Leaked audio: Crew stuck for weeks on board Norwegian Cruise Line ship threatened with ‘prosecution by shoreside authorities’ if they leak information

‘They don’t want any communication with the outside world,’ one crew member told Business Insider. File Photo/Reuters
  • Crew members on the Norwegian Epic were told that leaking information about ship operations “might lead to dismissal from the ship or even prosecution by shoreside authorities.”
  • The warning comes as about 2,500 crew members remain stuck on the ship because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Many of these crew members are no longer receiving pay as they await the chance to return home.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
  • On a cruise ship? Send tips to [email protected]
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Crew stuck on the Norwegian Epic have been warned against leaking information from the ship, according to leaked audio Business Insider obtained from a crew member on board.

In an “important announcement” broadcast shipwide on Wednesday, a member of the Epic’s leadership team told crew that “the communication of written, verbal, photographic, video, or computer material regarding company, guest, employees’ activities, operations, or business without permission of the company is prohibited.”

The member of the ship’s leadership team said “such offences might lead to dismissal from the ship or even prosecution by shoreside authorities.” The person who made the announcement added that the policy was both “effective immediately” and had “always been in place” for “the protection of our crew.” He also said that anyone taking pictures should always “ask permission” of their fellow crew beforehand.

The announcement came weeks into what has been a monthslong ordeal for many cruise-line crew members around the world. Because they cannot disembark over coronavirus fears around the world, thousands of cruise-line crew members have remained stuck on vessels for months. Many have had their pay slashed or their contracts terminated altogether.

At first, some crew members took to social platforms like Tik Tok to create more lighthearted content about their situations. But now Norwegian appears to be attempting to plug the flow of information from and between its vessels. When two crew members died on board the Norwegian Gem in April, news spread through informal employee whisper networks, rather than official cruise-line channels.

Norwegian Cruise Line did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. A different crew member on the Epic told Business Insider the company “started to give warnings to anyone who posts anything on social media.”

“They don’t want any communication with the outside world,” the crew member said.

On the Norwegian Jade, a ship moored in Dubai’s Port Rashid, a member of the crew said that a similar announcement had gone out. However, they said that it was “nothing more than a polite warning to stop posting stuff” and a request to avoid “posting anything you shouldn’t” about the ship’s operations.

“The captain mentioned in his announcement yesterday that when we signed a contract, we signed up for the social-media policy,” the crew member said.

A crew member on board the Epic, which is off the coast of Miami, told Business Insider that employees on the ship were still permitted to have their phones in public areas, but photos and videos have been discouraged. The crew member said they have also been asked to stop bringing portable speakers and projectors to the crew bar area “to eliminate large groups congregating around tables.”

In the Wednesday announcement regarding Norwegian’s policy on dealing with leaks, the member of Epic’s ship leadership team signed off with a film quote of the day for crew members: “May the odds be ever in your favour.”

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