Overboard The Stories Cruise Lines Don't Want Told

KIWI
17th January 2007, 23:34
Have just read this book & found it to say the least quite alarming.In the preface the author states "You can read about the good times in any travel supplement.For now,here are the stories that cruise lines don't want told".Author Gwyn Topham,publisher Random House Australia,www.randomhouse.com.au A must read. Kiwi

Hawkeye
18th January 2007, 14:21
Hi Kiwi
I have been reading on today's Guardian (not my normal paper I might add, it came with the stores) about passengers disappearing while on cruises.

Regards
Karl

fred henderson
18th January 2007, 16:03
The author is a Guardian journalist and seems to belong to "lets try to knock anything that is successful" school. Over 15 million people embarked on a cruise last year. Of course there will be some incidents with that number of people, but a cruise is far safer than any shore based holiday.

Fred

AlexBooth
18th January 2007, 17:14
Hi Kiwi
I have been reading on today's Guardian (not my normal paper I might add, it came with the stores) about passengers disappearing while on cruises.

Regards
Karl
Wot ? other than in the Bermuda triangle ? Or a CIA conspiracy ?

Binnacle
23rd February 2007, 17:14
but a cruise is far safer than any shore based holiday.

Fred

Sorry Fred, having spent 45 years at sea I do not accept your inaccurate claim. This is a typical cruise line spokesperson inaccuracy. When the Norwegian Dream ? was nearly cut in two in the southern North Sea, the spokesperson alleged "there was no danger to passengers." Intending cruise line passenmgers should be fully aware of the hazards of the sea.

John Rogers
23rd February 2007, 18:41
I agree they should be told of pending danger but the stats that Fred quote is what matters.
John.

fred henderson
23rd February 2007, 22:08
We are all dependent upon the information supplied by the media and we all know it is provided by journalists who are only interested in having their story published. Nevertheless the same Guardian newspaper reports that about 500 tourists a year are killed in Australia. The usual causes are involved - road accidents, getting lost in the outback, natural Australian nasties such as sharks, crocks, snakes and spiders, plus the odd murder. Australia attracts 5 million tourists a year. That produces a mortality rate of 0.01%.
The American cruise industry reports that in the past three years 24 people were killed or went missing on cruises. During the same time 31 million people went on a cruise with the associations members. That produces a mortality rate of 0.0001%.
The safest holiday in the world is a cruise.

Fred

HENNEGANOL
24th February 2007, 10:07
I stumbled across this site by accident, it makes interesting reading.

http://www.lipcon.com/area_assault_facts.shtml

Gerry

jimmys
24th February 2007, 11:43
Freds statistics are what statistics are, mathematical estimates.
In order for the statistic on Australia to be compared to the passenger ship statistic we need to look at the length of period they spend in the respective environment. A tourist that spends three months in Oz is not statistically the same as the tourist who spends ten days in a cruise ship.
In order to get a better analysis we would need to look at tourist days, not tourist numbers.
A lot of the holidays in Oz are high risk and are publicised as such where the cruise ship has a different profile.
I think it is just numbers.
I am more to the direction Binnacle puts forward and having been on a lot of passenger ships I think they are far more dangerous than the punters are being told.

best regards
jimmys

fred henderson
24th February 2007, 15:56
Come on Jimmys. It is one hundred times more dangerous to go to Australia than to go on a cruise. Your highly unlikely proposition that the average length of visit to Australia is three months makes Australia 6 times more dangerous per day. As you say these are merely statistics, but some sections of the media seem determined to knock cruising, probably because it is successful.
Life is dangerous, despite the health and safety mafia. I have no problems with the risks involved in visiting Australia or taking a cruise.

Fred(Thumb)

Bearsie
24th February 2007, 16:20
Well... according to a post in another thread on SN a US Citizen is 6 times more likely to suffer a violent death in Washington DC than in Baghdad.
We do however invite folks to visit Washington DC and discourage them from visiting Baghdad.
IMO the press has found something to make headlines with for folks that like to worry about nothing....
Statistics are tricky at best .... and gory head lines sell copy

jimmys
24th February 2007, 16:55
Hi Fred

After I left Arab interests I took three ships from Clyde Marine Recruitment
all as Chief Engineer,they were Martindyke,Christian and Amerikanis, the first was a bulker the second a tanker and the third I suggest you look up.
I did not at any time say the average length of visit to Oz was three months all it said is you must compare like with like in statistics.
That third ship is why I doubt your statistics, along with long periods of inspections of passenger vessels in the MCA which do not add up to what you are saying about the cruise ship industry.
I never sailed on another passenger ship, one was enough.

best regards
jimmys

fred henderson
24th February 2007, 19:18
Hello Jimmys

You did not say that your experience was based on the old Chandris, out of work, emigrant ships. Floating hell-holes for the crews and very little better for the passengers. There may be still a few ships like these around that stay well away from areas where maritime inspectors are not easy to bribe.
During the past twenty years the authorities in the US have made huge strides in banning ships like Amerikanis and most of the world has reacted against the arrival of these displaced deathtraps.
My comments on passenger ship safety are confined to any ship operating out of USA, Northern Europe, Western Mediterranean and Australia.

Fred(Thumb)

jimmys
24th February 2007, 20:07
I did not say my experience was based on the old Chandris emigrant ships. I said I had sailed on the old Chandris emigrant ship. I joined her in America the USA . How many passenger ships have you sailed on ??? How many ships have you sailed on ??? I think you know nothing about passenger ships or passenger ship safety I think you only know what you read in a book.
You know as much about passenger ships as you know about statistics and that is nothing.
I have inspected in excess of 200 passenger ships and sailed at least 16 voyages on them. I cant remember how many I have surveyed.
I have issued at least 50 passenger certificates on my signature for major units.
I only retired a few years ago passenger ships were my job.

best regards
jimmys

Binnacle
24th February 2007, 20:29
Norwegian Dream, Sun Vista, Ecstasy, Prinsesse Ragnald, Dashun, Monarch of the Seas, Romantica, Hanseatic, Royal Viking Sun, Albatross, Saga Fjord, Achile Lauro. These are all the names of passenger ships which were involved in accidents at sea during the last six years. In some cases the ship concerned sank and in others we can see it was to some extent a matter of luck - good weather - calm seas and other ship in the vicinity. Shipping is perhaps the most international of all the world's great industries - and one of the world's most dangerous.
The above is a quotation from an International Maritime Organization paper.
This body of highly qualified members are solely concerned about maritime matters. This is the real world of shipping..

fred henderson
24th February 2007, 23:54
Jimmys

I have no desire to start a war with you. My direct involvent in the world of passenger ships ended with Vistafjord, when Britain stopped building liners. I have however continued to be associated with the industry.
The modern cruise industry is a US creation. As a result the US regulations have been way ahead of the rest of the world. This resulted in the sub-standard ships (usually ex-liners or ex-ferries) moving to Europe. I am sure that you have inspected them and seen their deficiencies. As a result the safety of UK based passenger ships has greatly increased.
The point of this thread is that a Guardian writer is trying to rubbish the safety of modern cruise ships. My response is that it is true that people can fall overboard but they are in far greater danger anywhere else in the world.

Regards

Fred

jimmys
25th February 2007, 08:41
I know exactly what was created. I was there. The sixteen voyages were on modern ships as a qualified safety auditor looking at the safety systems on the ships. I think they all still sail in Euro /Caribbean waters. I am not going to look. When I sailed on the Amerikanis I only had Class one combined and a first class honours degree. Now retired I am properly qualified.
All shipping safety is based on SOLAS and it was not an American only idea.
They follow SOLAS like everyone else.
As well as inspecting the ships and building them I was examiner of engineers at Glasgow with a direct conduit via the candidates to these ships. They told me exacly what was going on. Any class one candidate will tell you what the examiner asks and why.
The problems are still there, not much has changed, problems are covered up by money.
Read what Binnacle says above about the accidents, and to quote death calculations to support the fact something is safe is nonsense. Its only politicians that do that. If I may suggest in the future as an moderator you do not rubbish members experience when you have none yourself.
Statistics are a science and as Professor Roy Meadows found out in the Childrens cot deaths enquiries not a matter of arithmetic.

best regards
jimmys

JeffM
25th February 2007, 12:10
Calm down boys, the discussion should not be about size. There are two issues in this thread I would like to raise. One is the statistic of 500 tourists a year killed in Australia. This seems a bit far fetched to me. Unless a reliable source is quoted I would dismiss it as a distractor to the more general proposition about death, injuries and safety of passengers at sea.The other is when is a death, injury or accident attributed to a vessel? My son recently returned from a cruise where two passengers were injured (broken bones) in a water based activity occuring in a port precinct of a foreign country but supervised by the cruise ship crew. Is this a statistic that would be reported by shipping companies and attributable to that ship? As a retired Chief Inspector of OHS I would be interested in the reporting regime of tourist injuries associated with passenger ships. My experience tells me that commercial enterprises of any sort will attempt to under report these things where possible. jeffM

Bearsie
25th February 2007, 13:06
All human endeavours have risks. The hospitality industry as a whole is known to "under report" problems, be that bus lines, rail roads, hotels, air lines or what have you. Hotels and resort towns hardly trumpet burglaries, robberies, rapes, fires, accidents and bad weather out into the public if they can help it.
But these things happen. There is no big awareness campaign concerning the danger of hotels....

