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#17471 - 12/20/03 07:11 PM Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Marty Offline
Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize

Cruise tourism is growing. I mean
really growing. And if you don't
trust the statistics, a stroll
through the Fort George area of
Belize City on almost any given
weekday will convince you. Today,
local media houses were treated
to a tour of the latest--and
largest--member of the expanding fleet now calling on
Belize. And while all the journalists were, as expected,

blown away by the luxury, News 5's Stewart Krohn
discovered that for Belize it may not always mean
smooth sailing.

Stewart Krohn, Reporting
According to agents for Royal Caribbean International,
she is
the largest cruise ship ever to anchor in Belizean
waters.
With a displacement of one hundred and thirty-seven
thousand tons and a length of over a thousand feet, the
Voyager of the Seas and her sister ships dwarf almost
anything short of an aircraft carrier. With room for
over
thirty-eight hundred guests and a crew of almost twelve
hundred, The Voyager of The Seas can best be thought of
as
a fully functional city of five thousand people...kind
of like
having Dangriga Town anchored a few miles off Belize
City.

But as cities go, The Voyager is far closer to Disney
World
than Dangriga. With its numerous restaurants, swimming
pools, shopping arcades, casino, and sporting
activities--including an ice rink--it's a wonder that
passengers
ever leave the ship. But most of them do...and according
to
port agent Stanley Longsworth, Belize reaps a number of
benefits.

Stanley Longsworth, Port Agent, Royal Caribbean
"I think the big areas that we're obviously doing well
in is the
creation of jobs. There are hundreds of people employed
when a ship comes in everyday. And this covers a wide
spectrum of our Belizean populous from taxi drivers to
tour
guides, shop vendors. There's a lot of people involved
and a
lot of people do benefit from it; owners of boats, bus
owners. I think that apart from that, the industry
brings to
Belize a lot of foreign exchange. It is said that each
passenger spends roughly a hundred dollars in Belize
every
time a ship's in port, so we gain foreign exchange also.
Apart
from that, passengers do return for longer stays in
Belize, so
we get publicity on the international scene. All in all,
I think
it's a good deal for Belize."

But that deal doesn't look all that good when compared
to
the benefits of land based overnight tourism. In terms
of
taxes, government collects seven percent of every hotel
dollar, not to mention airport departure taxes, sales
tax, and
other indirect levies. In the case of cruise passengers,
the
head tax totals only five U.S. dollars, four of which go
to the
owners of the Tourism Village and one to the Protected
Areas Conservation Trust, PACT.

And that floating city of five thousand souls has much
in
common with other land bound municipalities: that is,
how
to dispose of its waste. According to captain Svein
Petterson, The Voyager of the Seas except all
international
specifications for waste disposal. He says no garbage is

thrown overboard and much is recycled. Grey water is
treated before dumping, and as for all those thousands
of
ever flushing toilets?

Svein Petterson, Captain, Voyager of the Seas
"We have holding tanks for our sewerage and we treat our

sewerage. And what we pump overboard, we pump
overboard outside of twelve nautical miles. Nothing is
left
inside of twelve nautical miles."

But twelve nautical miles from Belize City still leaves
any
waste well within Belize's territorial waters. And with
our
stead easterly trade winds almost anything dumped into
the
Caribbean eventually finds its way to our shores, not to

mention our reefs.

Which leads us to the question of who actually polices
dozens of cruise ships criss-crossing the region.

Svein Petterson
"We have international rules and regulations that
polices it.
We have our internal SQM system that goes over and above

what is required by international law, so we are ahead
of the
game."

Stewart Krohn
"Okay, but when I ask you about policing...the ship is
registered in the Bahamas, you visit a lot of small
countries
that really don't have the capacity to do any policing,
the
United States doesn't visit you in the middle of the sea
to
check on these things do they? So really you're policing

yourselves, so when you tell me all this we pretty much
have to take your word for it?"

Svein Petterson
"I don't know where you are leading up to, but
everything
that we are doing on board is documented..."

Stewart Krohn
"No, what I'm asking is, it's documented to whom? In
other
words, as captain who are you answerable to?"

Svein Petterson
"We are answerable to any authority that comes aboard
and
check our ship. And everything that we do is documented
in
log books and our log books are checked periodically by
also
authorities like the U.S."

Stewart Krohn
"But what authority would the United States have to
worry
about things that you outside of our ports?"

