Bar Harbor Pier Fire Sabotage or Accident Before June Cruise Terminal Vote

Cruise Pier Fire Sabotage, Accident Or?

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, a fire damaged the Bar Harbor Ferry pier. The fire department was notified, that the former international ferry terminal was reported ablaze by Atlantic Oceanside Hotel at 0340 hours. The fire department discovered wooden decking, pylons and supports were burning. The fire was put out, but around 0800 hours the fire flared up again and more water was put on the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and arson has not been ruled out. The fire damages to the pier hinders tendering from the cruise ships to the dock, for passengers seeking to visit the town and excursions into Acadia National Park.

There are quite a few vocal Bar Harbor citizens in this town of 5,235, and those from other east coast states, who oppose the cruise industry as a whole and the alleged associated negative environmental impact and pollution they bring into Bar Harbor. As well, there are many who support the cruise industry’s contribution to local businesses and area employment.

Reality check: Job listings have soared ahead of high season as of May 10, 2016: 326 Bar Harbor jobs listed at Indeed.com 82 Bar Harbor jobs listed at Monster.com,  818 jobs listed at Glassdoor.com   for the area.  There are also local National Park Services jobs, as a result of increased interest in Acadia National Park, where many cruise ship passengers go for excursions while in port.  It’s not hard to see why many locals support cruise industry growth.

The town has put a Port Authority bill, Article 12 on the June 13 ballot. Article 12 is a zoning amendment for the ferry terminal property. It creates a new Shoreland Maritime Activities District which is a single parcel of land at 112 Eden Street under state guidelines for facilitating a deep water port facility.

Independence Port Calls

Also on the June 13 ballot, is competing petition Article 13, which is a zoning amendment related to cruise ships. Article 12 is a citizen petition. The issue “limits cruise ships berthed at any pier or dock to 300 feet long or less in all shoreland districts“.

The 300 foot limit allows local cruise ships to dock. That limit on length is designed to allow for local tour boats such as Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Acadian Boat Tours, Lulu Lobster Boat Ride, Rachel B Jackson Schooner, 151-foot Schooner Margaret Todd and the 195-foot-long American Cruise Lines’ Independence to used the pier, but not full-size cruise ships. The Independence calls at Rockland and Bar Harbor as well as other Maine cruise ship ports.

The limit also allows Blount Small Ship Adventure Line’s (aka American Canadian Caribbean Line)  184-foot Grande Caribe cruise ship which is home-ported in Rockland, Maine in the summer to call at Bar Harbor on their 12-day cruises.

Blount Small Ship Adventures had incidents with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the past. The most recent event was on  June 15, 2015, when Grande Caribe was involved in a re-portable event with $300 damage in the Oswego Canal.

On July 3, 2013,  a crew member penetrated the hull of Grande Caribe with a needle gun resulting in minor flooding.  A needlegun scaler, needle scaler or needle-gun is a tool used to remove rust, mill scale, and old paint from metal surfaces. The small cruise ship is more than 20 years old, built in the mid 1990 and put into service in June 1997. For a well-maintained cruise ship, 20 years in an infancy.

However, maintenance is lacking on the Grande Caribe, and it has a much less than desirable average CDC inspection score over the past 28 inspections, with an average score of 90 out of 100 possible and a low failing score of 61. A score of 85 or less is failing; Grande Caribe has had three failing scores and four scores of 87. The October 26, 2014 inspection score of 87, had some troubling issues.

There was a serious outbreak on the Grande Caribe September 30, 2008 with 43% of the  passengers falling ill with diarrhea and vomiting. Those incidents can largely be contained with proper sanitizing and food handling procedures. The low CDC inspection scores indicate cleaning and food handling is an issue on the cruise ship.

To limit the size of a cruise ship calling at a port, doesn’t necessarily limit risk to residents, it may actually contribute to issues, with cruise lines porting which may have less stringent standards, than mainstream, larger corporate cruise line policies.

The Opposition – Those Against Bar Harbor Cruise Industry Growth

Sarah Steinhardt New York City

Friends of Frenchman Bay is a group organized to support passage of Article 13 and defeat the Port Authority bill in the state legislature.

Hancock Point,Maine

Frenchman Bay Group member Sarah Jean Steinhardt,  (Twitter: Sarah Steinhardt (@Steipi) goes to her family summer place in Hancock Point, Maine at the north end of Frenchman Bay. Steinhardt’s  parents own the summer home.  Her mother passed away on  June 24, 2016. Steinhardt’s main residence is in New York City. This means she is not legally able to vote in the state of  Maine, yet she has some interest in changing local legislation for the few months a year she might stay there.

