Several passengers aboard the Royal Princess cruise ship have informed Cruise Law News that a passenger fell from an upper deck and struck a lifeboat last night.

One passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated:

“A women on royal princess princess cruise line was pushed or fell from the lido 15th or 16th deck onto the top of  life boat #2 at 4 am in the morning. She died instantly. Once the ship arrived into Aruba, authorities boarded the ship. Outcome of investigation is unknown. Passengers said the scene was gruesome.”

Passenger were first alerted to the incident when they heard an announcement around 4:30 a.m. for the security team to respond to deck 7 underneath lifeboat number 2. When the cruise ship arrived at port in Aruba, the captain made an announcement that the crime scene investigators were coming on board and no one would be allowed to get off until they cleared the ship.

Mas Noticia refers to the incident as a “possible murder.”

Last July (of 2017), the FBI arrested the husband of a  a 39-year-old woman who was murdered aboard the Emerald Princess operated by Princess Cruises in Alaska. Earlier this year, the boyfriend of a 50 year-old woman was arrested for murder aboard the Carnival Elation after he threw her off their balcony to a lifeboat below. Last month a passenger was arrested after he tried to throw his partner off of the Radiance of the Seas in Australia.

Is a cruise ship a perfect place to commit a crime?

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

Update: Diario.aw reports that a “muscular” man was struggling/fighting with the woman, and suddenly began choking her. After that, he reportedly pushed her over the railing. She fell on lifeboat #2, destroying the windows on the lifeboat as well. The authorities in Aruba will perform an autopsy, to determine whether the man killed her first (by choking her) or she died because of the fall.

November 15, 2018 Update: Local 10 News (Miami): “FBI investigating after woman dies aboard cruise ship en route to Aruba.” Finally, the U.S. press cover this disturbing, apparent rime.

November 16, 2018 Update: Numerous newspapers are now reporting on the apparent murder, including the U.K.’s Mail Online (photo above right).

Photo credit: Barry Skeates – via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, commons / wikimedia.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued air quality violations to eight cruise ships and water quality violations to nine cruise ships last week, according to the Juneau Empire.

In an article by Kevin Gullufsen, the newspaper reported that four Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ships, two Princess Cruises ships, and one cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and one ship operated by Royal Caribbean violated Alaska’s air quality standards throughout the cruise season’s summer months (June-August).

Alaska’s DEC cited HAL’s Eurodam, Westerdam, Amsterdam, and Nieuw Amsterdam; Princess’ Emerald Princess and Golden Princess; NCL’s Norwegian Jewel; and Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas (which was cited twice).

Last year, the DEC determined that NCL’s Norwegian Jewel and HAL’s Amsterdam violated Alaska’s air standards.

The violations reportedly could result in fines as high as $46,192 per cruise ship.

The manager of Alaska’s cruise ship emissions monitoring program told the Juneau Empire that: “opacity is an indicator for overall air quality. So there are things that could be in the emissions. Things like nitrogen oxides or particulates. Things that can be breathed in and can potentially cause some health effects.”

Just last week in another article by Kevin Gullufsen, the Juneau Empire reported that “exhaust emissions poured from the Norwegian Pearl’s exhaust stack” as the NCL cruise ship was docking in Alaksa. The DEC has not yet announced whether the Norwegian Pearl violated Alaska’s air quality standards.

A few days later, a Canadian resident filmed the same NCL cruise ship spewing emissions in Victoria and posted the film on Twitter, which you can see below.

The DEC also found that nine cruise ships violated Alaska’s water quality standards this summer, according to the Juneau Empire.

Five Princess cruise ships violated water quality standards, including the Emerald Princess, Island Princess, Golden Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess.  The Star Princess and the Emerald Princess violated the water standards twice.

The DEC also issued wastewater discharge violations to HAL’s Eurodam, Noordam, and Voledam, as well as Seabourn Cruise Line’s Sojourn.

A month ago, we reported that Princess Cruises’ Star Princess recently discharged sludge from its exhaust system scrubbers in the port of Ketchikan, according to the city of Ketchikan. The discharge was originally reported by KRBD Community Radio. KRBD reported the Star Princess’ discharge and a similar discharge from the Golden Princess while the ship was in Ketchikan.

