As the Disney Wonder Sails From Miami, the Cover-Up Continues: What Happened to Rebecca?

Disney Crew Member Rebecca Coriam Wonder Cruise ShipThis 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. 

Mike and Ann Coriam Disney Wonder Cruise ShipA 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.  

Disney Wonder Cruise Ship Inaugural Cruise Miami

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.

Disney Ready to Start Inaugural Season from Miami, While Questions Remain About Disappearance of Disney Youth Counselor

Disney Cruise Line has kicked off its promotion of the Disney Wonder cruise ship sailing from Miami starting December 23, 2012.  

Fort Lauderdale's Sun Sentinel newspaper reports today that "Captain Mickey Mouse officially kicked-off the countdown for the arrival of the Disney Wonder to PortMiami with a Disney-style unveiling of a larger than life banner proclaiming “See You Real Soon.”

This will be the first time a Disney cruise ship has home-ported in South Florida.

Readers of my blog will recall that the Disney Wonder has a rather notorious history as the cruise ship from which a young English woman "disappeared" last year.

In March 2011, twenty-four year old Disney crew member Rebecca Coriam somehow "vanished" from the Wonder while it was sailing on a Mexican itinerary from Southern California. The Coriam family feels that Disney has been less than forthcoming with information regarding their daughter's situation. They believe that the cruise line has not cooperated with them in finding out exactly what happened on the Disney cruise ship.

Because Disney flagged its ship in the Bahamas to avoid taxes and labor laws, official responsibility for Rebecca Coriam - Disney Cruise - Disney Wonder Cruise Shipinvestigating disappearances from Bahamian flagged ship falls to the Bahamas. A single policeman from the Bahamas investigated Rebecca's disappearance. The investigation took only a few hours. The Bahamas refuses to provide the Coriams with the results of its investigation and is concealing the official report from them.  Disney refuses to release information to the family saying that they must obtain the information from the Bahamas which, Disney know, won't cooperate at all.

A sorry state of affairs with these foreign incorporated cruise lines sailing under foreign flags of convenience concealing information from grieving families.  

By the way, Rebecca was employed as a youth counselor for Disney. You'd  think that a corporation touting "family cruises" and promoting special vacations for kids would try to get to the bottom of the disappearance of a youth counselor whose job was to take care of children, as well as being sensitive and transparent with the employee's family. Think again.

Below is a video about how cruise lines cover up disappearances at sea, of both passengers and crew.  The Coriam family is interviewed and so am I.  Ask yourself whether Disney will be transparent with you if your daughter disappears from the Disney Wonder when it sails out of Miami next month.

Do you know what happened to Rebecca? Please contact her family: Web: Rebecca-Coriam.com Email: help@rebecca-coriam.com

 

A Parent's Worst Nightmare - Disappearance Of Disney Crew Member Rebecca Coriam

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the disappearance of youth counselor Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship.  

BBC News published an article which summed up the problems caused when a cruise line like Disney chooses to fly a flag of convenience in a country like the Bahamas.  You can read the article here

A press release with video is here.

Our last article about Rebecca's disappearance is here.

Watch a dateline video from Australia about Rebecca's disappearance below:   

   

 

If you have information about Rebecca's disappearance, please contact us and / or the Coriam family using the contact information below.  We are interested in hearing from former employees of Disney Cruise Lines, particularly youth counselors who used to work aboard the Disney Wonder

Jim Walker:

Telephone:  305 995 5300

Toll Free:  800 256 1518

Email:  jim@cruiselaw.com

Coriam family:

Telephone: 011 44 774 735 9968

Email:  help@rebecce-coriam.com 

What Happened to Disney Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam on the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship One Year Ago?

The following is a copy of a press release issued today regarding the disappearance of Rebecca Coriam:

What Happened to Rebecca

One year ago tomorrow, twenty-four year old Rebecca Coriam disappeared from the Disney Wonder. Rebecca worked aboard the Wonder as a youth counselor.

