Missing Crew in NYC Force New Rules

Manhattan Cruise Terminal

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has put in a new temporary restriction regarding crew shore leave in New York and New Jersey following a recent spike in desertions, according to a statement.

“During a two-week period in September 2019, seven crewmembers deserted after being granted shore leave while in the New York/Newark seaport,” a spokesperson said.

The new rules also coincide with the spike in cruise traffic in the Northeast with fall foliage season.

“Crewmembers must now complete five contracts prior to being eligible for shore leave,” the spokesperson said. “CBP recognizes the hardship this may place on crewmembers; however, this protocol is necessary to address the increase of desertions at this port.”

On a recent call overnight call in New York, a senior officer told Cruise Industry News that only 9 per cent of his ship’s crew met the new criteria, which is not in place in other U.S. ports.

Passengers Injured as Norwegian Escape Hit by ‘100 Knot Wind Gust’ Off U.S. East Coast

Several passengers aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Escape were reported injured after a freak gust of wind reportedly caused the ship to list as much of 45 degrees, causing chairs, tables and pretty much anything unsecured to go flying.

A statement from Norwegian posted to its Twitter account said the incident took place just before midnight on Sunday, March 3, when Norwegian Escape encountered what the cruise line said was an “unexpected weather in the form of a sudden, extreme gust of wind, estimated at 100 knots,” or 115 mph, as the ship was underway off the U.S. east coast.

“Several injuries were reported and those guests and crew received immediate attention or are being treated by the ship’s medical staff. There was no damage to the ship; she remains fully operational and continues her scheduled itinerary,” Norwegian Cruise Line said.

The Norwegian Escape is currently on a voyage from Port Elizabeth, New Jersey to the Bahamas with a stopover in Port Canaveral, Florida.

Media reports say at least eight passengers were treated for injuries when the ship arrived in Port Canaveral on Tuesday.

“Neither the current itinerary nor the next sailing is expected to be impacted,” the cruise line said.

Meteorologists had forecasted some weather but nothing near the 100 knots that was reported by the cruise line.

Delivered in 2015, the 164,600 gross ton Norwegian Escape is the former flagship of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the first of the company’s Breakaway Plus-class.

More from ABC News below:

Anthem of the Seas Cruise Cut Short to Avoid Storm

Anthem Of The Seas Cruise Ship

Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean isn’t taking any chances when it comes to weather following its nightmare cruise into a hurricane force storm earlier this month, cutting Anthem of the Seas’ latest voyage short to avoid a storm off the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

The cruise ship giant said Saturday that it was closely watching a “large storm” off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, making the decision to head back to its homeport in Cape Liberty, New Jersey immediately to avoid the storm and provide guests “with a comfortable journey back home”. An update on Monday said Captain was following the company’s new storm avoidance policy and that the decision was made after the Captain consulted with shore side experts.

RCLcorp ‎@RCLcorp

#AnthemoftheSeas will head back to Cape Liberty immediately to avoid a severe storm & provide guests with a comfortable journey back home.

As you’ll recall, Royal Caribbean found itself in some hot water earlier this month after the Anthem of the Seas with more than 6,000 people on board sailed into the a hurricane-force storm off the Cape Hatteras that damaged part of the ship’s propulsion and left passengers shaken as they took to social media to post about the nightmare conditions.

Royal Caribbean has insisted that the storm in that case was worse than forecasted, but nonetheless the company said it identified gaps in its planning system that would be addressed to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. Within days of the event, Royal Caribbean made moves to strengthen its storm avoidance policy, supposedly adding shoreside resources at its Miami headquarters to provide additional guidance to our ships’ captains.

But looking at marine charts from this past Saturday, it seems Royal Caribbean’s decision to cut the latest cruise short may have been out of an abundance of caution or perhaps to avoid the inevitable bad publicity that would come with any Royal Caribbean ship sailing in any storm at the moment.

NWS OPC Saturday Night Forecast
NWS OPC 24 hour forecast issued Saturday night. 

A 24 hour forecast chart issued Saturday night by the National Weather Services Ocean Prediction Center predicted a relatively modest 993 mb low over the Great Lakes moving ENE with gale force conditions forecast off the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast by Sunday evening.

“What Storm? The low moving across the Great Lakes was forecast to produce near gale to gale conditions from Hatteras northward (mostly 30-40 knots). Might be a bit rough but hardly storm conditions,” marine meteorologist and ship routing expert with Ocean Weather Services, Fred Pickhardt, commented to gCaptain.

In other Anthem of the Seas news, Royal Caribbean said Monday that about 10 guests per day were reporting symptoms of norovirus during the cruise, but the company insists that the outbreak didn’t impact the decision to return to port early.