Crewmembers Trapped on Happy Cruises' Gemini Cruise Ship?

A reader of Cruise Law News has informed me that CNN's iReport contains a message seeking help from a crewmember aboard the Gemini cruise ship operated by the now defunct cruise line "Happy Cruises."

Happy Cruises is a Spanish cruise company which abruptly ceased operations on September 24th.  When cruise lines suddenly stop operations due to financial problems, the crewmembers are often treated poorly and sometimes abandoned. 

Happy Cruises - Gemini - Cruise Ship - Crew AbandonedIn this case, crewmember Rooy Eduardo Deceno Velásquez, a 32 year old cruise ship restaurant worker from Trujillano, Peru, left a message on CNN's iReport.  He is crying for help, stating that the crew has been  deceived and about to be abandoned in Gibraltar without pay.   The message is in Spanish and is translated roughly as follows:

DEAR CNN.

The reason I'm writing is because we need you to help us, they are holding us hostage, against our will, owing us over four months worth of paychecks, with deceit we were first told that we would cruise from Malaga to Barcelona but then we weren't allowed to get off in Malaga.

We left for Barcelona and were told we would arrive on Tuesday, but then the captain said we would arrive to Gibraltar on Wednesday 8am.  Now we're being told it will be on Thursday at noon.

This is the Happy Cruises Gemini, we're near the Gibraltar strait. Besides, today we were given the sign off sheet and they put "vacations".  Many of us don't want to sign it.  Please, we need help urgently, we don't know what to do and feel unprotected. They won't even let us call our families, we're being held against our will.

And try to contact the  "ITF" PLEASE, WE'RE BEGGING YOU, HELP US. I'M AWAITING YOUR ANSWER, PLEASE COME...WE'LL BE IN GIBRALTAR ON THURSDAY, OR MAYBE THEY'LL KEEP DECEIVING US, WE DON'T KNOW UNTIL WHEN, THERE'S SICK PEOPLE ON BOARD AND THEY DON'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING..

The link to the message is here and can be listened to below:

 

 

A newspaper in Peru also has an article about the incident which can be read here.

Do you have information, photos or video about the incident to share?   Please leave a comment below.

September 30, 2011 Update: 

The El Comercio newspaper in Peru is reporting that another Peruvian crewmember wrote to her sister 3 days ago stating that the crew has not been fed and that there was a big brawl aboard the cruise ship.   

Happy Cruises - Gemini - GibraltarCruise Law News received comments from unidentified individuals who claim to be crewmembers (see below) or family member of the crew who dispute that there are any problems on the ship.

October 1, 2011 Update:

International Shipping Partners (ISP) here in Miami is the administrative manager of Jewel Owner Ltd., which is the owner of the cruise ship.  ISP is the commercial and technical manager of the vessel.  ISP has made no statements about this dilemma other than stating the Gemini is "available for immediate sale or charter."

October 2, 2011 Update:

The Spanish newspaper Provincia reports that on Friday the Gemini dropped anchor in the eastern port of Gibraltar by the Ocean Pearl in hopes that the company pay the crew's wages and repatriate them.  Yesterday, the vessels docked in the passenger area of ​​the port of Gibraltar

Does anyone have photos or video of the conditions on the cruise ship?

October 4, 2011 Update:

The Panarama newspaper in Gibraltar has an update on the story - "Sad Times for Crew of Happy Cruises."

 

 

Photo credit:  

Top:  El Comercio

Bottom:  Provincia

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Comments (32) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gabs - September 29, 2011 1:31 PM

Thanks for posting this Jim. Just one note "Trujillano" means he's from the city of Trujillo, in Peru. It's not his name.

Hopefully something can be done to help them.

Gabs - September 29, 2011 1:33 PM

This is his name, according to El Comercio: Rooy Eduardo Deceno Velásquez.

CrewMember - September 30, 2011 8:18 AM

Good Day to you, First of all we would like to advice anyone that read this post, that this crewmember is being dishonest in his report.
At all times the crew has been called for meetings explaining the situation that suddenly rose from the Bankrupty of Happy Cruises. And as we all know to enter any Port you need documents that need to be sent to the Authorities to get the clearance and to check for berth availability.