She was responsible for taking care of the children aboard the cruise ship. Rebecca was last seen just before dawn on March 22, 2011, and then she did not report to work at 9.00 AM.  Disney Cruise Line listed Rebecca as "missing at sea."

A police officer in the Bahamas is responsible for the investigation of Rebecca's disappearance because Disney Cruise Line registered its cruise ship in that country.

Rebecca Coriam - Missing - Disney Cruise LineRebecca's family, Mike and Ann Coriam from Chester, England, have received little information from either Disney or the Bahamas regarding what happened to Rebecca in the early morning hours of March 22, 2011.  It has been one year since Rebecca has been lost.  The family has more questions than answers at this point.

Rebecca's Parents Retain Miami Maritime Lawyer Jim Walker to Help Find Answers

To help find information about what happened to their daughter, the Coriam family retained maritime lawyer Jim Walker of the Miami-based law firm of Walker & O'Neill.  Mr. Walker is an internationally know lawyer whose practice focuses on cruise ship matters, including disappearances of passengers and crew members and crimes on the high seas.  

"In this day and age," Mr. Walker commented, "it is inconceivable that anyone would vanish from a cruise ship - particularly a ship catering to families and children -  without the circumstances being recorded by closed circuit television cameras." 

Rebecca's disappearance has received attention in the United Kingdom.  BBC covered the story and the Guardian newspaper, among many others, published an article "Rebecca Coriam - Lost at Sea." 

Rebecca's case has been discussed in the House of Commons in England. Her MP, Stephen Mosley, says Disney was “ "more interested in getting the ship back to sea than in investigating the case of the missing member of their crew."  He also stated “it’s appalling” that only one policeman from the Bahamas – “an authority internationally recognized as almost toothless” – was called to investigate. He said “flag of convenience” countries such as the Bahamas – as they’re called in the shipping world – shouldn’t be left to conduct these kinds of investigations.

Countries as far away as Australia have demonstrated interest into what happened to Rebecca. Australia's "Dateline" recently aired a special program, "Lost at Sea," which you can watch here

Coming to America 

The United States media, so far, has demonstrated little interest in the case, although Disney and its cruise line, the Magical Cruise Company, are based in the U.S.   

The Coriam family will be traveling to the U.S. seeking information about their daughter.  If you have information about Rebecca or if you are interested in interviewing them or discussing the matter with their counsel, Jim Walker, please use the contact information below.

Jim Walker: 

Telephone:  305 995 5300

Email:  jim@cruiselaw.com

Web:  Cruise Law News

Coriam family:

Telephone:  011 44 774 735 9968

Email:  help@rebecca-coriam.com

Web:  Rebecca Coriam

 

March 22, 2012 Update:  BBC News: "Rebecca Coriam: 'Bad Dream' For Missing Girl's Parent"

Mickey Mouse Games: Is Disney Cruise Line Engaged In A Cover-Up On The Disney Wonder?

When I think of Disney Cruise Lines these days, the popular saying "the cover up is always worse that the crime" comes to mind.

I'm sure that I am not the only one who thinks that.  Disney Cruise Lines's conduct over the last nine months after the unexplained disappearance of Disney youth counselor, Rebecca Coriam, has a number of people questioning Disney's moral compass.

Just the other week, the Liverpool Daily Post blasted the headline "Shipping Minister Mike Penning Attacks Disney Over Missing Cruise Ship Worker Rebecca Coriam."  The head of the U.K.'s Rebecca Coriam - Disappearance - Disney Wonder Cruise Shipshipping ministry remarked that Disney is "more interested in getting the ship back to sea than in investigating the case of the missing member of their crew."

Stephen Mosley, the MP of the city of Chester in England, where Rebecca is from, condemned the so-called investigation after young Rebecca's disappearance as "appalling."

