Walter Fernandez, Crew Member Accidental Death, SS Festivale, Poisoness Gas

Walter Fernandez – Accidental Death, SS Festivale Crew, Spring 1988, Time of Death Unknown.

Time of Cruise Ship Death

While the crew members die from septic tank fumes, passengers are overcome with the horrible smell of sewer gases in the spring of 1988. Walter Fernandez, a Canadian, once worked for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Fernandez; says that two crew members died aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines SS Festivale, due to lack of safety procedures and negligence, and that the entire incident seems void from history, after a Carnival lead cover-up.

He then tells us that the problem involved lack of compassion, lack of ethics and lack of morals by various people employed on the ship, from the first responder nurse who refused to resuscitate the second crew member who died right through to the Italian officers aboard this ship. Fernandez says the problem was so severe that the Italian officers were using the two-man buddy system aboard for protection, and were armed due to fear of reprisals by the crew members.

The incident began as maintenance on the ship’s septic tank. These tanks require routine maintenance, and due to the line’s greed, is never done dock side in their home port, where passengers are not placed at risk, with their cruise ruined, by the vile smell of sewage filling the ship at every turn, on every deck. We have heard countless stories of passengers who have had their cruises ruined by the stench, and the common response to this from the lines has been, “it was unavoidable”. This of course is not true. Frequent maintenance on the sewer, dock side, could avoid these problems altogether. This of course would mean lost profits, so passengers embark on trips, that only a few officers of the ship know in advance, will be the cruise from hell, and it is deliberate.

Fernandez says the Captain, tried to keep the entire incident quiet, with the intent to disembark the bodies at St. Marteen in the Bahamas where nothing would be done, and the incident would be swept under the carpet. The crew felt if this happened, the incident would not be investigated, and the lives of their fellow crew members would be lost in vain. The deaths were preventable, and the crew wanted changes made to procedures that would protect them all. The threat of mutiny was very real.

The crew wanted an investigation by American authorities and pressed the officers to take the bodies to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where an American investigation would be sure to take place. The third victim, who survived, but was seriously injured, was disembarked at St.Marteen. However, the other two crew members, both who died, ultimately made it to San Juan, in body bags.

Fernandez told of the horror he experienced aboard Festivale that day.

“A septic tank was opened for maintenance while at sea, a normal routine job, but the weather was calm and with almost no wind, the fumes from the tank started to circulate all over the ship.

Many passengers started to complain about the strong smell.. This type of work required the tank to be open and ventilate for at least a week before entrance, but due to the passengers complaints, instead of ordering the closing of the tanks to carry the work another day, the company decided to do the job.

#1 crew member from Honduras went inside the tank under orders from the Donkey man, without respiratory protection (none were available for the non Italian crew members) he was dead before hitting the bottom of the tank due to a high concentration of gases inside the tank.

While the crew members die from septic tank fumes, passengers are overcome with the horrible smell of sewer gases in the spring of 1988. Walter Fernandez, a Canadian, once worked for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Fernandez; says that two crew members died aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines SS Festivale, due to lack of safety procedures and negligence, and that the entire incident seems void from history, after a Carnival lead cover-up.

He then tells us that the problem involved lack of compassion, lack of ethics and lack of morals by various people employed on the ship, from the first responder nurse who refused to resuscitate the second crew member who died right through to the Italian officers aboard this ship. Fernandez says the problem was so severe that the Italian officers were using the two-man buddy system aboard for protection, and were armed due to fear of reprisals by the crew members.

The incident began as maintenance on the ship’s septic tank. These tanks require routine maintenance, and due to the line’s greed, is never done dock side in their home port, where passengers are not placed at risk, with their cruise ruined, by the vile smell of sewage filling the ship at every turn, on every deck. We have heard countless stories of passengers who have had their cruises ruined by the stench, and the common response to this from the lines has been, “it was unavoidable”. This of course is not true. #2 crew member from Costa Rica had a six month old baby at home he had never met, he was going home soon. He tried to save the crew member from Honduras but he almost fell inside the tank also after being overcome by the gases in the tank. #3 crew member from Colombia, grabbed a hold of #2 crew member and hold him until a group of us pulled them on top of the tank for the nurse and doctor to perform CPR (none of us had the proper rescue training, neither confine space training necessary to work in a confine space) but no rescue equipment was available for them and since they were vomiting blood the nurse would not perform CPR on them. # 3 Crew member survived, and was disembark in St. Marteen.#2 crew member was dead after few minutes.” The next few days were very tense and no Italian crew member, petty officer or officer walked alone or did extra curriculum activities. Some reported that some of the Italians were armed. Fernandez says the story has been haunting him ever since, and he has asked us to present the story, so these three crew members, who died due to Carnival Cruise Lines negligence, will not be forgotten. He says that a few months later he immigrated to Canada, and hasn’t heard since, how that problem had been resolved.

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