Cruise Passenger Missing From Sun Princess Again

A cruise passengers is missing from a Princess cruise ship heading towards Sydney today. The ship in question, the Sun Princess, is completing a 13-day cruise to New Zealand.

There is no explanation how or when the passenger went overboard.

Unfortunately, it again appears that this Princess cruise ship does not have am automatic man overboard system as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.

Sun PrincessLast year there was an overboard passenger from the Sun Princess. I wrote this article last October: Princess Cruises: Why No CCTV or Man Overboard Systems on the Sun Princess?    

Princess Cruises released the following statement: 

"Princess Cruises confirms that an 84-year-old male passenger was reported missing early today onboard Sun Princess, which was on the way to Sydney completing a 13-day New Zealand cruise.

A thorough search of Sun Princess was conducted but the passenger could not be located.

The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra was contacted and Sun Princess turned around and retraced its path off the coast of New South Wales.

Sun Princess was scheduled to arrive in Sydney this morning.

She will continue its search efforts until released by the RCC.

Sun Princess’ arrival in Sydney will be delayed and the next cruise will be impacted." 

You can see a video of the story here.

 

Photo Credit: Daily Telegraph

Disappearance From the M/S Serenissima: Update on the Case of Denisa Markoska

News reports are saying that a body washed ashore from the the Aegean Sea with characteristics of missing crew member Denisa Markoska who disappeared from the M/S Serenissima under suspicious circumstances 24 days ago. 

You can read articles from Macedonia here and here.

There is reportedly a similarity in the clothes with those worn by Ms. Markoska and Denisa Markoskathose on the body of the deceased person who washed ashore island of Karpathos.

There will be an autopsy and DNA analysis which should confirm the identity of the body. Such analysis may shed light on the cause of death and whether she drowned or died on the ship. 

The articles discuss that suspicions surround what occurred to the young woman on the cruise ship. Her mobile phone was found with the SIM card removed. The captain continued to sail for many hours knowing that Ms. Markoska had gone overboard, and he let the passengers all disembark before police began investigating the woman's disappearance. There is widespread speculation in the Macedonian press that some women on the ship engaged in prostitution, although I have seen no direct evidence of that.    

We previously reported on the case in our article Mystery Shrouds Disappearance of 23 Year-Old Macedonian Crew Member from M/S Serenissima

Should you have any thoughts or have any information, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Mystery Shrouds Disappearance of 23 Year-Old Macedonian Crew Member from M/S Serenissima

A newspaper in Macedonia, Press 24, published an article "Семејството ја бара веќе 4 дена: 23 годишна Македонка отишла да работи на брод и исчезнала" ("A family looks for 4 days for a 23 year-old Macedonian went to work on the boat and disappeared.")

It's about the disappearance of a young crew member from the M/S Serenissima five days ago, as the cruise ship sailed between Rhodes to Crete. We mentioned the young woman's disappearance in an earlier blog.

The article in the Macedonian press identifies the crew member as Denisa Markoska. The article Denisa Markoska Cruise Ship describes Ms. Markoska as a happy person who shared the joy of her job with relatives and friends. Other news accounts (link here) indicate that she signed a new contract and looked forward to working on the ship when it re-positioned to the Caribbean. But then she just "disappeared," or so the story goes.

The article states (translated): 

"Denisa mysteriously disappeared from a ship that sails the seas, in the early hours of September 13. Serenissima ship sailing under the Russian flag in the territorial waters of Greece. And no one saw what happened ... investigation is conducted with many gaps and inconsistencies by Greek police in Crete.

Parents still have not received any official report from the captain of the ship, or from the Greek police, nor by any competent Macedonian institutions. Parents are desperate. Crying for help as well as pressure on the authorities of all the countries involved to find out what happened to Denisa and where she is. Perhaps the girl is kidnapped or killed ... God forbid."

We have spoken to people in Macedonia who know Denisa and her family.  The captain of the cruise ship, a Russian citizen, kept sailing the ship for two or three hours after Denisa was reported missing. He permitted all of the passengers to disembark the ship when it reached the next port, "not to disturb the guests," before notifying the police. Denisa was last seen smoking a cigarette on the open deck with several other Macedonian crew members around 2:30 A.M. There was a video camera on the ship; however, there was no recording device connected to the video camera.

No serious investigation of any type took place, is what I am being told. The captain sent a short note to the family expressing his condolences without an explanation regarding how Denisa disappeared.

Complicating matters is that the ship was registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to avoid taxes. St. Vincent obviously has no interest in Macedonians citizens or ability to investigate disappearances from vessels bearing its flag. There is information that the ship is owned and/or operated by Premier Cruises based in Finland. Premier is owned by Russian Vladimir Esakov, who owns the Russian Volga Dream company.  

There is a suggestion from the captain that the young woman must have committed "suicide."  But there is no evidence of that. The available information is to the contrary - that she was happy, popular, and a good employee, according to her friends and family. Denisa looked forward to continue her job, sailing in the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, "suicide" is the favorite excuse of cruise lines whenever a young woman disappears at sea. It's a cruel ploy. It is heartless to suggest such a thing when there is no evidence to make such an accusation.   

Are there crew members or passengers on the ship who have accurate information to share?

Please contact us confidentially if you want to pass on information directly to the family. Please email me at jim@cruiselaw.com 

If you wish to offer words of support for Denisa's family, join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Denisa Makoska

 

23 Year Old Crew Member Overboard From M/S Serenissima

Serenissima Cruises A reader of Cruise Law News has informed us that a 23 year old female crew member disappeared from the M/S Serenissima cruise ship.

A Greek newspaper has a short article about the disappearance.

The crew member is reported missing north of the island of Crete, Greece.

The cruise ship is a small vessel carrying only 110 passengers with 48 crew members.  You can read about Serenissima Cruises here.

Before this incident, cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has recorded 238 people going overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

If you have additional information about this overboard case, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Serenissima Cruises.

Crew Member Disappears From Independence of the Seas: Why No Mention in the Press or Social Media?

A crew member disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas earlier in the week.

We were first notified of the crew member's disappearance from another crew member who was concerned about the incident. Today we received confirmation that a crew member went overboard from a reliable separate and independent source. 

The missing crew member was reportedly a galley worker from India. The crew member went overboard early in the morning before the cruise ship called on its scheduled port in France. 

The ship is currently on a two week cruise, starting on August 9, 2014 from Southampton and sailing to Independence of the Seas Gibraltar, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, before returning to Southampton.

This is the third time in two months a person has gone overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship without any mention of the incident in the press or on social media. 

A passenger went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas on August 7, 2014. There were no rescue attempts by the ship. The cruise ship, like all other Royal Caribbean cruise ships, has no automatic man overboard system which could detect someone going overboard and immediately alert the bridge. The passenger was not noticed missing until a cabin attendant entered the cabin over 14 hours later. There was no mention of the incident in the press or on social media until we first mentioned the incident.

Another passenger jumped from the Splendour of the Seas on June 13, 2014. The cruise ship personnel rescued him because he was seen going overboard by other passengers and crew members. Again, there was no mention of the incident until we reported on it. The incident demonstrates that even when a person intentionally goes overboard (an act often considered to be suicidal), the cruise ship can safely rescue them if man overboard steps are immediately taken.

A passenger also recently went overboard (August 2, 2014) from the Caribbean Princess. Like the situation on the Splendor, the passenger intentionally jumped overboard but was quickly rescued because he was seen going into the water.  Again, there was no mention of the incident until cruise expert Ross Klein first mentioned it on his website

Of course, many people going overboard are not witnessed. That's why automatic man overboard systems are important. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires the installation of man overboard technology. The history of the legislation indicates that it does not matter whether the person intentionally went overboard (suicidal or not), accidentally went overboard (due to alcohol, recklessness or otherwise), or was thrown overboard. Cruise ships must install the available technology.  

Why are these incidents not being mentioned in the press or discussed on social media? Some people believe that it's nobody's business. They say that if someone wants to jump overboard, they must be suicidal and there's nothing the cruise line could do or should do.  

Other people say that I'm just making these incidents up. If they can't find confirmation of the overboard on the internet after a Google search, they say I must be lying. This view permeates the group-think, cult-of-personality, lynch mob mentality on Cruise Critic message boards

In situations like the Grandeur, or more recently the Independence, the person is not discovered missing until hours and hours later, when the ship reaches port or a crew member doesn't report to work in the morning or a cabin attendant finally enters the cabin.  The ship is then over a hundred miles away. 

My thought is that it comes down to a lack of transparency. Cruise lines don't like news of their guests or employees disappearing at sea. Cruise lines sell images of magical vacations with happy, smiling customers and friendly crew members. They don't like stories of out-of-their-mind-drunk-on-cruise-booze passengers, or over-worked and despondent crew members or, God forbid, passengers or crew thrown overboard into the dark waters. They suppress the information. They don't like lawyers who point out that their entire fleet is in violation of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.

 

Interested in this issue? Consider reading Is Royal Caribbean Working Its Crew Members to Death? 

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

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Aztec06

Person Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas?

Cruise Law News has been told that a person allegedly went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas as the cruise ship was returning from Bermuda to Baltimore earlier this week. 

The incident reportedly occurred around 3:00 AM late Wednesday night / early Thursday morning, August 7th.

According to a person on the cruise ship who wishes to remain anonymous, a state room attendant found a note when he entered the cabin on Thursday. The ship was searched, the CCTV Grandeur of the Seas cameras reviewed, and the overboard was eventually discovered.

The passenger was reportedly a U.S. citizen, 70 years old and traveling alone. The missing person alert was raised 12 hours or so after the overboard (from the CCTV review).

The cruise ship continued on to Baltimore. It didn't go back. There appears to be no search.

If this information is accurate, it appears that the incident may have involved a suicide. However, it also illustrates that the cruise line has still not installed automatic man overboard systems as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. The cruise safety law requires such technology regardless of whether the passenger or crew member intentionally jumped, accidentally went overboard, or was thrown into the ocean. 

There are lots of questions which remain unanswered. Did the captain of the cruise ship make any announcements?  Why didn't the ship turn around much earlier and conduct a search? Did the cruise ship notify the U.S. Coast Guard?

We have written about people going overboard from the Grandeur before.  

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein have documented 235 people (in addition to this one) going overboard from cruise ships since 2000. 

Are there passenger or crew members who have additional information to share?

Please leave a comment below or join, the discussion on our Facebook page.

August 10 2014 Update: This is the second overboard passenger from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the last two months who was not reported in the press or discussed in social media. Three weeks ago, we reported on a passenger who went overboard from the Splendor of the Seas. Fortunately the cruise line personnel quickly rescued him. You can read about that incident here

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Citking

Passenger Disappears from the Costa Victoria

Costa VictoriaThe China Post reports that a female passenger disappeared from a cruise ship, during a cruise to Japan, which returned to Taiwan yesterday. 

The woman, whose last name is Hsieh, age 53, was aboard the Costa Victoria. She was supposed to leave the ship in Keelung Harbor, but did not. The Coast Guard said that her belongings were left in her cabin.

The Coast Guard said "it could be a case of suicide or an accident, but they are not ruling out any possibilities for her disappearance."

The newspaper says that Ms. Hsieh was part of a tour group that left Keelung for Japan on July 12th. The ship returned on July 17th without the passenger. 

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, this is the 235th person to have gone overboard from a cruise ship since 2000.  

July 19 2014 Update:  Why didn't the cabin attendant observe that the passenger was missing from the cabin?  Many crew members have commented on our Facebook page that it's not the cabin attendant's job to "babysit" the passengers.  But without an automatic man overboard system (none of the Carnival brands have implemented such technology), and if it isn't the cabin attendant's job to at least  make his or her observations known that a passenger is missing to their supervisor, whose responsibility at the cruise line is it?

Please leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook. 

Carnival Spirit: How Not To Respond To A Man Overboard

Carnival's handling of the most recent disappearance of a person overboard, a chef from India, has been a mess.

The Carnival Spirit is in violation of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act. Like all other Carnival cruise ships, the Carnival Spirit has no automatic CCTV man overboard system onboard. The technology exists for overboard passengers and crew members to be immediately detected so that search and rescue efforts can be promptly initiated. There's no excuse at this late date for lack of such standard equipment. 

Even when the ship personnel finally realized that the crew member had gone overboard, the master of the ship Carnival Spiritwaited an unreasonably long period of time to search for the overboard crew member.

In the Sydney Morning Herald article entitled Australian Cruise Passengers 'Frightened, Concerned' on Cruise Ship, a passenger on the ship said that an announcement was made at about 9.30 AM on Tuesday that a crew member had gone missing but the cruise ship did not turn around until about 2 PM.

The Australian newspaper reports that a passenger sent a "desperate email" to the government asking for help, saying that "everyone I have spoken to is frightened, concerned, anxious about where we're going and very confused."

The passenger complained "there are no planes, no helicopters, no nothing – just our cruise boat going at five kilometres an hour." 

Not surprisingly the New Caledonia Search and Rescue Authority declared the chances of finding the missing crew member were ''literally nil.''

It's not the first time people have gone overboard from the Carnival Spirit. Paul Rossington and his girlfriend Kristen Schroder fell off the ship last year.

Carnival Australia's CEO Ann Sherry was rather cavalier about that incident. She said, without qualification, “you can’t fall off the ship.” 

Even if that's true, that's little consolation for the crew member's family. That leaves two alternatives - being a victim of a crime (it wouldn't be the first time that someone was pitched overboard), or committing suicide (which is the cruise line's favorite excuse). But because the ship does't even have CCTV of the incident (much less man overboard technology), the case is doomed to be another mystery. 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jean-Philippe Boulet

Crew Member Overboard From Carnival Spirit Near Vanatu

Tonight we received information from a former crew member that a search and rescue operation is underway near Vanuatu after a Carnival employee has gone overboard from the Carnival Spirit cruise ship. 

