January 22, 2006

QM2 passengers make mutiny threat

Passengers on the luxury Queen Mary 2 cruise ship are threatening to mutiny after the ship set sail from Florida with a damaged propeller.
They have said they will refuse to disembark when the ship reaches Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next week, to prevent it from continuing its journey.
It has dropped three ports of call because it is running at reduced speed after the accident.
Cunard Lines, which operates the ship, says it has offered compensation.
On tow
The world's largest liner is on a 38-day trip around South America.
However it is running two days behind schedule, with one of its four propulsion pods out of commission.
The British-registered ship had to be towed back to Fort Lauderdale in Florida on 17 January after one of its motors hit an underwater channel.
Passengers have reacted angrily to the change of plans, saying they were only told scheduled stops - at the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Barbados, and Salvador in Brazil - were cancelled once the ship set sail from Fort Lauderdale.
The mood among passengers is extremely angry and becoming more so
Passenger Alan Berg
Many passengers planned to meet relatives at the aborted destinations and have paid for hotels and sight-seeing trips.
"We have been lied to and misled," passenger Alan Berg, 63, from Manchester, UK, told the BBC News website.
"We should have been allowed the option of getting off at Fort Lauderdale and not taking the cruise at all. It is not in fact a cruise now but a rather a voyage by sea to Rio. Many guests are on once-in-a-lifetime holidays and I have seen several in tears.
'Held hostage'
"The mood among passengers is extremely angry and becoming more so."
Mr Berg said many of the 2,500 passengers are demanding a full refund and are threatening to refuse to disembark at Rio de Janeiro or pay for anything on board.
He says passengers have held several angry meetings with the Queen Mary's captain, Commodore Ronald Warwick, but have not yet reached a satisfactory outcome.
Passengers who are travelling to Rio will be given a 50% refund
Cunard Lines spokesman
One passenger described the situation as "being held hostage by Cunard and he felt like a prisoner", Mr Berg said.
A spokesman from Cunard said: "The ship is proceeding on three engines and therefore is moving slightly slower than it would on four engines.
"We have 1,000 passengers that are being picked up at Rio, and it's essential it arrive in Rio on time.
"Passengers who are travelling to Rio will be given a 50% refund of the fare that they have paid."
Latest mishap
He said the company would not offer passengers a bigger discount than the 50% already made. He added that Cunard would have to react to the threat of a sit-in "when the time comes".
The ship is scheduled to complete its full journey in Los Angeles on 22 February.
The QM2 is the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship. It weighs 150,000 tonnes and is 345 metres (1,132ft) long and 41 metres (135ft) high.
This latest mishap is not the first time the liner has known trouble.
Fifteen people were killed when a gangway collapsed while the ship was in dry dock at St Nazaire, France, in 2003.
In 2004, she arrived back home from her maiden voyage late after bow doors covering propellers failed to shut in Portugal.

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