This morning the Disney Wonder arrived in the port of Miami for the first time. It quietly slipped through government cut and nestled itself along side the cruise terminal at the port of Miami where it will start taking families on cruises with their kids dreaming of sailing with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Disney decided to stop sailing the Wonder on a Mexican Riviera route and re-positioned the cruise ship to here in Miami to begin taking passengers on Caribbean cruises. Later today, at 5:00 PM, the Wonder will be departing with a boat-load of families on its inaugural Caribbean cruise from Miami.
What fun for the kids and the proud parents. Certainly a happy time for families to be sailing with their children on a tropical Christmas cruise.
But for one family this Christmas season is a rather somber and frustrating time of year.
Mike and Ann Coriam from Chester England lost their daughter, Rebecca, age 24, from the Disney Wonder off the coast of Mexico last year. Rebecca was a highly regarded youth counselor whose job was to take care of the kids on the Wonder. She did not appear at the cruise ship's child facility for work one day. Because Disney flags its cruise ships in the Bahamas to avoid taxes and labor & wage laws, the responsibility for investigating the disappearance fell to a lone policeman in Nassau.
If you have ever traveled to Nassau, you will quickly learn that the police can't solve a crime when a thief rips a gold necklace from the neck of a visiting cruise passenger even if the robbery takes place across the street from the police station. The notion that a Bahamian police officer could solve a disappearance of a young woman during a cruise from California to Mexico is laughable if the situation were not so sad.
I sent a letter to Disney asking for some basic information and was completely ignored. The Magical Cruise Line people claimed that all information must come from the police in Nassau who refuse, as Disney knows, to cooperate with the Coriam family.
The policeman eventually prepared a report regarding his "investigation," for what that's worth, but refuses to provide a copy to the Coriam family. Disney is indifferent to the Coriam's plight, and is hiding behind the stonewalling in the Bahamas.
A newspaper in the Coriam's home town, the Chesterfirst, has published an article about the tragic and maddening tale, "We Want the Truth."
“It will be two years in March since Rebecca’s disappearance and we are still no closer to knowing what happened to her on that ship,” said Mike.
“All we want is to know what happened to Rebecca so that we can have some closure, as it is the not knowing that is the most difficult thing to deal with.”
Mike and Ann are hoping that a new appeal for information, now raised in the House of Commons by Chester MP Stephen Mosley, will help bring the Corian family a step closer to establishing what exactly happened to their beloved daughter.
Mr Mosley had told Mike Penning, the U.K. Minister for Shipping, last month that the investigation by Bahamanian police had been “appalling” and that they had made “virtually no attempt at investigating Rebecca’s disappearance.”
“We are having to seek information from the other side of the world and it has been really hard for me, Ann and the rest of the family to deal with . . . the fact is that Rebecca isn’t here with us and we just don’t know what has happened to her."
“She is in our thoughts every single day and Christmas time makes it especially hard for us all. We miss her terribly.”
Later this afternoon, the Disney Wonder will sail out of the port of Miami filled with smiling-faced children. Whether they realize it or not, every family on the Disney Wonder is only a railing away from experiencing the same horror the Coriam family is suffering this Christmas Season.
Photo Credit: Rebecca & Corian Family - Coriam Family
Photo Credit of Disney Wonder - Jim Walker
Have info about Rebecca? Please contact the Coriam family website.
Watch a video about the case from Australia's Dateline program. Click on Lost at Sea.