There is an article from Australia stating that there is a man overboard lost from a Carnival cruise ship who is "believed to be a member of the kitchen crew" aboard the Carnival Spirit on a voyage out of Vanuatu.

The newspaper states that a passenger on the cruise ship, who did not wish to be identified, stated Carnival Spiritthat an announcement was made more than 10 hours ago that a crew member had gone missing "for up to 20 hours by that point." 

The Carnival cruise ship turned back towards Vanuatu, which is about 20 hours away from its current position. 

Under the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010, cruise lines are suppose to have implemented automatic man-overboard CCTV systems to detect man-overboards as soon as they happen. Under applicable U.S. maritime law, there should never be this type of mystery when a crew member (or passengers) disappears on the high seas.

Does anyone have information regarding this incident to share?

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein reports that 233 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Hpeterswald

Passenger Overboard From MSC Divina

Univision reports that a passenger has gone overboard from the MSC Divina cruise ship.

In an article entitled "cae al mar un mexicano que viajaba en crucero mundialista," the network says that a passenger fell 50 meters from deck 15 into the water.  

The MSC cruise ship was sailing with around 3,500 Mexican citizens to various locations in Brazil for the World Cup. A Mexican newspaper, Tribun Digital de Quintano Roo, says that the cruise ship was transporting Mexican passengers between the three cities where Mexico plays in the first phase of the World (Natal, Fortaleza and Recife). 

MSC Divina The cruise ship stopped to search for the overboard passenger without success.  

The Consulate of Mexico in Rio de Janeiro confirmed that "a Mexican citizen who was aboard MSC Divina cruise ship fell into the sea after the ship sailed from the city of Fortaleza in northern Brazil, heading to port of Recife."

The report further states that it is unknown if the Mexican citizen was traveling alone, with family or with friends. 

The report says that the passenger was intoxicated. 

According to cruise ship expert Dr. Ross Klein, 232 people have gone overboard since 2000.

If you have information to share, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

June 19 2014 Update: The missing passenger has been identifies as Jorge Alberto Lopez Amores

 

Photo Image: Tribun Digital de Quintano Roo 

Man Disappears From Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

Bahamas Celebration Cruise ShipA local newspaper in South Florida is reporting that a man disappeared from the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by Celebration Cruise Line.

CBS Miami states that sometime shortly after 2:00 AM last night, the cruise ship notified the U.S. Coast Guard received that a man from South Carolina was missing from the ship. The article indicates that the cruise line did not know how the man went overboard. 

The ship had departed Freeport, Bahamas on Saturday around 6 PM and was heading to its home port in West Palm Beach when the man went overboard.

The cruise line says that it searched for the man but was unable to locate him. 

The Celebration Cruise Line is one of many cruise lines which has not bothered to install an automatic man overboard system, in violation of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security & Safety Act.

A Canadian passenger, Fariba Amani, disappeared from the Bahamas Celebration 2 years ago. Her disappearance remains a mystery.

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has documented 231 cases of overboard passengers and crew members since 2000.

This particular cruise ship has been the subject of cocaine smuggling arrests, sexual assault and fire in the last couple of years.

April 29 2014 Update:

FOX 4: "Couple Appalled By Cruise Line's Rescue Effort to Find Missing Man."

Palm Beach Post: "Uncle says man who jumped off cruise ship not suicidal."

 

Photo Credit: thebahamasweekly.com

Disappearance of Richard Fearnside, Missing P&O Ferries Passenger, Featured on U.K. Television

Richard Fearnside Missing at SeaITV television broadcast this video to a nationwide audience in the U.K. yesterday about the plight of the Fearnside family who lost their son, Richard (photo left), at sea from a ferry, the Pride of Kent.

The ferry is operated by P&O Ferries. The ferry line does not have any automatic man overboard systems or even surveillance cameras on its ferries.

In the U.S., virtually all cruise lines have many hundreds of surveillance cameras throughout their cruise ships. Some U.S. based cruise lines (but not many) also have automatic man overboard systems which send an alarm to the bridge when passengers or crew members go overboard.

I sent an open letter to P&O Ferries CEO, Helen Deeble (photo below right), which she ignored. 

It is amazing to me that P&O does not have such basic safety systems in place.

Helen Deeble P&O responded to the ITV program by saying that it is not required by law to install even a single camera on its ships. P&O has chosen to install cameras only in its duty free. Jewelry and alcohol  appear to be more precious to P&O than its customers.

Watch the video about the Fearnside - P&O Ferries dispute here.

Richard's mother, Marianne, started a petition to require P&O to install CCTV cameras on its ferries. Over 91,000 people have signed it so far. The petition is addressed to Ms.Deeble.

Click on the petition here and please sign it. You will have an opportunity to the reasons why cameras should be installed on the P&O ships.

Passenger Missing From Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas Sailing to Cayman Islands

According to news sources, a passenger is reportedly missing from the Independence of the Seas cruise ship which sailed to the Cayman Islands today. 

The missing passenger is a 65-year-old man from Canada who was reported missing by his wife, before the Royal Caribbean ship arrived at the Grand Cayman's port.

His name and hometown were not disclosed.

Independence of the SeasA search of the cruise ship and a review of closed-circuit camera footage provided no information. 

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson says that the missing man was last seen entering his room just before midnight.

You can watch a video from the Cayman's television station here.

Royal Caribbean's inability to explain what happened to its cruise guest reveals, again, that the cruise line is in violation of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act.

This law requires cruise lines to install state of the art automatic man overboard technology to detect persons going over the rails into the sea. Technology exists to detect when passengers or crew members go overboard and will record their images and send a signal to the bridge notifying the officers of the emergency in order to begin emergency rescue procedures.

Read our article: Cruise Industry Ignores Law Requiring Man-Overboard System.

Unfortunately Royal Caribbean has not implemented this system.

Two days ago, another Canadian went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas as the cruise ship was sailing to San Juan.

Ten days ago, a passenger disappeared from the Rhapsody of the Seas in Australian waters. 

If you have a comment, please join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Aztec06

P&O Ferries Ignores Widespread Requests to Install Safety Cameras on its Ferries

PO Ferries Pride of KentLast week I wrote an article entitled Top 10 Most Outrageous Cruise Ship Stories of 2013. There were a lot out outrageous moments in the maritime community last year. I had to work hard to whittle my initial list of outrageous cruise stories down to just ten.  

One outrageous story which I had to cut from the list at the last moment was the story of the disappearance of Richard Fearnside from the P&O Ferries Pride of Kent. Earlier this year, Richard was a passenger on the P&O ferry sailing with his girlfriend back to the U.K. from Calais when he went to the top deck to have a smoke. He disappeared.

P&O could offer no explanation regarding what happened to its fare-paying guest. Why? Because the P&O ferry did not have an automatic man overboard system to detect persons going overboard. Incredibly, it did not even have a single CCTV camera on the exterior, top passenger deck.

Mysteries like this are unacceptable in a caring and civilized world. But they are not rare.

Two days ago, a Canadian man disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas as the cruise ship sailed on a Caribbean cruise to the Cayman Islands. The cruise ship had no man overboard system and no CCTV cameras which captured what happened to the cruise line passenger.

Just eleven days earlier, an Australian man fell from from Royal Carribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas. Again the ship had no man overboard system and no surveillance camera recorded how or why the passenger went overboard.  

P&O has also experienced a rash of overboards where the ferry line could offer no explanation what happened. 

Richard Fearnside's mother, Marianne, wrote to the CEO of P&O, Helen Deeble, and inquired why there were no cameras on the ferry. Her letter was sloughed off to a PR man who rudely told her to take a hike. Marianne made the mistake of pointing out that P&O has CCTV cameras in its duty free shops to protect the booze on its ship, so why no CCTV on exterior passenger decks?

The same problem exists with larger cruise lines like Royal Caribbean which monitors CCTV cameras in its casino to protect its casino chips. Companies like P&O and Royal Caribbean don't want to see their booze or casino money disappear. But they don't feel the same way about their passengers.     

Richard Fearnside Marianne Fearnside Marianne Fearnsie recently started a petition to require P&O Ferries to install CCTV cameras on its passenger decks. To date, over 90,000 people have signed the petition while making insightful comments explaining why surveillance camera are required.

I sent an open letter to P&O CEO Ms. Deeble, inquiring why something as simple and inexpensive as CCTV cameras have not been installed, which you can read here.

Unfortunately, P&O ignored my little letter. But P&O cannot ignore Marianne Fearnside's growing petition.

Victim advocate organizations and the media have taken notice of the Fearnside family's plight. Unexplained disappearances in the cruise industry and on P&O ships will surely continue in 2014. And just as surely, every time someone goes overboard from a P&O ferry, the advocacy groups, the media and this blog will protest loudly why P&O has done nothing about this problem.      

 

Sign the petition here.

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

Man Overboard from the Adventure of the Seas

Adventure of the SeasEarly this morning we received an email from a cruise passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas alerting us that a man had gone overboard last night. We received this message:

"Man overboard Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. Close enough to San Juan to be getting AT&T service right now. At about 8:45 - 9:00 PM, the Captain came over loudspeaker and announced that a man had "jumped" overboard. They also said they believed he was in his mid 20s. About 30 - 45 minutes later they announced the arrival of a Coast Guard helicopter. I can verify. When the announcement was made I went on deck and witnessed the ship turning around. They launched life preservers with lights attached as well as two rescue boats. There were spotlights at first and brighter ones joined later. There was talk spreading throughout the shop that people had witnessed the pulling the spotlights out of the theater or ice rink.

I wrote that at about 11 last night. We are now heading to port. Captain told us there would be a 4 hour delay and that he extended condolences to the family. No more information at this time."

There have been at least 219 persons overboard since 2000, according to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein.

Nine days ago, we reported on another passengers who disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.

If you are on the cruise or have any information or photographs you wish to share, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Update Sunday afternoon: The AP quotes a Royal Caribbean spokesperson saying that the captain of the Adventure of the Seas stopped the ship, turned around and alerted authorities after a passenger reported seeing the person going overboard late Saturday.The cruise spokesperson said footage of the incident was also captured by the ship's cameras.  You can read updated comments here.

According to the Coast Guard said that the missing man is Canadian Tien Phuoc Nguyen, age 26, and was sailing with his family.

There is an article in a Puerto Rican newspaper suggesting that the man may have been involved in an argument with his family & under influence of alcohol, and that ship security tried to intervene prior to him going overboard.

The U.K.'s Daily Mail also covered the story.  

 

Photo Credit: Top CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia

P&O Ferries Plagued By Overboard Passengers & No Safety Systems

P&O Ferries crisis management spokesperson Chris Laming recently responded to the disappearance of passenger Richard Fearnside.

He stated that P&O Ferries refuses to consider installing CCTV cameras on the Pride of Kent ferry.

He told a newspaper in Kent, U.K.:

"It is so rare. It is just not practical to consider doing this."

That's cruel, and it's hardly true.P&O Ferries - Passenger Missing - Teresa Cowley

Last December, a 43 year-old mother of twin girls disappeared from another P&O Ferries ship, the Pride of Rotterdam. Teresa Cowley (right) fell overboard following a night of drinking on board the P&O ferry as it sailed from Hull to Rotterdam in the early hours of December 31, 2012. 

The sale of alcohol is a major money maker for cruise lines and ferry operators. Excessive alcohol sales increase the likelihood of passengers going overboard and require effective safety protocols and systems.

The Daily Mail in the U.K. covered the story in an article: "British Mother of Twin Girls Feared Drowned After Flling Off Ferry During Night Drinking With Husband On Holland-Bound Ship."  

The newspaper article states that an after-the-fact review of "CCTV cameras on board the ship show Teresa staggering alone on deck shortly after 1 AM." But like Richard Fearnside's case, there was no CCTV showing the passenger going overboard, and apparently the P&O ship had no automatic overboard system signalling the bridge of the emergency. 

Five months later, Mr. Fearnside also disappeared. Two overboard, dead P&O passengers in just 5 months. Are man-overboard cases really "so rare" as P&O claims?

In August of this year, a passenger went overboard from the P&O Pride of Burgandy.

In January 2011, P&O Ferries notified the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency of a passenger missing from the P&O European Highlander ferry sailing from Larne to Cairnryan. The newspaper stated this was "standard procedure" when people go overboard from a P&O ferry. "A major air and sea search" was launched due to the emergency. Again, there were no CCTV images of the apparent overboard nor any type of automatic man overboard system on the ship. Eventually the expensive search & rescue operation was called off after the ferry company couldn't determine whether the passenger went overboard or was simply unaccounted for.

A similar incident occurred in 2006 aboard the Pride of Kent when P&O Ferries alerted authorities of the disappearance of a young couple leading to an early morning, 7 hour, international air and sea search involving four lifeboats, a rescue tug, two French helicopters and one coastguard search plane.  After this massive and expensive undertaking, it turns out that the two passengers has disembarked the ferry and were located in Belgium. All of this could have been avoided by the installation of CCTV and overboard systems.

The absence of safety systems presents a danger for crew members as well as passengers. In 2008, a crew member aboard the P&O ferry Pride of Rotterdam disappeared 20 miles out at sea. Seven lifeboats and two search and rescue helicopters subsequently tried to find the man; however, a Royal Navy spokesperson told the BBC that the water was "very cold" and the man's chances of survival were considered "very slim."

For U.S. based cruise lines, the use of CCTV cameras is standard operating procedure. As I mentioned in a previous article, cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line have over 1,000 CCTV cameras in operation on a single ship. Some cruise ships, although not many, have state-of-the art automatic man overboard systems. But the U.K.'s P&O Ferries appears to be decades behind in terms of basic safety and security systems.

