Passengers Injured After Rough Seas Pound AIDAprima

I received the following information from a regular reader of this blog, who wishes to remain anonymous. 

"Today's Bild (translates to "Picture", Germany's largest circulation daily) reports cruise ship Aida Prima was hit by 23 ft waves in the North Sea as it was returning to home port Hamburg on Friday evening from a week-long European itinerary.

All passengers were ordered back to their cabins. Ship is now safely back in port in Hamburg. Per the AIDAprima stormarticle, Aida cruise line confirmed the incident, including injuries to 'three passengers, 'two bruises and a bone fracture.'

Per the article, The Elbe (river connecting Hamburg to the North Sea) had been closed in the hurricane for ships - but the authorities made an exception for the Aida Prima. 'She was allowed to enter and reached the berth at the cruise terminal Steinwerder at 7.45 am. The resulting material damage could not be quantified today.'

The Bild story with stills and video is here, entitled 'Our chaos night on the Aida.'

In the video, it appears that the ship rocked so violently that the chest-high glass barrier around the bar pool broke, sending water cascading onto deck 15. Furniture is being tossed as passengers and crew make their way across the deck."

Many thanks to the anonymous reader for the information.  You can watch the video on our Facebook page.  

Photo credit: Bild

Exposed: Fake Doctor Working Aboard Cruise Ships

A reader of Cruise law news has brought to our attention that newspapers in Germany are reporting that the police in Berlin arrested a cruise ship employee impersonating a cruise ship doctor.

In an article titled "Fake Doctor Treated Hundreds of Cruise Passengers," the German newspaper Aftenposten says that a 40 year old man was arrested in Germany after flying from Miami yesterday to join an AIDA cruise ship.  He had been working on cruise ships in the Caribbean, after falsifying documents in order to claim that he was a doctor. He was actually educated as a nurse but had he had worked as a ship doctor for five years the newspapers suggest.

AIDA Cruise Another German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost covered the story and says that the so-called doctor falsely claimed that he specialized in anesthesia and intensive care.  

Carnival-owned Aida Cruises offered no explanation why it hired someone with no medical school education or credentials.  The cruise line obviously did not conduct a thorough pre-employment background check.  It also potentially compromised the heath and well-being of hundreds of passengers and crew members. This also raises the issue whether adequate background checks were performed on other cruise employees.

The strange thing about the articles is that neither the supposed ship doctor nor the Aida cruise ship where the "doctor" was headed or the ships where he previously worked were identified.

Does anyone with information about the identity of the fake doctor or the cruise ships where he fraudulently treated passengers and crew members?

December 8 2015 Update: Based on reliable information I have receiced, it appears that the bogus ship doctor worked aboard the Aida Vita. 

April 26 2016 Update: A newspaper says that the bogus doctor was charged with "63 charges of inflicting bodily injury. The man is further charged with fraud, forgery of university diplomas and unauthorized conduct of an academic degree. In total there are 81 charges."

Photo Credit: "Aidasol" by Patrick Martini - www.schiffgiganten.de Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons

German Cruise Ship Showered By Rocket Debris From Israeli - Hamas Dispute

The murder of the three Jewish boys in the West Bank last week was about the worst thing I have heard of recently until learning of the retaliatory murder of the 16 year old Palestinian boy whose burned body was found in East Jerusalem.  

Hamas and Israel are now exchanging rocket and bomb strikes. 

This afternoon, a Facebook friend working on a cruise ship contacted me saying that a German TV Israeli Hamas Rockertschannel reported that the German cruise ship AIDA DIVA was hit by debris from rockets fired between the Israel & Hamas forces. 

There are several news accounts of the incident (below) but it is less than clear who is shooting at whom at this point. 

Read for yourself what the news reports are saying:

Massive Attack - "Aida Diva" in Rocket Fire.

Rocket Parts Meet "Aida Diva."

German Passenger Cruise Ship Under Rocket Attack in Israel.

The mother of the dead Palestinian boy and the mother of one of the Jewish boys are pleading for a cease-fire. 

 

Photo Credit: AP/dpa via express.de

Carnival-Owned AIDA Cruises Pulls Out of Margarita Island, Venezuela After Murder of Passenger

Margarita Island Venezuela Cruise MurderToday there is a report in El Universal newspaper that German cruise line AIDA Cruises announced the suspension of its two next port calls on Margarita Island, Venezuela. 

Last week we reported that a 76 year old passenger was shot and killed while ashore on an excursion from the Aida Luna cruise ship.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. 

The newspaper quoted the president of the Nueva Esparta Chamber of Tourism, stating:

"This was expected to happen, because security has a direct effect on tourism; hence we insist on saying that time has come to go from words to action. Not only we need police, but the fact of the matter is creating wellbeing in the region in order to minimize crime; there is the need to combat impunity with all the strength we have."

In many ways, there are other countries in the Caribbean which are exactly in this Venezuelan island's precarious situation. I was interviewed by the Nassau Guardian last month about the high crime and murder rates in Nassau and the threat presented to cruise passengers. I said that Nassau was "one gunshot away" from losing its cruise ship business.  I expect Carnival to up and leave if and when a Carnival passenger is shot.

In Margarita Island, which is in the Caribbean, this turned out to be the case.     

The Aida Luna is owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by AIDA Cruises.

I suspect other islands in the Caribbean are holding their breath, afraid that a cruise tourist will become a murder statistic.  

 

Photo (Map) Credit: David Gouaze 

Cruise Passenger Murdered in Venezuela's Margarita Island

Yesterday a cruise passenger was murdered while ashore in Venezuela's Margarita island.

The international press reports that "a gunman shot dead an elderly German tourist on Venezuela's Margarita island," in the latest incident "illustrating the country's rampant crime." 

Reuters identified the dead man as Goldhahm Hors Kurt, age 76, from Germany.

A German cruise blog explains that the cruise tourist had gone ashore on an excursion from the Carnival owned Aida Aida LunaLuna cruise ship. The crime occurred at a tourist shop in a shopping center.

The El Universal newspaper says that two armed robbers on a motorcycle tried to rob the tourists. A struggle ensued and Mr. Kurt was shot and killed.

Venezuela's murder rate is one of the highest in the world, and reflects a trend we have observed of substantially higher crime against tourists in the Caribbean region. Last month a former Venezuelan beauty queen and soap opera star Monica Spear was shot and killed when she returned to her homeland. 

The Venezuela Tourism Minister tweeted (@IzarraDeVerdad) his condolences and said that authorities were pursuing the criminals. However, newspapers state that over 90% of murders in Venezuela remain unsolved.

The Aida Luna is a Sphinx class cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by AIDA Cruises.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Frank Schwichtenberg / GNU Free Documentation License