• Sat
  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:22am
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Protesting cruise ship passengers not bullies, says lawmaker Ann Chiang

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 1:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 4:57am

Passengers involved in a sit-in on a cruise ship were not "bullies", a lawmaker who joined the protests said amid criticism that they caused unnecessary delays.

"They are not bullies. They refused to leave because they had limited bargaining power," said Ann Chiang Lai-wan, one of about 300 passengers who refused to leave the Costa Victoria on Thursday, unhappy at the level of compensation offered for missing a stop in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay.

Chiang said she was not seeking compensation as she had booked the cruise individually rather than joining a tour.

Her comments came after a fellow passenger said on a radio programme that she was "ashamed" of the protest.

"The cruise company offered its apologies and opened its restaurants ahead of schedule," the unnamed passenger said, adding that activities were organised to keep passengers entertained when the half-day trip to the Unesco World Heritage site was called off.

The protests, which broke up late on Thursday after about 17 hours, delayed the journey of 2,000 passengers booked on a trip to Malaysia.

The confrontation was sparked, in part, by a fiery meeting with a representative of travel agency Miramar on Wednesday, passenger Peter Cheung, 57, said.

"The representative said something like 'you guys are just causing a stir for money'," said Cheung, who was one of the last passengers to leave the boat at 10.30pm. "One traveller was so angry hearing that comment he took out a pile of US dollars and threw them at the rep."

Cheung said the rep had told passengers the compensation would be limited to the estimated HK$340 per head cost of the Ha Long Bay stop, part of a six-day cruise that cost up to HK$18,000.

"The rep was quite immature … he didn't even say sorry," Cheung said.

The mood deteriorated further when the ship's crew refused to provide water during the protest, and when Miramar's general manager, Alex Lee Chun-ting, told a radio programme that passengers had "hijacked" the ship.

"Even an educated person would become irrational after hours without water," Cheung said, adding the one incensed man threatened to jump overboard. Passengers only received drinks after the Travel Industry Council intervened in the afternoon.

Passenger Windy Kwok Pui-fong said matters might have turned out differently had Miramar bosses started discussions with disgruntled tourists early in the morning.

"I can't believe the crisis management of such a big agency could be so poor," she said.

Miramar manager Lee, who met 20 passengers at midnight on Thursday, refused to comment on his staff's behaviour.

On Thursday, he suggested the passenger who threw money had shown poor manners.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

captam
Better still, why not ask Italy to apologize. The cruise line is based in Genoa . It surely must be Silvio Berlusconi's fault because of attending too many 'bunga bunga' parties?
Sugelanren
One tiny step towards embracing the culture from our mother country!
HK-Lover
If you believe you are legally entitled to a higher compensation than offered, go the legal way. Write one or two letters demanding the compensation you believe you are legally entitled to and if you can't find an agreement, turn to the Small Claim Tribunal which cost you only HK$ 20 to HK$ 40 and let an adjudicator decide what you are entitled to. Of course the risk is that you might be entitled to less than Miramar offered you in the first place.
But blackmailing and occupying someone else's property (not leaving the ship) is not the way an educated, rational and civil person should chose.
This lawmaker should think twice whether she is truly suitable to be a lawmaker having such weird attitude towards settling a dispute.
pauluszimmerman
Still no news when the barge sunk in Vietnam, and when the maritime industry was notified. If Miramar could have known, than they owe compensation. If not, than bad luck. Accidents happen. Be glad you got back home safely.
HiggsSinglet
yeah, tell that ugly alex lee to ESAD!!!
captam
Your vulgar personal comments like this are really not welcome on this forum.
Do you not have anything intelligent to write?

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