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.
In 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:
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.
Cruise 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."
Top: El Comercio