I won't book a cruise because I don't like the enviroment, not because of a safety concern. I'd rather go putt putt on an old fishing boat for a day or a few. Which I am sure is statistically highly unsafe...
Reading things like a 2nd mate pulling hard over at full speed and almost tipping the ship over doesn't help it...
But then I was never a good "target" customer for mass touristic enterprises, since I tend to visit countries and people, not "destinations" and hang out in small towns and small local hotels.
That all being said it is clear of course that the traveling (and paying) public has a right to as much comfort and safety as can be had for the money.
I am far from being an expert on any part of the (mass) hospitality industry, ships included. But I think that some of the reporting on cruise ship safety is a bit sensational.

fred henderson
25th February 2007, 14:13
Binnacle

The International Maritime Organization is concerned with all aspects of maritime affairs. As you know the sentence “Shipping is perhaps the most international of all the world's great industries - and one of the world's most dangerous” appears on their website. It is a general statement and is not in any way addressed specifically toward passenger shipping.
There are a very large number of papers on the site and I was unable to find the one you refer to in your post. Many of the papers are quite old, indicating perhaps that things are not really as bad as they claim. The list of ships that you quote from must have been made about 1999 and in no way reflects events that took place during the past six years.
This is my knowledge about the ships in your list:-

Norwegian Dream: August 1999, was involved in a collision with a container ship near Dover. Mistakes by an officer on the Norwegian Dream were determined to be the primary factor in the accident. No casualties.

Sun Vista: Built 1963 for Italy – Australia service, bought by Chandris in 1983, sold to Malaysian operator in 1997. Caught fire and sank off the Malaysian coast in 1999 when she was 36 years old. No casualties.

Ecstacy: 20 July 1998. Fire started by welder working in laundry. Spread by burning lint passing through air conditioning to mooring rope store. Localised damage, no casualties.

Prinsesse Ragnald: A ferry, not a cruise ship.

Dashun: I have no knowledge of this ship. What was she?

Monarch of the Seas: 1998. Grounded on a reef off St Maarten after an unscheduled call to land a critically ill passenger. Passengers evacuated without incident. Ship repaired and returned to service.

Romantica: Another Chandris old-timer. She was built in 1939 and dropped out of the registers 1998 when she was 60 years old! I cannot remember what happened to her.

Hanseatic: Which Hanseatic? Could be the 1969 ship that became Maxim Gorky and has been in trouble in the Arctic (without casualties) or the small 1991 built HAPAG – Lloyd ship that is still going strong

Royal Viking Sun: Still in service as Prinsendam. I do not know of any career problems.

Albatross: There are many ships with this name. Could it be the ferry Sally Albatros that was severely damaged by fire during a refit in 1990?

Saga Fjord: Could this be Sagafjord? An ex – Norwegian America, ex Cunard ship, still going strong as Saga Rose. I do not know of any career problems.

Achile Lauro: Ex Willem Ruys of 1947. After an eventful career, was 100 miles off Somalia in November 1994, when she suffered a piston explosion that started an uncontrollable fire. Passengers and crew abandoned ship, during which two passengers died. One from a fall into a lifeboat and one from a heart attack. She was taken in tow, but sank after a further on-board explosion. She was 47 years old.

From the ships that you list, I have been able to confirm two deaths caused by a safety problem, 13 years ago. I repeat my statement that cruises are an extremely safe holiday.

Fred(Thumb)

JoK
25th February 2007, 14:29
Except for the new issue-Norwalk.

To be surrounded by vomiting tourists, I think not.(EEK)

tedc
25th February 2007, 16:18
Hi Kiwi
I have been reading on today's Guardian (not my normal paper I might add, it came with the stores) about passengers disappearing while on cruises.

Regards
Karl

Hi Hawkeye!

I remember the old Cunarder "Franconia" turning around, on the Atlantic, and steaming back up the wake (as it were) to seek a missing person.

After quite a while the said person turned up in somebody's else's bed.

I think DNR Maclean, the Captain, might have been a bit concerned about this but fellow Officers told me it wasn't unusual.

Apparently it got really interesting if it came up just before docking somewhere so that you may never know if the person had gone ashore or disappeared.

fred henderson
25th February 2007, 16:18
There are two issues in this thread I would like to raise. One is the statistic of 500 tourists a year killed in Australia. This seems a bit far fetched to me. Unless a reliable source is quoted I would dismiss it as a distractor to the more general proposition about death, injuries and safety of passengers at sea. jeffM

Jeff

I made the point that the Australian death statistics were from the same doubtful source as the cruise ship dangers report.

The US Cruise industry body is subject to intense scrutiny from Congress, largely because the ships are not built in USA and they do not employ US crews. Any inaccurate statistic would be pounced on by Congress. I am therefore, reasonably confident in 24 deaths or disappearances for 31 million passengers.

The Southern Australia Department for Transport website states that on average 40 out of 4.4 million overseas visitors to Australia each year are killed in motor accidents.

In other words one, out of many causes of death to visitors, clocks up nine times more deaths than ALL deaths or disappearances from cruise ships.

Fred

Binnacle
25th February 2007, 18:29
[QUOTE=fred henderson;111124]Binnacle

From the ships that you list, I have been able to confirm two deaths caused by a safety problem, 13 years ago. I repeat my statement that cruises are an extremely safe holiday.

Fred
try www.imo.org/
Look through speeches, one dated 15th. May 2000 is Conference on Safety of Large Passenger Ships, speech given by Mr W. O'Neil, Secretary General IMO. You would be well advised to read this through, including some of the concerns expressed recently regarding evacuation of passengers and crew.
Do not adopt a false belief that a 7 year old document is outdated by modern advances in ship design. It is no consolation to over a thousand plus survivors of a sinking to know that the wreck 500 fathoms below them was a new ship. Accidents will always happens, seas are reported to be getting higher, storms more frequent. I note however you have modified your claim "the safest holiday in the world is a cruise" and " a cruise is far safer than any shore based holiday" to " cruises are an extremely safe holiday" I presumed that you had some pecuniary interest in the cruise industry to make such a ridiculous allegation, particularly in your status as a Super Moderator, one would expect a higher level of knowledge.

fred henderson
25th February 2007, 19:48
Binnacle

Thank you for the link. I eventually found the May 2000 IMO speech. I notice that your earlier post is a cut and paste from the speech, which is why your dates are incorrect. I still stand by the statement that only two people seem to have died from cruise ship safety accidents during the 1990s. The record since then is pretty much the same.
You do not mention the considerable amount of work that IMO has done since 2000 and the extensive new regulations that are being introduced up to 2010. The basic IMO position is: -
“The MSC has agreed that future large passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability based on the time-honoured principle that "a ship is its own best lifeboat".
This approach envisages that passengers and crew should normally be able to evacuate to a safe haven on board and stay there. In addition, this envisages that a ship should always be able to proceed to port at a minimum safe speed.”
The crazy thing is that this thread is not about ship safety, it concerns a Guardian author’s allegations of violence and criminal activities on cruise ships. I have merely stated the obvious, that holidaymakers have a far higher risk of suffering from violent behavior shore-side. You are of course far safer in a cruise ship than in a car, bus or train. I have not used the same words in each post because I do not usually cut and paste other people’s words. For this I have been outrageously vilified and even accused of reading a book! Now you accuse me of having a pecuniary interest because I set out facts you do not want to hear. What is wrong with you guys? Why do you want to bad mouth a successful maritime industry? Are you in the pay of package tour operators?
We are all equal here and entitled to voice our opinions, whether they are based on facts, emotion or blind prejudice. The only requirement is that views should be expressed in a polite and constructive manner. It is regrettable that you and more particularly jimmys, are falling well short of the normal standards of this site.

