Cruise Job Search Leads to Death In Trinidad

A number of newspapers in Trinidad are reporting on the death of Michelle Samaroo of Arima, Trinidad and Tobago, who disappeared on April 26th when she traveled to Arouca to obtain a job on a cruise ship.  Ms. Samaroo had responded to an advertisement in a local newspaper and had told her family that she was going to a cruise placement agency. 

Ms. Samaroo was requested to take $5,000 TT ($790 U.S.) for a visa and medical examination as part of the hiring process.  She did not return home and her family mounted an investigation.  The unidentified hiring agency allegedly informed Ms. Samaroo that she did not qualify for the job and returned her money.

Michelle Samaroo - Trinidad Ms. Samaroo's body was found on May 14th.  The  cause of death was not determined.

We represent many men and women from Trinidad, St. Vincent and other islands in the Southern Caribbean.  We have heard many stories about unscrupulous hiring agents who try and extract payments up front or "bonuses" from young men and women when they are hired to work on Royal Caribbean or Carnival cruise ships.  Sometimes the "bonus" will be equivalent to several months of a crew member's salary.

The "hiring agents" in the Caribbean are unregulated, even though they conduct the pre-employment screening and coordinate the medical evaluations of the prospective crew members for the U.S. based cruise lines.

Many young women like Ms. Samaroo dream of traveling to a U.S. port to join a cruise line for a better life for themselves and their families back home.  

A website focusing on abduction in Trinidad, Missingtrinbagonians, raises a number of questions about this case:

What is the name of the placement agency?   What is the name of the owner of the agency?  Why hasn’t a copy of the ad been reproduced by the newspaper which ran it?  Has anyone else used this agency’s services?  What is the name of the clinic where the medical examination was conducted?  What is the name of the doctor who performed the examination?  Have records been found for her appointment?  Did the doctor corroborate the information given by the placement agency?

Other questions to be asked.  Which cruise lines use this hiring agency?   Are the cruise lines aware of these type of hiring practices?     

 

 

Credits:           

Photograph          Missingtrinbagonians 

Video         TV 6 Trinidad 

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Triniwarao - May 16, 2010 10:46 PM

Dear Jim Walker,
Thank you for your interest in this tragic story and for giving it a wider audience. While there has not been the slightest hint of a suggestion, from official sources anyway, that this cruise ship placement agency's actions are suspect, I think that it is still important to make people aware of what is and is not standard practice in the industry. You mentioned that the "hiring agencies" are not regulated. Is this because no regulating body exists or because they are not required by the hosting states to provide proof of accreditation? Again, thanks for promptly recognizing from a distance that there remains much to be investigated in this particular case. The answers can only enlighten and hopefully lessen the exploitation of unsuspecting clients.
Peace
TriniWarao

David Maslow, the Vacation Getaway Guy - November 29, 2010 10:18 AM

This is why you must never travel alone. No matter if you are male or female. Always take someone with you!

Cruise Ship Vacancies - November 9, 2011 3:57 PM

I want to thank for his interest in this tragic story and for giving it a wider audience. While there has not been the slightest hint of a suggestion, from official sources anyway, that this cruise ship placement agency's actions are suspect, I think that it is still important to make people aware of what is and is not standard practice in the industry. He mentioned that hiring agencies are not regulated and I've asked him why this is so, if it is because there is no regulating body or because the host states in which these agencies operate do not demand that they provide proof of accreditation of some sort before they are allowed to set up shop. I will update this comment if I receive a reply. I thanked him for promptly recognising from a distance that there remains much to be investigated here, if only to make people more aware of what is not acceptable in the industry and to lessen the exploitation of unsuspecting clients.

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