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quote: Charleston-AP) April 8, 2004 - About 380 cruise ship passengers were stranded on the downtown peninsula in Charleston for several hours after the US Coast Guard forced the Galaxy back to sea for failing to file its manifest paperwork on time. The incident may have exposed a weakness in port security, since the boat shouldn't have been allowed to dock. The ship was escorted 12 miles offshore Wednesday to international waters to wait out the remainder of the 24-hour period required between its filing notice and its arrival in Charleston. Celebrity Cruises spokesman Michael Sheehan said a computer glitch prevented the notice from reaching the Coast Guard on time.
The incident may have exposed a weakness in port security, since the boat shouldn't have been allowed to dock.
The ship was escorted 12 miles offshore Wednesday to international waters to wait out the remainder of the 24-hour period required between its filing notice and its arrival in Charleston.
Celebrity Cruises spokesman Michael Sheehan said a computer glitch prevented the notice from reaching the Coast Guard on time.
The incident may have exposed a weakness in port security, since the boat shouldn't have been allowed to dock.
Galaxy came all the way from that foreign overseas Port of Baltimore.
From Fairplay:- The cruise line now faces a potential $32,500 civil fine for a third offence relating to improperly filed manifests. The two previous incidents occurred in Charleston and San Juan and all involved the Galaxy, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Dana Warr.
OK.. it was the 3rd time, not good for Celebrity. I know some will disagree, but I still think the action taken was completely ridiculous. If the USCG was at all worried about security on a ship coming from Baltimore it should not have been allowed to dock in the first place, let alone be initially cleared and passengers allowed to disembark. The USCG must have known before the ship sailed in, that it didn't have the manifest, or didn't they bother to check? What is the point of Cruiselines submitting them if the USCG don't look for it and check the detail before allowing the ship to dock and disembark pax?
The funniest thing is, that they left the 'security risk' ashore... those passengers whose names they weren't able to check on the manifest!
Seems to me the Charleston authorities were as lax, if not more so than Celebrity. But we don't have all the facts and like the Oceana incident, never will.
What happened to all these passengers left ashore? Who put them up for the night? How many had required medication on board, that they would have had to obtain ashore to cover the 24hr period?
Ship strands hundreds in CharlestonSecurity issue forces liner temporarily back to sea
BY RON MENCHACAOf The Post and Courier Staff
Manny Zavolas was eating a Greek lunch in downtown Charleston on Wednesday afternoon when he got a frantic cell phone call from his wife aboard the Galaxy cruise ship with their two daughters.
Their vessel, berthed in Charles-ton for the day, was about to leave without him.
Though he didn't make it back to the ship in time, Zavolas was lucky. Hundreds of other passengers didn't even know the ship had left until they returned to the dock from tourist excursions in the city to find the ship gone.
The marooning was only temporary. The Galaxy was forced offshore by the U.S. Coast Guard for failing to file its manifest paperwork on time.
But for passengers left stranded without their belongings -- and in some cases without their family members -- it was an inconvenience. The incident also may have exposed a weakness in the port's security defenses.
Barrie Griffiths of Wales spent the balmy Lowcountry morning taking in the sights and strolling the City Market for souvenirs and walking back toward the ship to cool off when he saw it pulling away at about 2 p.m.
"I was just amazed," Griffiths said.
A former customs agent in England, Griffiths figured the ship was just repositioning. Other passengers panicked, thinking they had somehow gotten the ship's 4 p.m. departure time mixed up.
The ship was escorted 12 miles offshore -- out of U.S. waters -- to wait out the remainder of the 24-hour period required between its filing notice and its arrival in Charleston.
About 380 of the ship's 2,014 passengers were left behind when the ship finally pulled out. It was expected to return to the passenger terminal by 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Wednesday was not the first time the Galaxy has failed to file advance notice of its arrival, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Last April, the cruise line was warned when it failed to file advance notice on two separate occasions. One of the earlier incidents happened in Charleston. The other was in San Juan.
Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Coast Guard strengthened advance-notice requirements for inbound passenger and cargo ships. Advance screening of passenger, crew and cargo lists enables maritime intelligence officials to spot abnormalities before ships arrive in port. The passengers were screened in Baltimore where they originally boarded.
"You don't want a ship coming in not knowing who is on it," said Joe Nesbitt of Moncks Corner, whose employer, BP Chemical, must provide notice for incoming barges. He and his wife, Sonja, stopped Wed-nesday to watch the ship depart.
In the Galaxy's case, the 96-hour advance notice rule did not apply. The vessel's voyage from the Port of Baltimore to Charleston did trigger a 24-hour notice rule.
The ship transmitted that notice electronically to its onshore offices about 11 p.m. Monday, Celebrity Cruises spokesman Michael Sheehan said. A few minutes later, it was forwarded from the company's offices to the Coast Guard.
But what Sheehan described as a "computer glitch" prevented the notice from reaching the Coast Guard until about 8 p.m. Tuesday. The Galaxy arrived in Charleston about 7 a.m. Wednesday. When the ship's horn sounded about noon Wednesday to signal it was leaving, Jennifer Cottrell wondered what was going on.
She didn't like the thought of being stranded in an unfamiliar city, even the most polite in the country. "In a way, it's scary, said the claims auditor from Maryland. "At least we are stateside. What if we were down in St. Thomas?"
Zavolas of Arlington, Va., was greeted at the dock by little more explanation than a letter passed out by the ship crew stating that the ship would be moving offshore for a few hours and would return to pick up the rest of its passengers.
