Maritime workers refuse to attend conference at Red Rocks Casino

The following is the text of a news release from the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P):

(LAS VEGAS) — In Las Vegas, say piracy and people usually think of fake pirates in front of Buccaneer Bay at the Strip’s Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. This week, the Red Rocks Casino was scheduled to host ATAC Anti-Piracy 2015, a maritime security conference designed to thwart far-too-regular attacks by real pirates in East and West Africa, the Strait of Malacca and the Singapore Straits. However, the conference was called off because sea captains and deck officers became aware of the culinary union's activism, which Red Rocks Casino tried to conceal and discount. Red Rocks has been the site of recent demonstrations and picketing by Culinary Workers Union Local 226.

ATAC Anti-Piracy 2015 (ATAC — Advanced Tactics and Countermeasures), sponsored by Maritime Executive magazine, was designed to be the first of what was planned as an annual conference on the threat to the maritime industry and the global economy from piracy. Speakers included maritime security experts, policy analysts, retired admirals, ambassadors, former Navy SEALS and experienced hostage interrogators. The conference also was designed to be a showcase for new anti-piracy technologies. In addition, maritime anti-piracy tactical demonstrations were scheduled to take place not far from the hotel.

“When we learned of Culinary’s dispute with Station Casinos, the owner of Red Rocks, we wanted to move the conference. We weren’t able to easily do so. The conference has been called off for now. We would rather delay the meeting than deal with people who don’t respect workers,” said Klaus Luhta, who serves as chief of staff of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. Luhta’s organization, which represents sea captains and deck officers on U.S.-flagged vessels, was a conference co-sponsor. 

Conference organizers are committed to rescheduling the meeting that was attracting attendees from across the United States, as well as from abroad. No new date or location has yet been selected.

For more information on the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, visit

By Professional Mariner Staff