Fred

non descript
25th February 2007, 20:27
Binnacle

Before you embark on anything else, please take one bit of friendly advice on board – “personal attacks on members are ill-advised and most unwelcome; they are also wholly contrary to the spirit of this Site” – your comments towards Fred fall into that category and it is regrettable.

Regards
Mark

Bearsie
25th February 2007, 20:46
Gentlemen.....relax, calling each other know nothings and clue less and even implying a hidden agenda ( as in the post by binnacle) is neither polite nor productive.
It adds a big fat statistical 0 to the enlightenment of others in understanding the issue.
As far as speeches of an IMO rep? I am not impressed. Why? I assume the good man is some sort of safety manager for IMO as such he has to paint the worst scenario possible and all his predictions shall be dire.
I have yet to meet a safety rep of any industry, or government, that will suggest that all is well and we can now disolve the safety dept!
Might as well ask the man to hang himself, which I doubt he would do....
Are there problems? yes, are they severe enough to tell the masses to stay off cruise ships? NO
At the moment it looks one has good chances of getting sick on a cruise liner, for whatever reasons. As such that may not be a "safety" issue but probably might keep more customers off the ship than potential sinkings and what not.
Evacuation: I have yet to see any industry (or government) where evacuations work as planned. I would like to know what is sooo special about evacuations not working on a cruise liner if they do not work in factories, Hotels, Dance bars, Restaurants, government offices.
They barely work during a hurricane alarm with 3 days notice.
My question would simply be: what are serious problems and what can be done REASONABLY to minimise them ? and how do we want to go about that.
Judging by some of the posts the ONLY solution is to shut the cruise industry down for good!
The attempt to hold the cruise industry to a higher standard than any other human endeavour seems delusional to me....

To put all of this in perspective: Last year 42 000 Americans died on highways, little was heard about shutting down all car traffic.
car sales man advertise their cars as safe, no one accuses them of a conspiracy either.

Peter4447
25th February 2007, 22:10
From a purely 'laymans' point of view I do find this thread interesting and, because of this I would like to add my own thoughts. Although I believe that statistics are important I sometimes wonder, however, if 'number crunching' really does help to hide the reality in certain situations.

When airliners started to take over from liners, the Airlines themselves made a very big thing about passenger safety. Great emphasis would be put into individual Airline advertising as to how carefully planes were maintained by highly qualified staff, how they had the best pilots etc etc etc. Despite this, of course, accidents for whatever reason still occured and very few (if any) major airline has not suffered at least one serious accident with large loss of life involved.

What airlines cannot do, of course, is to differentiate when a serious accident does occur between the type of flight involved ie: was it a regular scheduled flight or a holiday charter flight. In the same way and although I fully understand the Cruise Industry wanting to keep their industry separate, I cannot see how accidents at sea involving cruise liners can be viewed in isolation and apart from other passenger carrying vessels.

I appreciate that a case can be argued that car ferries for example are different but at the end of the day all sectors involved in shipping should surely be working to the same set of safety regulations. Equally not all ferry accidents have occured because of their design but because of human error that could have applied equally if the incident had occured onboard a cruise liner.

Only today on this site we have read about the Norwegian cruise liner " Nordkapp" carrying 294 passengers running aground in very inhospitable waters. Happily help was readily to hand but what if that had not been the case - what then of the Cruise Industry's statistics?

Whilst standards and ships continue to improve, the sea itself does not change and no matter how hard you try there will always be 'human error' involved in so many accidents; the Scandinavian Star, Morro Castle, Andrea Dorea, Empress of Ireland and even the Titanic spring readily to mind.

Nobody would deny that much of the Cruise Industry works very, very hard at safety to ensure that its customers get what they pay for, an enjoyable, memorable and accident free cruise but I find it very hard to accept that it bases its safety record on cruise ships alone and not on all passenger ships that are subject to and required to conform to the same set of safety regulations.

Peter4447(Thumb)

benjidog
25th February 2007, 22:45
Tonga is right - personal abuse is no substitute for rational argument.

It is OK to question the validity or source of Fred Henderson's statistics, or state a different interpretation if you disagree with him - the site encourages open debate. However when people base their argument on their supposed superior qualifications or knowledge, experience tells me that they are probably on shaky grounds.

Several posts in this thread are offensive. Please control yourself gentlemen - any more posts in this thread that include personal attacks on other members, whoever they are, will be deleted without further comment. This is nothing to do with Moderators "closing ranks" - the same applies to people being offensive to any other member.

Brian

Coastie
26th February 2007, 00:19
Statistics can be made to prove anything, for instance, if you stand by the Fire station at Holyhead when the ferry is disgorging, you could prove that 90% of people on Anglesey drive Irish registered cars!

trotterdotpom
26th February 2007, 02:28
..... Nevertheless the same Guardian newspaper reports that about 500 tourists a year are killed in Australia...
Fred

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures of deaths of overseas tourists are 2433 in the last 7 years. That makes an average of 350 per year - not a good figure but a lot less than 500 - don't believe everything you read in the papers! In fact I'd go further, don't believe hardly anything you read in the papers.

Unfortunately, a lot of visitors to Australia engage in high risk activities such as going to the Sydney Mardi Gras, so the statistics are not unexpected. Poking crocodiles with sticks and setting off across the Simpson Desert in a 25 year old rent-a-wreck aren't to be encouraged either. On the beach, not swimming between the flags and, for bikini clad Bimbos, the famous Aussie lifeguards, are extremely dangerous.

Personally, the nearest I'm getting to a feeding frenzy is a giant steak in the Breakfast Creek pub, Brisbane. That's why I've survived 27 years Downunder.

John T.

JeffM
26th February 2007, 10:18
When there are accidents or illnesses that are life threatening or result in death there is usually an investigation into causes. In some jurisdictions this role falls to a Coroners Court. Once a Coroner has established cause, and where there is a case of negligence, then a prosecution will be launched by the appropriate authority. The appropriate authority will then proceed on the basis of attemtping to prove that appropriate standards or procedures were not followed. It is interesting that at the moment there is a case before the Coroner in Sydney about a woman who died of a drug overdose in very unusual circumstances on a cruise ship some four years ago. Evidence led so far suggests that appropriate procedures for reporting and investigating this death at the time of death may not have been followed. At the time the vessel was in international waters. I believe that the cruise company has reached an out of court settlement with the relatives of the woman for an unnamed sum of $, possibly with the intention of limiting further civil actions. In the meantime they have also engaged a high profile advisor to assist them with the "image" of the cruising industry.
Without going overboard (sorry about the pun) it appears from this case that there is a standards and procedure issue in some parts of the industry about the reporting of deaths, and possibly extending to injuries and illnesses. Underpinning this is the issue of appropriate safety procedures and standards of operations more generally on cruise ships. Whether the rate of death, injury or illness is greater on cruise ships than elsewhere is another issue that does depend on the quality of statistics collected.

I cannot comment directly on cruise ships but in a previous life I can talk about the rate of accidents on oil rigs and tugboats some ten years ago. High!

Never thought I would be raking over the coals on this type of thing on a maritime website. But it has the grey matter and recall running.

One more thing. As someone who worked in the OHS field with statutory powers we collectively got tired of pulling bodies out of machinery and appearing before the coroner to hear the plaintiff cry from someone in charge that "it was a chance in a 1000", "we didnt expect it to happen" "we always took the guard off for efficiency reasons' or "the publicity will ruin our bottom line". For them it might have been the odd chance, but for us on a day to day basis it became obvious that there is no excuse for negligence. Life is too precious for excuses!
Thanks lads for the airspace. I feel better already.

mcglash
26th February 2007, 10:45
My appologies Fred, but here are a couple of interesting site addresses www.internationalcruisevictims.org and www.cruisebruise.com
Regards Mcglash

fred henderson
26th February 2007, 12:08
My appologies Fred, but here are a couple of interesting site addresses www.internationalcruisevictims.org and www.cruisebruise.com
Regards Mcglash

Yes, well! You get these sorts of internet site about every type of activity. I do not think a report of a Carnival executive's wife being found to be drunk in charge of her car adds a great deal to the debate.

