The newspapers in the Caribbean are reporting that a U.S. citizen from what is described as a "wedding yacht" was murdered in Antigua.
The Antigua Observer reports that U.S. citizen Nina Elizabeth Nilssen, age 30, had been found in a desolate area of "Pigeon Point Beach" near the English Harbour / Falmouth area on Tuesday, January 19, 2010.
Another newspaper, Caribarena - Antigua & Barbuda in an article entitled "Murder Update - another Tourist Murder," reports that "the woman was traveling aboard a yacht due to sail to neighboring St Kitts soon." A comment to the article states that "there's now a sailing ship full of mourners instead of wedding guests . . .."
In researching the commercial yachts and cruise ships sailing into Falmouth on January 19th and with a scheduled port the following day in St. Kitts on January 20th - factoring in what appears to be a wedding theme to the cruise - brings us to the Star Clippers company based here in Miami. Star Clippers operate three large master sailing yachts called the Royal Clipper and the sister yachts Star Clipper and Star Flyer.
The fact that none of the numerous newspapers initially reporting the crime identified the cruise line is not unusual. Often the local newspapers do not wish to upset the cruise line companies calling on the local ports.
This morning, a newspaper finally identified that Ms. Nilssen was a passenger aboard the Royal Clipper, which in fact is operated by Miami based Star Clippers. The Antigua Observer reports that Ms. Nilssen had been sailing with her parents, an uncle and aunt, sister and brother-in-law. The articles suggests that she walked on a nature trail while her family remained on the beach. Her body was discovered, the newspaper reports, "as the cruise boat was preparing to leave Falmouth Harbour. The vessel was forced to leave the family behind to continue its cruise to St Kitts."
It is less than clear why the pleasure yacht was "forced" to do anything. Leaving a family in a foreign port under these circumstances appears rather strange.
We last reported on the island of Antigua in an article entitled "Carnival Drops Antigua Like A Hot Potato" Carnival cruise line suddenly pulled its cruise ships from the island. There was talk that Carnival abandoned Antigua due to its high crime rates.
Antigua has had more than its share of murders of tourists visiting the island.
Australian yacht captain Andrew Gollan was shot and killed in Antigua a year ago near this area. U.K. citizens Catherine and Ben Mullany were murdered in July 2008 during their honeymoon. There have been reports of other crimes, including murder and rapes. Trip Advisor reports on the incident with an article entitled "Another Tourist Murdered in Antigua."
Cruise ships face legal liability for not warning passengers of the danger of crimes in the ports of call which they select.
Condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Nilssen.
We have reported on numerous crimes in the Caribbean ports of call:
Ambulance Windward Bay Caribarena Antigua & Barbuda
Sailing yacht MSNBC and Star Clippers