Has another person disappeared from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?
A passenger on Royal Caribbean's mega ship Oasis of the Seas is commenting on Cruise Critic that the Captain announced earlier this afternoon that the cruise ship was turning around to search for a missing person.
Passengers aboard the cruise ship (see the comments below) are telling us that a crew member went overboard.
If this information is correct, then this is the fourth overboard from Royal Caribbean cruise ships this year. On May 6th we reported on Royal Caribbean crew member Satianand (Satyanand) Buddaru who disappeared from the Explorer of the Seas - Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas
In March a crew member employed by Park West Gallery jumped overboard from the Radiance of the Seas. Our stories about the incident are available here: "Man Overboard" Reported on Radiance of the Seas and here Master of Radiance of the Seas Praised for Rapid Response to Crew Overboard.
On New Year's Eve Royal Caribbean crew member Neha Chhikara jumped from the Monarch of the Seas.
These type of incidents raise questions whether this cruise line has adequate security systems in place to address the issue of passenger and crew member overboards. Last year, the popular web site Jaunted published an article "Enough With People Jumping Off Cruise Ships Already!" The article refers to ". . . an assistant purser on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas (who) apparently hated his job so much that he couldn't wait until he was back on land to quit, hopping overboard as the ship steamed from Key West to Miami . . . " Fortunately, he was rescued.
Royal Caribbean has had more than its share of unexplained "disappearances" of passengers and crew, including the very disturbing case of Mirrian Carver who vanished from the Mercury cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean's subsidiary Celebrity Cruises. ABC's Primetime covered the story in an article "Cruise Cover-Up? Cruise Line Doesn't Notify Anyone When Woman Disappears On Second Day Of Trip."
Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have a reputation of being very secretive when people go overboard. Following the last crew overboard from the Explorer of the Seas, we received sixty-three (63) comments to our article. Most of the comments were from passengers or crew members on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Passengers are often the only source of accurate and timely information when things go wrong on the high seas.
Were you on the Oasis of the Seas during this latest disappearance? If you have information to share, please leave a comment below.
May 25th 2:00 p.m. Update - Crew Member Identified:
The Coast Guard News identifies the crew member as 45 year old Dillon Roache, of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Coast Guard states that Mr. Roache was "confirmed overboard" between Nassau and St. Thomas. This means that the cruise ship's surveillance cameras captured images of the crew member going overboard. As we have mentioned in prior articles, Royal Caribbean apparently does not monitor its exterior cameras or use technology to alert the bridge when the security cameras detect persons going overboard.
Many male crew members from St. Vincent work as manual laborers (utility cleaners, night cleaners, etc.). The work is hard and the pay is as low as $137 for 85 hour work week. Read "Screwed If By Sea" for an idea of the working conditions on Royal Caribbean.
May 26th Update - Crew Members Reported Mr. Roach Missing around 1:00 p.m. on Monday
The Virgin Islands Daily News reports that according to a statement issued by Royal Caribbean, "about 1 p.m. on Monday, May 24th the Oasis of the Seas’ crew reported that one of their co-workers was missing. Security searched the ship and paged the missing crew member, then contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bahamian Coast Guard." According to the newspaper, "closed circuit camera footage revealed that the missing crew member fell from the ship, Royal Caribbean said." But the cruise line did not disclose the circumstances to explain why the crew member went overboard.
May 27th Update - Questions Remain How Crew Member Went Overboard:
In prior incidents when crew members went overboard from Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the cruise line claimed the crew members jumped. But in this situation, the cruise line has stayed mum. The Norwegian shipping magazine Tradewinds just published an article about this latest disappearance from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The article states that the crew member "fell' and referred to the incident as a "horrific accident." Notably absent from this article, as well as the statements from the Coast Guard or cruise line, is any indication that the crew member was suicidal and "jumped."
The Oasis of the Seas has hundreds of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. It has several webcams where you can even watch what's happening on the cruise ship from your home computer, like the webcam of the pool and sports zone (above right). Royal Caribbean knows what happened, but is not telling.
This is the type of case where the cruise lines could establish some degree of credibility and transparency with the American public. Instead, this cruise line has defaulted to its usual character of secrecy.
Does anyone has information regarding how the incident occurred? Please leave a comment below.
May 29 Update - Passengers Return to Fort Lauderdale:
Some passengers returning home from the cruise today have emailed us. A few have left comments, including one passenger, "Dave," who writes that the crew member jumped off of deck five at 3 a.m. in the morning and was "seen on the camera swimming in the ocean." Can other passengers confirm this? Leave us a comment below if you have information to share . . .
May 30 Update - Interview with Wife:
The Caribbean Daily News interviewed the crew member's wife, Doris Roache, who indicated that her husband had worked for Royal Caribbean for five years, and was employed as an assistant waiter. He left St. Vincent on Friday May 21st after spending two months vacation with her. He flew to Miami and stayed in a hotel Friday night and joined the cruise ship on Saturday, May 22nd. The ship sailed at 5 p.m. Saturday evening. Mrs. Roache received a call from her husband between 11:00 -12:00 p.m. Saturday night. He told her he was okay and that the ship was sailing towards the Bahamas. She later received a call on Monday morning, May 24th, between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. from the "ship’s administration" saying that her husband was missing and that he was last seen aboard the ship at 11:00 p.m. Sunday, May 23rd. while the ship was sailing. "They said that he did not come to work; he is an assistant waiter and he is never late so they sent somebody to look for him and he was nowhere to be found.”
Oasis of the Seas Kenneth Karsten via shipspotting.com
Oasis of the Seas webcam Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.