Feb. 23, 2004 – The mini-cruise ship Vistamar was given the go-ahead on Sunday afternoon to leave the port of Charlotte Amalie after safety issues raised by the U.S. Coast Guard upon the vessel's arrival on Friday afternoon were resolved satisfactorily.
According to The West Indian Co., the Vistamar arrived at the port of St. Thomas at 2 p.m. Friday from San Juan after a sail through St. John waters.
Lt. John Reinert of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment on St. Thomas said on Monday that the concerns had to do with the level of training ship's officers had received and with questions about whether the officers could direct a rescue mission should the ship encounter an emergency at sea.
The vessel, which has a capacity of 295 passengers, is operated by Plantours & Partner and sails mainly in European waters.
"It was found that they lacked the International Convention for Standards of Training certificate and watch keeping," Reinert said.
The standards are a requirement of the International Maritime Organization.
"We held them here until they got training, and what the cruise line did was to send a trainer from Florida," Reinert said. In all, he said , the ship remained in port for about 36 hours.
Reinert said the concerns were raised because the required paperwork which is routinely kept on board cruise ships was not readily available. "It's pretty routine, not part of any big investigation," he said. "The training of officers is a pretty standard paper trail."
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