It is sad that this gentlemen would say that he is not communicating with his family,but then how did he was ABLE to post this? , Also It is a lie that people is sick onboard, when we have a Doctor and a Nurse on a 24 hour call and full hospital equipment with medicines, etc.

We believe the Ship is more than welcome to recieve any Authority onboard to check the procedures that have been taken for the sake and security of all the crew.

Food, water has NOT been missed in our plates, and the Galley department is giving their best to serve us all.

We thank Mr. Deceno for his post, but we believe he has to be more open and speak clearly from his side not for ALL of us Onboard.

We also thanks the Captain and crew for taking good care of us in this difficult time that nobody saw it coming.

ROLAND - September 30, 2011 11:26 AM

crew dont have to suffer for the companys fault, this company should care more about their wellness

Sue Taylor - September 30, 2011 1:30 PM

You are the lier sir .... My sister is there too and I heard the same thing ... You have 300 employees in this boat against their will .... The is a crime !!!!! You all should go jail for it ..... All this people just want to get pay get a ticket to go back to their their country!!!!! They don't want to work for a company like this any more ...... This needs to be solve ASAP ( as soon as possible )

sue - September 30, 2011 3:21 PM

I have a family Member in this ship too and the people from Happy cruises is holding them with out pay and already broke their contract ....they are no letting this people go back home or even get out of the ship, they are holding them agains their will for a week now ,.... they made them sign a sign off letter but still have them in the ship in the middle of the ocean... who does that??? only criminal people .... all this employees are scared, frustrated,sick, crying, they just want to go home....my sister could talk to me because she had a card to use a computer that it will only allow her to talk for few minutes.. she got this card in land before all this happened but now she doesnt have more and there is no way to comunicate with them or them with their families..somebody has to do something!!!!

Sophie - September 30, 2011 5:49 PM

My brother is also on board of the Gemini and we were chatting this afternoon!!, he tells me the right opposite, cos as I understand he'll get paid until the last day he's on board, and he told me he's actually not working at all, that all areas had been used by crew as if they were passengers, even the bar for the crew remains opened where he got drunk last night. So this is really strange for me, because I know my brother and if something gets wrong he immediately would let me know. I know about the company's problem but he hasn't told me about any dismissed letter, or any absence of any service on board. As I understood him this afternoon, he's having too much fun with his girlfriend on board, even in the pool! Tomorrow I will ask him for some pics to see whats happening, cos is not fair that all these people are getting me nervous if my brother told me that everything was ok!!!

Katherine - October 1, 2011 12:05 AM

My good friend's sister is in the boat and she said she could talk for a little using a card she previously bought on land. She cannot call anymore and we all are worried about her. Ahe mentioned they are just in the middle of the ocean and she just wanna go back home now. I just hope this get solved as soon as possible.

mary jane cedro manalanzan - October 1, 2011 3:56 AM

please do help them asap my husband is working there they do not have any idea when they probably going home his name is aldo tantoco manalanzan.

Philippa - October 1, 2011 5:01 AM

My Son is on the Ocean Pearl. I have been in touch with ITF and ITF have been in touch with Happy Cruises. They say that the Gemini does not have a berth which is why they are at anchor but that the crew will be transferred to Ocean Pearl. Once they transfer they will be paid. My Son has been told he will get paid and that he has been in the pool and the bar but they did ask him to sign his sign off papers and he has refused. I have told him DO NOT GET OFF THE SHIP AND DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPERS UNTIL YOU ARE PAID. The crew CAN arrest the ship until they are paid. Please note that ISP who charter the ships to Happy cruises have PUT THEM BOTH UP FOR SALE!!! Do not destroy the ship. Keep order, or they will call authorities and accuse you of mutiny!!!

Victor Ventura - October 1, 2011 9:51 AM

I have been extremely worried for my son, the last time I was chatting with my daughter,my son, that was working for this company, was able to connect, and told me that he was @Gibraltar, and was extremely worried, because he did not know what to do. He did not have any money, and was not going to get paid for more than a month that he had worked for this company. This was on Thursday (9/29/11)since then I have not found out anything from him. I am worried, very worried, because I don't know what to do to help him, or how to communicate with him! Can anyone help them? His name is Kelvin Ventura

Victor Ventura - October 1, 2011 10:10 AM

To this lady, Sophie: Apparently, you are the only one writing totaly the opposite from everyonelse, and that is totally a miscommunication, if what you're brother told you is true, how come there are so many other employees, saying completely the opposite. Is not correct that you come out and say something like this, especially, when parents, brothers, and sisters are worried sick about their loved ones, is your brother really telling the truth? Or is he getting paid to say this? Or you might be someone from this company? I guess we just have to wonder!!!!!