As shown by photographs (above and on our Facebook page, courtesy of the city of Ketchikan), the sludge polluted the waters of Ketchikan and fouled the port facilities where the Princess cruise ship were berthed. The DEC has not yet announced that these particular discharges violated Alaska’s water standards.

Princess denied the reports, claiming that “our experts believe what was viewed and photographed is most likely sea foam discolored by natural microorganisms such as algae in the seawater, which is commonly experienced in northern climates in the summer season.”

Alaska cited two cruise ships operated by Princess Cruises for violating both air and water standards – the Emerald Princess and Golden Princess.

The air violations by HAL, Princess and Royal Caribbean and the water violations by HAL and Princess all involved pollution by cruise lines which have pleaded guilty to environmental violations and lying to the U.S Coast Guard. Princess was the latest cruise line to have pleaded guilty to such crimes and lying to federal agencies, resulting in a fine of $40,000,000.  Federal prosecutors found that the Star Princess and the Golden Princess were in the middle of Princess’ widespread, ongoing schemes to pollute and lie about it.

Princess appears to be in direct violation of the guilty plea agreement (where it promised not to commit further violations of international, federal, state, or local environmental laws) which it entered into with the federal government in December of 2016. Whether the federal government does anything about Princess’ continuing pattern of pollution is another matter.

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

September 13, 2018 Update: Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation stated today that the DEC issued wastewater citations to HAL for “unauthorized discharge of untreated graywater” from the Noordam. It cited Princess Cruises for “unauthorized discharge of treated graywater” from the Star  Princess.  The DEC’s notices of violations issued for water standards were all related to unauthorized untreated graywater or treated mixed graywater and sewage, in violations of Alaska’s wastewater discharge permit. These are not for scrubber washwater discharges.

Photo credits: Top – Norwegian Pearl in Juneau / Photo credit Tim Olson / KTOO Public Radio; middle – city of Ketchikan via KRBD Community Radio.

Local residents in Juneau recently lodged numerous complaints about exhaust emissions which belched into the air from the Norwegian Pearl to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in Alaska, according to a newspaper in Juneau.

The Juneau Empire reported that on Tuesday “exhaust emissions poured from the Norwegian Pearl’s exhaust stack” as the NCL cruise ship Pearl began to dock at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, maneuvering into position after the Norwegian Bliss left the dock around this time.

The newspaper stated that it took a 45-minute video of the pollution, which was compressed into a video time lapse. The video (shown below) “shows the Pearl emitting nearly-opaque exhaust for much of the video.”

The newspaper explains that based on EPA guidelines, “air quality violations are based on percentage of opacity, where 0 percent means emissions are see through, while 100 percent opacity means one can’t see through it.” Ships are allowed to exceed 20 percent opacity for three minutes an hour while at the dock. When casting off, anchoring and docking, ship exhausts are only allowed to exceed 40 percent opacity for nine minutes out of an hour.”

The Juneau Empire reports that Ed White, who runs the Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance program, “couldn’t comment on whether DEC was in the process of issuing a fine to the Norwegian Pearl as he’s not allowed to comment on ongoing compliance issues.”

Early last month, Princess Cruises’ Star Princess cruise ship discharged sludge from its exhaust system scrubbers in the port of Ketchikan, according to the city of Ketchikan.

Scrubber systems are increasingly being used on cruise ships in order to reduce sulfur particles and engine exhaust particulates.  Petroleum-based, non-combustible particulate matter accumulates as toxic sludge during the water-scrubbing process, and must eventually be removed from the ships and should be disposed of properly in certified facilities ashore. Many cruise ships often discharge the sludge into the ocean, while they are underway or even at port, rather than properly disposing of the sludge in facilities ashore.

Photographs shown on our Facebook page, courtesy of the city of Ketchikan, show that the sludge polluted the waters of Ketchikan and fouled the port facilities where the Princess cruise ship was berthed.  Princess responded to new reports of the discharge by making the farcical claim that the sludge was “most likely sea foam discolored by natural microorganisms such as algae in the seawater, which is commonly experienced in northern climates in the summer season.”