Fred(Thumb)

fred henderson
26th February 2007, 12:11
John.

Thank you for a more accurate statistic on the mortality rate for tourists visiting Australia. As you say, very little that appears in newspapers is completely accurate.

This thread is about a book “Overboard – The Stories the Cruise Companies do not want you to know”, that seems to be seeking to portray that cruise ships are violent and criminally dangerous. It is not in any way addressing IMO safety considerations.

The reliability of statistics is dependant upon their method of collection (CED’s amusing example) and the size of the sample. Mortality tables in advanced countries however are based upon the complete total of all deaths. I merely referred to Australia figures because the author of the book is Australian and Australia is rightly regarded as a safe holiday destination.

The correct Australian figures are therefore 350 deaths out of 4.4million visitors per year. One in 12,570 visitors die. Given the nature of some Australian holidays it is not at all bad and like the P&O case I am sure it will include a fair number of drug related deaths. Nevertheless, if a factory with 12,570 employees killed one of its employees each year, the Health and Safety officials would demand changes in working practices. That is, ban some types of holiday as being too dangerous. Let us hope that never happens. There seems to be an attempt by some media types to attack the cruise industry in this way, by ignoring its far better safety record.

The International Council of Cruise Lines www.iccl.org is a trade body, but its evidence to a 2006 US Congressional hearing was prepared by an independent US Professor of Criminology, so the figures can be regarded as being at least reasonably accurate. In the three years 2003 – 2005 ICCL companies carried 31 million passengers, during which time there were 178 complaints from passengers and crew of sexual assault, four robberies and 24 missing persons reported. These figures only relate to on-board incidents, ashore you run the same risks as any other group visiting the country. The missing persons work out at one per 1,290,000. Sadly a number of these were probably suicide, but it is 100 times better than the Australian figure. The extraordinarily low robbery figure is of course because the thief cannot run off.

The President of ICCL stated to Congress “Certainly, these are not just numbers; they represent people that have gone through personal tragedies. We do not intend to minimize or brush aside their grievances nor shirk responsibility. The cruise industry is constantly reviewing its practices and procedures to make sure incidents, no matter how rare, are handled responsibly and with compassion.”

I stand by the view that I cannot think of a safer holiday than a cruise

Fred(Thumb)

Peter4447
26th February 2007, 12:59
Hi Fred
I think that another thing that has to be added into the equasion when looking at cruise line deaths is how many of these are natural but have an 'unnatural' cause. Living as I do in a very large tourist area it is surprising just how many deaths occur each year amongst visitors during the holiday season itself, particularly when elderly people tend to completely change their lifestyles. They relax, drink more, eat more, get involved in late night activities such as dancing and this often leads to a heart attack.
I have seen this happen myself even during Re-union Weekends though fortunately it has not always been fatal. It usually means I have to spend a few days visiting the patient in our local Hospital until he is fit enough to travel home or his family come to collect him! As this entertainment is, however, freely available both on shore and at sea it would be grossly unfair to say that a death onboard in these circumstances is the fault of a Cruise Line.
Peter4447

mcglash
27th February 2007, 08:38
Yes, well! You get these sorts of internet site about every type of activity. I do not think a report of a Carnival executive's wife being found to be drunk in charge of her car adds a great deal to the debate.

Fred(Thumb)

Well done Fred, you have managed to ferret out the most obscure report from those sites that I posted yesterday. But I am sure that at least 70% of those reports are credible and are worthy of debate.

Best regards
Mcglash

lakercapt
27th February 2007, 21:14
Where is David AKA Pompeyfan these days I would have thought he would have had a few stories to tell on this subject!
Bill

Binnacle
27th February 2007, 21:15
Binnacle

Before you embark on anything else, please take one bit of friendly advice on board – “personal attacks on members are ill-advised and most unwelcome; they are also wholly contrary to the spirit of this Site” – your comments towards Fred fall into that category and it is regrettable.

Regards
Mark

Mark, I will indeed take your advice, however in an attempt to clear my name I would ask you to specifically point to the words to which you refer. Quoting the thread number would be helpful. This will avoid any misunderstanding and enable me to respond properly.
Whether the reference was to me or not, but I notice in Thread 29 (Benjidog) a reference is made to "supposed superior qualifications", only in "My Profile" is there an indication of a minor qualfication, this has been deleted. In no thread did I refer to my qualifications.

Respectully

non descript
27th February 2007, 21:47
Mark, I will indeed take your advice, however in an attempt to clear my name I would ask you to specifically point to the words to which you refer. Quoting the thread number would be helpful. This will avoid any misunderstanding and enable me to respond properly.
Whether the reference was to me or not, but I notice in Thread 29 (Benjidog) a reference is made to "supposed superior qualifications", only in "My Profile" is there an indication of a minor qualfication, this has been deleted. In no thread did I refer to my qualifications.

Respectully

Binnacle,

That's kind of you to respond in such a decent fashion, thank you. (Thumb)

To be frank, I was merely taking exception to your comment in #24 "I presumed that you had some pecuniary interest in the cruise industry to make such a ridiculous allegation, particularly in your status as a Super Moderator, one would expect a higher level of knowledge." which seemed (to me) a little unfortunate and unduly aggressive.

I do accept that the written word (as opposed to a chat across a table in a pub, where one can see the smile and have eye contact with the other party) can be quite misleading, and your phrase was not intended to be as provocative as it might be appear.

As I said, your pleasantness in meeting the discussion more than half way is appreciated.

Kind regards
Mark

jimmys
28th February 2007, 19:55
I have not been able to get back for a few days.
I note we have our super moderator now telling us that IMO says the ship should now survive an emergency, the Titanic should have survived the emergency, it did not.
A ship that floats on the sea cannot survive severe internal fire, you cannot design a bulkhead that fire cannot pass through, you cannot design a bulhead that smoke cannot pass though. If you design these bulkheads persons cannot pass through them.
The lifeboats on the modern cruise ship evacuate 150 persons per boat, there is not sufficient experienced seaman on a modern cruise ship to man them. The boat and people weighs in excess of 20 tons. In the Caribbean or any other sea no one in his right mind would launch it in any kind of weather.
The routes to the rafts are also doubtful and I do blame Mr. O' Neill for his doubts.
Again Binnacle is right and I totally support him. Ask Binnacle how he is going to launch that boat in the Carribean with two people from cruise ship height . I know what he will tell you and it is not nice.

best regards
jimmys

Binnacle
28th February 2007, 21:19
Binnacle,

That's kind of you to respond in such a decent fashion, thank you. (Thumb)

To be frank, I was merely taking exception to your comment in #24 "I presumed that you had some pecuniary interest in the cruise industry to make such a ridiculous allegation, particularly in your status as a Super Moderator, one would expect a higher level of knowledge." which seemed (to me) a little unfortunate and unduly aggressive.

I do accept that the written word (as opposed to a chat across a table in a pub, where one can see the smile and have eye contact with the other party) can be quite misleading, and your phrase was not intended to be as provocative as it might be appear.

As I said, your pleasantness in meeting the discussion more than half way is appreciated.

Kind regards
Mark

Thank you Mark for your prompt reply. In explanation I would offer the following -
By his own admission he states "I have continued to be associated with the industry" #16. I made the presumption that the only kindly explanation for his claim " but a cruise is far safer than any shore based holiday" #3, was he must receive some reward from Cruise Line interests to do so. My listing any other explanation for his statement would only cause offence, which is not my wont. I have sufficient respect for the moderators on SN that frankly I was rather surprised that a person in his position would make such a claim.
Lastly, my only reason for posting to the thread was my concern, shared by many on this site, for safety of life at sea. His posting " despite the health and safety mafia" #10 is indicative of his contrary interests.

Respectfully.

non descript
28th February 2007, 21:29
Binnacle,

All in all, and given my other postings of this evening, I would like to see a strong and happy site, with my sole interest being a wish to leave it a better place for my passing though, to this end, sometimes the least said the better.

