Sweat-ships: Why I’ll Never Go on a Cruise and Nor Should You

“Cruise Ships are a microcosm of our world.” – Craig Greenfield, Servants Vancouver

I’m currently in a class called Solidarity, Resistance and Liberation: The Way of God in the World that’s located in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver – an area that’s been called ‘the poorest postal code in Canada.’ It’s taught by Regent College’s Dave Diewert, who’s like the Brian Walsh of the West (my favourite-because-he’s-radical-and-creative prof at Wycliffe). It’s been freakin’ awesome.

We’ve gone around to different communities in the DTES, learning how they are engaging in solidarity with the poor, resistance of the oppressive political and economic powers of our age, and liberation for all of God’s children.

Today we learned why we should resist the injustice that occurs on cruise ships.

Because they are a microcosm of our world. God hates injustice, as unjust structures that maintain the status quo – the rich benefiting from the sweat of the poor (see the entire book of Amos, the Torah, most of the other prophets, the life of Jesus, and yes, even the Pauline epistles). This happens on a large scale in our current exploitative economic system, but happens on a smaller (but equally as unjust) scale on cruise ships.

The upper levels contain the wealthy elite, relaxing and enjoying the sun, the entertainment, and indulging in rich foods.  This “paradise” is made possible by the hundreds of poor workers laboring in horrid conditions on the lower levels of the ship.

95% of these workers, from the Majority (3rd) World, are working 7 days a week (no day off!), for 17-20 hours a day, for as long as a 10 month period. They are paid as little as $42 / month. It’s outrageous.

These shocking videos from Pirates of Justice reveal the untold horror story beneath the decks.

To learn more, visit http://www.waronwant.org/past-campaigns/sweat-ships

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5 Responses to “Sweat-ships: Why I’ll Never Go on a Cruise and Nor Should You”


  1. 1 jt* July 23, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I think a guy I know taught one of your classes the other day. His name is Dan.

  2. 4 pablo July 31, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    So if you are trying to say that every cruise in the world make people work “7 days a week (no day off!), for 17-20 hours a day, for as long as a 10 month period. They are paid as little as $42 / month” then it would be something to consider, but I don´t even know if there just one company working like that, I don´t know if those numbers are real, and if they were real you can´t use them against every company.

    • 5 joyforaweek August 14, 2010 at 7:09 am

      Pablo, did you watch the above videos? Please do. These are real testimonies from real people. If it is happening to one person that it is STILL unjust and needs to be stopped. But they seem to say that it is happening on EVERY cruise ship. Of course, a range of situations, hopefully not everyone is treated that poorly, but if you watch the videos you will see that it seems to be a fairly common unjust situation. The ships are registered in Majority (3rd) World countries so that they don’t have to abide by American labor laws, which would prevent this sort of abuse. They are registered in countries which have no labor laws, which is convenient for the companies, because then they can *legally* make their 3rd world employees work without rest and little pay, in horrible conditions, so they can make a profit. It’s disgusting, and needs to be stopped.

      My friend is taking another job on a cruise ship next year so that she can record more testimonies of the workers on board the ship, and will make a documentary about the situation next year. Then we will know more and will be more empowered to do something about it.

      -Jen


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