There has been a long history of cruise ships violating the air and water standards of Alaska, which we have written about ever since we started this blog nine years ago. See our article three years ago – Alaska Alleges Cruise Lines Violated Air Emission Laws (photo below).

Join the discussion on our Facebook page.

September 9, 2018 Update: The Pearl was observed continuing to spew emissions at port in Victoria.

Photo Credit:  Top – Norwegian Pearl– Michael Penn / Juneau Empire; Bottom – Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas cruise ship – AlaskanLibrarian’s Flickr photostream. Video Credit – Juneau Empire.

The United States Coast Guard medevaced a woman from a Princess cruise ship off the Oregon coast earlier this week, after she experienced kidney failure.

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to the Grand Princess cruise ship on Monday morning, August 13th, when the ship was approximately 50 miles southwest of Coos Bay, south of Portland, Oregon.

The 76-year-old woman was airlifted to a hospital in Coos Bay. Her current medical condition has not been disclosed.

Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard District 13 via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS).

 

Regal PrincessSeveral Princess Cruises passengers informed me that an incinerator fire occurred on the Regal Princess during the week of February 25th (two weeks ago). An alarm was sounded, and cruise passengers were later advised that the incinerator fire had been extinguished.

Incinerator fires are not uncommon, as we have reported before, but all cruise passengers should be fully informed of such fires and the efforts of the ship’s systems and crew to respond to the fires. 

We have reported on other fires on Princess cruise ships over the years, from minor fires around the ships to the deadly, wide-spread conflagration on the Star Princess (photo right) a dozen years ago which was caused by the tiniest of fires (a smoldering cigarette). Below are some of the Princess Cruises fires which have occurred in the last seven years. Most are "small" and "quickly extinguished" fires as the cruise industry likes to say when asked.  Most have not been mentioned in the media. 

Island Princess, Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Dawn Star Princess FirePrincess, Coral Princess, Crown Princess, and the Royal Princess

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein testified before the U.S. Congress that there were over 60 cruise ship fires from 2009 through 2013. Most ship fires are not reported by the major media organizations.  

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

We suggest reading: Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires – Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?

Photo credit: Scorcolano – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there was a gastrointestinal outbreak on the Crown Princess during its recent cruise, from October 25th to November 8, 2017. The Princess cruise ship departed Quebec, Canada on October 25th for a two-week cruise to Canadian and U.S. ports. The cruise ship arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 8th and will begin its Caribbean season.

According to the CDC report, 184 passengers and 12 crew members became ill with gastro-like symptoms which included diarrhea.  

During the period from 2010 to the current date, Princess Cruises experienced the most outbreaks on iCrown Princess Princess Cruises Norovirusts cruise ships calling on U.S. ports, according to the CDC. Princess reported twenty-one (21) cases to the CDC during this time period.

The Crown Princess alone has suffered through six (6) norovirus outbreaks since 2010 to the present. Before the current GI outbreak, the last norovirus outbreak on the Crown Princess was from January 3 – 18, 2016 and, before that, from October 18 to November 16, 2014. Earlier, there was a norovirus and e-coli outbreak from February 5 to 12, 2014. It also experienced back-to-back norovirus outbreaks from January 29 to February 4, 2012 and February 4 to February 9, 2012 (photo right).

The cruise line with the second most outbreaks is Holland America Line with 18 cases of GI sicknesses reported to the CDC since 2010. HAL suffered norovirus outbreaks on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and two outbreaks each on the Volendam and the Noordam this year.  

So why is Princess Cruises far more prone to norovirus outbreaks than Carnival cruise lines, for example? The cruise industry always blames the passengers for bringing the virus aboard, rather than its food handlers, or contaminated food or water. So are Princess Cruises customers the sickest and the least hygienic cruisers around? Are guests of HAL the second most unhygienic cruisers? Do they wash their hands the least of any cruisers? This seems like absurd arguments to make.

Is there a correlation between the age of the cruise ships and gastrointestinal outbreaks? Are different food sources and food handling techniques a more reasonable explanation? How about different sanitation procedures? 

