CSI Correspondence – Unanswered

Direct Correspondence with CSI author requesting that the validity of the index be substantiated and multiple requests to engage in a professional discussion of same appears below.

No answers have been forthcoming.


Feb 28 2017

Please send me your predictive validity and reliability studies for the csi index.

Abstracts would be sufficient to start.

I would like to review in depth the statistical methodologies used to generate the index. Including correction procedures for small data sets. missing data, and how you used any standard scoring methodologies. Also I am interested in the specific statistics used to render correlation matrices, probability and expectancy tables.

As a captain cruising the Caribbean, this is important to review before I use any CSI information in my risk assessments. I need to be sure your probabilities are valid and reliable before risking the safety of crew and vessel according to your recommendations

Thank you

Mary Stone


Motor Vessel Ms Astor


Feb 28 2017

Dear Mary,

Thank you for your interest. Our methodologies are proprietary and not distributed.

Should you have any doubts regarding the validity of the CSI, please feel free to not use it. At its best it is a well crafted probability analysis, but like all probabilities, there are never any guarantees.

Best regards,

Catherine Hebson 

Dr. Catherine Hebson, Director




March 1 2017

Dr. Hebson,

Thank you for your response regarding the validity of CSI.

I understand and respect that you do not wish to share what you consider to be proprietary information.

Before I can decide about the extent to which I may or may not doubt the CSI validity,  I need to understand more about it. Like many cruisers I want to enjoy the benefits of using CSI that you assert.

Short of revealing any proprietary information can you answer two questions?

  1. Can you tell me more about what you mean when you say the CSI at its best is a “well crafted” probability analysis?
  2. Without going into any proprietary detail, have you done any studies regarding the validity and reliability of the probabilities you have published over the years?

Please expand your comments on question one. On question two, a simple yes or no is sufficient. I do not expect any proprietary revelations. Just an assurance that proper validation work has been done.

I am seeking understanding. I understand probabilities in general quite well. I do not expect guarantees. I only want to understand CSI probabilities specifically, and in general, how they were developed before I determine the extent to which I may use them. Since you developed the CSI indices I assume you have the answers.

Thank you in advance for answering my questions.


March 8 2017

Dr. Hebson,

Almost a week ago I asked two follow up questions regarding the validity of CSI. I have not received a reply. I want to know if CSI can substantiate its claims.

This is my second request for information beyond the first response which was basically CSI is a black box and  “please feel free not to use it”. I am seeking understanding of the CSI and would like to have a response to my questions.

The questions are:

  1. What does a “well crafted probability analysis” mean? Please discuss in detail. I am willing to provide you with a nondisclosure agreement if you believe any part of your answer would reveal proprietary content marketing information or information owned by freecruisingguides.com , or Marina Zar-Par (who also claims to provide CSI)
  2. Have the requisite validation studies been performed to prove the CSI claims are valid over the time the CSI has been published? A yes or no answer will suffice at this point. However, If you wish to discuss the validity in more depth please indicate the extent to which you used multiple regression statistics (either linear and/or nonlinear) to derive any portion of the CSI. 

Also, to what extent did the source data used for the analysis meet the standard criteria for robustness for SPSS or SAS or other statistical package probability analysis procedures?

If needed please send me a nondisclosure agreement as a .pdf attachment which I can execute (after legal review), so we may have a full and complete professional discussion on this matter. I can assure you that I have no intention to duplicate your work for commercial purposes or any other purpose beyond understanding it.

While I have many more questions, complete answers to the two questions above may preclude the need for additional questions.

If CSI can give me the probability of safety in indexed cruising locations as it claims, then I want to understand how it does that  and to what extent the index is statistically valid before I risk vessel and crew in an indexed location. I would speculate that many other cruisers would be interested as well.

Thank you,

Mary Stone

Captain, M/V Ms Astor


March 15 2017

Dr. Hebson,

It has been another week and you have not responded to my important questions.

This is my third request. It is necessarily an expanded request which includes the two questions I previously asked and adds 29 others. Please see the attached formal memorandum requesting answers to questions regarding the validity of the Caribbean Security Index (CSI).

Since you have offered no validity information for CSI, I conclude there is none to offer at this point, therefore the CSI has not been shown to be valid. Consequently, any advertised claims that the CSI is valid, useful, or any better than chance are false, deceptive and misleading.

Your comment indicating that if one doubts CSI then one shouldn’t use it, and that CSI is a proprietary black box probability analysis, is not sufficient to establish that CSI does what it claims to do.

Therefore, please attend to the memorandum questions attached. Otherwise, I will be releasing formal complaints of false, deceptive and misleading advertising to appropriate agencies and advertisers.

As the Director of freecruisingguides.com, please ensure complete electronic copies are forwarded immediately to all those named in the “To:” section.

Attachment Summary


March 22 2017

Dr. Hebson,

Another week has passed and I have no response from you. I do want to have a professional discussion with you regarding the validity of the CSI. This is my fourth request.

I have sent the questions and concerns to you and freecruisingguides.com via certified mail as well.

To that end I offer again to execute a non-disclosure agreement to protect any information you may perceive as proprietary so we may have a meaningful discussion of the validity of CSI.