CCTV systems play an important part of a vessel's safety and security system. A CCTV system with automatic alarms is essential to the timely search and rescue of passengers going overboard. Contrary to what many think, overboard passengers can be saved if the bridge is notified promptly of the emergency. A passenger who fell off of the P&O Express ferry was rescued in 2009 because other passengers immediately notified the ship's crew. Another passenger from the P&O ferry Pride of Calais was promptly rescued in 2010.  Similar success was not obtained when a passenger went overboard from the P&O ferry, the Pride of Burgundy, in October 2010.

But many overboards occur in the dark late at night when no other passengers are around which make the need for CCTV systems even more important. A sound vessel safety program should integrate state-of-the-art technologies and not rely on the customers to report emergencies when things go wrong.

You can see a successful rescue of a passenger from a different ferry company here. The woman reportedly fell from an upper deck after trying to light her cigarette.

CCTV is also effective in monitoring whether criminals or terrorists come onto a ship or whether Pride of Rotterdamcustomers go off the ship due to foul play or preventable accidents. They act as a deterrent to crime and have a wide range of safety applications. They can assist the operators in determining whether the passengers are in a state of intoxication which often leads to horse-play and accidents.  

In April last year, around 200 students in an intoxicated rampage from Manchester trashed a P&O ferry sailing from Dover to Calais ferry and frightened fellow passengers. CCTV cameras would have been effective in documenting the unsafe and reckless behavior and aiding in the prosecution of those involved in the drunken shipboard brawl.

There's no justification for not installing CCTV cameras on a commercial passenger ship. The costs are inexpensive and the cargo is precious. 

 

Have a thought? Join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

Call for help: The Fearnside family has started a campaign to require ferry operators to install CCTV cameras on their vessels.  Please click here and sign the petition.

Photo Credit: Newsteam via Daily Mail

P&O Ferries Refuses to Install CCTV or Man Overboard Systems after Passenger Disappears

The parents of a 30 year-old passenger who disappeared from a ferry sailing between Calais and Dover are petitioning for legislation requiring ships to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

Richard Fearnside, son of Marianne and Bob Fearnside, of Whitstable, Kent (U.K.), disappeared from the Pride of Kent ferry last May. He was last seen going to an exterior deck to smoke a cigarette. An alarm was not raised until the ship docked at Dover at the end of the cruise when his girlfriend could not locate him.

Richard Fearnside - Missing - Pride of KentThe delayed search and rescue efforts, conducted by ships and helicopters, were unsuccessful.

Richard's mother was quoted in a local newspaper stating "we don't know whether Richard slipped, fell, jumped or was pushed - we have no idea what happened to our son. He just vanished."

The ferry company, P&O Ferries, has been indifferent to the family's plight.

Mr. and Ms. Fearnside corresponded with P&O Ferries asking it to install cameras on passenger decks, but the ferry line rebuffed them. 

P&O Ferries crisis management spokesman Chris Laming wrote back to the Fearnsides claiming that it would be impossible for the ferry company to:

  • "Cover all of the open spaces with CCTV, 
  • Monitor such cameras 24 hours a day, or
  • Make and retain such recordings in perpetuity."

As anyone with a minimum understanding of the affordable technology readily available to the maritime community knows, these statements made on P&O Ferries behalf are patently false and misleading. It is easy to position CCTV cameras to cover all of the public areas, especially in small ferry boats like this. Reputable operators retain the electronic data for 30 days and automatic sensors do not require the cameras to be manned 24 hours. 

We have attended over a half-dozen U.S. Congressional hearings about cruise ship safety. There has been extensive debate about the need for CCTV cameras covering the public areas of cruise ships and automatic man-overboard systems to alert the bridge that a person has gone overboard from the ship. 

Automatic man-overboard systems exist and are easily installed. It is preposterous to suggest that it is not possible to cover all of the public spaces with CCTV cameras and man-overboard technology. Small ferries have limited open decks and no private balconies (see photo below). Watch this recent video which includes a former Coast Guard engineer who designed such systems.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for examples, has installed literally over a 1,000 cameras on its newest cruise ships. It can track every single inch of its cruise ships.

The only reason that a cruise line or ferry operator would refuse to install such systems is that they do not want to spend the money. They prefer profits over safety. Ironically, companies like P&O Ferries install cameras in their liquor and duty free shops to deter theft (cruise lines always install cameras in casinos to protect their money); however, they will take no steps to use cameras in other public spaces to deter sexual assaults and violence against passengers.

Protecting booze bottles and casino chips seems more important than protecting people on the high seas.

The result of such irresponsibility and greed is delayed rescue attempts of passengers and crew members who go overboard. Just like in Mr. Fearnside's case, the Coast Guard is typically called in late.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer's money is spent to search unnecessarily wide areas of the sea looking for the overboard person. It's like searching for a needle in the haystack.

Maritime operators like P&O Ferries would prefer taxpayers foot the bill rather than spending its own money on CCTV cameras and automatic overboard systems to protect its passengers and crew in the first place.

Cruise Expert Professor Ross Klein has documented 208 persons overboard from cruise ships and ferries since 2000.

The Fearnsides are doing something about this problem. They have started a campaign to require these irresponsible cruise and ferry operators to install CCTV cameras. BBC recently discussed the family's efforts to protect the public. Click on the link here and consider signing the petition.  

Also, please join our discussion on our Facebook page.  Please share the information with your friends and ask them to support the petition.

February 29 2013 Update: Think that cases of overboard passengers from ferries are rare? Hardly. read: P&O Ferries Plagued By Overboard Passengers & No Safety Systems

Photo credit (bottom): Wikipedia / Fabian318

Princess Cruises: Why No CCTV or Man Overboard Systems on the Sun Princess?

Today, after a cruise passenger disappeared from the Princess cruise shipSun Princess, the cruise line admitted that "there is no CCTV footage of the man falling overboard" according to Cruise Critic.

How is this possible?

Sun PrincessOur U.S. Congress has already enacted legislation requiring that cruise ships implement state-of-the-art technologies to detect man-overboard situations. Perhaps the Sun Princess because it was operating in Australian waters didn't bother to comply with U.S. standards.

But what is the excuse for not having a single image of the passenger going overboard?  

Cruise ships like the Sun Princess are money makers, collecting many millions of dollars every single cruise.

So why no CCTV?  Why no automated man-overboard alarms? The technologies are old school at this point.      

Why should there ever be a controversy regarding how a passenger or a crew member goes overboard on the high seas? 

 

Photo Credit: The Australian 

Sun Princess Passenger Disappears

A passenger has gone overboard from the Sun Princess cruise ship.

News sources are reporting that a 73 year old man has disappeared from the Princess cruise ship which was sailing from Western Australia to Darwin.

The man was reported missing by his wife.

A search was conducted approximately 40 nautical miles north of Cape Londonderry.

NT News reports that the cruise ship was joined by patrol ship HMAS Maryborough, and three aircraft were involved in an aerial search. Although the weather was good, the missing passengers was not rescued or his body located.

The Sun Princess cruise ship was sailing on a 16-day cruise from Fremantle to Sydney.

Professor Ross Klein reports that 207 people have gone overboard since 2000. 

Image Credit: marinetraffic.com via NT News

Sun PrIncess Disappearance

Crew Member from India Disappears from MSC Opera

This evening a number of news organizations are reporting that a crew member went overboard from the MSC Opera cruise ship. 

BBC News reports that the crew member went overboard when the cruise ship was south of the Isle of Wright.  

The News identified the crew member as a 33 year-old Indian national named Fernandes Elroy.

The cruise ship was sailing into Southampton early this morning.

MSC Opera Cruise ShipMSC Cruises said staff were alerted at 5:30 AM on today that Mr. Elroy was missing.  The company claims that CCTV, which was checked at 6:30 AM, allegedly showed Mr Elroy jumping overboard around 1:30 AM, according to the The Isle of Wright Radio

A Coast Guard helicopter and lifeboat carried out an unsuccessful search. 

We have reported before on disappearances from MSC cruise ships in the past which you can read about here and here and here.

There is usually very little, if any, investigation conducted by the cruise lines to try and find out why crew members disappear on the high seas. Few cruise lines have automatic man overboard detection systems, unfortunately.  There is a tendency by the cruise lines to quickly conclude that the person committed suicide. Even if the evidence supports a suicide explanation, there is no effort to determine whether the working conditions (long hours, long contract, low wages and work pressure and emotional abuse) were factors involved in literally pushing the crew member emotionally over-the-edge.

Professor Ross Klein reports that 206 people have gone overboard from cruise ship since 2000.

If you have information about this latest overboard, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Consider reading another article about working conditions and crew members going overboard: Is Royal Caribbean Working Its Crew Members to Death?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / VollwertBIT 

Korean Passenger Disappears From Cruise Ship

The Global Post reports that an elderly South Korean tourist fell off a cruise ship off South Korea's east coast today. 

The cruise passenger was identified as a 75-year-old male, with the family name of "Jeong." He reportedly fell overboard three kilometers northwest of Jumunjin, a port on the east coast, at around 2:50 p.m.

Coast Guard officials sent rescue vessels and a helicopter to the area to search for the missing man. The Korean Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.

The cruise passenger fell from the Risabu Cruise, which was sailing to Gyeongpodae from Jumunjin.

Risabu Cruise declined to provide further details.

 

California Can Prosecute Lawyer Accused of Throwing Wife Overboard from Cruise Ship

Lonnie KocontesYesterday a judge held that a man accused of strangling and throwing his wife overboard from an Italian cruise ship should stand trial in California. The court rejected the argument of the cruise passenger's defense lawyers that the state prosecutors in Orange County lacked jurisdiction to prosecute the crime which occurred in international waters off the coast of Italy. 

The case involves a cruise ship crime alleged to involve Lonnie Loren Kocontes, a 55-year-old former Orange County attorney who s accused of killing his ex-wife, Micki Kanesaki, while they were on a cruise in May of 2006.

A local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles explains that during questioning in 2006, Kocontes told police that his wife was allegedly depressed and she likely jumped overboard. However, her body was found and an autopsy revealed that she had been strangled.

A case against Kocontes has previously been dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. However, the prosecutors immediately filed a new case, alleging murder with special circumstances of killing his wife for financial gain by transferring more than $1,000,000 from his ex-wife’s bank accounts and property to himself. 

Island Escape Cruise ShipThis is a case we have reported on before: Charges Dismissed Against Cruise Passenger Accused of Strangling and Dumping Ex-Wife Overboard.

You can read our first article about the case here.

The incident occurred aboard the Island Escape cruise ship.

The case is far from over. Expect an appeal to be resolved next year.

 

Photo credit: Top - CBS; Bottom - VIP.it

Crew Member Missing Overboard From "The World" Cruise Ship

The World Cruise ShipA newspaper in Spain is reporting that a crew member from The World cruise ship has gone into the Atlantic Ocean. AIS tracking systems currently show the cruise ship sailing in a search pattern off the west coast of Spain, northwest of Portugal. 

The newspaper states that the missing man is a Filipino crew member. His name and job position have not been identified, nor is there any explanation regarding what happened. The article states merely that the crew member fell into the water. 

The cruise ship alerted search and rescue bases in in Cee and A. Coruña, Spain, which deployed aircraft and helicopters.

The vessel left the port of Coruña at midnight yesterday.

The World is billed as the most luxurious floating residence in the world. There are 165 private residences on the cruise ship occupied probably by multi-millionaires, including U.S. citizens and citizens of some 40 countries. The residences consist of studios to three bedrooms and cost many millions of dollars. 

The ship is operated by ResidenSea, headquartered in Miramar, Florida. The World flies the flag of convenience of the Bahamas.  

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has documented over 200 cruise overboard cases on his website since 2000. 

If anyone has information about this latest cruise ship disappearance, please leave a comment below.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / VirtualSteve

The George Smith Cruise Ship Disappearance Case: Will the FBI Finally Make An Arrest?

News sources are reporting that the FBI office in New York will be reviewing file materials maintained by the FBI's office in Connecticut to determine whether arrests should be made regarding the disappearance and presumed death of cruise passenger George Smith.

George Smith vanished from Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship in the early morning hours of July 5, 2005, leaving behind a pool of blood on a lifeboat awning below his cabin.

In the video below, you can finally see expressions of optimism from the Smith family that there may finally be an arrest in George's case. The Smith family is represented by attorney Mike Jones from Greenwich Connecticut.    

Disappearances at Sea: Cruise Industry Refuses to Comply with Cruise Safety Law

Another cruise ship overboard has dominated the cruise news lately. A couple went overboard from the Carnival Spirit cruise ship. The cruise ship did not notice that the passengers had fallen from the ship until after the cruise ship returned to port in Australia  Later, their images were found on the cruise ship's closed circuit television (CCTV) system but the ship had already sailed to the next port at this point.

In this day and age, no one should go overboard from a cruise ship without being immediately detected. The technology exists. See the video below. There are systems in place which can detect overboard passengers and crew members, then signal the bridge, capture the images of the overboard person, and drop a buoy into the water.  The sooner the cruise ship reacts to a man overboard, the Cruise ship Overboard Detection Systemquicker emergency procedures can be followed and the greater the chances of the person being rescued.  

According to the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act which went into effect last year, cruise ships are required to "integrate technology that can be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard . . . "

Congress passed this new cruise safety act into law after listening to the testimony of families who traveedl to Washington D.C.to testify about the horror of their loved ones disappearing from cruises, like Merrian Carver and Daniel DiPiero  

But the cruise industry is ignoring the law.

The Safety at Sea magazine reported long ago that the cruise industry is unwilling to pay for dedicated man overboard (MOB) systems that detect an individual falling overboard. Equipment sellers have been rebuffed by the cruise industry, which seems more interested in investing its money into all types of new water-slides, rock climbing walls and other amusements. The cruise lines remain unwillingness to invest in life-saving overboard detection systems.

Cruise expert Ross Klein was quoted in Safety at Sea as saying that the cruise industry is “looking for loopholes” to avoid the new safety law.“

In the latest overboard case, Carnival was quick to point out that the height of its balcony railings comply with the existing safety law (42 inches) but it did not mention that the law requires a system to detect overboard persons which the Spirit obviously lacks. 

