Safety Violations Detain Peace Boat in New York

July 21, 2008
A group sailing around the world to promote responsible travel learned that its ship's crew might not be quite so responsible last week. The vessel was detained in New York for five days for showing signs of more than 60 safety violations.

When Clipper Pacific arrived in New York City on July 13, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors found a one-inch gash in its hull and 66 other safety problems, mostly fire hazards, according to the New York Times. The ship remained in New York until most of the issues had been resolved and then departed on July 17 for Tampa, where it will go into dry dock to have its hull repaired.

The 637-ft. Clipper Pacific (which sailed originally as Royal Caribbean's Song of Norway from 1970 to 1996) was carrying approximately 975 passengers and 300 crew members as part of a Peace Boat world cruise out of Yokohama. According to its Web site, "Peace Boat is a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment." Peace Boat passengers were allowed to explore New York City while the ship underwent repairs. About 100 passengers chose to leave the ship in New York and return home, with 877 continuing on to Florida.

Cruise ship safety has been on everyone's minds since Cruise West's Spirit of Glacier Bay ran aground earlier this month. On the way to a shipyard for repairs, that ship began leaking through a small crack in its hull. It is currently in dry dock with plans to set sail again on July 26. The Coast Guard has been taking an active role in checking the safety systems and procedures on all Cruise West vessels.

--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor