Press Release: PROJECT SAFE CRUISE - A Win/Win Solution to Cruise Disappearances and other Crimes
March 7, 2006 Press Release: PROJECT SAFE CRUISE - A Win/Win Solution to Cruise Disappearances and other Crimes
Are Cruise Ships Safe? Not Yet, But We're Working on it!
Here is the Challenge we wish to direct towards the cruise lines,
In memory of all families and individuals that have suffered any type of loss
while on a CRUISE VACATION, we Challenge
All cruise line companies,
The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL),
All media organizations,
Interested members of the public,
Members of Congressman Shays subcommittee and related government agencies,
And all related business; including but not limited to travel agents, hotels, airlines, suppliers, tourist groups, gift shops, restaurants, tour companies, and advertising firms
To participate in, support, and/or sponsor Project Safe Cruise, a joint government and private sector demonstration project. Project Safe Cruise will consist of a one week cruise in 2007 that will showcase the type of security and safety system that could be put in place by cruise lines to insure the safety and security of all passengers and crew and at the same time preserve evidence of crimes and/or accidents. On this Maiden Voyage we hope to offer short entertaining seminars and panel discussions by various security experts and perhaps some celebrities, on missing persons, identity theft, date rape, kidnapping, teenage and young child safety, security, safety, and health issues while in other countries or at sea, investment scams for seniors, how to buy art work, etc. We must focus on a positive solution that will benefit all parties involved and prevent future tragedies. If you are interested in learning more and perhaps joining the cruise or if you represent the press or would like to sponsor or help plan the cruise or if you have had similar experiences involving poor or non-existent safety and security procedures on a cruise please leave contact information in the comments section of http://www.safecruise.blogspot.com/ or http://www.safecruise.blogspot.com/ Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to mailto:email@example.com
With the help of former FBI and NYPD law enforcement experts, we ask you to do this as a way of honoring the 47 people who have gone overboard since the year 2000. Most of whom are presumed dead.
>Each year the cruise lines and their employees:
>Take in billions of dollars in profits
>Spend millions of dollars on advertising
>Spend over ten million dollars on lobbying
>Donate untold monies to various political campaigns
We believe the cruise lines are able and are in fact obligated to invest in a project that could pay dividends to all parties involved in the cruise ship safety and security issue, including the cruise companies and related business, victims and their families, government oversight agencies, and all future passengers and crew.
We acknowledge that cruise lines have security and safety procedures in place. However, we also believe that there is an urgent need to enhance them for the following reasons:
*The number of people overboard has increased significantly in the last five years.
*A common element of each disappearance and in other cruise ship crimes and safety incidents is the lack of good evidence and/or successful investigations. Few if any crimes have been prosecuted.
*Overnight cruise ship operators carry close to ten million passengers on over 90 ships that call on hundreds of ports worldwide.
*While on a cruise vacation, American citizens have a right to have an independent law enforcement person on each ship that they can immediately report crimes and safety problems.
It has been suggested that cruise ships are small floating cities. They should have law enforcement available just the same.
The need for enhanced security will grow over time as the number of "first time" passengers increase. They, especially, should be informed about the rights and protections available to them while on the open sea or on foreign soil. There currently are no reliable, in-depth, or up-to-date statistics on the number, type and frequency of cruise crimes and accidents among passengers or crew. These need to exist so that trends can be monitored and improvements put in place to reduce the number of tragedies.
There are growing threats in the form of bird flu and other illnesses, terrorist threats, and pirate attacks that underscore the need to have personnel in place that have the expertise, the experience, the training and authority to act, communicate, investigate, and monitor incidents quickly and effectively. Mysteries may be good for books, movies, and television shows but they offer no comfort or closure to those who have lost loved ones. We offer our support and prayers to all families as they struggle to resolve the tragedies of the past. Although we will never be able to prevent all deaths, crimes, or safety incidents that occur on cruise vacations, we can make a difference. And we can at least put a system in place that offers assurance to each and every American passenger that everything humanly possible was done to protect and/or save his or her friends and family while on a cruise vacation. A brief description of Project Safe Cruise is provided below. Specific dates, details, and additional information will be posted at http://www.projectsafecruise.blogspot.com/ when it becomes available.
Project Safe Cruise could be a win-win solution for parties on both sides of the cruise ship safety issue. Look at it as an outside the box idea, a partnership if you will. Even though focusing on prevention is less glamorous and less dramatic than solving crimes, it is more efficient and gratifying, especially if we save one life or reduce the suffering of one family. We must work with the cruise lines to set up a cadre of independent contract employees that would act as security ombudsman who would –
- Know how to deal with a terrorist situation.
- Have the authority to lock down crime scenes and secure the chain of evidence.
- Deal immediately and directly with the FBI, Coast Guard, and other agencies and organizations in all ports of call.
- Provide ongoing security and safety training to crew and travel agents and organizers including shore excursion groups.
- Record and maintain a database of incidents and present some analysis of current procedures and conduct of parties involved and recommend improvements for all.
The cadre could be staffed by ex-military and ex-law-enforcement personnel who would get salary and/or some free cruise or vacation packages for their work, kind of like how many campgrounds have frequent campers act as hosts. What works good on land should work good on the water including a Neighborhood Watch or Guardian Angel type system that could include frequent customers, crew members, contract employees, travel agents, etc. Design an Amber Alert system for use on ships. The use of this and an independent cadre perhaps named Sea Marshals would provide the most important factor or element for preventing and solving crimes: TIME. The former FBI and former NYPD investigators I have been talking with are drafting a cruise ship security plan and a letter to send to the Cruise lines. Perhaps, Homeland Security or the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations might do this as a demonstration project.