There are lots of reasons why passengers go overboard: being over-served alcohol, foolish or reckless behavior, accidents, and murder, as well as reasons not known. But most cases remain mysteries. The cruise lines don't monitor their CCTV cameras (except in their casinos because they don't want their money to disappear). And they have not even implemented the most rudimentary overboard detection systems.

The result is no rescue or delayed rescue attempts which are unsuccessful.  Even when there are witnesses to a person going overboard, often the captain of the cruise ship will ignore the witness accounts and continue sailing until the entire ship has been searched, leading to unnecessary delay in tragic cases like this and this. The result is also increased governmental expenses incurred due to the necessity of searching a much larger grid (many hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent in deploying Coast Guard cutters and aircraft), unnecessary deaths, and unnecessary heartbreak of the surviving family members.   

Image Credits: gCaptain

48 Hours Update: "New" Evidence in Disappearance of Cruise Passenger George Smith

Cruise Passenger George SmithSaturday night, CBS's "'48 Hours" will air what is being described as "important new evidence" in the mysterious disappearance of George Smith during his honeymoon cruise. The episode is called "48 Hours: Murder at Sea?"

You may recall that George Smith from the Greenwich Connecticut area was enjoying his honeymoon with his newly-wed bride Jennifer Hagel when he disappeared from the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas in the early morning hours of July 5, 2005, leaving a blood-stained awning behind him. 

The cruise line quickly concluded that Mr. Smith was intoxicated and must have been sitting on a balcony railing and fell overboard, and it reported this self-serving opinion as its official report to the flag state. Royal Caribbean ignored the fact that four young men were last seen in the Smith's cabin and that there were sounds of an argument and loud noises consistent with a struggle, followed by a resounding "thud" on the awning below.  

Gregory Rozenbeg - Cruise Disappearance of George SmithWe represented George's wife, Jennifer, who instructed us to retain noted forensic scientist Henry Lee in the face of the cruise line's lack of cooperation.

Last year, CBS reported that the FBI had possession of a videotape taken by the four men where they talk callously of George's death. The video captures one of the men saying "we gave that guy a paragliding lesson without a parachute." Cruise passenger Greg Rosenberg reportedly flashes gang signs and says "Told ya I was gangsta." 

We have written prior articles about Gregory Rozenberg such as "Disappearance of George Smith Update: Do You Have Information About Gregory Rozenberg?"   Rozenberg's mugshots are readily available online, including the one to the right taken last fall.

Royal Caribbean concealed this tape from us throughout our representation of Jennifer Hagel. The tape's existence was revealed by the FBI last year to the lawyer for the Smith family. 

Its disgraceful that the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have not proceeded with a criminal case. Its been going on eight years since George's disappearance. A prosecution is long overdue.

Read our other articles about the case:

Disappearance of George Smith - Trouble as the Cruise Ship Sails to Kusadasi

A Frantic Call Back to Connecticut

Media Frenzy Follows Case of "Missing Honeymooner"

Dr. Henry Lee Boards the Brilliance of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Blocks Dr. Henry Lee's Dummy Experiment

The International Cruise Victims Organization Is Born!

Royal Caribbean Captain Says Its Just an Accident Involving a Bloody Nose

Larry King Live & the "Missing Groom Mystery" 

 

Two Passengers Overboard From Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship

Carnival Spirit Cruise ShipNewspapers in Australia are reporting that two passengers disappeared from a Carnival cruise ship. A 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man were unaccounted for when the cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbor today. 

The couple were last seen on deck last night, but failed to disembark when the Carnival Spirit cruise ship docked in Australia.

A Carnival spokesman said that crew members had become concerned only at 9:15 AM after it was discovered during disembarkation process that the passengers were missing.

Cruise ships are required by law to have technologies in place to detect when passengers go overboard. CCTV and motion detection technologies exist today but the majority of cruise lines refuse to implement the systems.

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has listed almost 200 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

Do you have information about what happened?  Please leave a message below.  

May 9 2013 Update:  New sources in Australia report that Kristen Schroder, 27, and Paul Rossington, 30, were last seen on the Carnival Spirit on Wednesday as it was sailing off the coast of Australia. CCTV appears to show them going overboard around 8:50 pm, according to a statement from the local New South Wales Police Force.

Read article from Australia: Cruise Industry Urged to Report Missing People Earlier

Here's the PR statement which Carnival issued today:

"We have naturally been concerned since we became aware that two passengers were missing from Carnival Spirit and our thoughts are clearly with their families at this difficult time. We are working closely with New South Wales Police and assisting them in their inquiries.

At approximately 9:15am today Australia time during the debarkation process for Carnival Spirit at the conclusion of a 10-night cruise in Sydney, it became apparent that two guests, a 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, were unaccounted for. The guests in question were travelling with family and friends and initial reports indicate that the couple was last seen onboard the vessel last night. As part of our standard protocol, a full ship search was conducted as well as examination of closed circuit video. There is indication from the shipboard video of what transpired. There is no evidence of foul play. However, out of respect for the families, we are not going to publicly disclose the details of what occurred at this time."

May 10 2013 Update: How Love Turned Tragic on the High Seas

May 11, 2013 Update: "The footage shows Ms Schroder climbing over the railing and standing on the other side of it as she faced towards the sea. Police did not reveal how long she was standing there and were unable to determine if she intended to jump or simply fell." Read article here.

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jean-Philippe Boulet

"Missing at Sea" - NBC Investigates Another Passenger Disappearance from a Holland America Line Cruise Ship

Tonight local ABC Channel 6 news station aired a special program Missing at Sea regarding the disappearance of cruise passenger Jason Rappe' from the Eurodam cruise ship operated by Holland America Line (HAL).

Mr. Rappe' went overboard last November after participating in a "Pub Crawl" on the HAL cruise ship where the cruise line plied the passengers with alcohol at various locations.

You can see some video of Jason on the deck after the cruise sponsored drinking event.  Curiously, Cruise Law Miami Jim Walkerthere has been no clear video released of Jason going overboard. 

Although the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act requires cruise lines like HAL to install systems to signal when cruise passengers and crew members who go overboard so that the cruise ship can promptly respond, HAL had no such systems in violation of the new cruise safety law.

Cruise lines are also responsible when they over-serve passengers alcohol.

The FBI and Coast Guard are suppose to disclose to the public on an online database when crimes occur or when passengers go overboard but the database does not even mention Mr. Rappe.' 

You can read an article about the program here by Jason's brother Eric who was featured in the program. 

See photos about the case here.

You can read our prior articles about this case:

Passenger Missing From HAL's Eurodam Cruise Ship - Why Do All HAL Overboard Cases Remain Mysteries?

Family Searching for Answers After Disappearance Aboard Holland America Line Cruise Ship

Best of Cruise Line Hate Mail: Holland America Line Wins the Award

If you have information about this case, we would like to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below or contact me confidentially at jim@cruiselaw.com 

 

 

New Zealand Passenger Missing From Celebrity Solstice

A newspaper in New Zealand reports that a passenger, identified only as a man from Dunedin, New Zealand, is missing from the Celebrity Cruises' Solstice cruise ship which left Port Chalmers, New Zealand today. 

It is less than clear whether the man disembarked from the cruise ship, leaving items, including his passport, on board, and didn't return. Or whether he disappeared at some earlier time while the cruise ship was sailing. 

The article does not state when the man was last seen. It should be easy to determine whether the Celebrity Solstice Cruise Ship passenger used his sea pass card which should have been scanned when he boarded or disembarked the cruise ship.  Unfortunately, this does not always occur.

In another case, American passenger Sarah Tessier Powell set sail on the Holland America Line Veendam cruise ship last year. She disappeared.  Police in Canada speculate that Ms. Powell may have walked off of the HAL ship and didn't return.  

But how is that possible?

Passenger gangways are supposed to be heavily monitored by security with each passenger's sea pass card scanned and the gangways always covered by closed circuit television cameras.

Is this another one of those cases?  Or is this a passenger overboard case which the cruise line didn't realize until the ship arrived in port?

Anyone with information please contact us.

 

Photo Credit: Constantine Kulikovsky via Wikimedia

6 Problems the Cruise Industry Needs to Fix - No. 5: Disappearances of Passenger & Crew Members on the High Seas

As part of Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM 2013), I have raised 6 problems which I believe the cruise lines need to address.

Problem No. 5: Disappearance of Passengers and Crew Members from Cruise Ships:.

The problem is not just that approximately 200 people have vanished from cruise ships since year 2000, but the attitude of the cruise lines when families try and find out what happened to their loved ones is just plain nasty.

When Seattle businessman Son Michael Pham's parents disappeared during a Carnival cruise, he voiced his frustration that he received greater responsiveness upon losing a piece of luggage.

Insurance company president Ken Carver's daughter disappeared from a Celebrity Cruises ship and the cruise line responded by discarding her personal items without so much as a call to the FBI. Rebecca Coriam - Disney Wonder Cruise Ship 

Today, a reader of this blog sent me a link to an article which discussed how Disney youth counselors on the Disney Wonder lost track of a three year old child whose parents dropped the little boy off in the cruise ship's Oceaneer Club (for children aged 3 to 12).  The cruise line's response was not only incompetent but heartless.  

The youth counselors had no clue where the little boy entrusted to their care was on the ship. They appeared indifferent to the parent's understandable fears. No announcements were made over the course of 45 minutes while the ship sailed along as the parents searched frantically for their child.

This cavalier attitude is business as usual for the floating Magical Kingdom ships. Almost two years ago exactly, a 24 year old youth counselor from the U.K., Rebecca Coriam, disappeared from the Disney Wonder. The ship continued on sailing. The cruise line's attitude and response, in my opinion, seemed motivated to protect its own marketing image and cover-the-truth-up, rather than to find out exactly what happened to young Rebecca.

Today is Rebecca's 26th birthday which her parents and sister are celebrating in sorrow.  Neither Disney nor the country of the Bahamas, where Disney incorporates its cruise ships to avoid U.S. George Smith Royal Caribbean Cruise Shiptaxes, will cooperate with the Coriam family.  No one will provide the Coriams with a copy of the Bahamas report on the disappearance of their daughter. The callousness demonstrated by Disney and the Bahamas is the product of a foreign flagged scheme which is designed to keep cruise lines like Disney away from real oversight except by Caribbean islands whose loyalties lie exclusively to the cruise industry.  

I touched upon this problem briefly in an opinion piece for CNN entitled "What Cruise Lines Don't Want You to Know."

There are many other examples of a cruise industry which would rather spend it efforts trying to create an image to vacationers that cruising is safe rather taking reasonable steps to make certain cruising is actually safe.

George Smith disappeared in July 2005 during his honeymoon. Going on eight years later, there remain no answers and no arrests, It was only last year that the public learned that Royal Caribbean had possession of a video of a certain passenger on the cruise ship who was taped telling his friends "we gave that guy a paragliding lesson without a parachute."  We represented Mr. Smith's wife and were never told that the video existed; instead, we watched as the cruise line stonewalled our investigation and tried to convince the public that Mr. Smith just got drunk and fell overboard.

HAL Disappearance Jason Rappe EurodamLast November, HAL passenger Jason Rappe' disappeared from the Eurodam while cruising with his wife.  We asked the cruise line for information like videotapes, passenger addresses, statements and other basic information.

HAL refused to provide anything to us.

Instead HAL insisted that it was Mr. Rappe's wife who first had to agree to provide all of her missing husband's medical records, life insurance policies, work information and any psychiatric records before they would even think about cooperating.        

No airline would act like this if a passenger or crew member disappeared in flight. But then again the aviation industry is overseen by the strict and serious Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). There is no equivalent to the FAA on the high seas - only ships flying flags of convenience in countries like the Bahamas which care only their relationships with the cruise industry.   

Its too easy to commit a crime on a cruise line and get away with it. Even in cases where there is no foul play, the cruise industry's knee-jerk reaction is to deny and delay and obfuscate rather than treat families respectfully and transparently. Until this attitude changes, cruise lines will always appear that they have something to hide.   

  

You can read our prior articles about 6 problems the cruise industry needs to fix below:

Problem No. 6: Cruise Pollution of Air & Water

Check in this week as we explore problem number 1 - 4 during CSM.

False "Man Overboard" Alarm on P&O's Pride of York

Pride of YorkShipworld.org reports that there was a false alarm earlier this week regarding an overboard passenger from P&O's Pride of York.

The Shipworld website mentions that at 10:45 PM on Monday February 25, 2013, the Pride of York notified the Dutch Coastguard Center that a male passenger may have gone overboard 90 kilometers west of Hoek van Holland. The ship was sailing from Zeebrugge to Hull when the incident was reported.

The Dutch Coastguard sent two helicopters along and two rescue vessels, the Koopmansdank from Neeltje Jans and Jeanine Parqui from the Hoek van Holland station. The Dutch naval vessel Schiedam and the Rijkswaterstaat vessel Arca also joined the search.

However, after a headcount established that everyone was accounted for, the search and rescue operation was called off around 11:50 PM.

There was also a false alarm of a person overboard from the Sapphire Princess cruise ship on Monday. A head count revealed that all passengers and crew were on the cruise ship, which was sailing from Los Angeles to Hawaii. 

 

Photo credit: theferry.wikia.com

Family Searching for Answers After Disappearance Aboard Holland America Line Cruise Ship

A news station in Oregon aired a story about a missing 42 year old cruise passenger last night.

The story is about Jason Rappe' who was last seen on a Holland America cruise with his wife last November. He disappeared from the HAL Eurodam. Jason's family retained our firm to help them find answers to the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. You can read our prior article: Passenger Missing From HAL's Eurodam Cruise Ship - Why Do All HAL Overboard Cases Remain Mysteries?

You can watch the video below.