(Thumb)

fred henderson
28th February 2007, 22:29
Binnacle

I find it most regrettable and offensive that your response to someone that has a contrary opinion to yours is to falsely presume that they are acting out of a pecuniary interest. Furthermore, you blindly refuse to address the subject of this thread and misrepresent the subject of my comments, despite the fact that I repeated in what I thought was a clear manner in #35: -

“This thread is about a book “Overboard – The Stories the Cruise Companies do not want you to know”, that seems to be seeking to portray that cruise ships are violent and criminally dangerous. It is not in any way addressing IMO safety considerations.”

My comments concern the subject of this thread; it would be more polite if yours were. If you know of any other mass holiday that betters the security of a cruise please produce some evidence instead of gratuitous insults about your own entirely different obsession.

Fred

fred henderson
1st March 2007, 00:41
Jimmy

As I re-stated in #35: -

“This thread is about a book “Overboard – The Stories the Cruise Companies do not want you to know”, that seems to be seeking to portray that cruise ships are violent and criminally dangerous. It is not in any way addressing IMO safety considerations.”

You are a new boy to the site but you may have found that sometimes, regrettably, we have threads that are hi-jacked and charge off onto another subject. This has happened here. I apologise that I followed you on this track. Nevertheless, if you do not agree with IMO you are fully entitled to express your views in a polite and constructive manner. Sadly these qualities are absent from many of your earlier posts.

I shall be most interested to read any views you may have on the actual subject of this thread.

Regards

Fred

JeffM
1st March 2007, 02:47
This is what I would call a diverging thread. The book topic about certain types of death on cruise ships opens up a number of issues. One is about the evidence presented about these deaths. In discussing this topic a number of issues have been raised. One is of a comparative nature about the incidence of such deaths in both relative and absolute terms. The other is what do these statistics and stories say about the cruise industry.

From my experience one needs to be careful about relying only on statistical evidence, such as rates of occurrence, as sometimes they can distract from identifying problems in procedures and systems that might contribute to or prevent a death (or injury or illness). Issues with design and administration of management, health, hospitality, safety, and maintenance systems are not necessarily identified through reliance on statistics. There are lies, dam lies and statistics and while stats are important they are not the only thing. If the book (and Court findings) identify shortcomings in procedures etc then I would expect the indutry to respond. If they are smart they do not wait to respond to incidents to happen but take a proactive role as part of their quality/review procedures. The Sydney Coroners Court case strongly suggests that there were problems in hospitality, surveillance and response procedures when this incident happened.

On the comparative front I have attached a small pdf file on tourist deaths in Oz and their causes for the period 1997-2002. Apart from the older age popping off with the usual heart attacks etc many tourists to Oz drown in the surf at Bondi and drive on the wrong side of the road. However this should satisfy those that want to compare Oz tourist deaths with cruise ship deaths. But I hope you choose the appropriate basis of comparison. For those who want to look at the actual source files in tourist deaths in Oz they can be found at:

http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/D15BA40BE701850ACA256DEF0075E78D/$File/3302

Look at Chapt 4.

All this aside are there any Black Book stories out there worth telling?

jimmys
1st March 2007, 19:57
I am not diverging from the thread nor am I getting involved in altercations in the site. I have no interest in this. You wish to argue then I will argue. I look at what is said and agree or disagree.
When a ship does not go and cannot be made to go we usually end up going overboard. At sea there is seldom anyone near, how we go overboard depends on the LSA(life saving appliances). Anyone who wants to jump overboard is an idiot and we let him, who cares.
I take persons going overboard as persons going into the LSA and I am not satisfied with the situation on major passenger units, that is what I am saying.
Maybe the person jumping overboard has had a look at the lifeboats and does not want to risk them, I dont know.
The moderator seemed to think there was something wrong with my shipping experience. That is his prerogative. I answered. There was nothing offensive in it.
I notice JeffM does not think much of the statistics either. He says the same as me.

best regards
jimmys

David K
1st March 2007, 21:46
.... The "man over board " issue perhaps is not really clearly defined. How does one separate the successful suicide from someone "accidentally" falling overboard? Given the "social activity" that occurs on Cruise Ships, I would think there would be a fair number of people depressed, when they find either their romance failed to re-kindle, or their loved one found a better bunk? Looking at the rails alone, it's hard to imagine someone accidentally falling over board. Given there's a fair amount of liquor available, no doubt there's the odd moron that does a "Seagull Impersonation" and sits on a rail ! The Cruise Ships are really small cities in a compressed space, with all the human frailties and weaknesses of the flesh ! There's no human condition or behavior that surprises me after 26 years as front line Police Officer .... In my mind of greater concern, is the stability or lack thereof, with the current crop of Mega Cruise Ships.... loss of power and decent wind with the amount of superstructure, well ......... David K.

JeffM
1st March 2007, 22:32
While much of the discussion has focussed on overboard incidents the book that started the thread is about more than this. A qoute from the publishers review is:
"Out at sea, there are no police. Many cruise ships fly flags of convenience, sailing in murky legal waters. Reports of disappearances, disease, death and debauchery are becoming alarmingly frequent. Can you be sure your dream holiday, or your ship, won't end up on the rocks?
Gwyn Topham, travel editor of Guardian Unlimited, talks to crew and passengers in Australia and around the world to find out what really happens on the high seas."

Now surely there are stories out there, or if not then strong defences. On the statistical front, some of the threads seem to imply that some ships or shipping lines were known to be worse than others re health, safety and security of passengers. An aggregated report across the industry might disguise variations at a ship or company level.

Is there an industry wide reporting on passenger deaths, illnesses and injuries that is inclusive of all ships and that can also be broken down by a range of variables such as ship, company, region of occurence etc?

fred henderson
1st March 2007, 23:18
Jimmy

I am relieved to know that you are not interested in argument. To return your words in # 47 you seemed to think there was something wrong with my shipping experience. That is your prerogative. I have however refrained from using the ignorant and abusive language that you used to address me in #14 and #17.

From your # 41 it would seem that you are unaware of the work of IMO during the past six years. Why not look at the IMO website. You may be surprised to learn that ship design has moved on since Titanic was built and since the early 1990s when you say you had your experience of passenger shiping serving in a 40 year old Greek owned ship. You wrote in your #12 that this had such an effect that you “never sailed on another passenger ship, one was enough.”

Amongst other things we now have amazing things called “Fire Zones”. You may also learn that the regulations now specify that new cruise ship lifesaving equipment must not be installed at a greater height than 15 metres above waterline, which is no higher than the much smaller classic liners.

With respect sir, I feel that this is a pointless discussion unless you can produce some concrete evidence to support your assertion that despite modern cruise ships having an exemplary safety record and meeting IMO, classification society, US Coastguard, MCA and every other regulatory body’s requirements, they are somehow fundamentally unsafe.

Fred

JeffM
2nd March 2007, 02:07
Trying to get some focus here, so have been following my own nose. The report from IMO on http://www.imo.org/includes/blastDataOnly.asp/data_id%3D8327/IMONEWSsingle.pdf pages 10-11 is interesting in that it tacitly admits that while tourist/passenger incidents are low per millions of passengers travelled there is nevertheless an ongoing risk factor across many fields that need to be addressed. The article talks about areas in need of improvement, but does not present data. Other articles I scanned also suggest that there is a reporting problem in the industry with regard to accidents, illnesses, injury and death (not so much death because of the mandatory nature of reporting, but even here the variations in the quality of reporting is significant). This human factors issue does not ignore the advances in design and engineering, but indicates that there is a layer of cause that may not be entirely solved by engineering solutions.

fred henderson
2nd March 2007, 20:08
I would like to repeat that this thread is about cruise passenger security. It has deviated into the area of cruise ship safety. May I offer the following quotations in an attempt to resolve the contention that this deviation has caused: -

Maritime and Coastguard Agency Annual Report & Accounts 2005-06
http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mcga-th...5-06-title.htm
“The cruise holiday has enjoyed a renaissance over the last decade and we expect that trend to continue. In response the industry has built bigger ships. Accidents on these ships are rare, but their potential impact could be catastrophic. Recent fires on the STAR PRINCESS and the CALYPSO have illustrated some of the risks that need to be managed in terms of preventing accidents in the first place and being able to evacuate large ships in an emergency. We are involved in the IMO’s work on Large Passenger Ships, with a view to making them even safer.”
Accidents are rare, some risks need to be managed, work to make Large Passenger Ships even safer. I go along with all of that.