Perhaps the most insightful, and damning, look at Disney Cruise Line's corporate culture is from an article by noted reporter Jon Ronson in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.   Mr. Ronson's investigative report, 'Lost at Sea," is a must read if you are interested in the culture of a feel good corporation like Disney which chooses obfuscation rather than transparency and cover-up over truth to protect its brand. 

Mr. Ronson, a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and the best selling author of "Them" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats," took a cruise last month aboard the Disney Wonder to take a hard look at the cruise line and cruise ship which are at the center of the mystery surrounding Ms. Coriam.

He quickly learned that the crewmembers on the cruise ship, although trained to maintain a happy I-don't-know-what-you-are-talking-about disposition, apparently all knew where Ms. Coriam went overboard - the front of deck 5, at the crew pool.

"Disney knows exactly what happened," one crew member told Mr. Ronson.  Referring to a telephone call Ms. Coriam had on the morning in question, the crewmember said: "It was taped.  Everything here is taped.  There's CCTV everywhere.  Disney have the tape."

Mr. Ronson also learned that Disney put flowers at the wall next to the crew pool, although it refused to answer any questions why - leading many crewmembers to become convinced that Disney knows what happened but is not telling anyone.

Disney Wonder Crew Pool There is also the issue of a pair of flip-flops, found on a deck on the morning at issue.  Instead of securing them as evidence and conducting forensic testing to determine whether there was any connection to Ms. Coriam, Disney instead placed them in her cabin when her parents got on board.    

But family members and friends rejected the connection between the sandals and Ms. Coriam, finding them too big and not her style.  Rebecca's cabin mate, her intimate friend and other crewmembers were never asked to identify the flip-flops.  Instead, it was as if Disney wanted Rebecca's family to conclude that she must have slipped the sandals off before she voluntarily went overboard - even if it meant spoliating the evidence by moving the sandals from the open deck into her cabin, after-the-fact. 

The article raises also the basic question of how someone can go overboard from the cruise ship without the CCTV cameras capturing the event.  If Rebecca really went overboard at deck 5 by the crew pool, a crewmember confided: "there's HR offices, the crew gym, the crew office that deals with passports, money, documentation.  And they're saying there's no CCTV cameras?"

If Rebecca really went overboard at this location, it means that it occurred right below the bridge. 

There is something not quite right on the Disney Wonder.  If Disney knows why Rebecca went overboard, her family deserves to know the truth.

The Coriam family does not deserve Mickey Mouse games. 

 

Photo credit: 

Top - Guardian newspaper

Bottom  - davidstauffer.com

Disappearance of Disney Cruise Line Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam Reveals Indifference of Foreign Flag State

Today the case of missing Disney Cruise Line youth counselor Rebecca Coriam is again in the news as a MP from her hometown of Cheshire England spoke before the House of Commons.

You will recall that last March, Ms. Coriam "disappeared" from the Disney Wonder as the cruise ship was sailing a Los Angeles - Mexico cruise itinerary. 

How could a young woman, especially one who is charged with taking care of children, simply vanish during a cruise? 

Disney Cruise Lines - Rebecca Coriam - Disney WonderThe disturbing incident raises serious questions regarding not only the safety and security of the passengers and crew on foreign flagged ships but whether there are acceptable systems in place to conduct objective and aggressive investigations into such incidents.

Because the Wonder is flagged in the Bahamas, the Bahamas has the responsibility to investigate Ms. Coriam's disappearance.   This is so even though the cruise ship was based in Los Angeles, and her employer (Magical Cruise Company, Ltd.) is incorporated in the U.K.

In this case this means that a single policeman from Nassau flew to Los Angeles.  Only one policeman from the Bahamas was responsible for conducting a forensic investigation and interviewing the thousands of passengers and crew on the cruise ship once it returned to Los Angeles. 

The local FBI offices in Los Angeles have literally dozens of FBI agents and forensic experts and were readily available to meet the ship at the port.  But they were not invited to become involved, either by the Bahamas or at the urging of the Disney cruise line.