The article explains that Jason's brother. Eric, says that the family "still don’t know what happened to Jason, and the company refuses to give them any information . . . “They don’t care. They just don’t care. All they want is for it to go away.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida still lists Jason as a missing person. 

HAL has refused to cooperate with our requests for information.  

Read: "Suicide" - One of the Cruise Lines' Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea (involving another HAL disappearance).

 

Passenger Overboard From the Sapphire Princess?

A reader of this blog emailed me for information after reading comments on the Cruise Critic message board that the captain of the Sapphire Princess announced that a person was sighted overboard from the cruise ship. 

The passenger commented that the ship was currently stopped as of around 11:00 PM last night. The crew was reportedly taking a head count of everyone on the ship.  

The cruise ship is sailing from Los Angeles to Hawaii. There have been no updates on the message board since late last night.

I requested information from Princess but have not heard anything yet.

February 26 2013 Update:  False alarm:

Princess says that there was "no person overboard. A passenger they thought they saw someone in the water. As we take reports such as this seriously we mustered all passengers and crw and all were accounted for. There were also no reports from any ships in the area about a missing person."

Lawyer Arrested for Allegedly Strangling & Throwing Wife Off Cruise Ship

Lonnie KocontesLonnie Kocontes, age 55, was arrested last week on a murder warrant in the death of his ex-wife, Micki Kanesaki, who went overboard from an Italian cruise ship seven years ago.

Kocontes, a lawyer licensed in California, was arrested in Florida where he was living. He was booked into into the Pasco County Jail where he is being held without bail. 

He is charged with one count of "special circumstances murder for financial gain." 

Kocontes met Kanesaki in the early 1990s at a Los Angeles law firm where he worked as an attorney and she worked as an administrative assistant. They later married in 1995.

Kocontes was reportedly fired from his job after he was arrested in 2000 for charges of sexual contact with a minor that were later dismissed. In 2001, they divorced to protect their assets from civil litigation. They continued to live together, but their relationship deteriorated. 

In May 2006, the couple vacationed in Italy and sailed aboard the Island Escape cruise ship. On May 26, 2006, the cruise ship was sailing between Sicily and Naples, when Kanesaki went overboard. Her body washed ashore the next day in Calabria in southwest Italy. An autopsy was performed. An Italian medical doctor concluded that she had been strangled before she went overboard.

Kocontes claims that Kanesaki left the cabin around 1 a.m. to get a cup of tea. Kocontes reported her missing after he woke up and couldn’t find her. Italian police boarded the ship, seized records and videotapes and took statements from the crew.

Island Escape Cruise ShipProsecutors say that Kocontes strangled Kaneski to death on board the ship and then threw her overboard.

Kocontes later began transferring more than $1 million from Kaneski’s bank accounts into joint accounts he held with his new wife. That prompted the FBI to begin seizure efforts which were dismissed by a federal judge in California. 

The Orange County Register covered the story back in 2006, and quoted Kanesaki’s mother saying that her daughter was in good spirits before the cruise. ‘‘I can’t imagine what happened to her. There’s no reason to believe it was a suicide.’’ 

A newspaper in Italy published an article "The Perfect Murder." 

The case reminds me of the murder of Karen Roston by her husband Mark Roston aboard Admiral Cruises' Sundancer some 20 years ago.

 

Photo Credit: VIP.it

Mystery & Suspicion at Sea: What Happened to Fariba Amani?

Cruise Ship Disappearance A year ago we mentioned the disappearance of Fariba Amani, age 47, from Vancouver, Canada who was cruising aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by the Celebration Cruise Lines.  

Ms. Amani was cruising with her boyfriend, Ramiz Golshani, also from Vancouver, when she disappeared from the cruise ship between Florida and the Bahamas.

Golshani claims that he allegedly last saw Ms. Amani around 1:00 AM on February 29th in the cruise ship's gift show and then he retired to the couple's cabin to go to sleep. He allegedly awoke the following morning and she was not in the cabin.   

A suspicious story no doubt.

You can read our prior blog about the disappearance here.   

A newspaper in Canada has an article as we approach the one year anniversary of this sad story: "One Year After Woman’s Disappearance From Cruise Ship, Family Still Has No Answers."

Do you have information?  Leave a comment or contact us confidentially and we will relay the information to the family.

 

Photo Credit: The Province via Globaltvbc

 

Another Passenger Goes Overboard from a MSC Cruise Ship - This Time the MSC Fantasia

Cruise Law News received a message late Saturday night indicating that a passenger went overboard from the MSC Fantasia.  Here's the message:

MSC Fantasia is in first day of a Carnival cruise. It embarked 4000 drunk pax today in Santos, Brazil and around 7 PM, the time to leave the port, we had one passenger go from deck 11 straight into the sea. It's 11.30pm and we're still looking for the passenger. We have the Federal Police on board and divers and we don't know where is the passenger . . .  was to drunk so he couldn't save himself.  Then they lowered a lifeboat but by the time they manage to get close to him, Costa Favolosa was getting out from the port so two small waves and the passenger was nowhere to be found.  We're standing by now but the party at the pool is at the MAX.  Drinks, music and naked pax. This is Brazil!

A newspaper in Brazil is covering the story.

MSC Fantasia Cruise Ship

This is the second passenger overboard from a MSC cruise ship in two days. Yesterday we reported on a Portuguese passenger who went overboard from the Divina in the Mediterranean.  

In December 2012, we reported on a cruise passenger who fell from an upper deck of the MSC Fantasia and died.

As you can see from the Fantasia's web cam, there seems to be quite a partying crowd on the cruise ship.

MSC Fantasia WebcamPlease leave a comment if you have information about what happened.

February 10 2013 Update: The missing passenger was identified as Luciano De Lucca, age 30, from passenger cabin number 11063, located on the 11th deck.

Portugese Cruise Passenger From MSC Divina Found Dead

MSC Divina Cruise ShipA reader of Cruise Law news has alerted me to another person going overboard from a cruise ship.

A newspaper in Italy states that a Portuguese man, 46 years old, was found dead off of the coast of Corsica. He was sailing as a passenger on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean sea when he went overboard for reasons not disclosed.

The Expresso XL newspaper reports that "the victim has been formally identified as a Portuguese man of 46 years who had disappeared from the vessel MSC Divina . . . "

The passenger had been reported missing from the MSC cruise ship at 1:00 PM today. The weather was calm.

Helicopters and a jet searched for the unidentified man after he was reported missing.  An investigation is being conducted into the case by shoreside maritime officials in France.

The French maritime authorities released the following statement (translated):

"This Saturday, February 9 shortly before noon, the body of a lifeless man spotted ten miles southwest of Bonifacio by a customs plane. He had taken part in the device search to try to find a passenger MSC Divina missing since 1am in the area.

Hoisted by the helicopter PUMA Solenzara, the victim has been formally identified as a Portuguese man of 46 years who had disappeared from the ship.

An investigation will be launched to determine the exact circumstances of his death."

Anyone with information please leave a comment below. 

 

Photo credit MSC Divina - Wikimedia Commons / Mllturro

Stonewalling at Sea - Cruise Lines Continue to Cover Up Disappearances on the High Seas

The disappearance of passengers and crew members at sea is one of the cruise industry's real problems.  The problem is compounded by the tendency of the cruise lines to place their reputation as a priority rather than providing information to the grieving families.  If the evidence tends to suggest that a crime occurred, or the circumstances involve facts that may place the cruise lines in an embarrassing light, the cruise lines suppress the information.

Most investigations fall to the country where the cruise ship is registered, such as countries like the Bahamas or Bermuda. These countries depend on the revenue generated from the cruise lines and assist the cruise lines in covering the true facts up.

The video below provides a look into cover-ups alleged against Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line (the Magical Company) and Holland America Line.   

January 7, 2012 Update: Follow the discussion on Facebook: What's more important to the cruise lines when someone disappears on the high seas?

A. The truth, or
B. The cruise line's reputation?

 

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.

Chairman of International Cruise Victims Discusses Cover-Up By Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises of His Daughter's Disappearance

Merrian Carver Cruise Ship Cover UpCoast to Coast Radio has a rather fascinating interview with Ken Carver, the Chairman of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization.

Mr. Carver talks about "odd and mysterious disappearances on-board cruise ships and how the industry stonewalls investigations of crimes on the high seas. He recalled how his daughter, Merrian, disappeared from a cruise in August of 2004, which led him on a quest to find out what happened to her. Carver detailed how the cruise ship company forbid its employees from discussing the case with his investigators and repeatedly lied about video tape evidence which would have shed light on Merrian’s fate. Based on his research, Carver revealed that Merrian’s story is not unique and that once every two weeks someone disappears from a cruise ship.

Carver also shared a number of other troubling details about the cruise ship industry, such as that they “take the legal position that they are under no obligation to investigate a crime,” whether it be a disappearance, sexual assault, or robbery. Additionally, the companies and their ships are registered in Ken Carver International Cruise Victimsforeign countries, which makes criminal investigations the responsibility of those host nations and allows for the companies to avoid paying any U.S. taxes despite utilizing up to 21 different American government agencies.

Furthermore, Carver lamented that many former high ranking FBI and Coast Guard officials later find employment with cruise ship companies and, thus, those agencies frequently work against efforts to hold the industry accountable for these crimes."

Take a minute and listen to this information.

Mr. Carver discusses how the Miami-based cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises lied and stonewalled to cover-up the disappearance of his daughter.

The website of the ICV is here.

The interview starts at 1:19:35.

  

 

Walker & O'Neill Retained to Investigate Disappearance of Cruise Passenger Jason Rappe' From HAL's Eurodam

Today, our firm was retained to help the family of missing HAL cruise passenger Jason Rappe' find answers to what happened during the evening of November 28th and the early morning hours of November 29th aboard the Holland America Line Eurodam cruise ship.

On November 24th, 41 year old Jason Rappe' and his wife, Tine, left Fort Lauderdale on a 7 day Caribbean cruise aboard the Eurodam.

Jason is believed to have gone overboard on November 29th as the cruise ship was sailing from St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) to the Bahamas, somewhere north-west of Puerto Rico. The U.S. Coast Guard eventually was notified but the search was called off after approximately 36 hours. You can read our article here which we published on the day of Jason's disappearance. 

Jason and his wife were married 17 years ago and live in Olympia Washington. Jason works as a carpenter and is a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

Jason served in the U.S. Army and is a veteran, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant.

Jason's wife, brothers and father released a statement which is repeated below. The family is seeking any information which may explain how and when Jason apparently went overboard. Please help. If you were on the cruise, please contact us.  

Contact:  Jim Walker: telephone - 305 995 5300 or 1 800 526 1518.

Please note that the comment section below is closed, and no further comments will be published. If you were on the cruise and have information, please contact us directly.   

Jason Rappe - Holland America Line - Eurodam Cruise Ship

 

Statement by the Rappe’ Family Regarding Missing HAL Cruise Passenger Jason Rappe’

On behalf of the Rappe’ family, we would like to extend our gratitude to all of you who have shown so much love and support for us during this time of crisis. We are all still trying to come to grips with this awful event of losing Jason at sea.

For those of you who are not familiar with what happened, Jason and his wife, Tine, from Olympia Washington, went on a 7 day cruise aboard the Holland America Line Eurodam out of Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean. On November 29, 2012, Jason apparently went overboard and has not been located.

We pray that somehow Jason is out there, and that he is ok. There are not many people on this planet with the grit and toughness that Jason has demonstrated in his life. Between Jason’s training in the U.S. Army and his stubborn, never-fail attitude, we know that if anyone can survive this it is him.

Jason is the type of person who could easily be imagined making a rope from his goatee, and lassoing a pair of sea turtles on which he would triumphantly stand as they lead him back to safety.

Our family is seeking information regarding what happened during the cruise. If you were on the cruise ship, we would to like obtain any information that you may have regarding Jason and the circumstances surrounding him going overboard. A maritime attorney is helping us investigate what happened, and we ask that you contact him with your information. His name is Jim Walker and his contact information is below.

Jason’s wife and father will not be conducting any interviews at this time, and we ask that you respect their privacy.

Thank you again for your support and prayers as we deal with this horrible family event.

Wife: Marie Christine (“Tine”) Rappe'
Father: Dana Rappe’
Brother: Ross Rappe’
Brother: Eric Rappe’


Please contact:

James (“Jim”) M. Walker 
Walker & O’Neill P.A. 

Telephone:  305 995 5300 or 800 256 1518

Email:  jim@cruiselaw.com

Passenger Missing From HAL's Eurodam Cruise Ship - Why Do All HAL Overboard Cases Remain Mysteries?

Multiple news sources are reporting that a passenger has gone overboard in the Caribbean earlier this morning. The passenger, age 41, is from Washington and was traveling with his wife.

The passenger's wife reportedly discovered her husband missing from the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Eurodam.  The U.S. Coast Guard said that, according to HAL, a baseball cap was located on one of the decks that was allegedly confirmed by the wife of the missing passenger as belonging to him. The ship was sailing from St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) to the Bahamas when the man disappeared early today. 

The Coast Guard issued a statement that it was conducting a search after being notified of the incident at 5:00 AM. Two Coast Guard ships and a helicopter have been dispatched to search for the passenger, whose name has not been released.

Eurodam Cruise Ship - HAL - Passenger OverboardHAL issued a statement that the cruise ship turned around at some point and has joined the search for the missing passenger. The ship left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday for a seven-day cruise.

You can read about prior recent disappearances from HAL cruise ships:

The Veendam just last month.

The Oosterdam involving a young man.

The Maasdam involving an elderly man. 

The Zaandam involving a young woman.

The overboard from the Zaandam revealed a lack of credibility by HAL's PR department.

Cruise line expert Professor Ross Klein has documented 197 over-boards from cruise ships since the year 2000. 

HAL has had 5 passengers overboard from its cruise ships in just the last couple of years. All remain mysteries.