Jim Walker - October 1, 2011 10:23 AM

"Crewmember" (comment no. 3) and "Sophie" (comment no. 7) are coming from the same Russian (.ru) email address.

Edita - October 1, 2011 10:47 AM

I never loose connection with one of my friend on this ship and i never hear any "scary movies" about.they have a food,drinks,enjoy and totally free all the time.i want the same cruise:)it is free for them .even they will get a money!

Antony - October 1, 2011 11:08 AM

Victor Ventura,i can tell you do not worry.ship already alongside and they are just waiting for money.some of them gets offers to stay with another company.just a question for you and others-how did they work without payment before?and only now when Happy Cruises bankrupt they complain?no money for Internet? i don't believe you!

Victor Ventura - October 1, 2011 12:47 PM

Who are you someone that got paid to send this comment? Why are so many crewmembers trying to contact their family members? And why is the media not going to check and see what exactly is happening instead of us worrying like this, I really hope that what you are writing is true, because if you have any children or any loved ones that can't communicate with you, and you do not know what is going, on you would not be so happy. Have you seen or read the comment of Jim Walker? Both comments, 3, and 7 are comming from the same e-mail address, and yours is probably comming from there too! How dare you to say that so many people are lying, you must be getting paid to make this comments!!!! Just make sure that none of your family ever go thru this, by greety companies, that make persons work and then they pocket the money by going bankrupt, so they don't have to be held responsible for their actions!!! I am going to send an e-mail to CNN, and other media communications in English and Spanish, and if you do not have a loved one in there don't make comments to offend the ones that are really going thru this nightmare!!! How dare you!!!

Manuel - October 1, 2011 3:38 PM

OLA!!! I'm crew member from O Pearl. both of she ships alongside at Gibraltar.i met already my friends we were working before.we had a meeting with representative of Happy Cr. and they promise us to pay in next few days!!!some of crew from OP leaving this night(i don't know about Gemini)we have free shore-leave- I'm writing from Internet cafe.thank you.

jim Walker - October 1, 2011 4:01 PM

"Manuel:" If you are ashore, please take a few photos of the cruise ships and crew with your cell phone. Thank you.

Manuel - October 1, 2011 5:25 PM

I'm already call my family.now everyone making calls.what reason of photos?but.give me e-mail.

jim Walker - October 1, 2011 5:39 PM

I would like to see proof that you are in Gibraltar at the port, and not someone at the corporate office or in ISP's office in Miami . . .

juan - October 1, 2011 9:01 PM

Hola que empresa tan malparida no pagan y si jodieron animo todos los tripulantes quememos el barco y eso nos pasa por guevas la empresa ha quebrado dos veces y que la abren la abren...

Philippa - October 2, 2011 7:54 AM

Reply to Anthony. My son works on Ocean Pearl and I have it from him that he has not been paid for the last two months. He has survived only because he has had an advance on his wages. He has a wife and child in Chile who are very worried. You should be aware that these crew members are far from home and their wives and children so have some sensitivity for how they are feeling, especially as some of them are living on "fresh air" because they have not had any money sent to them.

charlie cabrera - October 2, 2011 4:02 PM

this is exaggerated...were ok here, were here now in the port of gibraltar, waiting for the settlements of salary, plane tickets, etc. etc. were having a good time here...if they gonna pay us for all the damages...this is the best...rock on!!!! this is charlie of the philippines crew member m/v gemini...party all night here..i love gibraltar....

