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Where do I complain about cruise ship safety violations I witnessed?

Dear Anita,

On a recent cruise (08/27 to 09/06/2002) aboard Princess Cruises Regal Princess, I witnessed serious safety problems. While Regal Princess was tendered at Juneau, Alaska on 08/31/2002, the ship's staff allowed over 1,000 passengers and crew to crowd into one stairwell and passages leading to the tendering boats going ashore.

I would like to know how to make a complaint to the United States Coast Guard in hopes of preventing this very dangerous situation aboard this ship in the future.

Thank You,

Mike Terry

Dear Mike,

I contacted Princess Cruises to find out what happened aboard the Regal Princess. I received the following response from a Princess Cruises spokesperson:

" Ms. Dunham-Potter,

My understanding is that in this instance, because the ship was a bit late arriving in port, many passengers ignored the times listed on their tender tickets, as well as shipboard loudspeaker announcements, making the stairways a bit more crowded than usual - although the numbers certainly didn't approach 1,000.

The Coast Guard was informed of the situation and conducted an investigation which concluded that Princess was not in violation of any safety regulations.

Susanne Ferrull
Princess Public Relations

Unfortunately, the aforementioned scenario has played out on several cruises I have sailed upon. Numerous passengers too eager to disembark ignore pre-arranged tender boat instructions, thus creating a serious safety problem for fellow passengers and crew. The bigger the ship, the more likely this is to happen, especially in smaller ports. Clearly, the lesson in this is for cruise passengers to always heed the directions of the crew -- everyone's safety depends upon it.

Persons who wish to complain about a safety-related matter they have observed on a cruise ship should contact the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (MSO) responsible for the Control Verification Examination of the ship. Passengers can get a referral to the appropriate MSO by calling the Coast Guard toll-free Consumer Hotline: 1-800-368-5647. The most popular ports for cruise ships are:
  • Miami, FL Coast Guard MSO telephone number (305) 535-8705
  • Juneau, AK Coast Guard MSO telephone number (907) 463-2450
  • San Juan, PR. Coast Guard MSO telephone number (787) 729-6800

I hope I've been helpful. Happy travels!

Anita Dunham-Potter

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