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Freewinds Background Edit
From the origins to the the major repairs of 2008 Edit
In 1987 the so-called Church of Scientology bought an aged car ferry called Bohème which had been built in Finland in 1968. The circumstances of the purchase included the mysterious death of Bud Fields, an agent working for another would-be purchaser. The ascertainable facts are that in 1985 the body of a Florida boat-broker called Bud Fields was found floating off Longboat Key where he lived. He had reportedly not wanted Scientology to buy this boat. Almost immediately after his death the purchase went through for a sum reported to be $10 or $11 million. Robert Dam, a Danish freezoner, suggests that those acting for Scientology in this deal should have been aware of the risks of buying a buying a converted car ferry built in the 1960s, when asbestos was commonly used as insulation, or perhaps were aware of the asbestos but not worried by it.
Those interested in unconfirmed rumors will find them at
The cult renamed her Freewinds and use her as a floating org. This is where all New OT VIII and other upper level courses have been delivered for the past twenty years. For the same length of time she has been a floating health hazard for everyone who has stepped aboard.
There is an apparent kink in the timeline here. According to the Bud Field's story Bohème was purchased in 1985 by David Miscavige. (Hubbard allegedly died 24 January 1986 but Miscavige had controlled Scientology from the early 1980s.) But according to Lawrence Woodcraft, Bohème was acquired in 1987, was immediately refitted in a secret location in Curacao, and went into service in 1988.
As Freewinds, she began to cruise round the Caribbean as a 'school ship' for Scientologists and a propaganda vessel for the cult. She is also an extortion center, celebrity playground and prison. In terms of modern cruise liners Freewinds is very small indeed, only 10,000 tons. Some modern liners are ten times her size. For more details see various Wikipedia and other articles.
In normal times, which came to an end in February 2008, Freewinds sailed out of Curaçao, which is an island in the Dutch Antilles, situated in the Caribbean, approximately 50 miles north of Venezuela and about 150 miles from Caracas. In the months of October, November & December 2009 she was scheduled to sail from Curaçao to Aruba and Bonaire, the other islands in the Netherlands Antilles. The major US & European airlines fly direct to Aruba & some fly direct to Curaçao and Bonaire. However these are no longer normal times (see Freewinds timeline) and most of this program appears to have been cancelled. In November 2009, a prime season for Caribbean cruises, her whereabouts are not known. Moreover her Passenger Ship Safety Certificate (PSSC) expired on 31 October 2009 (DNV Exchange).
The number of passengers she can carry is not known with certainty. As a car ferry the original Bohème could carry 460 passengers. This was reduced to 360 when she was adapted for cult purposes in 1987-8. However the St Kitts paper SKNVibes reported in February 2006 that she had arrived at Basseterre with 540 passengers. This of course might include crew. When she visited St Lucia in November 2007 this had gone down to 400 and when as part of the same cruise she visited Dominica there were only 300 passengers. Former members have said that she had 250 on board for the Freewinds Maiden Voyage Anniversary Event or 'OT Summit', the most popular annual event. To accommodate so many the boat was cleared of all other passengers.
A current Cartagena port source says that she has 360 passengers and 280 crew. These figures have almost certainly been supplied by the cult and are not realistic. Normal cruise ship seldom have better than a 2 to 1 passengers-to-staff ratio and some have as few as 3 to 1. Records from other ports, notably Aruba, suggest she currently attracts fewer than 100 passengers per trip. The standard accommodation included in the price of courses, which are not cheap, is an inside cabin shared with three others which costs approximately $200 per night.
Some at least of the 'crew' are in the RPF, undergoing reindoctrination to correct their mistaken ideas. These virtual slaves are fed on beans and rice, are prevented from leaving the ship, and often forced to work inhumanly long hours.
Great publicity scoop for the Church of Scientology! Edit
2007, November 21: Press release from St Kitts NevisEdit
Basseterre, St. Kitts: The efforts to ensure that the local and regional marine environment remains in the best possible condition, with minimal incidents of pollution, remains an issue of top priority among regional administrative circles. This was evident during a two day conference onboard the Freewinds cruise ship, while it birthed at Port Zante, on November 19th and 20th.
