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CONFIRMED: Scientology’s ‘Freewinds’ is the ship quarantined for measles in St. Lucia

[UPDATE: Please see our follow up with interviews of former Freewinds crew members about what conditions aboard the ship are probably like right now.]

[NOTE: When we posted this story at 2 pm Eastern on Wednesday, we strongly suspected but couldn’t confirm that the measles ship was the Freewinds. Now, NBC is reporting that St. Lucia’s Coast Guard has confirmed that the Freewinds is the ship that is quarantined.]

Newsweek and other publications are carrying news that the latest anti-vaxx nightmare is an entire cruise ship that has been quarantined in the Caribbean because one of its passengers has the measles.

St. Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, confirmed that a cruise ship has been locked down and none of its passengers or crew is allowed to leave the vessel. But she didn’t identify the ship or the company operating it.


But a blogger who covers anti-vaxx controversies alertly noted that it’s not hard to check which ships are in ports by way of websites that track them. And at St. Lucia right now, he points out, there are no large cruise ships in port.

In fact, in the port of Castries, St. Lucia’s capital, there is only one passenger ship docked at all, and that’s Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds. Here, see for yourself…


[The Freewinds is marked clearly. The Samba is a container ship.]

We could find only one other cruise ship docked at the island, the Adriana, which is docked at Vieux Fort. But when we called the operator, they said that the Adriana is currently idle and has no passengers.

Dr. Fredericks-James indicated that the decision to quarantine was made in concert with the Pan-American Health Organization. We sent a message to PAHO, asking if they would confirm that the Freewinds is the affected ship. They responded by saying that any information would have to come from the national government. We also sent a message to the St. Lucia Ministry of Health public information officer, and we’ll let you know if they get back to us.

Scientology does not prevent its members from using western medicine. However, the church has a longstanding distaste for the American Medical Association, and Scientologists often pursue alternative therapies. Many Scientologists, we find, are anti-vaxxers, even though the Church of Scientology itself does not speak out against vaccines.

It would not surprise us in the least if one of the wealthy Scientologists paying for expensive auditing on the Freewinds was the infected measles patient.

Scientology purchased the Boheme in 1986 and two years later rechristened it the MV Freewinds on its maiden voyage in 1988. The purpose of Scientology operating its own ship was to have a place where members could experience the ultimate auditing level on the Bridge to Total Freedom, Operating Thetan Level Eight (OT 8). Since then, however, many other courses and seminars have been added to keep the ship busy. It travels back and forth to several different Caribbean locations.

UPDATE: CNBC is reporting that the affected passenger is a female crew member, and that her measles diagnosis was confirmed in the ship’s previous port of call, which was in the Dutch Caribbean. The Freewinds spends most of its time at Dutch islands. Also, Dr. Fredericks-James confirmed that this was a small cruise ship of less than 300 passengers and crew, which also describes the Freewinds.

More when we get it.

UPDATE: According to a ship-tracking website, the Freewinds came to St. Lucia from Willemstad, Curaçao, one of its most frequent stops. So that fits the reporting that the affected ship had come from the Dutch Caribbean.

Here’s Dr. Fredericks-James herself…


UPDATE: CNBC is now saying that the ship “appears to be operated by the Church of Scientology.”

UPDATE: NBC now saying the St. Lucia Coast Guard has confirmed that the quarantined ship is the Freewinds.

Guess it’s time to change the headline.


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

THURSDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITY: This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. But we also want to point out that Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” will be running at the Hollywood Fringe, and we encourage HowdyCon attendees to see her show on Thursday night, June 20. Tickets and more dates available here.

Friday night June 21 we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22. Note: You need to ask for the “family reunion” special rate.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology tries to get a Christian minister in trouble for helping Dee Findlay burn her past
[TWO years ago] Professor Hugh Urban takes us to task for our review of his Scientology OT 8 investigation
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s champion endorses ‘Ruthless,’ and more in our weekly social media review!
[FOUR years ago] Leaving Scientology: ‘I think this recovery is something I’ll be doing the rest of my life’
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s E-meter police, and the horse doctor of LaBelle, Florida
[SIX years ago] SCIENTOLOGY DENIED: CA Appeals Court Won’t Help Church in Forced-Abortion Lawsuit


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,433 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,562 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,066 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,546 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 609 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 497 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,804 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,672 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,446 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,220 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,566 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,132 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,052 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,219 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,800 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,061 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,100 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,812 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,338 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,427 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,567 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,887 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,743 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,862 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,218 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,520 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,626 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,028 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,900 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,483 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,978 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,232 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,341 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 1, 2019 at 14:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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