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Greenshade

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About Greenshade

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. Yes, you're quite right. I'm not that well versed on maritime law. I do know that AMC's CEO at the time, Bill Jesse, intended to move the Liberte to be the third vessel of what would then be the interisland cruise fleet in Hawaii after obtaining the waiver but logistically had to bring her out in a timely manner and thus arose the Tahiti itinerary. Both the Independence and the Constitution had obtained the waiver and neither vessel ever visited any foreign port while operated by AMC. There were many matters that brought about the demise of AMC, not the least of which was the Tahiti misadventure. The Liberte was a beautiful vessel and the itinerary was extraordinary but as I have mentioned earlier, the local government created numerous barriers to its success. There were also many problems internally in the management of the company and in its interaction with the SIU, the union that crewed the vessels. At various times I served as the Chief Cabin Steward (on the Independence), the Chief Steward (on the Constitution) and the Second Steward (on the Liberte). There was an ocean of difference between the operation of the two vessels in Hawaii and the Liberte in Tahiti. The foreign nationals who made up much of the crew on the Liberte were totally professional and competent. By contrast, the American crew was often much less so and there were constant problems.
  2. Just discovered this site while looking for old friends I shipped with, in the 1980s. I worked on the Independence, the Constitution and the Liberté for ten years as a Cabin Steward, Second Steward, Auditor and Chief Steward. During that time the company, American Hawaii Cruises (AHC), went through three changes of ownership and management. As American flag registered cruise ships, the Independence and the Constitution operated under the auspices of the US Coast Guard and the crew were members of the SIU (Seafarers International Union). The last owner brought out the Liberté, which was intended to eventually become the third ship in the fleet sailing in Hawaii. But because it takes an act of Congress to register a cruise ship under American Flag (https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/23/~/the-jones-act-%26-the-passenger-vessel-services-act ) and that takes time, the Liberté was brought out in Tahiti on a one-week cruise to six islands: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Rangiroa. The officers were American and the crew was a mix of Indonesian, Filipino and Taiwanese nationals (not unionized). It was a spectacular cruise but the company had endless difficulties with the French Territorial Government which was utterly inept and corrupt, expecting bribes and payoffs to allow the ship to stay in operation. As an example, at one point they held up our container shipment of California wines on some pretext for several weeks, trying to force the company to buy extremely expensive imported French wines. Another incident occurred when the company shipped a container of luxurious beach towels with the AHC logo to Papeete. The shipment went apparently went into one side of the warehouse and directly out the other. Over the following weeks we saw our beach towels being worn as sarongs, put up in windows, etc! After little more than a year in service, the Tahiti operation bankrupted the company. I believe the Liberté went into service in Asia but eventually hit the scrap heap. The Independence eventually became a University Campus but then it, too, ended up on the scrap heap. The Constitution, the ship I had spent most of my ten years working on, went down while being towed to Asia and sits on the ocean floor. Those of you who sailed on the Constitution may remember Captain Wu. He had been in the Hong Kong Navy before coming to AMC as Captain. He sailed his first week as a passenger in a single room on Sun Deck were I was at the time a cabin steward and took care of him. No one knew who he was and I assumed he was simply a passenger. The truth was he wanted to see how the crew operated and the ship was run before taking command. I treated him as I did all my passengers, with friendliness and professionalism. It apparently made an impression. As Captain, he would go on weekly inspections with his Senior Officers and all the cabin stewards dreaded it. He did "white glove" inspections. If any lint or dirt showed up on his glove, no matter where he checked, the poor cabin steward did overtime until his section was spotless. Coming into my section he would always tell his officers in his Pidgeon English, "Denny da best boy, he section perfect, no need check," and they would pass by. All the other cabin stewards hated me! Likewise, when he inspected crew quarters and came to my cabin he made his officers take off their shoes before entering. He was quite the character. I understand that he passed away some years ago. If any of you have photos of any of the crew from any of the three ships, I would love to see them. Thanks! Photo is of the Liberté, I believe anchored in the lagoon at Bora Bora.
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