The Frenchman Bay Facebook page has 176 likes. The Facebook page update on May 4, 2017, says, “The Port Authority Authorization Bill has been carried over to January 2018. It will be back, and we are not going away. The Clerk of the Transportation Committee said Friends of Frenchman Bay and their supporters sent hundreds of opposing emails, so many emails that she could not fit them into a packet for the members!”

Save Frenchman Bay and Acadia National Park Maine from a Mega Cruise Ship Pier!

The petition is seeking 1000 signatures and as of May 10, 2017, has attained 751 signatures.

Rose Eden Cottages in Bar Harbor Maine
Rose Eden Cottages in Bar Harbor Maine

The petition states, “The cruise ship lines have Frenchman Bay and Acadia National Park Maine in their sights for further development. They would like Bar Harbor, which is the closest town to the Park, to build a pier capable of docking two 1000′ long, 200′ tall cruise ships at a time. And NO environmental impact study has been done at this time. As it is now, without a pier, 171 cruise ship visits are scheduled for 2017. 226,000 visitors. That’s plenty.

We are against LD 1400, An Act To Create the Bar Harbor Port Authority,  in the Maine State Legislature. It calls for the emergency establishment of a Bar Harbor Port Authority. A port authority will enable millions of dollars in bonds to be raised in order to finance this $30-40,000,000 project. In our opinion, development of the pier will demand more and more cruise ships to come into Frenchman Bay, to pay for this infrastructure and as a ROI.

The largest cruise ships can carry up to 6,000 tourists and crews of 2000 each. The proposed pier would allow up to two mega cruise ships to dock at Bar Harbor each day, so together they could allow up to 10,000 day tripping tourists per day to land at Bar Harbor. This is in addition to existing cruise ships that already anchor in the Bay–taller than the Porcupine Islands in the Bay, that you see pictures of above. We petitioners hereby express our strongest possible opposition to a Port Authority which–in our opinion–will lead to the development of this up to 1/2 mile long mega pier in Bar Harbor. And once again, NO environmental impact study is being done at this time.

We support ecological sanity for Frenchman Bay and surrounding areas.

We believe that more cruise ships would be bad for Bar Harbor businesses, bad for the physical health of Bar Harbor residents, and a national travesty for Acadia National Park, the only National Park in the entire New England region.

BAD FOR BAR HARBOR BUSINESSES

Large numbers of mega cruise ship day-tripping tourists flooding into Bar Harbor, MDI and Acadia National Park would cause significant disruption: traffic, noise, congestion, lines. These nuisances would result in a worse quality of tourism for the thousands of overnight tourists. In our opinion, If mega cruise ship day tripping tourists overwhelm Bar Harbor and Acadia, overnight tourists will go elsewhere. Overnight tourists spend locally 10 times more per day than cruise ship tourists, so such cruise ships jeopardize the very lifeblood of Bar Harbor and greater Frenchman Bay: tourism.”

Sarah Jean Steinhardt created an online petition on Change.org opposing construction of a cruise ship pier and opposing the Port Authority bill in the legislature. As noted above, Steinhardt’s address is listed as both New York and Maine.

On May 8, the town of Bar Harbor put forth a business plan. They examined how revenue from fees charged to cruise ships could support the purchase of the ferry terminal property and construction of a cruise ship pier and other development at the ferry terminal site.

They also discussed the criteria for the proposed cruise ship pier, “A facility for accepting cruise ship passengers. Under a feasibility plan developed by consultants Bermello Ajamil and Partners in 2012 and updated in 2016, a pier able to accommodate two large cruise ships could be built at the site, allowing passengers to disembark directly and eliminating the need for tendering. To date, there are only conceptual plans. No piers shown are longer than 2,000 feet.”

Looking at the map, if as alleged,  overnight tourists will go elsewhere, where will they go? Bar Harbor cruises are also frequently scheduled to call at Rockland. Maine. Are they speaking for Rockland residents too? Bar Harbor Maine Cruise Ship Schedule

The group is hosting Ross A. Klein of Cruise Junkie on May 17th  6-7:30 pm. Klein, has a well-known rumor mongering news website which regurgitates select hateful cruise industry news and unconfirmed events at sea,  tips he gets from anonymous website visitor sources.  Full investigative articles are as rare as the facts offered to support claims.

