I've been interested in the CoS cruise ship, the M/V Freewinds. Here she is:
The ship is approximately 400 feet long, 9700 tons, and her mechanical operation is managed by International Shipping Partners
, a shipping management company - luckily for the Scientologist-passengers, and probably necessary for Scientology to get the ship insured. The Scientology part of the ship - the part where they turn you into an OT-VIII, which may or may not include revealing that L. Ron believed himself to be the AntiChrist, is run by the Sea Org, who are the ruling cadre of Scientology who go around in Navy uniforms and act a whole lot like the Gestapo.
The Sea Org, as we have discussed before, goes back to when L. Ron floated around the world for several years in the 1960s, avoiding the legal wrath of several national governments. The stories of what went on during L. Ron's extended cruise are legendary, and some are very humorous
. Most of them involve the members of the "Sea Org" demonstrating that sailoring skills were not a prerequisite for membership in that august body.
According to the CoS agreement with the IRS
from 1987 (which looks like it was written by Scientology), the mortgage of the ship is held by the Flag Ship Trust, although very little else can be learned about this trust.
For more interesting discussion of what goes on aboard the M/V Freewinds, read the complaint Pattinson V. Scientology
, from May 1998. Apparently, the formula is that Scienologists pay all the money they have in the world for the privelige of being subjected to endless abuse and humiliation at sea, and extortion ashore. And once you leave the ship, according to Mr. Pattinson, they can order you to return at any time, for any reason, to enjoy further abuse and humiliation at your own expense, threatening you with "ruin" if you do not pay all the money the Sea Org demands.
Unless, of course, you are John Travolta or Tom Cruise, whom I believe get rather better treatment.