From Transport Statistics Great Britain 2005 (DfT) Table 5.17 Marine accident casualties: 1994-2004 (UK registered merchant vessels of 100 grt and over) Sorry no web address.
Deaths of Passengers from accidents to vessels during 11 years – 1 in 1998
Deaths of Passengers from on board accidents other than accidents to vessels and deaths from persons overboard in 11 years – 6
Note that these figures cover all UK passenger ships, not just cruise ships. There were an average of 85 UK passenger ships during the 11 year period.

International Maritime Organisation www.imo.org
Under Safety – Passenger Ships
“Background to the passenger ship safety initiative
The initiaitve was launched at the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in 2000 to evaluate current regulations and to ascertain whether they are adequate for some of the colossal cruise ships being built today. While there could be no doubt that such ships were being built, designed and operated in compliance with applicable IMO standards, the time had come for IMO to undertake a holistic consideration of safety issues pertaining to passenger ships, with particular emphasis on large cruise ships.
The concern was not whether such ships complied with the SOLAS requirements applicable to ships of their category, but whether SOLAS and, to the extent applicable, the Load Line Convention requirements, several of which had been drafted before some of the large ships in question had been built, duly addressed all the safety aspects of their operation - in particular, in emergency situations. Also, whether the training requirements of the STCW Convention relating to personnel operating large cruise ships were in need of any review or clarification.
The working group on large passenger-ship safety began work at the MSC in November-December 2000, with input from the cruise industry and Member States who have carried out studies into large passenger ships and areas of potential concern. The work reflects IMO's proactive stance on future legislation and includes the use of tools such as formal safety assessment, used in other areas of IMO's work such as bulk carrier safety.
What became clear from the initial work was that concern over large passenger-ship safety would be centred on the difficulty in safely evacuating some passengers, such as the elderly and injured, from lifeboats to rescue vessels. It is clear that the difficulties would not end, even with successful evacuation. Thousands of people, unfamiliar with ships and the sea, crowded into lifeboats and liferafts, would present a unique search-and-rescue challenge.
Fire also represents a particular vulnerability for large cruise ships. Every passenger is a potential ignition source and the hotel services have an inherent risk.
The MSC has agreed that future large passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability based on the time-honoured principle that "a ship is its own best lifeboat".
This approach envisages that passengers and crew should normally be able to evacuate to a safe haven on board and stay there. In addition, this envisages that a ship should always be able to proceed to port at a minimum safe speed.”
“At its 80th session in May 2005, the MSC agreed a revised work plan for the on-going work by the relevant Sub-Committees on passenger ship safety, the guiding philosophy for which is based on the premise that the regulatory framework should place more emphasis on the prevention of a casualty from occurring in the first place and that future passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability so that, in the event of a casualty, persons can stay safely on board as the ship proceeds to port.”
The significance of this session of the Maritime Safety Committee is that it confirmed the extension of the existing large passenger ship survivability requirements to all passenger ships. This is the basis of the work that MCA is undertaking with IMO.

Fred

JeffM
2nd March 2007, 20:40
Fred, is security a subset of safety? The thread - started by a book on passenger stories about what happened to them on cruise ships, including death, injury and illness, amongst other things. Two issues for the thread - one is case study material - experiences from members to add to or criticize the book, - or just good old interesting stories about what happens to passengers. The other is the statistical and court findings evidence. A third might be the regulatory and policy frameworks that are being developed re passenger safety (and security). Does this provide a structured basis for discussion? Cheers to all.

JeffM
4th March 2007, 08:30
In The Age newspaper yesterday. A report on a particular incident of overboard and a follow up avnalysis of incidents that have happened in recent times on P&O cruise ships.
http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/this-young-man-died-after-a-prank-but
-could-he-have-been-rescued/2007/03/03/1172868811912.html

Despite the statistics there is a perception that journalists have picked up- that all is not what it should be. In response the article reports that P&O have initiated new procedures for their cruise ships.

So there are perceptions, responses and statistics. All need to be considered, and not just on an a partially aggregated reporting base from central agencies.

Tony Breach
4th March 2007, 13:20
Interesting stuff.

As a sideline hobby I started logging passenger ship "incidents" earlier this year working from 12.2006 backwards & have got as far as 01.2002. My log consists of newspaper, magazine, & other published report material & includes any incidents that might affect pax wellbeing such as virus, engine failure, cancelled itinerary, pax/crew overboard, stranding, collision, injuries, heavy weather damage,fire, arrests, banruptcies etc. etc. Also included are losses of ships while under tow to breakers which is, in itself, an interesting subject. All pax carrying vessels are included from river launches to the QM2.

I have logged around 200 vessels with problems, some of which have had several instances & my record so far is of about 200 craft within a 5 year period with about 330 incidents reported. As yet I have not been able to analyse the 3 full files so far completed & it is my intention to go back to at least 1990 before doing so.

I would just like to point out that there is a significant amount of evidence that points to a reason for prospective waterborne pax to become concerned. For example: According to Shipping Today & Yesterday, December 2006 pp24, MAIB reported that "Carnival began replacing all combustible dividers on the 26,400 balconies of its 81 vessels immediately following the (STAR PRINCESS) incident with non-combustible ones". While it is extremely doubtful that all 26,400 balconies had the fault there was a significant number of pax put at risk by new vessels, which complied with current SOLAS & construction regulations.

Ron Stringer
4th March 2007, 20:22
"Carnival began replacing all combustible dividers on the 26,400 balconies of its 81 vessels immediately following the (STAR PRINCESS) incident with non-combustible ones". While it is extremely doubtful that all 26,400 balconies had the fault there was a significant number of pax put at risk by new vessels, which complied with current SOLAS & construction regulations.
Tony, when considering matters of safety aboard ship and the contribution of SOLAS and other IMO recommendations, it worth bearing in mind the nature of the lengthy international discussions that precede them.

These normally begin with one or two countries submitting draft proposals for improvements to existing recommendations. These are then debated by a working group consisting of a few interested countries and NGOs. Amongst these are representatives of those that object to any increase in demands or costs, regardless of the safety benefits. So the original draft proposals are watered down to try and obtain some form of consensus. If there is no serious objection to the modified drafts, they are passed upwards in the bureaucracy to a Technical Committee where they are further amended to 'improve' them - usually a further watering down. Eventually if they are not too controversial, or if their proposed timescale for introduction is suitably distant, they reach the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO and may be formally adopted.

At every stage there are representations from those countries and ship operators that are resistant to changes. Each country has one vote, regardless of how many ships are registered there (even if there are no national shipping interests). Land-locked countries such as Hungary, Austria and Byelorussia have the same powers to affect legislation as the USA, Canada, Russia, China, the UK, Australia or New Zealand. Concessions are made to the opponents of the proposed requirements until a form of words is achieved that allows most of the people to accept it. That produces 'consensus' and avoids the need for a formal vote.

So what eventually issues from the bureaucratic sausage machine is a form of lowest common denominator; the best that could be achieved without being voted down. Not the strongest of legislation. Even then it is only a recommendation, not a binding requirement and individual flag states can decide whether or not to ratify it for local use. Then of course we have the subject of enforcement, an entirely different form of space fiction.

Most of the safety improvements over the past half century have been promulgated via the IMO/SOLAS route but mostly they have originated in response to some significant marine tragedy and been initiated by a single country. Those pioneers have had to fight long and hard against the majority of other IMO members to ensure that at least some minimal legislation is put in place to try to ameliorate the hazards that have been clearly identified by a tiny minority (sometimes of one only). IMO has produced many useful recommendations but it could (and some might say should) have gone far further. It has also taken far too long about it. Regrettably this is just another example of the weakness of international diplomacy in recent years.

So don't be surprised that ships that are fully compliant with SOLAS and meet even the very latest IMO recommendations, can be shown to be unsafe or less than ecologically sound.

Tony Breach
5th March 2007, 07:54
Thanks Ron,

All your points are absolutely valid & it is frustration with the bureaucratic system which concerns me. I think the aircraft industry works a little better, possibly because it is a newer basic technology but also because it is more visible. No-one wants an aircraft full of pax to drop into the middle of their city.

As you say, enforcement is another question. Some years ago I was responsible for the operational quality of 70 in-chartered ships & I remember so many times writing in reports "how did this ship get a loadline" or "the condition of the cargo gear so shortly after an annual within 15 months of
quadrennial beggars belief". I also remember in 1964 at Port Adelaide sending some of our hatch tarps in a truck to a sister vessel undergoing loadline survey. They were returned after she succesfully passed survey. British flag.