As best as I can tell, there has never been a determination regarding the cause of any of the HAL over-boards and there has never been a case where HAL admitted that it had closed circuit television (CCTV) images of what happened.

It's disturbing that people can somehow just disappear on the high seas with no explanation and no video of what happened.  You'd think that the cruise line would revamp its security systems when not one single overboard has been solved in the last three years. It also raises the issue whether HAL is being transparent with the public. 

November 30, 2012 Update: The missing passenger has been identified in the press as Jason Gregory Rappe. HAL issued a statement to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel newspaper, which you can read here.The statement is silent regarding when the wife reported her husband missing to the cruise line and when the cruise line notified the Coast Guard.  In recent overboard cases, the cruise lines have delayed as long as several hours before notifying the Coast Guard.

December 1, 2012 Update: The Eurodam returns to Fort Lauderdale this morning and the FBI should Jason Rappe - HAL Eurodam - Missingbe boarding the cruise ship. At the same time, over two thousand passengers will disembark and begin to head home.  

December 3, 2012 UpdateWalker & O'Neill Retained to Investigate Disappearance of Cruise Passenger Jason Rappe' From HAL's Eurodam  Our firm was retained today to represent the Rappe' family find answers to what happened on the cruise ship.

Please help!

If you were on the cruise and have information about Mr. Rappe's disappearance (photo right), please contact me directly - jim@cruiselaw.com     

Please note that the comment section below is closed, and no further comments will be published. If you were on the cruise and have information, please contact us directly.

 

Photo credit:

Top: Welkinridge / Wikipedia

Bottom: Rappe' family

Crew Member Fakes Disappearance From Container Ship - Faces Fine of $1,062,423

A Filipino crew member working aboard a large container ship was arrested after allegedly staging his own disappearance as part of a plot to sneak into the U.S.  

Dexter Desquitado, age 38, worked as a crew member aboard the Singapore-flagged MSC Tokyo. On October 25, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted him on charges that while the container ship was in the Gulf of Mexico heading for Alabama, he staged a scene aboard the ship to create the impression that he had gone overboard. Meanwhile, he hid in another part of the ship, with the intention of sneaking into the United States.  When the MSC ship reached the Port of Mobile, he apparently Fake Disappearance - MSC Tokyo Container Shipentered the U.S. during the vessel's cargo operations. 

In legal papers filed by the prosecuting attorneys, the U.S. Government said "The very offense involved staging his disappearance at sea, hiding in a secluded area of the ship, and then surreptitiously escaping into the United States under the cover of night."

An earlier account of the incident indicated that at approximately 2:30 a.m. on October 15th, the missing crewmember was responsible for recovering the Jacob’s ladder after the pilot arrived. The ladder was later observed down with a shoe on deck indicating the possibility of the crewmember falling overboard.

The U.S. Coast responded by launching a large (and expensive) search and rescue effort. The vessels and aircraft involved in the unnecessary search included:

  • Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew;
  • Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew;
  • Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew;
  • The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk crew;
  • A 40-foot Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla boat crew;
  • A 32-foot Mobile Police Department contender crew;
  • A 32-foot Alabama Marine Resources jet boat crew;
  • A 23-foot Daphne Search and Rescue boat crew; and
  • A 27-foot Bon Secour Fire Department boat crew.

If convicted, Desquitado faces a $5,000 civil penalty and $1,062,423 for the cost of the search conducted by the Coast Guard as well as Alabama and local authorities.

Our blog has covered all types of crew member disappearances, including foul play, suicides and mysteries.  This is the first time that we have learned of a crew member faking a disappearance.  

Can anyone cite to a case involving a fake disappearance of a crew member from a large commercial vessel or a cruise ship?  Please leave a comment below or comment on our facebook page.   

 

Story and video credit: Mobile News 15

Tonight: Update On Missing Cruise Passenger George Smith

As I mentioned earlier this week, tonight the Nancy Grace program takes a look back at the mystery of the George Smith case. 

Mr. Smith "disappeared" from the Brilliance of the Seas during his honeymoon cruise with his newlywed wife, Jennifer Hagel, in July 2005.

There has been some mystery and intrigue over the years. But there have been developments this year which point the finger squarely at some of the men last seen with Mr. Smith as being involved in his disappearance.      

Seven years ago, Nancy Grace interviewed me on her show about the case (we represented George's widow, Jennifer)George Smith Disappearance - Cruise Ship. Ms. Grace spent more time attacking Jennifer, than focusing on those responsible for George's death and the cruise line which tried to cover it up.

The photo to the right is of George and Jennifer at the beginning of their honeymoon cruise. (We distributed the photo at the Congressional hearing into Mr. Smith's death in 2005).

This was a couple deeply in love, with a life together ahead of them. 

Let's hope that tonight's program is really an update on who was involved in George's death over seven years ago, and not a platform to attack his wife, Jennifer.

This is a case where there needs to be an arrest of those who were involved in George's death and those who covered it up.

Unsolved Cruise Disappearance: What Happened to George Smith?

George Smith - Cruise Ship - Missing HoneymoonerOver seven years ago, newlywed cruise passenger George Smith disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas into the Aegean Sea. The cruise line quickly concluded that Mr. Smith probably sat on the railing of his balcony and fell overboard, but there is absolutely no proof of that.

What Royal Caribbean knew but did not reveal to the families of George Smith and his bride, Jennifer Hagel, was that it had seized a video camera from other men last seen with Mr. Smith. The day after Mr. Smith's disappearance, these passengers were eating breakfast in the cruise ship's dining room when they began filming each other. According to a CBS program this year, the men were recorded laughing about the situation and mocking Mr. Smith.

The camera then stops on one of the three men who said: "We gave that guy a paragliding lesson without a parachute."

Our firm represented Mr. Smith's widow and we hired forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee back in 2005 to investigate the case. The cruise line never revealed this video to us, or to Dr. Lee, or to the public. Instead, it launched a scandalous media campaign to portray Mr. Smith as a drunk and his bride as unfaithful. 

This Friday, the Nancy Grace program is airing a special look back at this case entitled "What Nancy Grace Mystery - Disappearance of George Smith Happened to George Smith?" The program will take a look back on some of the developments in the case. This "mystery" is no mystery at all. Those involved should be prosecuted. 

We have written a series of articles about Mr. Smith's case, including Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later. We discussed what happened on the cruise and how the cruise line and the media responded to Mr. Smith's disappearance.  

I am not a fan of Nancy Grace. Her program lost focus on the cruise line's cover-up and the incompetency of the FBI in investigating the crime, while unnecessarily pitting the Smith family against their daughter-in-law. But her program is one of the few that continues to cover Mr. Smith's disappearance. I'll be watching this Friday.

What Happened to Royal Caribbean Crew Member Rossario Rodrigues From the Serenade of the Seas?

Rossario Shaggy Rodrigues - Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Serenade of the SeasEarlier this month we wrote about a Royal Caribbean crew member disappearing from the Serenade of the Seas.  Our article - Another Crew Member Goes Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas - was widely read.  We also posted the article on facebook and received many, many comments.

We also posted additional information on facebook asking whether Royal Caribbean is pushing its crew members to the brink?  

Several hundred thousands of people read these posts.

In response, we received information that the missing Royal Caribbean crew member is a young man from Goa, India named Rossario Rodrigues. He is single with a brother working on a different cruise line. His mother provided a photograph of her son (above left).

What happened to Mr. Rodrigues?

Why did he go overboard?

Why was he the second crew members to "disappear" from the Serenade of the Seas in three weeks?

A photograph from his facebook page shows him full of life sitting on a motorcycle, undoubtedly not his own but in his dreams no doubt.  Why would a young man with his whole life ahead of him somehow "disappear" with no explanation and no trace?

The cruise line is not saying.  His mother knows nothing other than her son is not returning to Goa. 

Rossario Shaggy Rodrigues - Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Cruise ShipWe have been informed that Mr. Rodrigues had a dispute with his supervisor, which we cannot confirm.  But who can confirm anything when someone goes overboard in the middle of the night from a cruise ship?

This is the way that cruises lines want it. 

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein reports that over 190 people have gone overboard from cruise ships in the last decade or so. Most are never found, and no real explanation is offered. Troubling statistics. Troubling attitude by the cruise lines.

Certainly someone knows something. If you do, please contact us. Leave a comment below, or comment on our facebook page, or contact me privately at my email address jim@cruiselaw.com. 

Don't let Mr. Rodriques be just another statistic.

Another Crew Member Goes Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas

A newspaper in Italy is reporting that a Royal Caribbean crew member disappeared from the Serenade of the Seas earlier this morning.

The Adnkronos newspaper in Rome reports that the Serenade of the Seas was sailing from Mykonos. Upon arrival at the next port around 7:00 AM this morning, it was discovered that a cabin steward was missing. (Another news account says he was a cleaner).  The newspaper mentions that the last CCTV image of the crew member on the cruise ship was around 1:00 AM and shows the employee walking through a door.  There apparently are no images of the crew member going overboard.  The crew member is reportedly from the Philippines. 

The newspaper states that a search was conducted by five Coast Guard patrol boats and two aircraft.

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the SeasThis is the third person to go overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the last three weeks.

On September 20th we reported on another crew member who went overboard from this same cruise ship, the Serenade of the Seas, as it was sailing to Italy. You can read our article here

On September 17th a passenger disappeared from the Allure of the Seas shortly after it sailed from South Florida.

In addition to these three Royal Caribbean overboard cases, on September 29th a passenger went overboard from the P & O Aurora cruise ship.

On October 9th we reported on a Holland America Line passenger who disappeared during a cruise on board the HAL Veendam. 

Five passengers missing from cruise ships in the last month. Unfortunately there is no news coverage of cruise ship overboard cases unless the person is a U.S. passenger.  The U.S. press has virtually no interest if a "foreign" crew member goes overboard. Royal Caribbean will not make a statement unless a major media outlet makes an inquiry.  

If you have information about this latest overboard please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our facebook page.

Holland America Line Cruise Passenger "Disappears" - How Is That Possible?

American passenger Sarah Tessier Powell set sail on the Holland America Line Veendam cruise ship the last week of September.

Two weeks later, no one has any idea where she is.

CBC News in Nova Scotia Canada reports that Ms. Powell, age 70, from Louisiana, was last seen September 30th on the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Veendam, as it sailed from Quebec City to Charlottetown.

The HAL cruise ship's next stops were scheduled in Charlottetown, Sydney, and Halifax on October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively

Halifax police speculate that Ms. Powell "may have walked off the ship without being checked by the Sarah Tessier Powell - HAL Cruise Passengercruise ship security," as CBC reports.  Let's hope that's the case. Assuming that's true, the Canadian police admit that it's not clear where Ms. Powell may have disembarked.  

How on earth is that possible?  Passenger gangways are supposed to be heavily monitored by security with each passenger's sea pass card scanned and the gangways always covered by closed circuit television cameras.

Cruise ships can easily trace the passenger's onboard purchases and use of their cabins by "lock-link" reports which document the opening of cabin doors. When did the passenger last use her card to either charge a purchase or open her cabin door?  The shipboard security should easily be able to know when there was any documented activity by Ms. Powell on the ship.

And why do the police think she left the ship?  If she did, then there should be CCTV film documenting her exit even if the gangway security guards were asleep at the wheel.    

There are a number of news outlets covering the story. That's good news. Passengers should not disappear during cruises, with loved ones wondering whether the passenger went overboard or is wandering around somewhere ashore.

It's been ten days since anyone say this cruise line guest.  Where is she?

This reflects poorly on HAL and the security systems on HAL's Vandeem.  Wasn't the Vandeem the same HAL ship which just  flunked the Centers for Disease Control inspection of the ship's cleanliness

It looks like the HAL Vandeem's security procedures are no better than its failed sanitation system.  

Video: Royal Caribbean Delayed Reporting Overboard Passenger

A'riel Marion - Overboard Cruise Passenger - Allure of the SeasLocal NBC 6 reports that Royal Caribbean delayed reporting the disappearance of Allure of the Seas cruise passenger, A'riel Marion, for two hours, even though another passenger on a lower balcony was literally hit on the arm as Ms. Marion fell to the water.

Based on the official report from the United States Coast Guard, the cruise line did not report the incident to the Coast Guard until 11:30 PM even though a passenger immediately reported the overboard to the ship around 9:27 PM.

Royal Caribbean's initial press release falsely claimed that the cruise line "immediately" reported the overboard. 

Our articles about this case are here:

Passenger Missing From The Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Why Didn't Royal Caribbean Immediately Notify the Coast Guard that a Passenger Went Overboard from Allure of the Seas? 

Delay, Deny, Deceive & Defend: Royal Caribbean Shows How Not to Respond to an Overboard Passenger  

 

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

Passenger Missing From The Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Last night a young woman from Bartlett, Tennessee disappeared from the world's largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas.

According to experts who track cruise ship disappearances, she was the 186th person to go overboard from a cruise ship in the last ten years.

At the time of the overboard last night, the Allure was sailing to Nassau after leaving Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades).

Royal Caribbean Cruises issued a press release that the 21 year old U.S. passenger went overboard Allure of the Seas OverBoard Passengerat 9:25 PM Eastern Standard Time last night.  The incident was apparently captured on the cruise ship's CCTV cameras. 

Royal Caribbean Delays Notifying the Coast Guard

The Sun Sentinel reports that the incident was reported to the cruise line around 9:30 PM, but the cruise line delayed reporting the incident to the Coast Guard for 2 hours until 11:30 PM. According to the Sun Sentinel. the cruise line apparently searched the ship for two hours to look for the young woman.

Only after the shipboard search was unsuccessful did the ship contact the Coast Guard.

Royal Caribbean Denies Delay

According to Cruise Critic, Royal Caribbean says that there was no delay.  It released a statement claiming that after another passenger observed the overboard and reported it, "the ship's Captain immediately stopped the ship, turned around, and alerted the U.S. and Bahamian Coast Guard."  This is inconsistent with the Coast Guard statement that Royal Caribbean waited until 11:30 PM to notify it and then search in the water for the passenger.

