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ICCL suspends Premier

NEW YORK – Premier<.> Cruise Lines, which has been afflicted with a number of problems during the past few months, has been suspended from membership by the…

NEW YORK – Premier<.> Cruise Lines, which has been afflicted with a number of problems during the past few months, has been suspended from membership by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL<.>).

ICCL, with offices in Washington, DC and London, represents the cruise lines in the regulatory and policy development process, international and domestic, and serves as an advocate for 17 passenger cruise lines that call on major ports in the US and abroad. An ICCL spokesperson declined to discuss the specific reason for the suspension, apart from saying that the line failed to meet the requirements of membership.

Premier has been pressured financially: its ships consume a great deal more fuel than comparable newer vessels and fuel prices have risen sharply in recent months, making them expensive to operate in a very competitive market, according to analysts. The company had to cut almost 10 percent of its employees in June to save money.

A number of unrelated but costly problems didn`t make Premier`s situation any better. In July Big Red Boat II left Rhode Island with its anchor dragging, which cut the power cables for much of Newport and Jamestown. In early August the same ship had to make an emergency call in Boston because of generator problems, with a contingent of passengers on board who were taking the trip as compensation for a previously cancelled voyage. Now a complaint has been filed by the US District Attorney in Boston, accusing a crew member on the Seabreeze of sexually assaulting a female passenger.

The line`s president, Bruce Nierenberg, has strongly denied rumours that Premier is in financial trouble.

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