Cruise Ship Accidents, Maritime Matter of the Week

New York Mayor Denies Offer For Hurricane Sandy Victim Cruise Ship “Hotels”


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Hurricane Sandy brought with it a wake of destruction and chaos. While luckily not many passengers aboard liners needed the assistance of a cruise ship injury attorney, the storm ravaged many other people’s lives on land, destroying their homes. Now, one boat broker from Denmark has come up with a plan to help Hurricane Sandy refugees. His plan is to convert two luxury vessels berthed off the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn into floating hotels for the victims. However, getting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to sign off on the proposal has not been easy. Bloomberg has denied the petition, but the broker isn’t taking “no” for an answer.

John McCarthy, a marine consultant who works with Frilow Ship Sales of Copenhagen, believes the cruise vessels can be converted into homes for over 2,400 Sandy victims. The cost for the federal government, he says, would be roughly $100 a person per day, but Bloomberg has turned down the idea.

“These people deserve a break,” McCarthy told The Brooklyn Paper. “So what if it’s a little luxury for a few months?”

According to McCarthy, Sandy victims would be able to enjoy catered meals, accommodations and the traditional cruise ship maid service for about $3,000 a month. While he didn’t disclose which ships he proposed for the plan until he obtained Bloomberg’s approval, he explained that one of the two ships has an “indoor and outdoor pool, seven bars, two restaurants, a video game room, a 500-seat theater, a casino, a nightclub and a disco.”

The two vessels are currently docked in Europe and are ready to make their way to the United States for the project. Mayor Bloomberg’s office has not commented on the proposal sources say Bloomberg feared that the city would incur too much debt and criticism from the project, similar to the criticism New Orleans political leaders faced when the federal government spent $236 million to reserve 10,000 staterooms for Hurricane Katrina refugees on three Carnival cruise ships that were mostly empty. According to critics, there was too much chaos onboard the vessels.

While McCarthy claims his plan for the two cruise ships would be a lot cheaper than Carnival’s – roughly $16 million per vessel, not including fuel and miscellaneous travel costs – Brad Gair, who was appointed housing recovery chief after Hurricane Sandy by Mayor Bloomberg, shot down the idea of putting the superstorm’s victims aboard cruise ships.

If by chance the plan does come to pass, Sandy survivors wouldn’t be the only ones living on the cruise ships. They would be joined by over 800 federal Hurricane Sandy recovery workers, who are currently living on three retrofitted cargo ships in New York harbor, one of which is docked off Staten Island.

Photo Credit: NASA

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