Ship Officers Accused of Robbing Guests of Casino Winnings

Two cruise ship officers are accused of robbing guests who reportedly won over a million dollars from the ship's casino. The incident reportedly occurred several weeks ago on an unnamed cruise ship while it was docked in Piraeus, Greece.

Cruise CasinoA newspaper in Greece reports that over the course of two nights, two Bulgarian passengers gambled in the ship's casino and won over $1,000,000 dollars. After their big night of winning, the guests cashed in their winnings ($1,030,000) and returned to their staterooms. The newspaper explains that an hour later, one of the guests alleges that he was attacked and robbed by two ship officers (reportedly a Canadian and an Israeli officer), who stole $430,000 in cash from the guest's cabin safe. The guest reported the incident to the ship and the port authority. 

Local police boarded the ship and arrested the two officers who reportedly had $430,000 in cash with them. However, the officers claim that the guests, who were not arrested, were cheating and the officers were simply obtaining the illegal proceeds back from the guests. 

Hat tip to the popular Crew Center for first reporting the bizarre story to the cruise community. 

The newspaper in Greece did not disclose the name of the cruise line or cruise ship where the incident occurred.

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Deadly Blasts Rock Istanbul; Most Cruise Lines Already Avoiding Turkey

Istanbul TurkeyTwo coordinated bombings in Istanbul, Turkey killed 38 people and wounded 155 others yesterday. News reports report that the bombings were committed by a Turkey-based Kurdish militant group, identified in the New York Times as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK. Others said that the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, were behind the bombings. The TAK claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The first explosion was caused by a car bomb, a common terrorist method associated with other bombings in Turkey, near police special forces at the exit of a soccer stadium exit. The car was reportedly loaded with almost nine hundred pounds of explosives. Shortly thereafter, a suicide bomber triggered explosives in a nearby park.

Last week USA TODAY  announced that three Carnival Corporation brands, Cunard, Holland America Line and P&O Cruises canceled all calls to Turkey for the upcoming year (2017).

Earlier this year, ISIS suicide bombers attacked the Ataturk airport in Istanbul with powerful devices that killed over 40 people and injured several hundred others. There have been at least nine serious terror attacks in Turkey dating over a year.

This last July, President Erdogad's declared a state of emergency following a failed military coup. Many people were concerned that tourists would be frightened to travel to Turkey following the harsh steps taken by President Erdogad against dissidents.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises ended a number of stops in Turkey this year, primarily in Kusadasi, following the unrest in Turkey this summer. But a number of smaller lines, like Azamara, Silversea, Star Clippers, Celestyal Cruises and TUI called on some ports in Turkey. 

Many American tourists have shied away from the eastern Mediterranean this year as a cruise destination because of an influx of refugees from Syria and the threat of Islamic terrorists.  

The U.S. State Department previously ordered the departure of family members of employees in the U.S. Istanbul TurkeyConsulate General in Istanbul, Turkey. The State Department warns "U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country."

The U.K. travel advisory cautions against travel against "to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir," but states that "it’s generally safe to travel to Turkey, but you should take additional safety precautions." The U.K., whose diplomatic missions in Turkey continue to operate as normal, points out that "British nationals made over 2.4 million visits to Turkey in 2015."

On Friday, in an article titled Terrorist Suspect Arrested on Cruise Ship, a Cayman Islands newspaper reported that a German-Turkish man who was arrested on a cruise ship Thursday on an Interpol warrant appeared in court facing potential extradition to Turkey for alleged terrorist offenses. The report claimed that the cruise passenger was engaged in terrorist activities relating to the PKK/ACK Kurdish separatist groups over 25 years ago. 

Photo credit: Murad Sezer / Reuters via NBC News (top); BJK Television (bottom).

December 15, 2016 Update: Why you may visit Albania, not Turkey, on some 2017 cruises.

Medevac from Mein Schiff

 According to the Crew Center website, earlier this week the Greek Coast Guard medevaced a 55 year old cruise passenger from the Mein Schiff cruise ship.

On October 19, 2016, a helicopter medically evacuated the German passenger who was suffering from cardiac symptoms when the ship was sailing six miles south of the island of Ikaria. The helicopter flew the ill passenger to an airport in Samos where he was transferred by ambulance to a hospital. Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Video credit: Αεροδιακομιδή Ασθενούς από Πλοίο from Hellenic Air Force / Vimeo.

 

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Aegean Paradise Cruise Ship Collides with Greek Coast Guard Vessel

Aegean ParadiseAccording to a Greek newspaper, a cruise ship collided with a Greek Coast Guard today. 

The Aegean Paradise and the Coast Guard vessel collided near Chios. 

No injuries were reported in the collision. 

The newspaper says that the collision was caused due to "misty conditions." The coast guard vessel, which was carrying 25 migrants, suffered damage.

The "Aegean Paradise" will remain at Chios harbor until an inspection is carried out by the appropriate maritime authorities. 

Photo Credit: Marc Ryckaert (MJJR) - Own work, licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia. 

Fire Erupts on Italian Ferry

Norman Atlantic Ferry Fire A ferry carrying 423 passengers and 55 crew members caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu today as the vessel was sailing from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy.

Passengers and crew members were reportedly trapped on the top decks as gale-force winds and rough seas hindered the evacuation.

The fire broke out on the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic.

Unfortunately, one death and several injuries have been reported.  

The Daily Mail has photographs and information about the fire.

