services.

The Imagination is currently on a four night cruise from Los Angeles, California, having left Los Angeles on June 30th to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico, returning to Los Angeles on July 4th in the morning.

Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCl) announced today that it is cancelling the cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl from Rome (Civitavecchia) scheduled for July 5, 2019, according to an employee of NCL and comments posted on social media.

An NCL employee who works in their corporate offices and wishes to remain anonymous informed me that the Pearl is experiencing engine problems. The NCL employee sent me a screengrab of a “Voice Reach” regarding the last minute cancellation, which will be sent to all guests booked on the cruise and/or their travel agents.

The cruise is advertised as a 13-Night Greek Isles & Italy from Rome (Civitavecchia), which includes Kotor, Montenegro;  Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Santorini,  Mykonos, and Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Messina, Sicily; Naples and Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; and Monaco; returning to Civitavecchia (Rome) on July 18th.

There are a number of complaints posted on Twitter regarding the cancellation, including at least one NCL guest who had already flown to Italy for the cruise.

NCl promises to refund the fare and any pre-booked excursion, but the cruise line is silent regarding reimbursing its guests for airfare and hotel accommodations for those people who are making a vacation to Italy before and after this ill-fated cruise. There are over 2,300 guests affected by this cancellation.

The prior cruise on the Norwegian Pearl has been plagued by engine problems which led to NCL ending the cruise in Barcelona. At least one passenger described the ship as just “limping along with just one engine.” The passenger stated: “We had to bypass Mallorca and landed in Barcelona. Now they informed us we’ll have to bypass Monte Carlo.  Not sure how we’re going to get to Rome to disembark, but I suspect the rest of the itinerary is trash.  Again, they’re not telling us much, but learning that the next cruise on the Norwegian Pearl is now cancelled, we’re wondering if we’re going to leave Barcelona.”

A number of dissatisfied guests on the prior cruise also complained about the lack of compensation and communications from NCL on social media:

There is no information publicly available regarding the type of engine problems affecting this 13 year old cruise ship.

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

As many as thirty-two passengers were aboard an excursion bus in Eleuthera in the Bahamas when the vehicle overturned and injured several people from the Carnival Ecstasy earlier today. Twenty-six people suffered  injuries according to news reports of the accident.

There are several videos and photographs of the overturned bus on social media.  There is a discrepancy between news accounts and the official Carnival statement regarding the number of injured guests. Carnival claims that the majority of the guests on the bus were treated at a local medical clinic and returned to the ship.

Four to six cruise guests were airlifted from Eleuthera – one to two people were sent to a hospital in Nassau and three to four to Fort Lauderdale. Fire Rescue in Broward said three to four patients who landed in Fort Lauderdale suffered serious injuries including limb fractures, internal injuries and possible paralysis.

The Tribune newspaper in Nassau reports that the injuries occurred when the excursion bus skidded off the road and flipped over into nearby bushes.

According to the Tribune, the tour bus involved was operated by Eleuthera Adventure Tours Limited, which was reportedly providing cruise guests a tour of the southern part of Eleuthera when the accident occurred this morning. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the tour was “part of Carnival Ecstasy’s shore excursion options when at port at Princess Cays, Bahamas. Billed as the Cathedral Cove, Ocean Hole and Rock Sound Island Tour, it’s an ecotourism tour of Eleuthera.” (Carnival has now removed the description of the tour from its website).

A prior Carnival guest wrote on the official Carnival description of the tour (image on bottom):

“It was a LOOOOOONG ride (1+ hour) one-way to the first stop in a packed shuttle bus going 80 MPH on a dirt road. Made me sick to my stomach.”

The newspaper said that photos of the accident circulating on social media show “skid marks and broken branches strewn across the road, with the tour bus overturned in bushes, laying on top of broken trees and uprooted plants.”

Eyewitness News suggests that the tour bus’s power steering malfunctioned.

There have been numerous serious excursion accidents where guests were being transported in local vans and buses. Most of the bus excursion accidents in the past involved guests from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises ships.

In 2015, Celebrity passengers from the Celebrity Summit were killed and injured in an excursion bus accident in Tortola.