Svein Petterson
"Because whoever has appropriated the international
rules
and regulations, they also have the authority to do the
controls."

Stewart Krohn
"Even though you're not the Unites States...

Svein Petterson
"Registered, absolutely. Belize can do the control if
they
like."

Stewart Krohn
"But a small country like Belize, with all these cruise
ships
coming, how are we going to police the ships?"

Svein Petterson
"Well you have to police your own coast and if you have
any
suspicions as to if the ships are not following
international
rules that will be your problem to solve."

And that's exactly what has many Belizeans, including
this
one, worried. Stewart Krohn for News 5.

The Voyager of the Seas, or one of her sister ships,
will
dock in Belize every two weeks for at least the next
year. The ship's owner, Royal Caribbean, along with
Diamonds International, has recently purchased the
tourism village.

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#17472 - 12/20/03 11:24 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Laguna Punta Offline
Not a greatly reassuring article. confused
_________________________
Gone fishing!!

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#17473 - 12/20/03 11:41 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
klcman Offline
anyone actually believe the economic benifits??

3800 pax @ $100 = 380,000 x 26 bi-weekly stops = $9.8 mil approx - allowing for 30% occupancy voids, it still calculates out to nearly $7 mil - from this ship alone! I seriously doubt it

and, to top it off, 80% of the port fees are going back into the pockets of a consortium, of which they are the major stakeholder eek :rolleyes: confused
_________________________
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

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#17474 - 12/21/03 09:01 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
dogmatic prevaricator Offline
marty must be bored.
_________________________
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

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#17475 - 12/21/03 11:27 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Barbara K Offline
I like when (if) Marty's bored. Lots of good info! Thx
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#17476 - 12/22/03 03:14 AM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Marty Offline
not greatly reassuring is right, bill...
i'm wid you.

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#17477 - 12/22/03 02:44 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
crockhunter Offline
Makes you wonder how many enviornmentalists take cruises without giving a thought to where their sewage is going.

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#17478 - 12/22/03 09:13 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Marty Offline
probably a lot of environmentaliss don't take cruises for that exact reason.

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#17479 - 12/23/03 06:30 PM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Marty Offline
From a friend...

On Friday Dec 19th Stuart Krohn intervied captain of "Voyager of the Seas", biggest cruise ship to come to Belize yet. When asked about pollution the captain said, "our logbooks are there to be inspected if a country suspects that their waters are being polluted" or words to that effect. Well check out this news piece of the very same day on the same subject:

Friday, December 19, 2003

By Associated Press

MIAMI — Three cruise ship engineers were indicted Thursday on charges of falsifying log books to conceal the dumping of waste oil at sea.

Knut Sorboe, Peter Solemdal and Aage Lokkebraten, all of Norway, were employees of Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. at the time of the alleged crimes, said Tom Sansonetti, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

They no longer work for the cruise line, the company said. It could not immediately be determined if they had attorneys.

Norwegian Cruise Line pleaded guilty in April 2000 to keeping a false log book and admitted the company lied to the Coast Guard for three years about unlawful discharges from the 2,030-passenger SS Norway during weekly Caribbean voyages. The company paid a $1.5 million fine.

Norwegian admitted polluting the ocean in two ways: flushing an oil sensor with fresh water to make contaminated discharges look clean and dumping untreated wastewater overboard. It is unknown how much oil and contaminated water was dumped.

The indictment alleges that the men used false log books to conceal the broken oil sensor. The log books are required as a pollution record, inspected by the Coast Guard, prosecutors said.

The men each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the conspiracy and falsification charges.

An employee fired from the Norway reported the matter to the Environmental Protection Agency in 1999. The whistle-blower has been awarded $250,000 for the tip, prosecutors said.

Source: Associated Press

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#17480 - 12/24/03 12:35 AM Re: Biggest cruise ship ever drops anchor in Belize
Laguna Punta Offline
Seems like the law is out to get the Captains. Sounds like scape-goatism. While the Captains are "in-charge", I am sure none of them dumped that pollution just for shit and grins (sorry). I am sure the company is directly involved with such violations...and a 1.5 million dollar fine does NOT hurt them ENOUGH. Could be linked to the annual "Politicans,Judges and faceless beaurocrats" cruise. mad mad mad mad mad
_________________________
Gone fishing!!

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