The Allure is a huge ship with some 8,000 passengers and crew members. As the cruise line likes to advertise, the massive ship comprises some seven neighborhoods.  Why would the cruise line waste valuable time searching such a big ship while sailing for two hours away from where the overboard was observed? 

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein reports that 186 people (passengers and crew members) have gone overboard in the last decade or so.

The last overboard from the Allure of the Seas was in early February of this year when an Irish passenger in his 20's went overboard.  

In instances where suicide is suspected, the cruise lines usually allude to that in their initial public statement. There is no mention of that so far.

Alcohol is often involved in cruise ship overboards, but there is no mention of that factor one way or the other.

Please leave a comment below if you have information about what happened, or click on our facebook page to see what other people are saying about this case.

 

September 18, 2012 Update: Cruise line's 2 hour delay in inconsistent with Coast Guard regulations, International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommendations and cruise line safety management system (SMS) procedures - read here..

September 19, 2012 Update:  Royal Caribbean tries to justify why it delayed stopping the ship and notifying the Coast Guard.  Coast Guard ends its delayed search.  FBI now involved. 

September 20, 2012 Update: Royal Caribbean Struggles to Justify Delayed Notification to Coast Guard.

September 22, 2012 Update:  Allure of the Seas: "Profits Over Passenger Safety?

September 27, 2012 Update: Passenger identified.  One of her last comments on Twitter: 'Lord Keep Us Safe On This Gigantic Cruise Ship." 

October 3, 2012 Updates: Delay, Deny, Deceive & Defend: Royal Caribbean Shows How Not to Respond to an Overboard Passenger 

Video: Royal Caribbean Delayed Reporting Overboard Passenger

American Crew Member Goes Overboard From Costa Cruise Ship

An Italian newspaper, Articolo Tre, and the Crew Center website, are reporting that a U.S. female crew member disappeared from the Costa Favolosa in the sea near Istanbul.

The victim reportedly is an American crew member employed by Costa as a dancer. There are no details in the news article.  The Italian newspaper article states that "according to the preliminary findings, the woman committed suicide by jumping from the ship off the coast of Istanbul."

Costa FavolosaThere is no confirmation by Costa. Crew members who work on the cruise ship are silent, especially if they are asked by passengers about the incident.

The ship will not stop tomorrow in Dubrovnik, as planed and but instead will go directly from Istanbul to Venice.

A few months ago a young woman went overboard from another Costa cruise ship, the Costa Magica. A 21 year old Brazilian waitress disappeared from the Magica near the coast of Sicily. The company quickly labeled the incident a suicide too. 

Unfortunately suicide seems to be the cruise industry's explanation for most over-boards.  This is because the cruise lines like to blame the victim rather than admit that there are safety and crime issues on cruise ships. 

Anyone will information, please leave a comment below.

Update August 31, 2012:  Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein received information that the overboard crew member is from South Africa - not the U.S.  We also received a comment to this article stating that the woman is from South Africa.  

There have been 185 people overboard from cruise ships in the last decade or so. 

Update September 2, 2012: The Italian newspaper, Articolo Tre, has another short article.  The title of the article states that Costa "confirms suicide" and yet the text of the article (if I am translating this correctly) states that the crew member "fell" into the water.  Unfortunately there is really no information contained in this article either, other than the Captain explaining why the cruise ship was skipping Dubrovnik, reassuring the passengers that they would receive a credit and wishing them a "happy" rest of the cruise.   

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia / Andrsvoss

Passenger Missing From Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship

Several news stations are reporting that a 31 year old man went overboard last night from the Carnival Fascination cruise ship. 

Newspapers are reporting that a Carnival crew member observed the passenger jumping off the top deck of the ship into the water.  The ship had left Jacksonville around 5:00 P.M and was heading to Key West. The ship was 25 miles off the Coast of Florida near Volusia County.

The incident reportedly occurred around 2 a.m. 

A Carnival spokesperson said that the crew threw life rings into the water and the ship then turned back Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship Overboard Passenger - Jump?to the location where the man went overboard.

Bay News 9 reports that the Coast Guard deployed considerable resources in searching for the man, including the 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, the 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, a Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Shrike, a 47-foot Motor Life Boat and a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.

No information has been released regarding why the man jumped, if that is really what happened.

Given the late hour, one of the things that I would inquire about is whether the passenger was drinking alcohol.  I would request the ship's records regarding the passenger's on board purchases to see how many drinks he purchased. There is a 100% certainty that Carnival's lawyers in Miami have already looked at this information, as well as any CCTV images of the passenger on the ship.

As usual, there is a spirited debate about the story at the CruiseCritic boards, with one member suggesting that the case was not a suicide but involved the passenger allegedly running away from a security guard and jumping overboard with a life ring.  Can't verify this of course.

Anyone on the cruise ship have accurate information?

Another U.S. Cruise Passenger "Missing" in Jamaica

Carnival Cruise Passenger Fredrick Lauritzen - Missing - JamaicaThe Jamaica Gleaner reports today that an American cruise ship passenger is missing in Jamaica after disembarking from an unidentified cruise ship that apparently called on Ocho Rios.

The Gleaner states that the police are seeking the assistance of the public in locating an American who has been missing since Thursday.

The Ocho Rios police say 50 year old cruise passenger Fredrick Lauritzen disembarked a cruise ship and has not been seen or heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Fredrick Lauritzen is being asked to contact the Ocho Rios police at 974-2469, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

This is the second time in the last two weeks that U.S. cruise passengers have not returned to a cruise ship which calls on Jamaica. The last incident involved passengers who failed to return to a Carnival cruise ship. There was a great deal of speculation what happened to the American family of three who were reported missing from a Carnival cruise ship, the Freedom, which docked in Ocho Rios.

Jamaica - Carnival Cruise Passenger Fredrick Lauritzen - Missing The three were 45-year-old Donald Henderson, 43-year-old Maria Henderson and 21-year-old Aja Henderson. Jamaican police found the passengers vacationing in a villa in Discovery Bay, St Ann, and were deported back to the U.S.   

It is against both Jamaican and U.S. law to fail to return to a cruise ship in the middle of a cruise.

We hope that this latest passenger turns up relaxing somewhere in a hotel drinking Red Stripes.

August 11, 2012 Update:  Blogger Mickey Faust tells me that the only cruise ship in port in Ocho Rios last Thursday was Carnival's Freedom.

Photo Credit: Jamaica Observer

Three Carnival Cruise Passengers Disappear in Jamaica

Multiple news sources are reporting that three U.S. cruise passengers from the Carnival Freedom cruise ship are missing since yesterday after disembarking the cruise ship in Ocho Rios.

USA TODAY states that the three passengers, all from the same family, failed to return to the cruise ship on Thursday following a day-long call in the Jamaican port of Ocho Rios.

The Associated Press reports that missing Americans are Donald Freedom Cruise Ship - Ocho Rios - Missing PassengersHenderson, age 45; Maria Henderson, age 43; and Aja Henderson, age 21.

The Freedom is on a six-day cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, and returns to South Florida tomorrow (Saturday).

There are comments to some of the on line articles speculating about what might have happened, including the passengers being victims of crime.  We have written many articles about Jamaica, a beautiful country with wonderful people, but it's a destination which suffers from violence and drug trafficking.  At this point there is simply no information on way or the other.

Newspapers in Jamaica are asking that anyone knowing the whereabouts of the Henderson family contact the Ocho Rios Police at 974-2533, Police 119 emergency number.

If you were on the cruise and have information which may lead to the location of this family, please leave a comment below.

July 27, 2012 Update: ABC Radio reports that the cruise passengers apparently left the ship with their belongings and the Jamaican police found them safe and sound in a villa on the northern coast of Jamaica. Here is the ABC account:

Three Americans who failed to return to their Carnival Cruise ship after a stopover in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Thursday, were found safe and unharmed this afternoon at a villa in Discovery Bay -- approximately 40 minutes west, on Jamaica's northern coast.

The three passengers, whom the cruise line earlier identified as members of the same family, went missing after disembarking the Carnival Freedom for a day-long port call in Ocho Rios, the cruise line said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

Jamaican authorities had classified the disappearance as a missing persons case, saying it was odd that the family took all of their belongings off of the ship before vanishing. The family has no known ties to anyone in Jamaica.

It was not immediately clear why the family left the ship and never returned. They are in the custody of Jamaican police and will be questioned about their mysterious departure. Police have not yet said whether charges will be brought against the three passengers.

 

Photo credit: Cruise Critic

Young Brazilian Woman Missing From Costa Magica Cruise Ship

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein reports on his website that a young Brazilian woman working as an assistant waiter on the Costa Magica has disappeared from the cruise ship in the Mediterranean. She was last seen on Friday, June 1 but authorities were not notified of her disappearance until yesterday, Saturday. The Magica had sailed from Malta towards Catania, Sicily and was about 20 miles from the Sicilian coast when the young woman disappeared.

According to a Brazilian newspaper Globo, the crewmember is Lais Santiago, age 21.  She is from Lais Santiago - Costa Magica Cruise Ship - Missing Cremember - BrazilSantos, on the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil.  

Her brother, Lucas Santiago, confirmed his sister's disappearance.  There are conflicting accounts about her boyfriend who is described as being either from Brazil or India, with most accounts suggesting that he is also a Brazilian. The crewmember's family stated that they have had no contact with him, but he was questioned by police.  Some internet accounts suggest that she may have made a call late at night with the next account indicating that her boyfriend reported her missing the following morning after she allegedly did not return to the cabin.

The family also spoke with her co-employees, one of whom stated that Lais was friendly and had no enemy on board. She didn't drink, smoke or do drugs, "which is very common on ships." 

According to Dr. Klein's database of passengers and crewmembers missing from cruise ships, this is the 182nd person to go overboard from a cruise ship since 2000. 

In this day and age, and with all of the incredible technology available, how can anyone "disappear" from a cruise ship without the closed circuit television video cameras not capturing the event?  

Do you have information about this case?  Please leave a comment below.

June 4, 2012 Update: There are a couple of comments, one from Brazil and one from Portugal, suggesting that the vessel's video camera captured images of Ms. Santiago going to the rail, hesitating, and then going overboard around 2:00 AM.

The Brazilian newspaper Globo published a report  today confirming that Ms.Santiago apparently jumped as indicated above.

Ms. Santiago's brother is quoted saying that his sister loved working on the ship, but had been complaining a lot lately. "Lais would resign and return to Brazil in the next 28 days. She loved working in the ship, but was tired."

 

Photo credit:  Facebook

Passenger Missing From Condor Rapide Fast Ferry

Numerous news sources in the UK are reporting that a passenger is missing overboard from a high speed ferry this afternoon in England. 

The passenger was aboard the Condor Rapide Fast Ferry, which was en route from Guernsey to Poole in Dorset. The ferry's crew raised the alarm at 5.35 PM, British time.

The Guardian newspaper reports that British and French coastguard, as well as lifeboats from Weymouth and Alderney and a search plane from the Channel Islands, are searching the route of the Condor Rapide Fast Ferry - Passenger Overboardferry to find the missing passenger, according to the HM Coastguard.

A spokesman for Condor Ferries said: "At 5.35pm today crew were made aware of a possible missing person situation onboard Condor Rapide.

"The captain raised a Pan Pan with the coastguard and a full search was conducted of the vessel.

"The passenger was unable to be found and the Pan Pan was upgraded to a Mayday."

Other newspaper are reporting that several helicopters are also involved in the search.

The passenger is a woman.  Her name has not been released.

 

Photo credit:  Condor Rapide Fast Ferry via Guardian

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"

What Happened to Fariba Amani Aboard the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship?

The family of a Canadian passenger who vanished during a cruise between the Bahamas and Florida last week continue to seek information about the disappearance.

Fariba Amani, age 47, from Vancouver, was cruising aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by the Celebration Cruise Lines.  In a prior article, we explained that Ms. Amani was cruising with her boyfriend, now identified as Ramiz Golshani, also from Vancouver, when she disappeared.

The story mentioned in the press is that Mr. Golshani allegedly last saw Ms. Amani around 1:00 AM on February 29th in the cruise ship's gift show and then re retired to the couple's cabin to go to sleep.  He awoke the following morning and she was not in the cabin.  

After looking for her on the ship as it approached port in Palm Beach, Mr. Golshani notified the cruise ship personnel.  At this time, the cruise ship was docking and the passengers disembarked without being interviewed by either the local police or the FBI.   

Fariba Amani - Bahamas Celebration Disappearance

Canadian television has a video interview of Ms. Amani's sister who describes Ms. Amani's relationship with her boyfriend as rocky.     

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein tracks people missing from cruise ships on his website.  179 people have gone overboard since 2000.

If you have information about this latest cruise disappearance, please leave a message below.  

 

Photo credit: iranto.ca

Congress Studies Cruise Ship Safety While Passenger Disappears From Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

While the U.S. Congress addressed the safety of the foreign flagged cruise industry today in Washington D.C., a passenger disappeared from a cruise ship sailing between the Bahamas and Florida.

ABC News reports this evening that a Canadian woman in her 40's disappeared during a Celebration line cruise aboard the Bahamas Celebration between the Grand Bahama island and Florida.  The woman was reported missing by her boyfriend at 8 AM this morning.  He told the police and FBI that he last saw his girlfriend at the cruise ship's gift shop before heading to the casino at around 1 AM and then retiring to their cabin to sleep

Missing Passenger Bahamas Celebration After the cruise ship docked at the Port of Palm Beach at 7 AM, he awoke and and searched the ship but could not find her.  At around 8 AM, the ship's crew and Coast Guard searched the cruise without success. 

According to ABC, the Coast Guard believes the woman was on the ship when it left Freeport at around 8 PM Tuesday night, because every passenger must swipe a card to get on the cruise ship.