In 2012, there were two cruise excursion bus crashes in Caribbean islands, both involving Royal Caribbean passengers. Royal Caribbean cruise passengers from the Serenade of the Seas were injured during an excursion in St. Thomas. A Royal Caribbean sponsored excursion tour bus crashed in St. Martin and injured passengers from the Freedom of the Seas.

In 2009, a dozen passengers from Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit were seriously injured when an open air excursion vehicle ran off the road in Dominica. We represented passengers against the cruise line and the excursion company in that accident. You can read information on the Dominica excursion accident in an article “Injured Visitors to Dominica Airlifted to Miami.”

Cruise lines face legal liability when passengers are injured or killed during sponsored excursions. Cruise lines have a duty to vet the excursions companies and warn of dangers in the road conditions and driving in foreign ports of call. Cruise lines can also be held responsible for negligent hiring and retention of the transportation companies and for vicarious liability based on theories of agency. A key issue is whether there have been prior complaints of fast or dangerous operation of the excursion buses for the tour.

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

 

 

Today a resident of Alaska notified me that there are videos posted on Facebook showing the M/S Eurodam continuing to proceed toward a group of whales feeding in the water ahead of it as the Holland America Cruise Ship (HAL) cruise ship headed toward Juneau.

A smaller vessel reportedly radioed the bridge of the Eurodam and notified the cruise ship that it was “on course to run right through a group of humpback whales feeding!” The posting states that the “Eurodam decided not to take our warnings. . . ”

The video, filmed by Brent Kidd Palmer, shows the Eurodam sailing toward what is described as a herd of whales in front of it. The narration states that the Eurodam twice disregarded the radio warnings even though the cruise ship was reportedly one mile away from the whales. 

The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires vessels to remain away from whales at a distance of at least 100 yards – the length of a football field (unless other species-specific rules apply, such as 100 yards away from humpback whales, 200 yards from killer whales in Washington State inland waters, and 500 yards away from North Atlantic right whales anywhere in the U.S.).

In the video below, you can see the air from the blowholes of several humpback whales spraying water into the air as the HAL ship sailed closely by. The Captain apparently did not change course or slow down. There were reportedly a number of passengers at their cabin windows, as if there may have been an announcement of the presence of the humpback whales.

Make this visible! Holland America Line after we radioed them to let them know they were on course to run right through a group of humpback whales feeding! Absolute disregard for the marine mammals protection act ! Or the safety and well being of the whales ! We recorded ya hailing them to tell them there were whales directly ahead the #Eurodam decided not to take our warnings knowing what these boats draft ! #marinemammalrescue #cruiseshipspotting #hollandamerica #hollandamericacruise #mmp #savethewhales🐳 #protecttheocean #protecttheearth #saveourplanet #makehollandamericafamous

Posted by Kiara O'Reilly Jones on Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The federal protection statutes require vessel operators to put the vessel’s engine in neutral once they become aware of the presence of whales in order to avoid injury to the mammals.

There have been a number of cruise ships which have struck whales and arrived at port with the whales impaled on the bulbous bow of the ship. You can read about an example here. The Grand Princess struck a humpback whale in Alaska two years ago.

Holland America’s Zaandam struck an endangered fin whale in 2016 and carried the dead whale into port in Seward on its bulbous bow.

In one of the most graphic photographs of a cruise ship / whale strike (right), in 2009 the Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess arrived in port in Vancouver, allegedly unaware that the cruise ship impaled a fin whale on the ship’s bow while in Alaskan waters. The whale was a female fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus). Princess claimed that the whale was already dead when the cruise ship hit her, a common excuse when a cruise ships kills a marine mammal.

The Chief Executive (CEO), Stein Kruse, and HAL President, Orlando Ashford, were present in Miami federal court three weeks ago and watched the federal court judge express her concern over continued environmental violations by Carnival-owned cruise ships. HAL’s Westerdam was previously found to have illegally dumped 26,000 gallons of gray water into Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska on September 11, 2018.

The Eurodam left Seattle, Washington yesterday and arrived in Juneau, Alaska around 1:00 P.M today. It will call on Glacier Bay tomorrow,  Sitka, Alaska on June 26th,  Ketchikan, Alaska on June 27th  Victoria, British Columbia on June 28th and back to Seattle, Washington on June 29th.