The BBC published an article today about the dilemma.  MP Stephen Mosley asked the House of Commons: "How could we have allowed this to happen to a British citizen?"

Mr Mosley warned people on cruises were not covered by British laws in cases of disappearance, theft or sexual assault at sea.  He said:

"We have the disappearance of a young English woman hired by an English corporation to sail on a cruise ship out of a US port and yet not a single British or American police or forensic team went on board the cruise ship in the days following her disappearance."

Rebecca's parents, Mike and Ann Coriam, are working to change in the law to allow British authorities to investigate cases when British nationals go missing on vessels registered in places like the Bahamas.

 

Do you know what happened to Rebecca?  Please contact her family:

Email:  help@rebecca-coriam.com
Coriam Family:  07747359968
Media Spokesman:  07932815970

You can read our articles about this case here.

Anguished Parents of Missing Disney Cruise Youth Counselor: Where Is Our Daughter?

Disney Cruise youth counselor Rebecca Coriam disappeared from the Disney Wonder in the early morning hours of March 22, 2011.

Her parents, Mike and Ann Coriam from Chester England, know no more today than in March when the cruise line told them their daughter was missing from the cruise ship.  

How, exactly, can a person simply disappear without a trace from a cruise ship, particularly a ship employee responsible for the welfare of children and from a cruise ship which caters to families?  How can there be no CCTV images which provide an answer?

Rebecca Corian - Disney Cruise - MissingSomething is not right with this situation.

Last March, we talked abut the problems families face when their loved ones "disappear" from foreign flagged cruise ships in a number of articles, including Who Investigates Disappearances on Cruise Ships?  and What Happened to Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam on Disney's Wonder Cruise Ship?

This past week a number of news paper articles have been published in the U.K. such as:

'Did She Fall? Was She Taken Off the Ship?' Anguished Parents No Closer to the Truth About Daughter’s Disappearance from Disney Ship

Anguish of Rebecca Coriam's Parents Six Months After Cruise Ship Mystery

Scores of People Have Gone Missing from Cruise Ships, It's Time to Find Out Why, Say Parents of Girl who Vanished from Disney Liner

Lost at Sea

The articles above describe the "investigation" into the mystery as a "farce."  The Express states " . . .  the investigation into Rebecca’s death has been so lacklustre that it is barely worthy of the name." 

A single police officer in the Bahamas is supposedly conducting the investigation.  But within a week, the officer announced that the shipboard investigation was over.  

A number of news sources, including the BBC, quoted Superintendent Paul Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in March saying:  "With respect to the investigation into the disappearance of Miss Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship, the Royal Bahamas Police have concluded its investigation on board the vessel.  "At the present time there is no evidence to suggest foul play."

Although the Bahamas police state that the case remains open and under active investigation, Superintendent Rolle is not telling anyone much of anything assuming he is still working on the case.

The Coriam family remains respectful of the involvement of the Bahamian police officer but quickly notes that the Bahamas clearly do not have the resources to conduct an investigation involving a ship sailing between Los Angeles and Mexico.

Rebecca Coriam - Disney Wonder - DisappearanceIt is also questionable that a police officer in the Bahamas is going to be critical of a cruise line which pays the Bahamas to flag its vessels there. 

A particular irony in this case is that Disney Cruise is actually incorporated in the U.K. as the Magical Cruise Company.  So we have a British citizen working for a British cruise line yet only a single policeman in the Bahamas is investigating?  

Faced with these obstacles, the Coriam family is meeting today with U.K. Shipping Minister Hugh Penning to seek the introduction of a law in the U.K. so that British authorities can investigate incidents involving British citizens on international waters.

The Express quotes Mr. Coriam: “I am not sure we will ever know for sure what happened to Rebecca . . .  my mission now is to bring in laws to protect ­others.”

