Terrorists Arrested Aboard the Costa Magica?

Several readers of Cruise Law News sent us articles today reporting that Greek police officers boarded the Costa Magica while it was in the Port in Piraeus, Greece and arrested four passengers who had possession of firearms.   

The Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija Daily reports that the incident occurred on Thursday October 2nd.

Approximately 3,000 other passengers embarked from Venice on a seven-day Mediterranean cruise. Once the ship reached Greece, the Greek police boarded the Magica and arrested one woman and three men for possession of firearms (pistols).

The cruise ship was delayed departing from Piraeus because of the incident. The incident was not announced on the ship and the passengers seemed to be unaware of it. 

The newspaper says that the news about the arrest of four passengers could not be found either in the Greek or in the Italian media. The newspaper interviewed crew members from Dubrovnik who explained the circumstances surrounding the arrests.

The newspaper say that the information was suppressed because it was bad for the cruise industry's business. 

Those interviewed explained that there are 3,000 passengers and 6000 suitcases simultaneously screened in just a few hours and it is impossible to effectively screen so many passengers and luggage in such little time.

This is particularly worrying, the newspaper suggested, when the Islamic states repeatedly threaten harm to the Americans and their allies.

The article is entitled The Terrorists Tried to Hijack the Cruise Ship with 3,000 Passengers.

There is no indication why the 4 passengers had the guns nor is there any proof or explanation in the newspaper that they were in fact terrorists. 

The Costa Magica participated in anti-terrorist exercises last year. 

Anyone with more information about this incident please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

October 14, 2014 Update: Costa Crociere posted this statement on Twitter: "Segnalate alle autorità 5 persone che hanno tentato l'imbarco su Costa Magica con documenti falsi. Nessuna arma è stata trovata." Translated: "5 people reported to the authorities who have attempted boarding on Costa Magica with false documents. No weapon was found."

Costa Magica

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Abxbay Creative Commons 3.0

High Times in Nassau Will Cost You $500 or 2 Months in Her Majesty's Prison

This spring I wrote a couple of articles about cruise passengers getting busted in Nassau for small amounts of pot.  

In April, I wrote about seven passengers from various cruise ships who were arrested for possessing one or a few marijuana cigarettes. In several cases of those arrested, the Bahamian customs officer boarded the Miami-based ships without an arrest warrant or probable cause and confiscated the pot in the cabin safes and arrested the passengers when they returned to the ships.

I commented on the double standard where cruise lines like Royal Caribbean or NCL make hundreds of millions of dollars pushing booze on their ships to the point that the passenger are knee-walking-Nassau Bahamas Potdrunk, but the cruise ship security officers will nab a guest for a single joint and turn them over to the police.    

A common complaint we hear from those who get off the ships in Nassau is that pot dealers canvas the port and sell pot up and down Bay Street and in and around every bar in town. And of course Nassau has a major crime problem which the local police can't control.

Nonetheless, the Bahamas devotes considerable resources into making tourist-related pot arrests, even though the majority of those arrested don't even try and leave the ship with the pot.   

You can read my articles here: 

Reefer Madness: Bahamas Magistrate Taunts & Shakes Down Royal Caribbean Potheads

"Dangerous Drugs?" Nassau Nabs Two More U.S. Cruise Passengers for Pot

Well yesterday the issue resurfaced.  The Tribune newspaper reports that the Bahamian police arrested four young men in their early 20's from several cruise ship for small amounts pot.

The first two men arrested were from Georgia and disembarked an unidentified cruise ship. They had possession of one gram between them when the police arrested them on the cruise wharf.  The magistrate told them that they "could have faced up to seven years in Her Majesty’s Prison." He questioned whether they knew that marijuana was illegal in the Bahamas. One of the men told the magistrate “it’s everywhere.” He fined each passenger $300 to be paid by 5:00 P.M. or they could spend a month in prison.

The second arrest involved a passenger from Miami. The customs officers came on board the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas and arrested the passenger for possessing three grams. He told the magistrate that he "wasn’t planning on bringing it off the ship.”  The magistrate threatened the passenger with "sitting in a prison cell for seven years," and fined him $400 or two months in jail. 

The third and last arrest involved another young man from Miami who was aboard the Norwegian Sky. The NCL security chief invited the Bahamian police onto the ship and led them to the passenger's cabin. The police discovered 12 joints and arrested the passenger.  The magistrate fined him $500 or 2 months in prison.

The comments to the article mocked the magistrate. My favorite was "7 years for a dime bag? GTFOH." The last comment said: " . . . stop wasting the tax payers money with this crap, I hope the fine is more than your $800 per hour charge Magistrate Forbes." 

Nassau has a major problem with gangs, drugs and armed robbery involving young violent men. But the local magistrates and police officers would rather round up stoned American cruisers with a joint or two back in the cruise ship safe. It's easy pickings for the local law enforcement and judicial departments who have otherwise lost control of Nassau. 