If you have any information or questions about this event, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

June 25, 2019 Update:

Princess Cruises claims that the Eurodam altered course.

The NOAA Fisheries enforcement office is investigating the incident, according to KTOO Public Media. Newsweek reports Video Shows Giant Cruise Ship Heading for Pod of Feeding Humpback Whales: “There He Goes Steaming Right Over the Top.”

July 12, 2019 Update: NOAA closes investigation into close call between cruise ship and humpback whales via KTOO.  The public news station reported that NOAA’ Fisheries’ Office of Law Enforcement concluded that the Eurodam “altered course and slowed speed.” There was no indication in the article whether it concluded that the HAL ship came within 100 yards of the whales, which was the central issue of dispute. We immediately served NOAA Fisheries with a FOIA request for info/documents to try to find out about its short investigation and whether it made any conclusions regarding the distance between the cruise ship and the pod of feeding whales.  We will update this article.

Video and screengrabs – Brent Kidd Palmer via HAL’s Facebook page and Richard McAlpine via Twitter; bottom photo of whale strike – AP /The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck via Telegraph.

Passengers from Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas were involved in a taxi van accident while ashore in St. Maarten yesterday, June 22, 2019.

Cruceros Puerto Rico posted a video showing a bus partially submerged in the water with the rear doors open with several people lying by the side of the road. There are reports on social media that local people rescued several of the people riding in the small van.

There have been a number of deadly bus accidents involving Royal Caribbean cruise ship passengers over the years. Seven years ago, a Royal Caribbean sponsored excursion tour bus crashed in St. Martin (on the French side of the island) and injured passengers from the Freedom of the Seas. There is no indication at this time that the current accident involved an excursion or was arranged through the cruise line.

Royal Caribbean has not issued a statement regarding this incident yet. There is no publicly available information whether there were any injuries to the Royal Caribbean guests.

The Freedom to the Seas was delayed leaving port in St. Maarten yesterday. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship left San Juan, Puerto Rico a week ago on June 16, then sailed to Oranjestad, Aruba;  Willemstad, Curacao;  Kralendijk, Bonaire and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The ship returned to  San Juan this morning.

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

June 23, 2019 Update:

The SXM KPSM Sint Maarten Police posted a tribute to the young men in St. Maarten who rescued the cruise tourists.

In response to an inquiry by FOX News, Royal Caribbean stated that the accident involved the operation of a van :transporting 12 guests from Puerto Rico while on an independent shore excursion in St. Maarten . . .

Video and screengrab images – Cruceros Puerto Rico / Travelling with Bruce.

Nos envían un vídeo del accidente de hoy en la isla de St. Maarten, donde pasajeros del FREEDOM OF THE SEAS resultaron heridos.Mi gente, es importante que cuando salgamos de vacaciones tener un seguro de viaje. Es mejor tenerlo y no necesitarlo que necesitarlo y no tenerlo.Esperemos en Dios que se encuentren bien dentro de la situación.Esta es toda la información que tenemos al momento, no es mucho pero lo bueno es que no ocurrió una desgracia que lamentar.#crucerospuertorico 🇵🇷#cruceristasdeborinquen #StMarteen

Posted by Cruceros Puerto Rico on Saturday, June 22, 2019

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), from 2003 to around 2013, engineers on the Caribbean Princess, Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess by-passed the oil-water separators (OWS) and released oily substances into the oceans. These employees of Princess Cruises used a number of techniques, including the so-called “magic pipes” and running clean water past the sensors of the OWS to prevent the system from triggering an alarm. The engineers lied and falsified oil logs on the ships.

On the Caribbean Princess, once a whistleblower reported the environmental violations, the senior ship engineers dismantled the bypass pipe and instructed crew members to lie.

These illegal practices on the Princess cruise ships took place over nearly a ten year period of time.

Why didn’t the DOJ arrest a single one of the engineers engaged in the illegal practices?  I have received many inquiries from people asking why no one, including cruise executives, will serve jail time?

A couple of years ago, Captain reported that “two high-ranking ship engineers were sentenced to prison … Star Princess after being convicted of using a so-called “magic pipe” to illegally dump oil sludge and wastewater overboard from their ship and then attempting to cover it up.” The sentencing involved the chief engineer and second engineer of the Ocean Hope, a Greek operated cargo ship, who were convicted of conspiracy, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, obstruction of justice and witness tampering by a federal jury in Greenville, North Carolina.

Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division stated: “This case shows that polluting the ocean with oily waste and sludge will land you in jail . . .”

Cruden was also involved in the original Princess Cruises investigation, where the misconduct involved more ships for a far longer period of time.

So why the difference?  Princess Cruises and parent company Carnival Corporation clearly wanted to put this debacle behind them, so they apparently cut a deal which eliminated the possibility that the DOJ would be eliciting sworn testimony from any of the shipboard employees. The DOJ press release indicated that Princess engineers on the Caribbean Princess believed that the shore-side superintendent, like the chief engineer on the ship overseeing the cover-up, suffered from the braccino corto complex (an Italian expression for a cheap person whose arms are too short to reach his wallet).

So the engineers’ testimony could have implicated Princess Cruises’ shore-side supervisors. And once its was proven that an audit of the vessel expenses showed that there were no costs for offloading and legally disposing the oily waste, the only issue is how many people in Princess Cruises’ and Carnival’s headquarters in Santa Clarita and Miami were involved in the conspiracy. The cruise executives wanted to maintain plausible deniability which would not be possible if their senior engineers were going to face prosecution and began pointing their fingers at the corporate offices. So, in my view, Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises negotiated a settlement with a relatively small fine, which avoided their greatest concern that the DOJ’s investigation would reveal the senior shipboard officers’ criminal conduct and, in turn, expose the shoreside managers and executives to criminal liability.

The DOJ touted that the case involved the “the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution.” But the reality is that polluting the oceans will not land you in jail if you are an engineer on a cruise ship who can implicate the owners and executives in the pollution, lies and cover-up.

Of course, we now know that Carnival Corporation did not learn anything after being caught with its widespread pollution and lying and being fined $40,000,000 several years ago. The Carnival-owned ships continued to illegally discharge grey water, sewage and plastics from their ships, from Glacier Bay in Alaska to the water of the Bahamas, according to findings submitted to the Court by the Court Appointed Monitor (CAM). All Princess Cruises and Carnival Corporation had to do was just pay another fine, a paltry $20,000,000, from its tax-free bounty of $3,200,000,000 in profits from last year alone.

Without jail time and personal liability of the engineers and executives, the Carnival-owned ships will continue illegally discharging oil, sewage, plastics, and grey water. Carnival has an endless source of money that can fund $20,000,000 fines, just like you or me handing out $5 bills.

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

Other articles about this issue:

Princess Cruises Pollution Cover-Up: Are the Greedy Cruise Executives Untouchable?

Princess Cruises Pollution Cover-Up: What Did the Executives Know?

Deliberate Dumping, Cover-Up and Lies: DOJ Fines Princess Cruises $40,000,000.

Photo credit: Star Princess – Jim Walker

Today a group of victims of Carnival Corporation’s environmental crimes sought to vacate the Court’s approval of an out of court settlement reached between the U.S. Government and Carnival Corporation.

The attorney for Fotini Duncombe (a Bahamian citizen and co-founder of a Bahamas Environmental group called “reEarth”), Theodore Thoma (the head of a environmental group called “Responsible Cruising in Alaska”), Eric Forrer (an Alaskan fisherman), and Ronn Buschmann (an Alaskan Resident), all of whom were seeking status under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), filed a writ of mandamus that seeks to vacate the settlement of probation violations approved by Judge Patricia Seitz on June 3, 2019. The Court approved what many viewed as a secret backroom deal struck between the U.S Government and the giant cruise company which resulted in a relatively small financial fine of just $20,000,000.

The environmental victims are not seeking any financial recovery for themselves.

Seattle attorney Knoll Lowney argued in the writ filed in the Eleventh Court of Appeal that Judge Seitz committed error by summarily denying his clients their rights under the CVRA without explanation and without conducting an evidentiary inquiry, or making findings of fact or conclusions of law. He argued that the Court erred in accepting the Government’s inaccurate and misleading statement that the criminal charges against Carnival allegedly involved only a single vessel, the Caribbean Princess, photo above, which allegedly did not commit illegal violations in Alaska or the Bahamas. The evidence, Lownet argues, shows that Carnival’s widespread criminal pollution occurred on at least five ships (Caribbean Princess, Golden Princess, Coral Princess, Grand Princess and Star Princess) continuously over a ten year period, and these ships unquestionably were operating and polluting in the waters of the Bahamas and Alaska for much of that ten year period.

