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Friday January 21, 2011:

How does a Cruise Line fight back when sued? Reading 'Cruise Law News' might enlighten you. Go to our Link List scroll down to 'Cruise Law News' and read their today's Post.
The RCCL retained law firm is particularly aggressive it would seem from the article.

Good Watch.

While going through our Link List blogs this evening we came across two reports of a subject which is rarely if ever mentioned in the maritime blogs - drug running. It is indeed a sensitive not to mention dangerous business and while of course ships are used NAUTICAL LOG feels that perhaps by and large the cruise vessels did not have a big problem. Well that was until more recently when the crews have tripled in size and are not well known by the Cruise Line who hires them and the Officers who have to sail with them.

This all came about by the recent arrest, on charges of smuggling cocaine into Bermuda, of several crewmembers from the MS Enchantment of the Seas one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) fleet. Just previously several other crewmembers had been been arrested off the same vessel, when she called at Baltimore MD, for smuggling cocaine and heroin. That vessel's last Caribbean Port of Call had been in the Dominican Republic where the drugs had apparently been acquired.

Now all this information is from other blogs and NAUTICAL LOG has absolutely no personal knowledge if it is true but it has also been reported by local media in Bermuda. Here in South Florida the media reported that the cruise ship MS MSC Poesia was raided by Broward County Law Enforcement Authorities in Port Everglades, FL and a wide variety of drugs found during a music fans cruise. Raid by Reputation in that particular case it would seem!!

The PR from RCCL stated that drug smuggling is rare however the blog, which reported all the above, view was rather different and stated it was "business as usual". So it would seem that there is more of a problem than the cruise lines are aware of or more likely are willing to admit. In the case of RCCL's MS Enchantment of the Seas it is highly likely that U.S. Authorities posing as passengers boarded in Baltimore, MD and monitored what was going on during the passage to Bermuda.

From the NAUTICAL LOG days in cruise ships most drug purchases were by and for personal use but there were occasions when a group made purchases for smuggling ashore into the United States. We had our methods back then of making ourselves aware and we surmised that U.S. Authorities travelled as passengers monitoring all these activities. Indeed on several occasions arrests were made of crewmembers when they went ashore.

There is a temptation to engage in this type of business when enormous amounts of money can be obtained in return. In the Bermuda incident the crewmembers involved had used passengers to take the packages ashore in return for a fee. This action can only be dealt with by the Local Law Enforcement Authorities in each Port, possibly by having drug-sniffing dogs covering the passengers when they are coming ashore to go sightseeing. The very presence of these dogs would most likely discourage passengers from becoming involved in any crew smuggling or from making purchases ashore to bring on board themselves. By Law a Cruise Line is quite limited in what they are allowed to do in the area of prevention.
Passengers should be made aware that by becoming involved with the drug business and usage they are risking the safety of the vessel and their own lives.

Good Watch.


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