Update: Hundreds remain on the ferry. The ship lost power long ago and cannot lower lifeboats. Helicopters are slowly medevacing passengers. The fire has been burning for 15 hours. The remaining passengers hare on the exterior decks, in cold weather with heavy smoke.  

Newspaper is reporting that the ferry had multiple problems with its fire safety equipment and procedures (see below) and should not have been permitted to sail. See story here. However, the owner says that the deficiencies were promptly corrected and the ferry's fire safety equipment and protocols were fully in compliance with maritime codes. See story here.

An excellent source of information about the fire is Crazy Cruises.

December 29, 2014 Update: A Fox News account reports that seven people are dead. The article states that one person died after becoming trapped in a liferaft boat chute. 

December 30, 2014 Update: The Telegraph reports that there are ten deaths and Up to 43 still missing amid confusion over Norman Atlantic passenger list.

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Video Credit: CNN top; il Fato Quotidiano bottom. Photo Credit: italian Navy

 

Norman Atlantic Fire Safety

MSC Magnifica Runs Aground in Pireaus

MSC Magnifica PiraeusA number of news sources in Greece are reporting that a MSC cruise ship ran aground (note correction below) today at the southeast Greek port of Piraeus. Greek port authorities released the information. 

There were no injuries or major damage arising from the accident with the Panama-flagged ship Magnifica, the port authorities said. Bad weather conditions were apparently a factor in the incident. 

One news account says that maritime experts are currently investigating the accident, while most of Greece continued to be swept by storms today. 

The cruise ship's bridge cam at this time (image below) shows the cruise ship docked in Piraeus with calm conditions. In addition to the Magnifica, other cruise ships at the port of Pireaus today include the Rotterdam, Ruby Princess and the Constellation.

The Magnifica was reportedly carrying 2,469 passengers and 976 crew members.

If you have any information about the grounding, please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

November 20 2013 Update: A number of readers informed me that the cruise ship allided with the left breakwater at the port of Piraeus and sustained slight damage to the portside hull above the waterline. This Greek newspaper article confirms an allision and not a grounding.  (Definition of "allision:" when a vessel strikes a fixed object; versus a "collision" when two vessel strike each other.)

You can see another photo of damage to the breakwater/pier here.

Very clear views of the damage to the breakwater and damage to the cruise ship can be seen here.

See video of the damage here.

See our additional photos of the damage to the interior of the cruise ship are here.

Photo credit top: http://www.tanea.gr/

MSC Magnifica Cruise Ship Web Cam

Death on NCL's Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade Cruise Ship Katakolon GreeceAccording to a news account in Greece, a 25 year old Filipino crew member aboard the Norwegian Jade died when the cruise ship was in Katakolo, Greece.

In addition to the skimpy information contained in the newspaper, we learned that the incident occurred early this morning when cruise passengers were preparing to disembark for sightseeing ashore (including visiting the ruins of Olympia).

A mooring line snapped while the crew member was standing on a mooring deck platform (at the level of deck 7). The crew member was violently struck by the recoiling rope. He was knocked overboard and into the water at the port.  According to the news account, divers took several hours to retrieve the dead man's body in the murky water. 

The crew member was not fitted with either a harness or a life vest and he was not wearing a hard hat. (Some people say that his hard hat was subsequently found floating in the water).

This afternoon, the Norwegian Jade (previously named the Pride of Hawaii) continued on to its next port of call in Piraeus.  The Jade is flagged in the Bahamas.  It appears that the ship sailed without a representative of the Bahamas Maritime Authority conducting an inspection of the rope or analyzing the NCL Norwegian Jadeaccident and taking statements from the crew and witnesses.  The ship is now continuing to sail to Pireus this evening.   

Cruise lines like NCL have worked hard to strip crew members of their rights.  Crew members from the Philippines, in particular, are limited under the Philippines Overseas Employment Agreement (POEA) to very small death benefits even in cases like this where the cruise line failed to enforce basic safety procedures.  

You can read our article about the POEA here. NCL took the lead in enforcing unfair arbitration clauses which deprive seafarers of their rights under maritime law.

Without significant financial consequence to the cruise line in cases like this, there is no incentive to improve safety of the ship's hard working crew. 

If you have information about this fatality, please leave a comment below.     

Photo credits: Norwegian Jade - janiahola.fi; web cam - NCL; scene of accident - ekathimerini.com

NCL Norwegian Jade Death Greece

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Gunmen Rob Jewelry Store While Costa Pacifica In Port In Greece

Cruise Port of Katakolon - Robbery The popular crew member website, Crew Center, posted an interesting article today entitled "Masked Gunmen with AK47 Robed Jewelry Store while Costa Pacifica was in the Port."

The article explains that an armed robbery of a jewelry store occurred in the port city of Katakolon, Greece while the Costa Pacifica was docked in port.

At the time of the robbery, there were hundreds of cruise tourists who had come to shopping area from the Costa Pacifica.

Crew Center explains that shortly after 2:00 PM a silver Ford Galaxy appeared and four masked men with Kalashnikovs entered the jewelry store with automatic weapons.

After the armed men robed the store of all the jewelry, they smashed the shop and shot at in the air causing panic among the locals and tourists.

Police officials say that they found the car abandoned and completely destroyed. Witnesses say that perpetrators were Greeks and spoke fluent Greek.

There are no reports that anyone was physically injured. 

Crew Center also posted a video of the incident. 

 

 

Photo and video:  Crew Center