The cruise industry has always struggled with its environmental image. The "big three" cruise lines (Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) were fined tens of millions of dollars collectively in the 1990’s and 2000’s for dumping pollutants into the water and lying to the U.S. Coast Guard.  

Cruise lines argue that their days of dumping at sea are over.  But its hard to convince a skeptical public with YouTube broadcasting what is actually happening at sea. Like last year, when MSC crew members sent us several videos showing dumping of plastic bags off the mooring deck of a MSC Cruise Ship Dumpingcruise ship into a marine sanctuary at night.  

The public is not as dumb as the cruise industry treats them.  Calling yourself a guardian of the seas is not going to work when you are caught by cruise passengers and your own crew members dumping plastic bags into a marine sanctuary over the side under the cover of night.

The cruise industry should be embarrassed after YouTube videos are now showing the destruction of a coral reef in the Cayman Islands by an anchor and chain dropped by the Pullmantur Zenith cruise ship (an old ship last operated by Celebrity Cruises), owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises.  

Coral reefs and cruise lines, it seems, are as incongruous as cats and dogs. Just ask the formerly quaint little port of Falmouth, Jamaica where the port was dredged for Royal Caribbean’s monster ships, the Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas to squeeze in, This required the destruction of some 35,000,000 cubic feet of coral reef and the annihilation of two square miles of mangroves which are now buried under pulverized reef material.  

Last year, a Carnival cruise ship (the Magic) crushed a coral reef in the Caymans after a local pilot boat operated by Bodden Shipping Agency guided the Carnival cruise ship to anchor outside of the designated public port anchorage. You can read about that situation in Carnival Magic Crushes Coral Reef in Cayman Islands

The Cayman Reporter described the situation as involving an "anchor on the reef rolling over the coral sending plumes of dust and broken coral in its wake."  But the governing authority is the weak Department of the Environment of the Cayman Islands which did not even bothered to hold anyone responsible for last year’s massive damage to the coral reef by the dropping of the Carnival anchor. The agency has already exonerated the Zenith cruise operator and the harbor pilot from negligence. Royal Caribbean then immediately took advantage of this free pass to defend itself from criticism on Twitter, tweeting: "When Pullmantur Zenith arrived in Grand Cayman it was directed to a government-designated anchorage spot, not in a protected area."

The fact of the matter is that live coral was directly under the Zenith cruise ship which made no efforts to verify the underwater conditions.  

As the Huffington Post points out, the Cayman Islands’ Marine Conservation Laws, seen on the islands’ tourism website, state that "Damaging coral by anchor, chains or any other means ANYWHERE in Cayman waters is prohibited."  This is clearly a case where the cruise line, the pilot agency and the Cayman’s Department of the Environment should all be held accountable. Strict liability (i.e., no-fault liability) should always apply in matters this important.

The ultimate irony, of course, is that protecting the Cayman’s beautiful reefs may well be a moot point. The country has decided to cater to the cruise industry’s goals of building a large dock, so that cruise ships no longer have to tender passengers ashore, which will sit over the reefs. This will require extensive dredge and fill operations which will destroy large portions of the island’s ancient coral reefs. Such is the result of a short sited, docile, tourism-dependent Caribbean nation trying to please its Miami coral-reef-destroying cruise line masters.     

Video Credit: YouTube  

December 16 2015 Update: Our article above was mentioned in Caribbean 360 – Investigation launched as video shows cruise ship damaging Cayman Islands reef.

The Caymans is the latest island in the Caribbean where the cruise lines are beating their drums for a new multi-million dollar pier to be built for them in order to expand the business of cruising. 

I saw this same scenario unfold in Falmouth, Jamaica where Royal Caribbean ram-roded a plan to dredge ancient coral reefs and fill the adjacent mangrove forest with pulverized coral to make way for a new port to accommodate the cruise line’s monsters. the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas. While the local environment was being completely annihilated, the cruise line promised a complete revitalization of the little city of Falmouth and a re-energizing of its local vendors which, of course, never happened. Royal Cayman Islands ReefsCaribbean wanted a place to park its over-sized behemoths and maximize profits. It could care less about the local community or the natural environment.  

