A cruise ship engineer was recently awarded $45,000, after it was found that he had been fired from his job after expressing safety concerns.
In 2014 an employee for Wartsila New Zealand Limited, a company working for Princess Cruises, expressed his concerns relating to the safety of a ship on which he worked.
According to NZHerald.co.nz, engineer Stuart Hurst became concerned "When the Sea Princess departed from Brisbane on 16 February 2014, a diesel generator failed. A large explosion occurred and various critical alarms were activated. This resulted in one of the engines having to be shut down."
According to a ruling by New Zealand’s Employment Relations Authority (ERA), this incident prompted Hurst to “express his frustrations and concerns through various emails, including a response to a senior staff member of boat-owner Princess Cruises”. In the series of emails Hurst informed officials with Princess, Wartsila New Zealand Limited, and Wartsila Australia of his concerns.
As a result of the series of emails Wurst was fired, presumably due to the fact that he had shared the information with the company’s clients. Peter van Keulen of the ERA told the paper that he was not satisfied that the actual content of the allegations made by Mr. Hurst had ever been investigated, calling into question the companies’ response to a very serious situation.
We have often blogged about the fact that, every year, cruise ship engine room fires put passengers and crew in danger. It is important that cruise lines and their subcontractors put safety first, and do not allow such disputes to prevent much needed safety checks and repairs from occurring.