The writ also references the original plea agreement which contains “an explicit settlement of crimes by Carnival and its subsidiaries for making and using false statements and records and obstruction of justice relating to improper discharges of oil and falsification of data across their entire fleets.”

Lowrey contended that the Court accepted the Government’s erroneous legal arguments that the victims did not have rights under the CVRA because the Information did not specify that Carnival’s environmental crimes occured in Alaska or the Bahamas, and victims of probation violations that constitute crimes allegedly have no rights under the CVRA.   He argued that the scope of CVRA is not limited by the Information and victim’s rights can attach to post conviction crimes and proceedings.

There is no question of course that Carnival’s continued environmental crimes committed during the Court ordered probation took place in Alaska (where it committed the federal offense of discharging 25,000 gallons of untreated grey water in National Glacier Park) and in the Bahamas (where the Carnival Elation, photo above, discharged plastic items mixed together with food in the waters of the Bahamas).

Lowney is seeking to vacate the order approving the settlement agreement, to remand the case, and to order Judge Seitz to allow the environmental victims to participate in the probation violation proceedings.

A mandamus petition of this type requires the appellate court to decide the appeal within 72 hours (by Thursday, June 20, 2019).

It remains to be seen how the Eleventh Circuit will rule on the pending writ. In any event, a review of the writ and the accompanying attachments raise substantial issues whether the settlement deal was just another “sweet deal” for Carnival which resulted from its cozy relationship with U.S. Government.

Attorney Lowney points out that the parties repeatedly failed to involve or provide any notice to the environmental victims and “actively sought to preclude participation by victims and other impacted members of the public by keeping the terms of the Agreement secret.” He accurately points out that the settlement agreement reached between the Government and Carnival was not a transparent process; it was not even disclosed to the public until it was filed about an hour before the June 3rd hearing, effectively preventing the victims from even seeing the agreement before the hearing.

There also appears to be no question that the Government and Carnival negotiated for the scope of the formal charges to be substantially narrower than Carnival’s admitted criminal wrongdoing.

It is also appears clear in reading the writ that Carnival’s environmental crimes were widespread and pervasive.  The writ points out that the original plea agreement (which resulted in a $40,000,000 fine) involved the criminal discharge of oil from secret valves installed on at least five Carnival-owned ships over a ten year period.  The plea agreement also contained a “specific disclosure that Carnival had discovered false recordkeeping of oily waters in an unidentified number of ships across Carnival and its subsidiaries’ entire fleets.”

Most shocking is the reference in the writ to the evidence in the record establishing that Carnival’s “deliberate vessel pollution such as occurred in this case has been estimated to cause as much as eight times the amount of oil pollution each year as catastrophic spills such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill.” (emphasis added)

The Exxon Valdez disaster resulted in Exxon paying around $2,000,000,000 (billion) in clean-up costs and  an additional $1,000,000,000 (billion) to settle related civil and criminal charges, plus a jury awarded $287,000,000 (million) in damages and $5,000,000,000 (billion) in punitive damages, which were reduced after an appeal to around $500,000,000 (million).

In this case, there is no trial, no award of damages, no punitive damages, no order of restitution and no ancillary payments. Just a pittance of a $20,000,000 fine (million), decided without any involvement of the victims of Carnival’s widespread and ongoing criminal violations, against a corporation which netted $3,200,000,000 (billion) in profits last year alone.

Such a small fine is hardly punitive in nature. It does not “smart” by causing the corporation financial pain designed to make the executives smarter. It is just a fraction of the costs of Carnival doing business. As one commentator said – Carnival’s fine (less than 0.07 % of net income) was a tickle of their feet … which made them laugh, all the way to the bank.”

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

You can read the writ here.

Photo Credit: Carnival Elation – Hargcb – CC BY-SA commons / wikimedia; Caribbean Princess –  Yankeesman312 – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia; Government Exhibit, appendix, volume 2-97; Exxon Valdez – History.com.