The CDC doesn’t have time to determine the source of the norovirus outbreak (sick food handlers versus contaminated food or water or a sick passenger) so it is of no help. The CDC has not even determined the type of virus involved in the most recent outbreak on the Crown Princess.  

But blaming the passengers when one cruise line (and one cruise ship in particular) has far more gastrointestinal outbreaks than its competitors is certainly not the answer.

Whoever is to blame, the crew members, of course, always pay the price, by having to wipe and scrub and spray everything in sight for long 16+ hour days to try to disinfect a ship longer than three football fields.

Irrespective of the blame-game, don’t call us if you get sick on a cruise. Proving where the virus came from, or that the cruise line was negligent, is virtually impossible to prove, especially since the CDC conducts no epidemiological analysis and sometimes can’t even figure out whether the outbreak is due to norovirus, e-coli or something as exotic as shigella sonnei or cyclospora cayetanensis

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

Read: Why Do the Cruise Lines Always Blame the Passengers When Norovirus Breaks Out?

Oceania Crew Members Pay the Price When Norovirus Hits.

Photo credit: WPTV (2012 noro outbreak); Royal Caribbean crew members (anonymous crew member).

Multiple news sources are reporting that the Grand Princess operated by Princess Cruises struck a humpback whale two days ago. The dead whale was discovered lodged on the cruise ship’s bulbous bow upon entering the port in Ketchikan, Alaska. 

Cruise ship-whale strikes are hardly uncommon. This latest incident is reportedly the second time in two years involving a whale strike caused by a cruise ship in Alaska; Holland America’s Zaandam struck an endangered fin whale last year and carried the dead whale into port in Seward on its bulbous bow. 

The Princess Cruises PR spokesperson claims that the Princess cruise ship did not spot any whales near the ship as it sailed toward Ketchikan. Princess also floated out the possibility that the whale was "already deceased before becoming lodged on the bow" – the usual PR spin when a cruise ship strikes a whale. 

A necrosis will later address whether the whale was in fact alive or dead at the time that the cruise ship struck it.

A cruise passenger sent photographs of the incident, one of which is below.  

Grand Princess Whale StrikeSeveral years ago, environmental groups filed a petition with the federal government seeking to force cruise ships and other large vessels to slow down in order to reduce the chances of whale strikes. The petition was focused on the waters between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but it signaled the importance of environmental groups concerned with marine life who share the oceans with super tankers and today’s increasingly larger cruise ships.

In one of the most graphic photographs of a cruise ship / whale strike, in 2009 the Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess arrived in port in Vancouver, 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.

Of those whale-strikes which are reported, it is quite unusual for the dead whale to be noticed only when it is brought into a port on the bow of a large ship as indicated on this comprehensive report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries Service.

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

August 11, 2017 Update: Meanwhile, Ottawa to force ships to slow down to prevent whale deaths in Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Princess Cruises Balloon ReleaseOn June 30th, Princess Cruises celebrated the Majestic Princess’s maiden cruise to Taiwan by releasing hundreds of red, blue, yellow, and pink balloons from the ship, which it photographed and posted on its Facebook page

The reaction to this environmentally-harmful publicity stunt was immediate. At the time of publishing this article, there were over 900 comments posted on Facebook with the vast majority criticizing the cruise line’s conduct:

Disgraceful and irresponsible behavior from Princess Cruises with this mass balloon release  . . . These balloons will end up choking wildlife in the marine environment . . . 

Stop littering the precious ocean with plastic from your marketing stunts . . . 

Shame on you, Princess cruises for releasing HUNDREDS of balloons from your ship. You should know that this causes death to wildlife in the oceans . . . 

This makes me really sad. Those balloons will eventually come down into our oceans. Marine species mistake them as food and consume them. It kills them, and adds to the microplastic crisis and contaminates our seafood. Seriously who was the idiot who decided a balloon release was a good idea? And further, who approved it?

Princess Cruises auto-responded to the hundreds of comments protesting the balloon release by falsely claiming that the balloons were allegedly "biodegradable:"

Hi, we value and respect the environment. Only eco-friendly biodegradable balloons were used in this event.

