Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scientology's Cruise Ship Freewind's Blue Asbestos Voyage

The Freewinds is like no other place on Earth. It truly marks the beginning of a voyage to all eternity. (From the Scientology website, 

To a Scientologist, coming to the Freewinds for New OT VIII is the pinnacle of a deeply spiritual journey. Years of training and auditing have brought him to this ultimate point. It is the most significant spiritual accomplishment of his lifetime and brings with it the full realization of his immortality. "Church of Scientology Flag Ship Service Organization" The Freewinds is a very special place. It is the one place on this planet that a Scientologist can go and be certain that he will be able to devote all of his attention to his religious practice and, at the same time, share the company of people who share his religious commitment and outlook on life in general. A voyage on the Freewinds is nowhere close to a vacation. Rather, it is the perfect religious retreat dedicated to enabling one to devote his full attention to spiritual growth. (From the website, Freewinds.Or

It's February of 1987, you're a licensed architect and a relatively new member of an "international church". You get your first "big" assignment: you've been asked to travel to a secret location in the Caribbean. There, the church has docked its latest purchase: an older cruise ship--and you've been asked to draw up plans for a "remodel". Upon arrival and during a cursory inspection you discover something extremely alarming: blue asbestos.

"We had been trained that prior to 1970 or thereabouts, asbestos was commonly used in buildings as insulation and fire protection. It was then declared a carcinogenic substance, to the degree that a single microscopic particle was like a little hook that would be breathed in, and hook itself into the lining of the lungs. There, a single microscopic particle could remain lodged for even 20 years, and then in the right conditions, cause lung cancer. We were taught that there was no safe exposure level; any exposure was potentially lethal. Declaration of Lawrence Woodcraft, 2001

Upon further inspection of the ship you find another instance of blue asbestos in the engine room. Where ceiling panels had been removed you could see large chunks of the extremely dangerous and potentially lethal carcinogen. When you alert the captain to its existence he denies it's asbestos.

The Freewinds was built in Finland in 1968. On board were the original plans from the shipyard. I went through the plans. Even though the notations were in Finish, I saw the word asbestos over and over. The ship was divided vertically into fire compartments with steel walls that ran the full height of the ship. They were lined both sides with 2-3 inches of blue asbestos. The underside of every deck was lined in asbestos. The outside walls of the ship had been sprayed with asbestos. All the ceiling panels contained asbestos. In short, asbestos was everywhere as was typical of a ship built in the sixties. Declaration of Lawrence Woodcock 2001

You alert the person in charge of the remodel and show them blueprints which contain the full extent of the blue asbestos. A meeting is called to discuss the "problem". It's pointed out that the founder of the church never stated in a policy that asbestos was "dangerous" and that he knew "everything" about cancer, that people only became sick when they "go into agreement with being sick". Besides, the only church members who would be sailing on the ship were considered at the highest level, and therefore "nothing would ever make them sick". So you give up and give in.

Twenty one years later....

After the discovery of an abundance of blue asbestos onboard a Church of Scientology cruise ship, Tom Cruise and other celebrity followers of the religion have been urged to undergo immediate medical examinations to test for their exposure to the toxic mineral.

According to an article in an Indian newspaper, Kerala News, Cruise and many other regular passengers aboard the ship have been alerted to potential exposure. Other celebrity visitors aboard the Freewinds passenger ship include Lisa Marie Presley, Natural Born Killers actress Juliette Lewis, jazz great Chick Corea and JAG and Army Wives TV star Catherine Bell.

Currently, the Freewinds is “under seal” in the Caribbean port of Curacao after it was discovered that dangerous blue asbestos was released during the refurbishment of the ship. The asbestos dust may have wound up in the ventilation system and circulated throughout the ship.

This was a recent occurrence, the quarantine of the ship, so it's too early to tell of any potential fallout. What is known is that the Church knew about the presence and the dangers of blue asbestos since they originally bought the ship back in 1987, according to Lawrence Woodcock, the fledging Scientology member who alerted the church.  While they may not face any type of criminal negligence charges, the ship was operated out in international waters, they do face the very real charge of knowingly putting their members and those who worked on the ship's lives at risk, a potential death sentence that could fall with just the single action of one microscopic particle. 

"The Freewinds is like no other place on Earth. It truly marks the beginning of a voyage to all eternity." 

We agree, especially if you're one of the countless people who sailed on this ship for the past twenty plus years and end up with a terminal illness related to blue asbestos exposure. 


Source - maacenter
Source - Declaration of Lawrence Woodcraft

1 comment:

  1. This is the good idea to banned new asbestos related element in the ships. Ship Asbestos According to my view the asbestos repairing is mere efficient then the asbestos.


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