Article for Review: Horror below decks.
What you should know before boarding a cruise ship
By: Eve Conanat and Barbie Latza Nadeau
Summary of the Article
This article discusses two major issues. The first of the issues is the boat that went down in the Mediterranean Sea. This is a boat that was full of tourists and vacation goers that sank taking with it the lives of some of those on board. The major problem is not only that it went down, but the overall manner in which the situation was addressed. The captain of the ship was one of the first people to leave when it was finally evacuated. Furthermore, when the boat started to take on water the captain waited an additional hour before finally responding to the coast guard that they actually needed help. By that time of course the boat was leaning and clearly sinking out of control. This issue was then further exacerbated by the fact that the staff on the boat had no direction, knew not how to help anyone and had no training or authority to be of any use to themselves, their coworkers or the passengers on the boat. This brought up the second major issue in the article, treatment and realities of the workers on this boat and boats in general.
Workers on cruise ships are taken in large numbers from impoverished third world nations like the Philippines. These individuals are then paid very low wages while being worked very long hours. Their work loads are also impractical and no very much able to be actualized. Workers are not communicated with and are not treated well. They are also not trained on safety in any real manner and this all compounds into many accidents, hurt workers and out of control situations that could have been better dealt with had there not been no preparations of the staff. This was seen in the many examples given of workers getting hurt, or having no way to help the passengers on the boats they are on.
Issues in the Article
The article addresses many issues. The first would be the fact that there are clearly no safety training sessions in place. This is a major issue because it causes not only damage when there are accidents but also major issues when there are regular day to day activities that the staff have to take care of that can result in injury. There is also the issue of humans being treated as virtual slaves on these ships which is an embarrassing issue especially since it is done to support such a pointlessly hedonistic activity like cruise ship vacations. The cleanliness of the rooms and the workloads also seems to be a major issue as well. Overall, the major issues addressed in this article seemed to center on the issue of the worker training, treatment and expectations. On top of that I would say that there is a clear problem in terms of the management structure of the boat as the captain in this case was clearly inept and his sole decision to delay the safety call for help to the coast guard for an hour ended up costing human lives.
The entire situation has been handled wrong from the start because people are seen as a cheap and expendable commodity in the eyes of the management of the ships. Instead of addressing their shortcomings at all they seemed to just dismiss the entire situation as one that was an accident and unavoidable when in reality it seems that it was avoidable in many manners. At a bare minimum the employees need to have some chain of command and some basic levels of training when it comes to safety issues and how to respond to them which is lacking. There also needs to be better command chains at the top. This is not a Navy ship, while chain of command and the power of the captain is important for order, there is no reason that a single individual should be allowed to play with the lives of innocent travelers.