Cruise Bruise has learned that the Canadian’s traffic comes from the USA 33.5% , 27.5% from Hong Kong and 13.2% from the Philippines and the rest is assorted other countries. According to those statistics, the website is not very popular among fellow Canadians. Though the statistics we saw, associate him with the Cruise Ship Deaths website, I can assure you the Junkie website has NO connection to us.

Klein, from Canada, has written several books outlining cruise industry “incidents”.  His online profile says, “Since 1992, Ross Klein has taken more than 30 cruises in all parts of the world, comprising more than 300 days.”. If cruising is such a bad idea,  as he claims,  in Paradise Lost at Sea: Rethinking Cruise Vacations, why did  he keep feeding cruise lines money and making them rich, cruise after cruise?

The Ross Klein Cruise Industry Saga

Who is Ross Klein and why does he write about the cruise industry? This is who he said he was, when he launched his website, without any corrections from Cruise Bruise to this author’s statement. “How did I become interested in writing about the cruise industry you may wonder.

My partner and I initially began taking cruises as a vacation choice.  As we spent more time on ships, particularly back­to­back cruises where we remained on board for as long as 24 days, I began to see things that captured my curiosity and my interest.  The more I saw, the more questions I came to ask.  My writing comes intially out of those experiences and questions, but is supported (as you’d expect of an academic­ type) by review of trade publications, media reports, government investigations and reports, congressional hearings, documents produced by nongovernmental organizations, and of course from chatting with those I have met in my travels. When I  began writing I was sympathetic to the cruise industry.  As I saw and experienced more I began to see a contradiction between what the industry projects as its image (environmental sensitivity and responsibility, customer service and concern with service standards, so­called five star dining, etc) and the realities seen, experienced, and reported.  Though I remain sympathetic (I continue to be in disbelief that an industry spending so much money on advertising and on attracting customers can be so insensitive in the way it treats its customers, its workers, and the environment.)  I have never expected the industry to be perfect, but I have expected it to stand behind its product.  That expectation has been the source of the greatest disappointment.

For those interested, I have cruised on Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Matson Line, Norwegian Cruise
Line, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Regency Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Royal Cruise Line, Seabourn
Cruise Line, Sitmar Cruises, and several niche operators (including a Nile River cruise, the Mikhail Lermontov on its maiden visit to North America, and several others).”

Our Perspective

Sunken Mikhail Lermontov

To put one thing into perspective, the Russian Mikhail Lermontov cruise ship launched on December 31, 1970, which Klein says he cruised aboard, sunk on February 16, 1986, 14 years before Klein launched his website. Mikhail  Lermontov  was about 30 miles northwest of Wellington, New Zealand at 1737 hours, with a forward speed of  15 knots, when the Mikhail Lermontov struck rocks about 18 feet below the waterline on its port side. The sinking resulted in the death of one Russian crew member, Pavel Zagladimov.

If the cruise industry was forever more judged by one Russian cruise sinking, nobody in their right mind would want to cruise.

Also note, the published Canadian ‘Newfie’ from Newfoundland, Canada college professor’s writing above and below to get a rough idea about his thought process on cruises and how he came to his distaste for the cruise industry.

Ross Klein Complaint with the Cruise Industry

This is Klein’s complaint published to his website right after he launched it on January 6, 2001.  His primary reason for tearing into the cruise industry seemed to originate from his claim that he was blacklisted from Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and not receiving a  “gesture they could make to get us back”.

The professor has become a star witness on Capital Hill for those trying to over-legislate the cruise industry.  He testified before Congress on June 19, 2008.

However, by the time he testified on  March 1, 2012 and July 24, 2013 it had been removed from his website. It was removed from his website by  April 27, 2011 (doc on file) after we documented it on March 3, 2011(doc on file) .  The deletion conceals what some have called a hidden agenda for his cozy relationship with the those who have waged war on the cruise industry. Many of those who testified before Congress and/or joined victim groups over the years have sued a cruise line and millions of dollars have been paid to them, collectively.

From 2001 to April 2011, the post below was on his website. The letter content below has not been edited, it is presented exactly as posted online, except for bold font and [notes] we added for emphasis.

Radisson Diamond

EDITORIAL ­ Radissons Yes I Can Attitude More Accurately Is an I Dont Care Attitude My wife and I took a 16­day cruise on the Radisson Diamond [launched June 20, 1991] in May 2000.  Though the cruise generally was above average, it was marred by a bartender who became passive­aggressive toward us the third day of the cruise.  The aggressive behaviour escalated over the course of the cruise.  The situation was raised several times to senior onboard management.  The Food and Beverage Manager responded by saying that that bartender “is a difficult employee.  Weve had trouble with him before.  But nothing was done to change the bartender’s behaviour nor to correct the continually escalating problem.  We had to resign ourselves to his snide comments, to abusive actions, and eventually to his friends joining in his campaign against us.  Interestingly, I learned more than a year later that this bartender was still working for the company.

