January 31, 2001

CLIA predicts another record year for cruising
The North American cruise industry is well on the way to another record-setting year, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Bookings during what is traditionally known as the Wave Period are up over the same period last year, CLIA-member lines indicate.

Several lines report record-setting booking numbers during the first three full weeks after the New Year holiday, which is traditionally a barometer of booking activity for the remainder of the year.

"The Wave Period numbers put CLIA on track to surpass last year's record of nearly 6.9 million cruise passengers," says James G. Godsman, CLIA president. "With a net capacity increase of 8 percent in 2001, we would expect passenger growth to rise accordingly."

"The strong numbers can be attributed to several factors, including the cruise lines' aggressive promotions in the fourth quarter of 2000, nasty weather throughout much of the country in the beginning of 2001 and the widespread perception that cruises offer a great deal of value. It is clear that more and more consumers are understanding the value of cruising."

A sampling of CLIA-member lines reveals the following Wave Period activity:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines experienced two consecutive weeks of record reservations, with both weeks surpassing last year's one-week high. During the period Jan. 8-14, Carnival booked 52,334 individual guests on a net basis, a 25 percent increase over the previous 2000 one-week record.
  • Bookings for First European Cruises are up substantially during Wave Period, reflecting a 50 percent increase over the same time next year.
  • Holland America Lines reports that Wave Period bookings are strong and steady, with overall averages higher than last year and ahead of anticipated pace.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line officials say they are pleased with the Wave Period booking activity and the positive response to the line's Freestyle Cruising concept.
  • In January, Orient Lines enjoyed a 50 percent increase in bookings for its summer cruise-tours to the Mediterranean and Scandinavia

Geneva Accord for seafarers
The Geneva Convention protects the interests of prisoners of war. Seafarers may be looking to a recently announced "Geneva Accord" to safeguard them.

The accord was announced at the 29th session of the Joint Maritime Commission of the International Labor Organization. today announced a major agreement, It is designed to improve safety and working conditions in the maritime industry.

The JMC, which brings togther shipowners' and seafarers' representatives, also agreed to update the ILO minimum wage for seafarers from $435 to $450 with effect from January 1, 2002 and to $465 as of January 1, 2003. The ILO minimum wage takes into consideration a formula which reflects changes in consumer prices and exchange rates against the U.S. dollar in 48 maritime countries and areas.

Participants to the session, including representatives of shipowners and seafarers, resolved that "the emergence of the global labor market for seafarers has effectively transformed the shipping industry into the world's first genuinely global industry, which requires a global response with a body of global standards applicable to the whole industry."

The week-long session agreed that the existing ILO maritime instruments should be consolidated and brought up-to date by means of a new, single "framework Convention" on maritime labour standards.

The meeting recommended an institutional basis for a review of all aspects of shipping and expressed its concern that the qualification of a ship as sub-standard has so far been based only on the requirements established by IMO. It requested that all necessary measures be taken to ensure that applicable social and labour standards were also given due consideration in this context.

The JMC agreement represents a major departure in ILO standard-setting practice. With a view to ensuring acceptable standards of working and living conditions for seafarers of all nationalities and in all merchant fleets, the approach envisages a more logical and flexible structure for maritime labor instruments and a more streamlined process for keeping them up-to-date.

The Commission was chaired by Ms. Birgit Solling Olsen, representing the ILO Governing Body and Mr. Dierk Lindemann and Brian Orrell were spokespersons for the Shipowners' and Seafarers' groups respectively.

At the close of the meeting, representatives of the International Shipping Federation (ISF) and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) on behalf of shipowners and seafarers respectively said:

"The Geneva Accord is the first important step on a difficult road towards ensuring that our uniquely international industry has in place an effective body of globally applied labour standards. We are proud to be the torchbearers for the ILO's campaign to promote decent work the world over."

The JMC called on the ILO Governing Body to authorize a program of tripartite meetings (shipowners, seafarers and governments) to prepare for an ILO Maritime Conference in 2005 to adopt the anticipated new "framework Convention".

The JMC also expressed deep concern about recent arrests of seafarers, in particular ship captains, following maritime accidents, even before any investigation had taken place and called on the ILO Director-General to bring these concerns to the attention of all ILO member States.

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