A passenger reportedly drowned on the Caribbean Princess during the last cruise, according to a crew member and a passenger who wish to remain anonymous.

The man, believed to be in his 30’s, was found in the bottom of the Neptune pool on deck 15 of the Caribbean Princess around 5:00 a.m. on the morning of Friday, June 14, 2019.  He reportedly had been drinking the previous night during a party on the pool deck (24K Gold Deck Party) and later at the Skywalkers Lounge on the ship. CPR was reportedly performed without success.

The Princess cruise ship was sailing back to Fort Lauderdale on the evening of Thursday, June 13th after visiting  Cozumel, Mexico.

The guest had apparently entered the swimming pool which was allegedly closed. (But see update below). It is unknown whether the Caribbean Princess had assigned any security personnel to the pool or to patrol the pool deck during Thursday evening / night or early Friday morning.

This is not the first time that a passenger has drowned on a Princess cruise ship.  An eight-year-old girl was in critical condition after being found unconscious in the swimming pool of the Sapphire Princess in August of 2015. A 29-year-old woman drowned in the pool of the same cruise ship a year earlier, in August of 2014. The Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) investigated the fatality in question as well as an additional swimming pool death involving a passenger on board the Diamond Princess on June 23, 2015. The MAIB was very critical of Princess for failing to employ lifeguards or conduct a risk assessment of the dangers presented by the swimming pools on the ship.

More recently, a stateroom attendant rescued a passenger on the Star Princess who was drowning in the ship’s main pool after reportedly suffering from heart attack symptoms, according to the Crew Center website.

Regarding the recent drowning on the Caribbean Princess, the decedent’s body will probably be autopsied by the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office after the ship returned to Fort Lauderdale.

The Caribbean Princess was sailing on a seven day cruise,  leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 8, 2019 to George Town, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras,  Belize City, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico. The Princess cruise ship returned to Fort Lauderdale yesterday (on June 15th).

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June 16, 2019 Update: Another guest on the cruise ship during the cruise contacted me, stating:

“Sir, I can tell you with 100% certainty that this particular pool was not closed when the drowning occurred on Friday morning. My niece and quite a few other passengers were detained when we arrived at Ft Lauderdale on Saturday morning to be questioned by detectives . . . my niece and several of the people she had met and been hanging out with on the cruise left Skywalkers night club around 3 and went down to sit on the pool edge with their feet in the water; the deceased was swimming and others were in and out of the water.”

June 17, 2019 Update: A third guest on the ship during the cruise in question commented:

“I was on the Caribbean Princess on June 8th 2019 sailing when the young man drowned. I was awake at the time when I heard the call at 5.00 am. I was on deck 15 when the medical team and staff were putting the deceased in a body bag. I was talking to a employee at guest services I told her I was up there she questioned me if the pool was covered with the net I told her no. At night time the pools net is supposed to be on this way it prevents somebody going in the pool when it is dark. I was on the Caribbean Princess for 3 months last  _____  passing thru the lido deck at 4.00 am I saw many young passengers that were drinking all night sitting on the edge of the pool with there feet in the water. Sometimes the net was on other nights the net was not on. If the net was on this young man would not have been able to get in the pool to go for a swim. Hopefully from now on the net will be put on top of the swimming pool every night. I am going back on the Caribbean Princess on ____. I will be watching to see if the Caribbean Princess start to cover the pool every night.” (dates omitted to maintain anonymity).

The passenger was identified as Stephen Osakue, age 37, who worked as a research pharmacist for the U.S. Air Force. A military publication indicates that he was a major in the Air Force.

June 18, 2019 Update: There are additional comments by guests on the cruise in question via Heavy.com.

June 19, 2019 Update: A newspaper, The Dispatch, in Columbus/Starkville, Mississippi published a comment from an Air Force commander that:

“Major Stephen Osakue was a valued-member of Team BLAZE, the Medical Group, and our pharmacy. He was an airman, a father, a husband, a son, a friend and so much more. This is a difficult time for many across the base, especially his family. Our thoughts and prayers are going out to his wife and children, co-workers, and friends.”

The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office also stated that it “plans to review video footage from the cruise ship, once Princess Cruises provides it.”

Photo credit: Top – Yankeesman312 – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia; bottom – Military.com.