Remember the drama when I went through the interpretation exam to become a Peace Boat volunteer? If you remember, my wife ended up joining the around-the-world tour as a volunteer translator, and I ended up leaving Japan ahead of her to get ready to start graduate school. Peace Boat recently made a stop in New York City so I went up to see her for the first time in months. They were scheduled to be in New York for just a couple of days… But they’re still there. Now they’re all over the news.
The ship, the Clipper Pacific, was detained at the New York Port due the Coast Guard’s New York unit discovering significant damage to the hull (a one-inch gash that existed before arriving in NYC), and numerous safety violations during a routine safety check. A scuba team was dispatched to make temporary repairs to the hull, but the ship will not be allowed to leave the United States until it has undergone full repairs. Due to this, the Peace Boat will apparently be making a detour and spending time in Florida for permanent repairs instead of heading to Venezuela as planned.
The recklessness upsets me.
You can read about the boat damage and safety violations in these articles.
New York Times – Stuck in New York, a Round-the-World Cruise Gets Even More Leisurely
International Herald Tribune – Cruise ship with hull damage detained in NY Harbor
Coast Guard News – Detained Cruise Ship Moved to Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal for Repairs
JapanProbe links to a piece from a Japanese media source interviewing a Peace Boat passenger.
Web News Asahi – 世界一周のピースボート船 NYで亀裂見つかり足止め
My wife was telling me all along that the trip was fun, but she was appalled at how unprofessional they were.
When they first boarded the boat in Yokohama, crew were still tearing up the carpet and replacing it with older-looking carpet. Keys to passengers rooms were not all immediately available, and check-in was chaotic. Some of the volunteers were forced to give up their rooms and move down into the lower levels due to an unanticipated room shortage for the passengers. The Peace Boat had engine trouble before they reached Oman, which delayed the tour by a few days and shortened their time in the country. It was never clear whether the engine trouble was completely repaired or not. The vast majority of the passengers on Peace Boat Japanese, but there are non-Japanese passengers as well. Upon arriving in Singapore, it was discovered that some of the non-Japanese citizens required visas to enter the country Malaysia on an additional tour. The Peace Boat staff had not prepared for this, so the non-Japanese passengers who required visas were forced to stay on the boat while everyone else took pictures with Merlion in Singapore while everyone else went to Malaysia… Of course visas are needed for many of the countries on the tour, and Peace Boat provided for those, but for some reason Singapore just got missed. Lastly, the extremely liberal and one-sided position that most of the on-board lectures take seemed to irk my wife and some of the other passengers.
All of these little mishaps caused the passengers to be come upset and voice their concerns with the Peace Boat staff. And rightfully so, most passengers pay an upwards of $15,000 USD to join this 3-month journey. The haphazardness of the programming and “lefty” nature of the lectures is to be expected from an NGO… but safety is where I draw the line.
Looks fun though… A great way to see the world if you can make English teacher or volunteer translator and ride for free! Just watch out for leaking ships…
Peace Boat Trouble in the News Around the Web
International Herald Tribune
Coast Guard News
New York 1
New York Times
Web news Asahi