"I hope my kids are not scared, wondering why Daddy got left behind," Zavolas said. "This is our first cruise."
Like many of the stranded passengers, he made the best of the extended stay, guessing he'd head back to the restaurant where he ate lunch.
Passenger Charlotte Koberg of Pennsylvania wanted to know where she and her husband could get a drink to pass the time. "I guess if we are going to be stuck somewhere, I would just as soon be stuck here," she said.
Some passengers joked that the ship's departure was designed to keep them in the city longer spending money.
"I think we were able to accommodate most of them with something to do this afternoon," said Suzanne Wallace of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The cruise line will face a civil penalty of up to $32,500 for the violation in Charleston, said Coast Guard spokesman Scott Carr. As for how the ship docked without adequate notice, the Coast Guard intends to review its procedures.
Celebrity Cruises doesn't dispute that its notice was late, Sheehan said. Still, the company questioned the Coast Guard's decision to force the ship offshore just hours before it would have left anyway.
"They did what they felt was appropriate," Sheehan said. "We don't necessarily agree with the action."
Advance screening of passenger, crew and cargo lists enables maritime intelligence officials to spot abnormalities before ships arrive in port.
As Charleston let the ship berth, they didn't do so, and obviously not for quite sometime afterwards. Galaxy was in port more hours than it was offshore, and during that time left its unchecked passengers onshore, but such a security risk she needed an escort. This just shows that the proceedures are not being adhered to and quite pointless in this instance, rescreening already screened pax. Rather than fine Celebrity, the USCG should be answering to their own actions, as to why they didn't just tell Celebrity on receipt of the manifest, they couldn't berth until that time the following day and that the fine was $x.
quote:Originally posted by eandjracquet Let's get some people with at least a double digit IQ over 80 into the government-they at least could in act reasonable regulations.
Isn't it tragic that most government jobs are held by idiots? The same can be said for most public office positions. I think it must be some sort of prerequisite that if you're planning on running for public office, your IQ need be somewhere south of 100.
quote: Isn't it tragic that most government jobs are held by idiots? The same can be said for most public office positions. I think it must be some sort of prerequisite that if you're planning on running for public office, your IQ need be somewhere south of 100.
Having(for a few years) been one of those "idiots" you so capriciously judge, I would take issue with your less than charitable characterisation of gov employees. Also, as you should know, the Coast Guard personnel are not elected public officials.
No one seems to find the Celebrity Line culpable. I wonder why? Personally I might be inclined to ban Celebrity ships from ports in the US for some period of time. We have plenty of cruise line options, lines that can play within the post 9/11 security rules.
Celebrity needs to wake up before it finds itself in an unwanted relationship with those who would do America harm.
[ 04-09-2004: Message edited by: KenH ]
This was there third offence relating to improperly filed manifests ?
There is a learning curve associated with any new undertaking. The post 9/11 security restrictions, rules are new and subject to that curve. We try, we screw-up, we fix and try again. In this case the possible cost, when we fail, is human life lost and as always, property destroyed.
This is a new and dangerous world we live in, with rapid spreading international terrorism. We Americans have always felt safe behind our ocean buffers. This is no longer true (if it ever was). The air and sea travel industries are prime conveyers of these persons to their destinations. Rather an inconvenience to some jolly cruisers than another Madrid, or WTC, or Pentagon, or Cole or Marine Barracks (Lebanon) or any of the embassies.
To be irate over something like the Galaxy incident at Charleston seems to me a sheer arrogance of spoiled, coddled elitists who regard the rest of us as expendable.
The cruise industry must fulfill its obligations regarding security. The authorities need to fix what is so obviously not working. Retune the rules to keep offending lines and ships out of our harbors.
VIGILANCE ever VIGILANT!
[ 04-09-2004: Message edited by: RobHolland ]
Of course, I'm not one of those people who thinks the cruise lines can do no wrong.
Malcolm, always the way, people think computers act on their own and operators are just on standby Even when my electricity bill came through once somewhat excessively... the meter reader hadn't made an error inputting the reading, the computer had misinterrpreted the figures
I will say no more on the matter...
A ‘computer glitch’ is normally a euphemism for somebody’s incompetence!
And from previous knowledge of Celebrity, normally lay's with an intoxicated Captain.
Question: How many warrants of arrest have been issued against Celebrity Captains for breaking maririme laws in the last 10 years?
I know of three.
[ 04-12-2004: Message edited by: joe at travelpage ]
quote:Originally posted by PamM:Yes Rob safety is a priority, we all agree, and that Celebrity were at fault. What we don't seem to agree on is the action of the USCG, who seem to have realised somewhat belatedly that they hadn't done their job intially, so attempted to make up for it with a bit of a show of things.
And maybe, just maybe, the U.S.C.G. Officer in Charge of the Port determined Celebrity had two other chances to get it right, and didn't , this time they're getting a lesson they wont forget. I bet it wont happen again!
The same sort of thing happened with P&O a few months back in St. Thomas. One of their ships was ordered to leave the port because of some necessary paper work not being filed on time.
I bet the memos trickled down from Miami to all of the other Carnival Corporation lines then , and now, I bet, one is probably circulating around in the Royal Caribbean International empire!
If later on they say...NO..No we want u to go out turn around and back in or go 3 miles out and anchor that's the USCG problem, NOT CELEBRITY'S! Except in Extreme cases, like Fire on the pier or something like that!
Sad sad sad i hope this will end soon But i now that this will only a dream.
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