 

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit:  feathersboutiquevintage.com

Rapper Big Boi Arrested for Drugs Leaving Cruise Ship in Miami

U.S. customs agents in Miami arrested rapper "Big Boi," of the hip-hop duo "OutKast," on drug possession charges as he disembarked a cruise ship.   

Big Boi Cruise Drug Arrest  TMZ reports that Big Boi (real name Antwan Patton), had "ecstasy pills, MDMA powder and Viagra" in his luggage as he was leaving the unidentified cruise ship after it returned to the Port of Miami.

It apparently is a felony to possess Viagra without a prescription.  Seems to be a tad embarrassing to be called "Big Boi" and get busted for Viagra of all things.  I have never heard of "MDMA powder" but it is apparently a purer form of ecstasy. 

Some people may jump to the conclusion that customs picked on Big Boi because he is a rapper.  But cruise passengers get arrested for drugs all of the time.  

Just last week, American passenger Richard Battistella from New Jersey was arrested when customs officers from Bermuda brought a sniffer dog onto the Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship and found "13 spliffs" in a bedside drawer in his cabin.  According to the Royal Gazette newspaper, the passenger pled guilty to importing cannabis into Bermuda (even though the pot never left his cabin) and he paid a $3,000 fine.

Big Boi was held and then released on a $16,000 bond.  His attorney gave this statement to the press: "While Big Boi was traveling with his group and friends, a small amount of contraband was found in the collective luggage . . . I am confident when the entire facts are aired Big Boi will be completely exonerated."

Meanwhile Big Boi tweeted: "Fresh Out Baby ! . . . Shiiiiit they said it was the Love Boat."  

Anyone know the name of the cruise ship he was sailing on?  Please leave a comment below.  (Other passengers are saying Carnival Valor).

Rapper Big Boi Drug Bust on Cruise Ship

For other stories about drug busts on cruise ships, consider reading:

Are You a Stoner? Don't Cruise to Bermuda!

Cruise Ship Drug Crimes Soar!

Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

 

Photo credits: 

Top:  Big Boi Twitter page

Bottom: Gawker 

Rick Ehlert's Attorney Says: Jokingly Dropping a Cruise Ship Anchor is "Silly," But Not a Crime!

Last November, Cruise Law News (CLN) reported on the drunken cruise ship passenger who reportedly snuck into the control room and dropped anchor while the ship was sailing back to Tampa from Mexico.

Daniel Castillo, Ehlert’s defense attorney now claims that Rick Ehlert admits to being intoxicated and sneaking into the control room to drop the M/S Ryndam’s anchor; however, what his client did was not a crime.

Castillo claims that while his client was certainly acting stupid, Mr. Ehlert did not commit a federal crime. Castillo says that no persons were injured or property damaged as a result of his client’s stupidity. Ehlert admits to being drunk around 5:30 a.m. when he stumbled into the control room and released the anchor while the cruise ship was out at sea.

Ehlert was arrested on felony charges for attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel.” However, according to Tampa Bay Online, Castillo stated that his client is only “guilty of felony stupidity.” 

While the charges Ehlert faced could have placed him in jail for 20 years, Castillo reported that prosecutors have told him to expect some form of probationary period for his client.  

Who is to blame? The passenger for getting wankered and pulling a not-so-funny prank? Or the cruise line for continuously pushing alcohol and failing to monitor and/or lock the control room? Should Rick Ehlert be sentenced to more than probation? Should he have to serve time?

Photo credit: Gawker

Drunk Passenger Drops Cruise Ship Anchor

Rick Ehlert - Drunk Passenger - Arrested - AnchorThe Smoking Gun reports that a drunk passenger aboard the Ryndam cruise ship, operated by Holland America Line (HAL), released the vessel's anchor as the cruise ship was returning to Tampa from Costa Maya, Mexico.

Under the category "drunk, stupid, crime," the article identifies the intoxicated passenger as Rick Ehlert, age 44, from Thousand Oaks, California. 

The Smoking Gun website contains an affidavit from a FBI agent who noted that a subsequent review of the ship's surveillance video showed cruise passenger Ehlert  releasing the anchor around 5:30 in the morning while wearing the same clothing he was photographed in Friday while attending the ship’s formal night. 

Ehlert was arrested on felony charges of attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel.”

Its a pity that cruise ships have such poor security with so much alcohol aboard the ships.  How can a single and very drunk passenger release a anchor without anyone noticing?  Doesn't the security personnel monitor the surveillance cameras?  Shouldn't the anchor be locked?  I would love to take a look at this passenger's bar bill and see how much money HAL collected serving Mr. Ehlert booze on the night in question. 

Rick Ehlert - Drunk Passenger Drops Anchor

 

Article credit:  Smoking Gun

Photo credit:  Gawker

Map credit:  Mail OnLine