After 85 years of building Miami’s Black middle class, longshoremen face biggest crisis yet

Since its founding 85 years ago, the local longshoremen’s union has provided a dependable avenue to the middle class for Black Miamians willing do the mostly invisible, grueling work that makes PortMiami run. Over the decades, the group has weathered segregation and automation, growing to nearly 800 members strong. Now facing a once-in-a-century pandemic, the longshoremen hope the ships return soon so they can get back to work.

At PortMiami, cruise ships spew pollution instead of plugging into the grid. Why?

A single cruise ship docked at PortMiami — the busiest cruise port in the world — spews about 48 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the air during a 10-hour visit — equal to the emissions of about five houses in an entire year, according to EPA data. In a pre-pandemic year, cruise ships at the port emitted as much greenhouse gas as almost 7,000 houses annually — a bigger city than Pinecrest. The county has known about this problem for more than a decade but has done nothing to address it.

Stranded at sea: Crew members weigh COVID-19 trauma as they decide whether to return

Gan Sungaralingum is part of a growing number of cruise ship workers who say they will not be returning to their posts when cruises resume. Thousands, like Sungaralingum, suffered several months stranded at sea without pay after the industry shut down in mid-March amid COVID-19 outbreaks on several ships. The virus hit crew members particularly hard as cruise companies struggled to contain outbreaks even long after passengers departed. At least 1,779 crew members contracted COVID-19 and at least 29 died from the virus, according to a Miami Herald investigation.

Injured cruise ship worker ‘forgotten’ after seven months in South Florida hotels

An injured Royal Caribbean Group crew member, Paúl Córdova, 48, has been living in South Florida hotels since January. For 95 days, he has repeatedly asked the Miami-based company to send him home to Peru, where his wife and two teenage children are waiting for him. Though five repatriation flights for crew members have left since April, the company either did not respond to his pleas or said his repatriation was impossible at the time. Córdova has become yet another casualty of the cruise industry’s chaotic journey through the COVID-19 pandemic. His name could be added to a list of more than 100,000 cruise ship workers who have spent months stranded away from their families.

More cruise ships are leaving U.S. waters — and CDC coronavirus reporting requirements

After the cruise industry shut down in mid-March, dozens of ships could be spotted lingering off the Miami Beach coast or moving in and out of PortMiami each day. More than five months later, as cruises remain canceled, it’s rare to see even one cruise ship floating off the coast. Many have left U.S. waters — and with that, the scrutiny of the country’s top healthy agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No information. No way off. 100,000 crew members remain in cruise ship limbo for months.

In the avenue of ocean that stretches south from Miami to Cuba and northeast to the Bahamas, dozens of cruise ships sail back and forth. Every so often, they come into Florida ports to refuel and restock. Otherwise, they wait. The crew members on board — many no longer receiving paychecks — wait for news about when they will return home and see their families again. Two months after the cruise industry shut down amid repeated COVID-19 outbreaks on ships, more than 100,000 crew members remain trapped at sea with little reliable information about what will happen to them.

Royal Caribbean falsely blames CDC for keeping crew trapped on its ships, agency says

In announcements on several Royal Caribbean ships, captains told crew members that a story published by the Miami Herald on Thursday was untrue, according to audio recordings obtained by the Miami Herald. That story said that cruise executives were refusing to sign agreements with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would allow crew members to disembark and be repatriated. In an interview Friday, an official from the CDC reiterated that it is allowing crew members to leave, provided cruise companies agree to CDC rules.

Greg Mortimer cruise doctor pressured to edit coronavirus health form, safety officer fired

As Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer cruise ship approached Uruguay in late March seeking permission to disembark sick passengers, the cruise company encouraged the ship’s doctor to downplay the situation on board in his health declaration form, according to internal emails obtained by the Miami Herald. Now that all the passengers have left, the company has fired the top safety officer after he raised concerns about taking the ship on a three-week journey to Europe before repatriating crew.

Why Airbnb is making it harder for Miami locals to find a place to rent

What originally began as a website enabling homeowners to run a viable side gig has morphed into a high-return real estate investment industry. An analysis of Airbnb data available through third-party sites and interviews with Airbnb entrepreneurs found an increasing number of short-term rental companies are converting Miami rentals into full-time residential hotel rooms, leaving locals with fewer rental units.

Pilots at MIA’s biggest cargo airline warned execs a crash was coming. Then a plane went down.

As online shopping has boomed, so has business for cargo airlines. The global air cargo industry for U.S. carriers has grown by more than 20 percent in the last five years, measured in revenue ton-miles by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In that same time frame, Atlas grew its fleet by 90 percent from 60 planes to 114. The business boost has come with a dark side, according to several Atlas pilots and FAA inspectors.

Did hotels inflate the price of panic buttons to try to delay a law protecting workers?

In a bid to get Miami Beach to delay the deadline for installing panic buttons, a lobbyist for South Beach Group Hotels told commissioners last week that the technology would set the company back $250,000 to $500,000 per hotel. The company owns 16 hotels, according to its website. But quotes from Miami-based panic button vendors show that the cost of the systems meant to protect hotel workers from sexual assault and harassment is actually much lower than the hotel company claimed.

Carnival is on probation for polluting the ocean. They’re still doing it, court records show

In the year after Carnival Corporation was convicted of systematically dumping oily waste into the ocean and lying about it to regulators, its ships illegally discharged more than a half-million gallons of treated sewage, gray water, oil and food waste, and burned heavy fuel oil in ports and waters close to shores around the world, according to a court-appointed monitor.

Four Miami men died rafting during a Costa Rica bachelor trip. They weren’t the first.

Rafting guides working in Costa Rica say the country’s regulation infrastructure has not evolved enough to ensure the safety of the increasing number of tourists seeking thrills on the rivers. The industry remains largely self-regulated. The regulations that exist present loopholes that, at best, confuse legitimate tour operators, and, at worst, allow for illegal operators to lead rafting trips regardless.
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