For more information about the petition for a new cruise safety law in the U.K., go to the Coriam family's website.  

If you have information which may help the Coriam family find answers about about Rebecca, please use the following contact info:

help@rebecca-coriam.com  

 

Photo credits

Top:  Corriam family

Bottom:  LA Times

Rally for Rebecca Coriam

The Rebecca Coriam Search Foundation is holding a fundraiser and rally to help raise money to continue the search and investigation into the disappearance of Disney crew member, Rebecca Coriam.

The rally is being held on July 23, 2011, from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at the Chester Race Course Pavillion. For more information visit the event web page at: A Night for Rebecca Coriam.

Additional information can be found on Rebecca Coriam’s Twitter and Web Page.

Rebecca went missing on March 22, 2011 while working in the youth activity center aboard the M/S Disney Wonder. Cruise Law News (CLN) has previously reported on the disappearance and investigation of Ms. Coriam.

To read more about Rebecca Coriam’s disappearance click on the following:

What Happened to Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam on Disney’s Wonder Cruise Ship?

Parents of Missing Disney Crew Member Return to England with Daughter’s Belongings, But No Answers

After Quick Investigation, Bahamian Police Proclaim "No Foul Play" in Disappearance of Disney Crew Member

Update on Missing Disney Crewmember Rebecca Coriam

Passenger Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Lucas G. Wickes, age 25, of Rochester New York pleaded guilty in federal court to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl on January 1, 2007, on board the Disney cruise ship Disney Wonder after it left Port Canaveral for a Caribbean cruise.

The passenger approached the girl when she left a teen club on the cruise ship and ordered her to accompany him. The girl, who said she believed he was a security officer, followed him to the stern Disney Wonder Cruise Ship - Sexual Assaultof the cruise ship where the adult assaulted her. 

We reported on this crime earlier this year - Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

We have written about the sexual assault of children in prior blogs:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

A newspaper in Rochester, New York reported yesterday that a passenger was indicted for sexually abusing a thirteen year old girl during a cruise back in December of 2006.  The passenger is alleged to have threatened to throw the child overboard if she called for help.

Lucas George Wickes - Sexual Abuse - Disney Wonder Cruise ShipTwenty-four year old Lucas George Wickes (photo left), of Rochester, New York, was indicted for the felony offenses of sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor on the high seas. 

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York issued a press release last September entitled "Rochester Man Charged In Aggravated Sexual Abuse On High Seas Case." 

According to the press release, "on or about December 31, 2006, a 13-year-old female boarded a cruise ship departing from Port Canaveral, Florida to embark on a cruise with her family. In the early morning hours of January 1, 2007, after attending the teen nightclub, the female was walking around the decks with a couple of other teenagers when they were approached by the defendant who indicated that they should be returning to their cabins. The female followed defendant who took her to another deck and then forced her to take her pants off and perform oral sex on him, threatening to throw her overboard if she screamed . . "

We have written about the sexual assault of children in prior blogs:

Perverts, Child Predators and Cruise Ships

Sexual Assault of Children on Cruise Ships - A Problem the Cruise Community Wants to Forget

Why Cruises are NOT the Best Vacations with Kids

Should Travel Agents Be Liable For Falsely Representing That Cruises Are Safe For Kids?

Disney Wonder - Sexual Assault - Sexual Abuse - Minors  What is striking about the U.S. Attorney's press release and the news articles "covering" this story is that the name of the cruise line is not mentioned.  We see this quite a bit.  Law enforcement and/or reporters sometimes try and protect the cruise lines from bad press.  

Another website identifies the cruise ship as the Disney Wonder.

It is a real disservice when the name of the cruise line is kept secret.  Many parents have a false sense that their kids are safe on cruises.  We have learned of sex crimes like this on cruise ships, even on cruise ships which cater to families.   

 

Credits: 

Disney Wonder Kid's Club           MPR529 Flickr Photostream via Hub Pages