Disappearance of Passenger From HAL's Oosterdam Reveals Cruise Line, FBI and Coast Guard Shortcomings
A CBS television station in California aired an interesting program this week regarding the unexplained disappearance of a young man from a Holland America Line cruise ship last summer.
Blake Kepley, age 20, vanished from the HAL Oosterdam last July during a cruise from Seattle to Alaska.
The disappearance occurred when my family was vacationing near Seattle. I wrote about the incident in my blog article: Back From Vacation - Safe, Sound & Thankful
Months after Mr. Kepley's disappearance, his mom finally received a copy of the U.S. Coast Guard investigative report. But it reached no conclusions. It contained just one blurry surveillance image of a person walking on deck in the early morning hours when her son went missing. The person's face was blacked out, and the names of witnesses who claimed to have seen Mr. Kepley on the ship were also redacted.
Holland America Line claimed that there was no surveillance video available to explain what happened.
No one should disappear from a cruise ship without closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras recording what happened, says Mr. Kepley's mom.
The case has the attention of the President of the International Cruise Victims organization. Ken Carver lost his daughter on a Celebrity cruise ship in Alaskan waters and faced the indifference of the cruise line who did not even report her missing.
Mr. Carver also discusses the problem of the FBI not releasing accurate number of cruise ship crimes, and the U.S. Coast Guard not implementing provisions of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act designed to protect cruise passengers.