The Cayman Islands is now in the cruise lines’ cross-hairs. The Caymans enjoy one of the most beautiful, pristine natural reefs in the world.  The new pier development will cause catastrophic and irreversible damage to the reefs. There is no doubt about that. Read the environmental statement here

The government of the Cayman is moving forward with the project. The cruise lines are chomping at the bit. With a pier, more cruise ships can squeeze into the Caymans at the same time. The cruise lines will make sweet deals with the government to sell goods at the pier to increase their profits at the expense of local merchants, while cutting out the local companies that tender the passengers to and from the cruise ships.

Read a recent article on the issue.

The Miami-based cruise lines have far more sway with the Caymans’ government than the local dive shops do. 

Caymans, look at the broken promises and the pulverized coral reefs and crushed mangroves of Falmouth, Jamaica. Do you think for a second that the Carnivals and Royal Caribbeans care for a second about your million year old reefs?

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

Photo Credit:  ReefBuilders

A newspaper in the Cayman Islands reports that the Carnival Magic cruise ship severely damaged a pristine coral reef when it anchored in an unauthorized zone near George Town on Wednesday,

The newspaper quotes the deputy director of the Cayman’s Department of Environment saying that “the impact where the anchor landed was very severe; there was a lot of crushed live coral and sediment.”

The newspaper says that local pilot boats operated by Bodden Shipping Agency guided the Carnival cruise ship to anchor outside of the designated public port anchorage.

There’s no mention whether the tourism dependent island will fine either the cruise line or the shipping agency.

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

Coral Reef Cayman Islands

Photo Credit: Don Foster’s Dive Cayman via Cayman Compass 

 

The Cruise Critic message boards contain a discussion that there was a fire aboard Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess cruise ship last night.

The comments indicate that there was a great deal of smoke but the fire was extinguished without injury to passengers or crew. There is conflicting information regarding exactly where the fire occurred. There is a mention of the fire being on deck 9, although the heading to the comments refers to what is described as an "engine room fire."

Princess Cruises and the Coral Princess are owned by cruise giant Carnival PLC. 

Please leave a comment if you have information about the fire.

Coral Princess Cruise Ship Fire 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Associated Press and an Italian newspaper are reporting that a crew member employed by Princess Cruises aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship "disappeared" on either November 25th or 26th. 

Angelo Faliva - Missing from Princess Cruises Coral Princess Cruise ShipThe AP article is entitled "Italian Chef Missing at Sea on Caribbean Cruise."

The Italian newspaper Leggo Cronaca’s article is entitled "GIALLO SU NAVE DA CROCIERA SCOMPARE CUOCO ITALIANO." (Italian Chef Disappears on Cruise Ship.)

The Princess Cruises crew member is identified as Angelo Faliva, age 31.  Mr. Faliva is employed by the cruise line as a sous chef. 

Conflicting Accounts of When & Where Crew Member "Disappeared"  

The AP reports that there are different accounts regarding when and where crew member Faliva was last seen as the Coral Princess sailed from Aruba to Cartagena, Colombia, between Nov. 25 and 26.

Princess Cruises PR person Julie Benson said Faliva was last seen on a deck at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, when he spoke with another crew member as the ship neared Cartagena.

According to the AP, Mr. Faliva’s family said they had been told that he had unexpectedly walked out of the ship’s galley at about 8:15 p.m. the night before, while he was working the dinner shift, and Angela Faliva Princess Cruises - Coral Princessnever returned and hadn’t been seen since.

The Faliva family said it was alerted Thursday that he had been reported missing and that a life preserver was also missing, with its nighttime illumination flares torn off and left aboard the ship.

"He surely didn’t jump off. It wasn’t suicide," his sister Chiara Faliva told the AP from the family’s home in Cremona. "We think there was an accident or a homicide."

The Coral Princess left South Florida November 23rd and will arrive in Los Angeles on December  7th at which time the FBI may board the cruise ship.