A major issue on the table was the enforcement of regulations against the disposal of plastic products in the sea. The conference was sponsored by two United Nations organizations- the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Education Programme (UNEP)- the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Regional Activity Centre/ Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Centre for the wider Caribbean (RAC/REMPEITC- Caribe), which is based in Curacao.
According to Mr. McLean Hobson, the Director of Maritime Affairs in St. Kitts, the whole objective of the conference was to build on positive frameworks that were established by the Cartagena Convention and the MARPOL Annex 5 to ensure that the marine area is protected from dangerous pollutants. He disclosed that the Cartagena Convention refers to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, which came into force in 1986. The Convention was the first major step to the legal implementation of an Action Plan for the Caribbean Environmental Programme.
The MARPOL Annex 5 is an agreement which regulates garbage from ships, especially plastics, which can be just as deadly to marine life as oil and chemical spills. The agreement came into play in 1988. St. Kitts and Nevis is among a number of Caribbean territories who have ratified both agreements.
A number of students from the various high schools were invited aboard the ship to voice their opinions about the protection of the environment, especially from the marine aspect. Additionally, officers from the Coast Guard also participated in the conference. Brief remarks were also given by the Minister of Public Works, Utilities, Post and Transport, Dr. the Hon. Earl “Asim” Martin and the Hon. Richard Skerritt, the Minister of State with responsibility for Tourism, Culture and Sport. Both Ministers emphasized how critical it is to preserve and conserve the marine environs as such has a very significant impact on not only social development but economic development as well. A number of representatives from the various sponsors of the convention also participated in the two day event.<>
2007, November 14. Press release from BarbadosEdit
On November 14th, a Seminar on the Ratification and Implementation of Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) was held aboard the MV FREEWINDS in the Bridgetown Harbour [Barbados]. The seminar was organized by the Regional Activity Center / Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Center for the Wider Caribbean Region (RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) through its Caribbean Environment Program (CEP), and the M/V FREEWINDS. It was co-hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport.
The seminar was attended by 115 participants, which included policy makers, environmental officials, maritime administrators, waste management authorities, and students from the University of West Indies, Queen’s College, the Christchurch Foundation, Harrison College, the Lodge School St. John, the Combermere School, and the Alleyne School.
In her address, Ms. Jacqueline Blackman, Deputy Chief Technical Officer for the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport confirmed the commitment of the government of Barbados to protect the coastal and marine environment from land and marine based sources of pollution. Ms. Blackman stated that “this Annex and its Resolution is clearly of great significance to Barbados and the region given the high level of cruise ship and pleasure craft activity.”
During the seminar, it was agreed that the government of Barbados has complied with many provisions of MARPOL Annex V. Several governmental agencies expressed their intention to work towards having the Wider Caribbean Region declared a “Special Area” in respect of pollution by garbage from ships. They plan to hold in December the first of many multi-agency meetings to adopt a more coordinated approach to implementing national obligations in respect of relevant multilateral environmental agreements and to address outstanding maritime issues.
“Special Areas” are particular bodies of water which, because of their oceanographic characteristics and ecological significance, require protective measures more strict than those applicable in other ocean areas. Within “Special Areas” that are in effect internationally, the only authorized garbage discharge from vessels is food waste, except under emergency circumstances.
Additional pollution prevention seminars have been planned during the port visits of the M/V FREEWINDS to the following islands: Dominica on November 16; Saint Kitts on November 19; and Antigua on November 21 <>
Freewinds hosted seminars on five Caribbean islands between 12 and 22 November 2007: St Lucia (11-13), Barbados (14-15), Dominica (16-17), St Kitts Nevis (19-20), and Antigua (21-22). She also, with sublime impudence, hosted a later MARPOL Annex V conference (on the disposal of garbage at sea) on Curacao on 22-23 October 2008.
Freewinds and blue asbestos (Work in Progress)
Freewinds timeline Fairly complete (November 2009)