Your lack of response is not reassuring. That signals to me that there is much you wish to hide regarding the validity of the CSI. Which  is not surprising given my professional knowledge of statistics and experience with what is required to produce a CSI type index and the obvious misuse of statistics in the CSI.

Therefore, if you will not discuss the serious  and important questions I have raised about the methodology and validity of the CSI by 1 April 2017,  then  I will conclude the CSI is pseudo science and not valid. Consequently, I will release the formal complaints of false, deceptive and misleading advertising to the appropriate agencies, sponsors and advertisers of freecruisingguides.com and Marina ZarPar. Additionally, I will go live with and promote to the cruising community a whistle blowing website purpose built to debunk CSI.

Thus, this is my last direct request to you to engage in a professional discussion and defense of the efficacy and validity  of CSI. If you can answer my questions, show that CSI is valid, and if you can show the advertised claims can be substantiated, then I will stand down.

Otherwise I will intensify my efforts to blow the whistle on CSI  and debunk the bad science until the CSI is retired.

Thank you

Mary  Stone


M/V Ms.Astor


March 29, 2017

Dr. Hebson.

I have received official notification that the certified letter to you has been delivered.

The letter contained the request for a professional discussion of the answers to 29 questions regarding the validity of the CSI. That was the fifth request.

This email is the sixth request to please help cruisers understand the validity of the CSI.

Since you have made no response and no defense, the conclusion is that CSI is indefensible. In the absence of any information from you thus far, an independent professional analysis of the CSI has been conducted and indicted the CSI is likely false science, deceptive, misleading and is not shown to be valid. Also, almost half of the most recent CSI update has been plagiarized. A similar analysis of the previous CSI reports supports a similar conclusion of professional misconduct. Moreover, data and literature searches reveal that it is likely that questionable and non current data for all CSI reports were used or crafted as a basis for the CSI. The CSI is seriously flawed at its base and no defense has been offered.

I hope to receive satisfactory answers to the questions by 1 April 2017. Otherwise, the formal complaints of false, deceptive and misleading advertising to the appropriate agencies, sponsors and advertisers associated with CSI promoted by freecruisingguides.com and Marina ZarPar will be released. Additionally, a website with easy links, purpose built for debunking the CSI, will go live and be promoted to the cruising community, sponsors, advertisers as well as the appropriate government and non government agencies that intake complaints of false, deceptive and misleading advertising. The safety and security of fellow cruisers is at stake and reasonable disclosure is requested. My offer to execute a nondisclosure agreement stands, if that will facilitate our professional and non public discussion.

Dr. Hebson, this is serious. The effort to debunk CSI will not go away until CSI goes away. CSI has not been shown to be valid. Efforts will only intensify to blow the whistle on CSI unless you can satisfactorily answer the questions presented to show CSI is valid, and to show that rigorous methodology was used to craft the indices. Otherwise, the best option for the safety and security of cruisers is to retire the unsubstantiated and undefended CSI immediately – for whatever reason you choose. Once the CSI is retired there will be no reason to blow the whistle publicly to debunk the CSI.

Thank you,

Mary Stone

Captain, M/V Ms. Astor


10 April 2017

Dr Hebson,

It is now well past 1 April 2017 and I have no response from you regarding the validity of the CSI. Therefore, I am informing you that I have filed complaints of false, deceptive and misleading advertising with 5 agencies. Those agencies are listed here.
A website has been established dedicated to debunking CSI, since you provided no information to substantiate the validity of CSI. You may reach that website here.
Since CSI is a signature product of freecruisingguides.com, letters have been sent to your list of sponsors/advertisers that could be contacted notifying them the CSI has not been shown to be valid and is potentially dangerous for cruisers to use. They have been asked to stop any advertising or promotion directly or indirectly related to CSI or its publishers. You may see that notice here.
Once again I ask you to substantiate the validity of CSI. The offer still stands to complete a nondisclosure agreement so we may discuss CSI in depth. I have asked many times before. You can see the attempts here.  And the questions about CSI here.
Please respond with information that supports the validity of CSI. If it is satisfactory I will withdraw. Otherwise, please retire CSI immediately.
Thank you,
Captain M/V Ms.Astor
29 April 2018

Dr. Hebson,

CSI is now almost a year and a half out of date from the last publish date. There are still no data that can support its claims to show the probability of being safe in specific locations in the Caribbean.
  1. CIS has never been shown to be valid.
  2. There are no new data that can support the indices.
  3. Noonsite has removed all references to CSI from their site after an independent analysis.
  4. SSCA has officially said they do not sponsor or advertise or support CSI
  5. Compass Magazine has said they do not sponsor, advertise or support CSI
  6. A special project in October of 2017 to statistically replicate CSI failed because no valid data sets could be developed professionals that could be analyzed by any statistical package and premise used for deductive analysis could not be supported as true by the use of data.
  7. CSI has become a “pariah” product and as such is tainting the credibility of your cruising guides.
  8. The last post on your Facebook page was January 2017.
  9. Every day CSI is promoted as your signature product on your website you lose credibility because of all of the above.
For the sake of the credibility of your other products, It is time to retire CSI and remove it. Please ask your webmaster do so immediately.
Mary Stone

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