Of course, vinyl balloons are not remotely biodegradable, as many knowledgeable cruisers explained on the Princess Facebook page. Studies posted by concerned readers conclude that it takes as long as five years before the balloon actually begins to fall apart. But then the smaller parts are consumed by fish, turtles and mammals, as one commentator pointed out: 

Princess Cruises, do you really understand what you said? Balloons don’t disintegrate when Princess Cruises Balloon Releasethey hit water or land. Sea life and wildlife ingest them as food. The only biodegradable thing about them is when they rot in the stomach of dead animals. Please educate yourselves. I am shocked to see an enterprise that depends on the oceans for their revenue destroy it like this. Deplorable really!

Many of the hundreds of negative comments were left by people offended that Princess would try and defend the harmful publicity stunt.

This is a cruise line which has earned a reputation over the years as an enemy of the environment. Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice fined Princess $40,000,000 for wide-spread dumping of oil from a number of its cruise ships, by-passing the bilge-water oil separators, falsification of its logs, and lying to the Coast Guard. After it was caught for its long standing environmental crimes, Princess president Jan Swartz issued a public apology, saying that the cruise line was supposedly "committed to environmental practices that protect the marine environment."

Unfortunately, Princess Cruises’ statement that it released so-called "eco-friendly" balloons suggests that Princess still hasn’t learned much about protecting the marine environment.

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

Photo credit:

Top – Princess Cruises Facebook page.

Bottom – BalloonsBlow.org

Osland Princess Crew MembersCanadian news stations have identified the three crew members from the Island Princess who were arrested last week for smuggling drugs into Vancouver, as we mentioned in a prior article

CTV News Vancouver identified three Nicaraguan crew members, Willard Murray Brooks (age 28), Emil Hebbert Garth (age 26) and Jason West Carter, (age 32) who were recruited by a Colombian drug cartel to smuggle 10 kilograms of cocaine onto the Island Princess when it docked in Cartagena. The Princess cruise ship later called on Vancouver on May 11th after sailing to Panama and, later, to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Once the  ship docked in Vancouver, CTV reports that the three crew members smuggled five kilograms of cocaine to a shore-side food court where an unidentified man met them and later paid US$30,000 for the drugs. The men reportedly tucked the cash into their underwear before heading back to the cruise ship. Canadian Border Services found the undeclared cash when the drug mules went through screening. A Vancouver police canine unit and the Canadian Border Services then searched the men’s cabins where they reportedly located an additional amount of cocaine.

The men did not dispute the charges. CTV reports the dcrew members "also said they did not fear a return to their home country of Nicaragua, where they are expected to be flown within seven days. CBSA will hold Princess Cruise Lines responsible for the travel costs."

No explanation was provided by CTV why the drug smugglers did not face jail time in Canada. It is doubtful that the three crew members will face any charges once they have been returned home.  

A one-way ticket home to Nicargua for the crew members to be paid by Princess Cruises is hardly a deterrent to international drug smuggling.

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

Video and photo credit: CTV Canada Vancouver

 

Princess Island PrincessA fire reportedly broke out yesterday aboard the Island Princess as it sailed in Alaska.

A Cruise Critic member posted information on the popular message board that the fire occurred due to leaking oil in the engine room, after the passengers on the cruise ship viewed the glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park.

The passenger commented:

This morning about 7:30 there was an emergency announcement for a fire in the deck 4 engine room. We were having breakfast in the Horizons buffet area. About 5 minutes later, the general emergency alarm was sounded and all crew were called to their emergency stations. They remained for about 30 minutes before being released. We were advised that the fire was struck pretty quickly and that we were in no danger. We continued a fantastic day in Glacier Bay NP.

Shortly after dropping the rangers, inspectors from coast guard boarded the ship as we sat still in the water. They were onboard for about 1 and a half hours and now we are continuing in.

The captain has done a great job keeping us informed of the situation. He advised the fire was due to a leaking oil pipe in the engine room. We have no indication that the itinerary will be altered in any way.

Interested in this issue? Read: Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires – Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?

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

Photo credit: CC0 wikipedia.