Tony

Peter4447
5th March 2007, 09:57
I well remember some years ago reading an article expressing great concern over the losses that were occuring over poorly maintained VLCC's and Bulkers. It high-lighted the fact that because of the bereaucracy the IMO at that time was seen as a "toothless tiger" (the articles words not mine).
Looking at recent posts it seems that little has changed and I am wondering as to whether a lot of the standards now being rigidly enforced on the other side of the pond are down, in fact, to the work of the United States Coast Guard acting perhaps in isolation.
Perhaps a member can advise?
Peter4447(Thumb)

JeffM
5th March 2007, 10:18
I have logged around 200 vessels with problems, some of which have had several instances & my record so far is of about 200 craft within a 5 year period with about 330 incidents reported. As yet I have not been able to analyse the 3 full files so far completed & it is my intention to go back to at least 1990 before doing so.

Tony, are you in a position to talk a little more about your data base? How many fields and what are they? Is this for interest? Sounds like a very interesting exercise that many would be intersted in.

Am I right in thinking that you are doing this partly as a response to an absence of a similar comprehensive data base from either regulatory authorities and/or industry representatives?

Great work.(Thumb)

Tony Breach
6th March 2007, 11:42
Tony, are you in a position to talk a little more about your data base? How many fields and what are they? Is this for interest? Sounds like a very interesting exercise that many would be intersted in.

Am I right in thinking that you are doing this partly as a response to an absence of a similar comprehensive data base from either regulatory authorities and/or industry representatives?

Great work.(Thumb)

Hi Jeff,

At the moment it is somewhat basic & I have been mainly cutting, pasting & filing. My object was to log any incident that occurred to any pax vessel so there are plenty of non life-threatening issues such as detentions, banruptcies etc where I would be interested to find out how many pax were affected by canceled cruises: were they reimbursed, what about their joining transportation costs etc. Rennaisance, Royal Olympia, Legend, Festival etc. etc. My interest was then whetted by watching Capt. Warwick of QM2 in his attempt to support his owners against a gathering of understandably irate pax. I was then interested in a press report in which some pax blamed a master for sailing into bad weather causing them to throw up. Then there were several ships finding "rogue" waves causing broken windows, a plethora of pod problems & more that a few ships having serious mechanical failure to the extent of cancelling a world cruise by P&O. Some local folk, knowing my profession, started asking me if a certain ship would be a good cruise ship to go on & I realised that I knew little about it being a simple banana boat man. That's where I started & I would be interested to find out if anyone else is doing the same. A full & complete data-base by any individual or organisation would be extremely interesting but I'm sure the cruise lines would have the power to snuff it out & prevent publication.

Let's just hope that there will never be another Titanic episode. (I say Titanic because that's the one that everyone knows - the Philippine, Egyptian & Indonesian ferry disasters are not so well publicised & the Wilhelm Gustloff was an act of war)

Tony

JeffM
7th March 2007, 00:07
Thanks Tony. Years ago I was involved in setting up a statewide data base on all OHS incidents and given recent publicity have thought about applying the same design principles to cruise ship incidents. Or if there was a data base in existence to at least play around with it or any published data.

I like your comprehensive approach that includes ferry boats in developing countries. Safety and management issues at that level might put the cruise industry issues into perspective. Your broad approach also leads into the question of taxonomy and classification of incidents. As a landlubber this appears to me as a major task.

Could you use the membership of SN as an interested community to gather information and or comment on design and analysis? Judging from other threads there is a wealth of experience (sometimes divergent) of members of the SN site. From the data design and analysis side I would be happy to offer assistance. Jeff.

KIWI
7th March 2007, 01:41
Hell reading thru this thread has been more interesting & informative than the book itself.One thought that comes to mind is that it could have supplied great research material for the author. Kiwi

DMA
7th March 2007, 05:01
More fuel for the fire!!! Gents.
http://www.cruisejunkie.com/events.html

Tony Breach
7th March 2007, 21:59
Jeff,

Many thanks your comments. I must confess that I had to look up "taxonomy" in my dictionary as I thought you may have been one of Gordon Brown's spies - seems you are clean!

I am basically just a simple seaman with great interest in our seafaring heritage: my grandfather was a sailmaker & I afford him the greatest respect as a seaman although he died at age 89 when I was only about 9 years of age. I am also awed by the efforts of Samuel Plimsoll to prevent loss of life amongst seafarers. In my professional career I have had more than my fair share of incidents which have indicated to me that all is not well within the industry & I have an opinion of current methods, where it seems that as long as there is documentation that the rules have been followed, then everything has been done correctly.

I would like to see a data-base set up & would be most happy to contribute what I have: I'm sure that many other members would do likewise. However, I would be a little concerned that in today's litigious society, we may find ourselves liable for any inaccuracies in published information.

Your comments are valued.

Tony

JeffM
8th March 2007, 05:51
Tony, the site suggested by Dave (thread 63) seems to have gone a long way towards developing a data base. Reliability might be a bit dodgy as it based on newspaper reports, but this is better than nothing and can actually put pressure on companies and authorities to reveal their data. I have not yet met a simple sea faring man, all the ones I have met have wisdom and experience beyond that of apparent sophisticated pollies. Ours are the same as yours, regardless of colour. Sorry about taxonomy - I just hope George Bush didnt notice. Should we consider dave's site and come back to this after a think? Cheers. PS Would loved to have met your grand father.

fred henderson
8th March 2007, 17:22
JeffM

The main cruise lines operating out of US ports already provide data on http://www.iccl.org

Fred

benjidog
8th March 2007, 19:03
A database containing factual validated data might be of some interest. A database containing collected opinions, rumours and unvalidated data will be just a collection of questionable material and not worth the bytes it is stored in.

What would you do with it? Any conclusions you reached based on poor data would be invalid. There is an old saying about computers - "rubbish in - rubbish out". This is the stuff of conspiracy theories. Collect enough reports from wierdos that say they have been abducted by aliens who took them to the planet Zog and you might start believing it yourself.

BTW my comments are from a data analysis perspective - I have no connection with the cruise industry or aliens whatsoever and have not even been on a cruise (or been abducted). To be frank I think I would rather be abducted by alients than go on a cruise.

Regards,

Brian

JeffM
9th March 2007, 02:18
Fred, thanks for the website. Excellent information on policy and standards and areas in need of improvement. However I am having trouble locating a time series data base that covers the population of cruise liners, not just a subset of either the biggest or those serving North America. Even then I cannot locate what I would call a data base that systematically reports on deaths, injury and illness on a regular periodic basis. If there is such a thing do you know where it might be located?

The ICCL report refers only to crime statistics from the members of ICCL, not all cruise ships. This, for those interested (thanks to Fred) is located at
http://www.iccl.org/pressroom/pressrelease.cfm?type=a&whichrel=85

The best stats seem to come from MARAD but only apply to 17 major cruise lines with North American ports of call.
http://www.marad.dot.gov/MARAD_statistics/2005%20CRUISE%20UPDATE/Cruise%20Data%202003%20-%202006(4)%20(summary).xls

Of course global data is a big ask, but partial data can also be biased if it excludes those most likely not to comply. Tony's ideas were interesting because they adddressed the wider issue of passenger safety on all types of vessels.

Where there is an absence or unavailability of data from authoritative sources informal data bases and story lines will emerge. As such these "informal" data bases can be useful in indicating issues and problems and sometimes force various authorities to either improve their data or look behind the statistics as to how they are collected and reported at the operational level. Journalists and their noses can be useful in this regard. So whether incidents are criminal or accidental a good passenger story will always attract interest. The problem for any industry is how to present the industry if there are regular passenger incidents that are reported by Journos.

For the big 17 the response to this is ongoing improvements in policies, standards and procedures. But what is the big picture?

Pompeyfan
11th March 2007, 22:41
Having been away on Oriana, and still working my way through some of the threads, I have spent the past two hours or so working my way throught this one. So forgive me if I get a few facts or two wrong, but my eyes are a bit of a glaze at the moment?!.

Thanks for thinking on me Bill AKA Lakercapt. There is a minefield here on death, reporting deaths and so on. This thread is about passenger security, but like others I may deviate from that a bit to answer some of the posts if I remember what they were about?!.

Having just got back from 6 weeks aboard Oriana, security on board is basically open to question. Yes, there is a security officer who is very good and very efficient who is mainly seen on the dockside in ports. And you will see his men around the ship all the time, but they don't seem to be doing much. I suppose the fact they are there is comfort enough. Or is it?. In Oriana Today passengers are asked not to reserve loungers with towels or books because the decks are not policed. This is a daily source of argument with passengers laying into each other. I saw it many times, and one even gave me a mouthful by just looking without saying a word such was their guilt I suppose. And I mean a mouthful, the stuff that came out of her mouth not only bordered on the nastiness, it was downright threatening. And this occurs a lot. Another source of fights(more four letter words than fists)happens daily in the laundry. That can get very nasty. Women, especially woman but sometimes men taking others clothes out of the drier when the other pops back to the cabin. It gets very nasty. I was amazed that there were not serious fights over that period I was on board, and I would be equally amazed if it does not happen in the future. Certainly on these two issues alone there was enough provocation to start a major incident. In fact, I will never be surprised to hear of a major brawl on a cruise ship. Staistics will never tell you that.

I must say that some people who was so incredibly rude heard the acid side of my tongue, and I must admit I was very careful when walking on deck, especially at night. I may have been overreacting. But remember, I used to work at sea. Going over the wall as we called was not unheard of. I will mention more of passengers arguing with each other in my summary of Oriana next month. But it would never surprise me if some people just went missing. There is certainly the amunition there to load more than one gun.

Your report in post 52 Fred is very interesting. If I may, I will quote a small section when you say and I quote: What became clear from the initial work was that concern over large passenger-ship safety would be centred on the difficulty in safely evacuating some passengers, such as the elderly and injured, from lifeboats to rescue vessels. It is clear that the difficulties would not end, even with successful evacuation. Thousands of people, unfamiliar with ships and the sea, crowded into lifeboats and liferafts, would present a unique search-and-rescue challange.

As some members will know, I have been very concerned about passenger drill, and the knowledge of today's cruise passenger regarding life aboard a ship since I began cruising some two years ago having not been back to sea since I left in 1975. That section of the report Fred confirms my concerns. The 4 cruises I did before my 6 weeks on Oriana, three on P&O and one short cruise with Fred Olsen left me very worried about what would happen in a real emergency whether these ships comply with SOLAS or whatever. My six weeks on Oriana left me in no doubt that there will be major problems one of these days. You can have all the regulations you like, and crew can drill as much as they like. But when passengers are totally unaware of shipboard life/terminology, there will be major problems because there is mayhem at the one and only passenger drill. There is only one mandatory passenger drill for a three month cruise which is not enough. Few have a clue after the first and only drill, and then promptly forgetting or perhaps never understaning in the first place. It is as if these once only mandatory drills are more of a nuisance to get out of the way as quickly as possible. Some found it hard to get out of their lifejackets, let alone put them on. Others saw it as huge fun, all part of the holiday spirit, not taking it serious at all. And neither did the officer idiot back in May on the same ship who praised passengers for getting to the muster station early. You would in a real emergency wouldn't you?!. Yes, crew are well trained, very well trained, and the ship is well designed thus making on paper the evacuation of passengers very easy. On paper, yes, in practice. Sorry, I don't think so. On long trips, more passenger drill is essential in my opinion based on the knowledge of passengers today. What is more important, their holiday or their life. Well, if you carry on reading my usual long essay, you will find it is their holiday?!.

I was also concerned on the world cruise as to how many disabled passengers there were, many in wheel chairs. Yes, they have those battery buggies on cruise ships as well now.And they still demand right of way?!. Not that I am complaining about the disabled, I have problems myself on that score. We all have the right to go where we like despite our diabililties. But those even worse than me give rise for concern if the ship was sinking. For example, on every tour I went on there were at least four in the front seats. Some had a major problems getting up the steps of the bus/coach. In fact, one lady simply did not have the power to lift herself up and had to have help. At places of interest, they got off first holding the rest up for at least five minutes if not more. So those off last had less time to look around. I am not complaining. I don't want any bad relpies from the fellow disabled etc, I am just quoting fact from a safety point of view had we had to get out quickly.

I am a qualified lifeboatman, and trained in fire drill as well as being in charge of the stretcher party when I worked for P&O plus having my own section and lifeboat on board. But as hard as I try, I cannot for the life of me see anything but total mayhem if one of these giant cruise ships have to evacuate.

Yes, Fred, cruising is safe, I agree with you totally. Statisics prove it. However, they do not tell the whole story and never will. As I see it, there is a major incident at sea waiting to happen, and it WILL happen. The law of averages would say it is long overdue already. The question is when.

If my job performing autopsies taught me anything it was that it takes a death, possibly more when it comes to accidents before anything is done. For example it took three deaths or more for a road to be improved here on the island despite our calls after just one death in our autopsy report. People quote staistics and so on, but when a mother see her son dead in an accident that could and should have been prevented, statistics mean nothing.

I think it was you JeffM who metnioned reporting a death to a coroner. Some doctors shore side are not too clear on the procedures, let alone doctors at sea. But all deaths at sea are reported anyway, but there is always room for the full story not being told only for us to discover things others had difficulty explaining afterwards. But it was different when we performed the autopsies ourselves at sea. I can't say too much, but if ever we have another SN getogether I will tell a few stories of deaths at sea that will make your hair curl, even if bald?!.

And Peter4447, you may not have been a member when I posted ages ago about what I personally called the 'Holidaymaker Syndrome', and why people got this. I won't go into it again, it is in the archives of this site somewhere. But your post 36 is very familiar to me. Every year here on the Isle of Wight, a big tourism area, I took part in more that 90 deaths each of people who died of exactly the same thing, and exactly the same mode. All would have survived had they not acted in the way they did. Each death could have been avoided by acting sensibly. Yet people when on holiday change their lifestyle completely, doing everything they would never dream of doing at home. Those who do not die, fill the wards of already crowded local hospitals or GP surgeries. Almost all are self inflicted. And of course cruise ships are no different. At least 8 people die on world cruises. I had it in my day, and it is no different now. Yes, they are all natural causes, but as Peter so rightly said, of unnatural cause. That is a good way of putting it without me once again explaining what happens in medical terms. However, if other members want to know, perhaps I could start another thread. But not here, because this thread is about security. Not that it seems that way. Sorry Fred and other Mods. I am just answering some of the posts having spent all evening going through them, and now answering. PHEW!!. David

JeffM
13th March 2007, 11:03
Pompeyfan, if the northern and southern hemisphers of SN ever get together for a drink I will share with you some of those stories from the OHS/prosecution side. I agree with you that that there is often an untold story behind the stats, but quite often we need to exercise care in how they are told. But nevertheless, in todays data driven approach to problem solving we still need a reliable and comprehensive collection of stats to provide a baseline of information. This of course should always be supplemented by extensive case study notes and examples. So far my reading of this thread is that the cruise industry in its widest definition has not arrived at that point, but is moving in an appropriate direction.

Your direct observations on security issues indicate an ongoing problem between standards of practice and their implementation.

Given your observations and experiences did they detract from your enjoyment of and expectations about the cruise? JeffM

Pompeyfan
13th March 2007, 13:30
JeffM. No my observations and experiences didn't distract me from my enjoyment and expectations of the cruise.

I am very aware of any potential problems using both my knowledge of working aboard passengers ships in the medical department, and later shore side in pathology.

I know all about stats, and have no problems at all with them because they are as essential to to our work in medicine, as any other walk of life. But in my job in particular, they do not always show the full picture. Indeed, they often show no medcial research picture at all.

For example, at least 90% of our work were coroners cases. All he is interested in is the cause of death, not clinical research it. Statistics will tell that 90 holidaymakers that I mentioned in my post above, died of natural causes. It will not say that all 90 could have survived if they had acted differently. We knew that they would have almost certainly survived had they been more sensible. But statistics will not show that because they only fulfill a legal requirment. Yet if these cases could be medically researched as well as satisfying the legal requirements, the statistics would produce a far different picture. Myself and colleagues have argued for years that although a death is natural, events leading to it often are not. There has always been this gap between legal and clinical issues. It is also a bit like a football team winning 1-0. Statistics will say the team who won must have been the better team because goals win games. But in reality, that is not always the case. David