No Information From Cruise Line PR Department

As expected, Princess PR department claims that Mr. Faliva’s cabin had been sealed and the cruise ship was searched.  Princess Cruises also claims that it reviewed the closed circuit television ("CCTV") footage but there is no video of a crew member going overboard.

Julie Benson - Princess PR Department"Obviously, we’re very concerned," Princess’ PR representative Julie Benson (left) said. "This is highly unusual and clearly we are concerned for his safety. It very well may be that he went overboard, but we don’t know that for a fact."

The AP reports that the commander of the Colombian Coast Guard station in Cartagena, Lt. Javier Sanchez, said officials there received a report from the Coral Princess at 10 a.m. Thursday that one of the cooks had last been seen the night before between 7-8 p.m. when the ship was navigating Colombian waters near La Guajira.

But like the Princess spokeswoman, he too said the Coast Guard received word from the ship later Thursday that a person had seen the chef at about 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

Crew Member Employed Since 2006

According to the AP, Mr. Faliva’s sister said her brother had been working for Princess Cruises since 2006 and that this was his third six-month tour with the line. He was a sous chef in the ship’s Princess Cruises' - Angelo Favila Missing from Coral Princess Italian restaurant "Sabatini’s."

She said she had received an e-mail from her brother the day before he went missing, and he reported that everything was going well. She said the captain had told the family that her brother had last been seen in the kitchen preparing dinner.

"He left quickly without saying anything to anyone and left the kitchen," she said. "From that point on, they don’t know anything."

Over 10 People "Disappear" from Cruise Ships a Year

Contrary to the comments by Princess Cruises’ PR department, "missing" passengers and crew members are not "highly unusual."  Over 125 people have gone overboard in the last nine years, according to a Canadian Professor who tracks cruise "disappearances."  22 overboards have been documented for this year alone. The majority of the disappearances have been from the Carnival owned cruise ships. Princess is owned by cruise giant Carnival Corporation.

One of the problems with "disappearances" of passengers and crew members is that the FBI does not board the cruise ship until the end of the cruise.  This leaves preservation of the Bridge Cam - Coral Princess - Princess Cruises - Missing Crew Member scene of the disappearance to the cruise lines, which are often motivated by their own legal interests and marketing image.  

Why No CCTV Images?

There is often an issue why the cruise lines are unable to locate CCTV images of the missing crew member or passenger. Mr. Faliva should have been recorded walking in and around the cruise ship and, if he went overboard, on the deck.  The technology has long existed to record passenger and crew overboards. 

There is also technology available for the bridge to be notified when there is an overboard situation on a cruise ship.  We have written about this technology in a prior blog " Update on Missing Passenger From Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess."     

This cruise ship has a web cam for entertainment purposes for the public, such as the image recorded today from Coral Princess‘ bridge cam at 2:00 p.m. (Los Angeles time).  Princess Cruises has not offered an explanation regarding how someone can "disappear" without a trace of evidence.  

The Falavi family deserves an explanation regarding what CCTV images exist of their brother and son on the cruise ship.  They should also receive the statements from the security personnel and other crew members regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr. Falavi’s disappearance.

We have written about cruise "disappearances" in the past.  For example "Suicide" – One of the Cruise Lines’ Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.  There is often a tendency of the cruise lines’ PR departments to blame the passenger or crew member for going overboard before law enforcement concludes an investigation.      

For those readers who speak Italian, there is also an audio portion of a news report regarding this story.  Recent newspapers from Italy contain additional photographs of the missing crew member, Mr. Faliva, shown here at the stern of the Coral Princess:

Angelo Faliva - Missing - Coral Princess, Princess Cruises

 

Credits:

Mr. Faliva (top)        Falavi Family via Leggo Cronaca newspaper, Italy 

Coral Princess Logo       Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer of the DailyBreeze.com 

Princess PR representative Julie Benson    Twitter @JulieBenson

Coral Princess        Barbara Bagnell (via National Post)

Bridge Cam     Princess Cruises Coral Princess

Mr. Faliva (bottom)           Falavi Family via IlTempo.it