Song of Flower

When we returned home, we wrote to Mark Conroy, CEO of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises.  We expected that he would be as outraged as us by the behaviour and would respond apologetically.  To the contrary, he ignored the problem and demonstrated a naive belief that we would return to Radisson for a 35­day cruise we had booked for March/April 2001 on the Song of Flower.  We raised the matter to Marilyn Carlson Nelson,  CEO of Carlson Companies (parent company of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and Radisson Hotels).  She ignored our correspondence, but we did receive additional correspondence from Mr. Conroy.  My travel agent described the letter as arrogant.

In October 2000, Mr. Conroy sent another letter (in response to a second letter I sent to Ms. Carlson) that in effect called us liars.  He said that we hadnt given the company a chance to resolve the problem on the Diamond because we hadnt notified staff or management ­­ he ignored the fact that we had told him that the matter had been raised to shipboard management four or five times ­­ and he demonstrated ignorance about the way the Radisson Diamond was being run.  Contrary to the fact that the bartenders at the Splash Bar had a music system which was wired to speakers around the bar and around the pool, over which they played the music they liked (rap, rock and roll, whatever) with no regard for passengers, Mr. Conroy insisted that the only music played anywhere on the ship was controlled from a single central location (which wasn’t the Splash Bar). His letter was so insulting that we again wrote to the CEO of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises’ parent company and asked that the matter be addressed.  That letter was ignored.

In January 2001, my travel agent received an unsolicited call from one of Mr. Conroys assistants.  He asked, What can we do to get Dr. Klein back?.  I was told of the phone call the following day, and was told by the agencys manager that she would be in contact with RSSC to see what could be arranged.  To make her task easier we sent a fax outlining what would get us back to take the cruise on the Song of Flower;  we left open the type of gesture they could make to get us back in either December 2001 or April/May 2002.  After two weeks, and no follow up by RSSC with my travel agent, I called Mr. Conroys delegate and offered to discuss the matter with him.  He flatly refused to discuss it, indicating that he would only talk to my travel agent.  So that he would have the fax I had sent to my travel agent I sent him a copy.  He called my travel agent that afternoon (Tuesday) to say that he received my fax and he was working on a response and would have it on her fax machine first thing the following morning.  By Friday, having heard nothing, my travel agent called RSSC and was told that he had sent a letter to me, per my instructions.  I had given no such instructions.  I received a letter one week later essentially dismissing the whole matter.  A corporate vice president of the Canadian arm of Carlson Companies who was quite upset by the way we had been treated then intervened on our behalf and was told point blank that “they are not welcome on any of our ships.”  We had been blacklisted from their ships.

Needless to say, we wont be returning to RSSC and we would caution others about using any product provided by a Carlson company.  Both Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and its parent company appear to have an I Dont Care Attitude.

This is in stark contrast to their advertising that promises a “Yes I Can Attitude.”  Buyer beware!!! As a postscript, it is interesting to note a message posted in January 2003 on the rec.travel.cruises Usenet newsgroup in which the writer complains of music being played (under the control of bartenders) around the pool and that when she complained or asked that it be turned down, the bartenders instead turned the volume up.”

Klein appears to be somewhat associated with two groups of lawyers who sue the cruise lines.  He is also closely associated with others who claim to be cruising “victims”.

After researching hundreds of court documents related to cruise industry lawsuits for our websites, I can say beyond a doubt, many of the passengers fail to take personal responsibility for their own actions.  They then file lawsuits seeking to blame the cruise lines.  After many years of court research on hundreds of cases, we have proven, at least to ourselves, the cruise industry is most often the victim.

For actual information on Cruise Ship Deaths and those “great mysteries” of those missing at sea, see our  Cruise Ship Missing website. We paint a very unbiased, factual picture of events at sea, which largely debunk many of Klein and his pal’s claims of mysterious disappearances and cruise industry failures resulting in death at sea.

There are, of course the murders at sea, normally committed by a family member who used the cruise ship as the perfect crime scene,  to conceal a murder overboard at sea. You will find those on Cruise Ship Deaths, as well, each covered in great detail with supporting documentation.

Note: All referenced Junkie documents are on file

See also: