Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NOT TOO LONG

Looking through the various maritime blogs yesterday NAUTICAL LOG found in our favorite blog - other than our own!! - OLD SALT BLOG an article about the tragic 1963 Christmas fire in TSS Lakonia. As it happened that year we had a rare Christmas at home prior to going off on a two year voyage. In a comment made to the post NAUTICAL LOG stated that we would be addressing the safety issues in cruise ships in 2011. From contacts with serving Officers it appears there are serious issues to be addressed and judging from the perspective of a former cruise ship Safety Officer little reason for many of them. A major event usually results from a series of small incidents all leading up to the major event. One is reminded of the MS Carnival Splendor event this year which was supposed by Company spin to be all sorted out in a few days and now of course will take many months, a serious drydock, vast expense to repair or replace most of the engineroom concerned and the peripheral damages.

The Propaganda Department also known as Marketing in Cruise Lines is famous for grandiose statements called 'spin' these days. Many if not most do nothing for the Safety Officer's ulcer, they show little understanding of shipboard life or how passengers, who are referred to as 'Guests', live aboard during a cruise. It should be absolutely compulsory for everyone in Marketing to spent one month on board prior to writing an advertising blurb. Thereafter they should be required to take a cruise every three months to see things resulting from their advertising jargon at first hand. Please do not tell me 'oh this is already done' because many still refer to 'the front of and the back of the ship'. Numerous times NAUTICAL LOG is asked during consulting sessions 'what does that mean or why do they use that word instead of English? Which of course is reasonable enough before writing the advertising jargon but after it makes no real sense.

And so it is on picking up our morning paper this morning, the "Miami Herald" we see classic 'spin' from NCL. There in centre front page is "Showtime for big ships" and an article all about getting brand recognition from Today Show to Oprah and beyond to the phony world of "Real TV". The new, just two years in the cruise industry, CEO of NCL Kevin Sheehan goes 'undercover' doing various jobs with crew members. We are supposed to believe that this guy, being followed around by a camera team, is unknown to the ships crewmembers. Come on just because we are seafarers does not mean we are stupid!!

Passenger vessel companies used to be run by experienced shipowners with support staff ashore of equally experienced company Masters, Chief Engineers and Chief Pursers as Superintendents. Now it seems cruise lines recruit from the hotel industry which explains no doubt why passengers, a maritime legal term by the by, are referred to as guests, a term with no maritime legal status. Hmm now there's food of thought for the Cruise Line Legal Department - ah! but you see your cruise ticket says and defines one as a "passenger". Like we said seafarers are not stupid!!

There are concerns about the standard of crewmembers including Officers, the work being done or more to the point not being done on board in regard to repairs, maintenance and safety issues. Recently the United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued two Marine Safety Alert notices both clearly as a result of the major fire on board MS Carnival Splendor, these are "Wrong directions: a recipe for failure" and "Simple failures render CO2 system inoperative". In these MSA's the vessel is not actually named but the photos illustrating the MSA show the vessels Fire Suppression System Control Panel.


There is also an interesting post in "Cruise Law News", there is a link in our Link List. We would suggest to our readers they read that post in conjunction with our series.

NAUTICAL LOG will be addressing these MSA's in a second post continuing our coverage of this extremely important issue of "Passenger Ship Safety".

Good Watch.
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