Sue - October 2, 2011 10:51 PM

Come on is being wait too Long .... Why the authorities aren't doing anything yet ..... I still havent heard from my sister .... There were gonna let them go three says ago .... we can't event sleep thinking about our family we have no idea how my sister is at this moment .... Please we are very worried .... for all those peoPle who said they are ok .. Good for you !! But talk for yourselve. They might have some food and water on the Ship but its no gonna last for too Long !!!! We want our family back .... Irresponsable company Make their employees suffer for their mistakes....

familyofHAPPYCREW - October 3, 2011 4:57 AM

oh yeah???you were really having a good time?how bout us the family who've been waiting for the salaries for months now?sad to know that the crew were partying while their families are starving?????? pls give update on the status of HAPPY DOLPHIN CREW.last time i heard from my husband was that they were having lots of food and beers!now he is out of reach.

rob Cumbes - October 3, 2011 8:51 AM

I am a member of the Gibraltar Committee of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board. I have been on board both Gemini & Ocean Pearl today, 3rd October.

The ships are both berthed alongside the cruise terminal.
There are no restrictions on shore leave for the crew who have access to telephones and email at the Seafarer's Centre within the Port and at internet cafes in the city.

It appears that the charterer, Happy Cruises, have run into financial difficulties. However, the owners of the ship, International Shipping Partners Inc. have agreed to pay salaries and cover the cost of repatriation, including chartering planes to get crew from to Gibraltar to London, from where onward flights will be possible. This will happen over the next few days. Some crew who are Spanish nationals have already been repatriated.

The claim that the crew are imprisoned on the ship without food etc are untrue.

Jim Walker - October 3, 2011 9:32 AM

When were the crew members first permitted off of the cruise ships?

Sue - October 3, 2011 9:40 AM

My sister called this morning to my Mom thanks god.
The ship is at the port and they all are waiting to get pay... My sister is from Peru, she has not being paid and send Home yet mr Rob Cumbes..... Is very easy for you to say it will take few days .... few ???? That's a lot to us, it could be two days,5,7 ?????? let's no forget it's already being more than a week ..... They have a contract and of course, all this that they had to go through, wasn't there .... So at lease they should buy them a plane ticket to go back home plus their salary for the whole contract, like they sign and agree to do from day one.... My sister spend so much money to get this Job $ 1000 for the course to Work in a ship, visa money, plane ticket from Peru to Amsterdam and them to denmark, plus uniforme and other spenses ..... That Now she have to come back Home and pay for all the money that she borrows.....

Baby - October 7, 2011 6:17 PM

I am also a sea woman and i can't imagine how's the feeling of these crew who are onboard on this ship. My husband is working in this ship and we are expecting him to come home this week. He called me last October 3 and base on one of the message here, that was the first time when the company allowed them to get off on the ship but he did not told me that they have this kind of situation. May be he don't want me to get worried. Please do domething about this and i am calling the attention of ITF. You are the on only Institution that we as a Seaferers can rely on this kind of problem.

Philippa - October 11, 2011 2:51 PM

My Son was paid on Wednesday 5th October and he paid his own flight back. He spoke to Kevin Joel who is on the Ocean Pearl today. Kevin reports that they have been paid but they cannot leave the ship because of visa restrictions for the Columbians and Indians. My Son "bulldog ingles" would like to say "saludos a Kelvin "taky boy" Ventura. We both hope the ITF can help the crew left on the ship as soon as possible. Even though they are paid, it is not easy being stuck on this ship with so much uncertainty. This is a disgraceful business and I hope they dont "rise from the ashes" again just so they can destroy peoples lives all over gain.

Unhappy Crewmember - October 17, 2011 5:26 AM

ISP & ITF, what is happening of Indian & Columbian crew? When are they expecting to get immigration clearence? Its going to be almost a month now and they are stuck up there? Can u hear us?

another unhappy excrew of Gemini - October 29, 2011 8:38 PM

I was on board of this ship for 2 months in 2009 ... I would like to say a bit maybe off topic but even when the company was not broken they was still treating crewmembers badly. I`ve been witness how a BAR Manager invent reasons to send people home and put them in black list for no reason, just to show that he is doing job ... And how the same person ask his own team to work more than 12 hours a day when our contract was for only 11 hours daily... I`ve been working for 16 hours daily and when I had my day off which is just from morning to afternoon time break then we always had a training or meeting that last for 2-3 hours and we never had chance to get proper rest.. This is a sh*t company. Excuse for the language but is true... I am sorry about all the crew because all are wonderful people.. Those people have to pay for all they did

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