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Safety issues strand Japanese cruise passengers another day

By STEVE HUETTEL

Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — Inspectors found new safety problems Friday on the cruise ship Clipper Pacific, leaving about 675 Japanese passengers stuck in Tampa for at least another day.

Representatives of the Bahamian government and ship's classification society, which vouches for a vessel's seaworthiness, discovered "several deficiencies" in firefighting, life-saving and safety equipment, said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Carroll, chief of Coast Guard safety inspections in Tampa.

The Coast Guard won't let the ship depart or allow passengers to stay on board in port until the problems are resolved, said Carroll.

The Clipper Pacific arrived at the Port of Tampa from New York Monday to get a one-inch gash in its hull repaired at Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Co. Passengers have stayed at four upscale hotels downtown.

They are on a round-the-world cruise that left from Japan in May. The three-month trip was sponsored by Peace Boat, a non-profit in Japan that promotes peace, human rights and respect for the environment, according to its Web site. The group chartered the Clipper Pacific from International Shipping Partners in Miami. The company did not return calls for comment Friday.

"Some people are upset; some are taking it easy,'' said Ryo Ijichi of Peace Boat, who is in Tampa making arrangements for passengers.

Steve Huetttel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Safety issues strand Japanese cruise passengers another day 07/25/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 7:18pm]
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