AMO Responds to Cruise Line Industry Criticisms

Press Release
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

American Maritime Officers Association (AMO) president follows up on his recent appearance on FOX News Channel.

The AMO president says his April 15 live appearance on FOX News Channel's segment, "Remembering Titanic 101 years Ago Today," which highlighted concerns about the rising tide of marine mishaps, has drawn undue criticism from the cruise ship industry's lobbying group, yet, has ignited overwhelming positive public and professional support of putting highly-trained AMO-member U.S. merchant mariners in command of more passenger vacation vessels.

A few days after American Maritime Officers President Tom Bethel appeared on "FOX & Friends," the Cruise Lines International Association issued a news release in the form of an open letter from CEO Christine Duffy to Mr. Bethel. She wrote, "I cannot let stand the misinformation and inaccuracies that were presented without response on behalf of the cruise line industry."

AMO did not misinform the public and did not disseminate inaccurate information. "Watch the TV segment on the internet link at the end of this news release," says Mr. Bethel. "Check the facts."

"The live FOX News interview originated from AMO's Dania Beach , Florida STAR Center command bridge navigational training simulator," says retired U.S. Navy Captain Philip Shullo , AMO's STAR Center Training Director. "During the broadcast, the simulator projected a high-tech, 360-degree, animated moving image of busy New York Harbor, which FOX host Steve Doocey characterized as 'cool' and that I characterize as cool and critical to the development of a maritime officer's command skills."

At the beginning of the news segment, Mr. Doocey reported the status of the Costa Concordia criminal case and mentioned a series of other cruise ship incidents.

Mr. Bethel's opening remarks were: "The first thing I'd like to point out is that none of these recent incidents involved an American flagged ship. And, none of these incidents involved an American officer."

AMO says Mr. Bethel accurately emphasized that most cruise ship lines are owned by publicly traded U.S. companies that hire mostly foreign officers and crew members from undeveloped nations and they register their vessels in foreign countries.

Foreign registry allows cruise lines to avert paying federal corporate income taxes and avoid potential litigation in American court rooms, according to U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller , speaking with reporters earlier this month when he reiterated his pursuit of an investigation of cruise industry practices.

The conclusion seems to be that the Nation's largest merchant mariner organization urges cruise line executives to hire more Americans, but the program itself may be accessed here.

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