The issue of cruise passengers and crew who "disappear" during cruises is a problem which the cruise industry has failed to adequately address. 

Australia's popular television program Dateline aired a cruise special today about missing passengers & crewmembers and crime at sea.

Well over 150 passengers and crew have disappeared from cruise ships over the last decade.

The cruise industry claims that it has an "incredibly safe" record.  

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

Update: The passenger has been identified as Fariba Amani from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Lost at Sea: Australia's Dateline Features Cruise Law & International Cruises Victims

Dateline Lost at Sea Cruise Disappearances and Cruise CrimeAustralia's popular television program Dateline aired a cruise special today about missing passengers & crewmembers and crime at sea.  

The program starts with the case of missing Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam who disappeared from the Disney Wonder cruise ship last year.  Her parents Mike and Ann Coriam were interviewed and express their thoughts about how the case is being handled.

The program also features the case of missing Holland America Lines (HAL) passenger Blake Kepley who vanished from the HAL's Oosterdam.  

The CEO (Ken Carver) and President (Jamie Barnett) of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) are on the program.  Mr. Carver lost his daughter Mirian Carver on the Celebrity Mercury and Ms. Barnett's daughter Ashley died during a Carnival cruise.

I am interviewed and I discuss the problem of cruise ship crime and the cruise industry's lack of transparency.

Take a minute and watch the program below: 

 

Passenger Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas OverboardThe AP is reporting that a Irish cruise ship passenger went overboard from the Allure of the Seas, which is the world's largest cruise ship cruise ship.

(Update: If you are searching for the overboard involving a twenty-one (21) year old woman from Bartlett Tennessee who disappeared on September 16, 2012 from the Allure, click here.)

Royal Caribbean states that another passenger allegedly saw the British passenger, age 30, go over the railing from his stateroom on the Allure.  The cruise line then apparently verified the overboard by viewing images from closed circuit television.  

The incident occurred as the cruise ship was heading to Cozumel.  Announcements were made around 6:45 AM.  The cruise ship then stopped off the coast of Mexico near Cozumel. and participated in a brief search.  The ship was to depart tonight at 8:00 PM tonight and was scheduled to be at sea tomorrow, with a return to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

There are rumors that the passenger may have left a suicide note and then stepped on a table and went overboard.

The last British citizen who disappeared in international waters near Mexico is Rebecca Coriam, a Disney cruise member employed as a youth counselor aboard the Disney Wonder.    

The last reported incident aboard the Allure of the Seas involved multiple rapes earlier last month

The cruise ship was under charter by Atlantis, which hosts parties for the gay and lesbian community.  The Allure had sailed from South Florida on January 29, 2012 to Labadee Haiti, Costa Maya Mexico, and then to Cozumel. 

In the past, the Atlantis - Royal Caribbean cruises have been marred by controversy, with drug overdoses, suicide, and a travel agent busted for selling drugs (arrested with 142 ecstasy pills, 3 grams of methamphetamine, ketamine and about $51,000 in cash).  You can read about these incidents below.

One year ago:  Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Two years ago:  Another Death on a Royal Caribbean - Atlantis Cruise

Three years ago: GLAAD Board Member Dies Aboard Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas

And don't forget to read:  Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World's Largest Gay Cruise?

Does anyone know what happened on this latest Atlantis cruise party?

 

Allure of the Seas Atlantis Cruise

 

Photo credit:  Atlantis Events

Update on Disappearance of George Smith From Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Ship

George Smith Disappearance Update This evening Dateline NBC will air what it is calling an "update" on the story of missing cruise passenger George Smith who disappeared under suspicious circumstances during his honeymoon cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship in the summer of 2005.

I am glad to see that Mr. Smith's case  is receiving additional attention.  

I have always thought that foul play was involved in Mr. Smith's disappearance.  Hopefully the renewed media attention will motivate someone to come forward with information which may help solve the case.    

That being said, I am skeptical whether anything "new" will be revealed by the Dateline program tonight.  

Dateline advertises that its program will tell " . . . the story of an active, ongoing investigation whereby FBI agents won't talk on the record.  However, the cruise line Royal Caribbean has conducted its own internal investigation and Dateline has the exclusive update about what George Smith Murder Updatehappened aboard the ship in the early hours of July 5, 2005."

Let's keep a few things in perspective.  Mr. Smith's disappearance, or murder as many people including me believe, occurred on July 5, 2005 - six and one-half years ago. 

In 2005, Royal Caribbean provided us with copies of photographs of the cabin and awning, statements, security reports and other information about Mr. Smith's disappearance.  The case was discussed regularly on all of the nightly cable news shows and major networks which broadcast a great deal of information about what happened on the night in question. 

Royal Caribbean's investigation into what happened ended in 2005.  The cruise line defense lawyers who were sent to the cruise ship have subsequently switched to representing passengers and crewmembers.  Believe it or not, they are now employed by a firm which sues Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines.  There has been no "internal investigation" by Royal Caribbean into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Smith's death for over 6 years. 

Now, lets consider the so called "open and active" FBI investigation.  Six and one-half years George Smith Death Update - Dr. Henry Leeago, the FBI was investigating the case, although I would consider it rather amateurish.  The FBI had not even interviewed the passengers on either side of the Smith's cabin a month after the cruise.  These individuals were first interviewed by Joe Scarborough on cable news.  The investigation did not get serious until we boarded the cruise ship with forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee and a team of investigators.  It was only after we retained Dr. Lee did the FBI test the carpet in the cabin for blood stains.

Our firm was in constant contact with the FBI (we represented George Smith's widow Jennifer Hagel) in 2005 and 2006.  It was clear to us that the FBI investigation lost steam in early 2006.  A  Grand Jury was convened and called witnesses but returned no indictments against anyone.  There has been no real investigation by the FBI for well over five years as best as we can tell. 

What the Dateline television show will discuss are certain documents, photographs and video which the cruise line has been offering to the families since June of 2006.  At that time, we reached a settlement with Royal Caribbean where the cruise line would pay $1,060,000 in compensation, as well as turn over all of the cruise line's documents, photographs, CCTV images, statements and other information in order for the families to try and learn what happened to Mr. Smith.  Much of the George Smith Murder - Cruise Ship  information was confidential and privileged which  the cruise line had no legal obligation to disclose.

The Smith family objected to the terms of the settlement.  A probate court in Greenwich upheld the settlement, finding that it was fair and in the best interests of all concerned.  But the Smith family appealed the Greenwich probate court's ruling and this delayed the cruise line's release of information.  Several years later, Royal Caribbean increased its settlement offer by $250,000 for a total of $1,310,000 and again agreed to provide exactly the same documents, photographs and information it offered back in 2006.

In 2010, Royal Caribbean turned all of its internal information over to the families.  There was nothing new in these documents most of which we obtained in 2005.  The attorney for the Smith family provided copies of these documents to the producers of Dateline which tonight will disclose the "new" information.      

Jennifer Hagel - Disappearance of George Smith In truth, Dateline is now airing the same old photographs, cruise line documents and statements which we obtained in 2005 and which the cruise line has been offering to all of the families since 2006.

The Smith family apparently has a new theory into their son's death, namely that he was killed in an attempted robbery.  The New York Post contains a quote, this morning, from the Smith family's lawyer that “The family believes it was a robbery-gone-bad." 

The New York Post's article contains the provocative title: "Feds' Mafia Team Join Probe into Disappearance of Conn. Newlywed."  The alleged "mafia" connection to some of the men last seen with Mr. Smith and who were in his cabin around 4:00 AM on the morning of his disappearance is nothing new.

The Post also published a couple of CTTV images of Mr. Smith and his wife Jennifer Hagel which Royal Caribbean released several years ago.  

Last summer, we published a series of articles on the sixth year anniversary of Mr. Smith's death:George Smith Disappearance Update

Trouble as the Cruise Ship Sails to Kusadasi

A Frantic Call Back to Connecticut

Media Frenzy Follows Case of "Missing Honeymooner" 

Dr. Henry Lee Boards the Brilliance of the Seas 

Royal Caribbean Blocks Dr. Henry Lee's Dummy Experiment 

The International Cruise Victims Organization Is Born! 

Royal Caribbean Captain Says Its Just an Accident Involving a Bloody Nose 

Larry King Live & the "Missing Groom Mystery"

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you.

  

 

Photo credit:  Bottom 2 photographs (CCTV images) Royal Caribbean / New York Post

Man Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas Cruise Ship?

This evening we received inquiries for information whether there was a "man overboard" from Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas cruise ship.  

The last time we received such direct inquiries was last Sunday when we received emails asking us whether a crew member went overboard from the Celebrity Summit cruise ship.  We did not have any information.  But two days later the U.S. Coast Guard issued a press release indicating that that a 30 year crewmember went overboard.  The Coast Guard's statement contained the cruise line's statement that the crewmember allegedly "jumped" but it is less than clear what happened.

Does anyone have information whether there was a passenger or crew member overboard from the Radiance?  We are informed that the cruise ship is sailing from Sydney at the moment. 

According to our records, the last overboard situation on the Radiance of the Seas occurred in March 2010.  it involved a crewmember and can be read here

If anyone sailing on the Radiance has information, please leave a comment below. 

We hope that this is a false alarm and 2012 finds all of the crew and passengers safe and sound.

January 2, 2012 Update:  See passenger comment below:

Celebrity Crewmember Missing From Summit Cruise Ship

On Sunday we received emails inquiring about a Celebrity crewmember who went overboard from the Summit cruise ship.  The Summit was sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it is currently based, to Barbados when the cruise employee disappeared. At the time we had no information.

Today the U.S. Coast Guard issued a statement that the missing crewmember is a Filipino woman, age thirty, employed as a bartender aboard the cruise ship.  The cruise line states that she was seen jumping overboard Sunday morning, approximately 6 - 7 miles off the northeastern coast of Culebra Island, Puerto Rico.  It is less than clear whether eyewitnesses observed this, or whether the incident was captured on the ship's CCTV cameras.

Summit Cruise Ship The cruise ship notified the Coast Guard of the incident from the cruise ship at approximately 12:50 a.m. Sunday.  We would be interested in learning when the cruise ship left San Juan, as the incident occurred shortly after departure. 

The Coast Guard suspended its search last night.

Royal Caribbean / Celebrity cruise ships have seen the most alleged suicides over the course of the last 2 years.  As we have said before, the Filipinos on cruise ships work incredibly long hours and are away from their families for long periods of time.  At this point, it is unknown what led this young woman to jump if this is what happened.

A Filipino crewmember allegedly jumped from a Celebrity ship earlier this year - Another Celebrity Crewmember Goes Overboard

You can read about RCCL / Celebrity crew overboards (all nationalities) below: 

Crew Member Goes Overboard from Celebrity Constellation Cruise Ship

Crew Member Missing from the Grandeur of the Seas - Why Are So Many People Disappearing From Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships?

Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas

Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas

"Man Overboard" Reported on Radiance of the Seas

Asleep At the Wheel: What Does the Delayed Reporting of Neha Chhikara's Disappearance from the Monarch of the Seas Reveal About Royal Caribbean's Shipboard Security?

Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard

Does anyone have information about this latest incident? 

Update on Disappearance of Princess Cruises Chef Angelo Faliva

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera contains an interesting update today on the mysterious disappearance of a young Italian chef from a Princess Cruises cruise ship in November 2009.

The story involves Angelo Faliva, a chef from Cremona Italy who was employed by Princess Cruises aboard the Coral Princess.  Mr. Faliva was last seen working in the Sabatini's restaurant on November 25, 2009.  Although his work shift did not end until 10:00 PM, and he essentially disappeared around 8:15 PM, no one sounded an alarm until the following day.

Angelo Faliva - Princess Cruises - Coral Princess - MissingThe cruise ship was heading toward Cartagena, Columbia while some 2,000 passengers enjoyed their dinners and the entertainment during the evening of Mr. Faliva's disappearance.  What happened to this outgoing young man?

The Italian article, "The Mystery of the Chef who Disappeared on a Cruise," touches upon some of the theories which we have discussed in prior articles.  Did Mr. Faliva observe something he should not have, such as drug trafficking?  Certainly there is nothing about this handsome out-going man to suggest that suicide is a reasonable explanation.

The article contains some new information, such as someone logging on to Mr. Faliva's laptop after his disappearance and downloading files, printing documents and deleting e-mails.  There is also a reference to a hotel in Cartagena - Capilla del Mar - which was hand written inside of Mr. Faliva's chef hat.  This is the same hotel referenced in online research performed on Mr. Faliva's computer on the day he disappeared. 

It is now going on two years since Mr. Faliva was last seen on the Coral Princess.  There are hundreds of closed circuit television cameras on this cruise ship.  Indeed Princess is well known for its fleet-wide bridge cams and wedding cams where you can watch passengers get married on the cruise ships with remarkable clarity from the comfort of your home computer.  But when someone goes into the water?  Like other cruise lines, Princess seems to always have problems with its CCTV cameras when someone involuntarily goes over the rails. 

The article mentions that Mr. Faliva's younger sister, Chiara, is the only person genuinely motivated to search for answers.  The official "investigation" is the responsibility of Bermuda where Princess flags its cruise ships to avoid U.S. taxes and labor and safety laws.  As other families have learned dealing with foreign flagged cruise ships, the "investigation" by the flag state into shipboard crimes and disappearances is a low priority. The cruise line is indifferent.  

As the article explains, Mr. Faliva's story is " . . . segnata dall’incompetenza degli investigatori, l’insensibilità della compagnia di navigazione . . ."

 

Some crewmembers must have information about Mr. Faliva.  if you know something, please leave a tip at lawinfo@cruiselaw.com

You can read other articles about Mr. Faliva here

Body of Missing Holland America Line Passenger Found Near Prince Edward Island

HAL Maasdam Cruise Ship Missing Passenger CBC News Canada is reporting that a 75 year-old passenger from the Holland America Line MS Maasdam was reported missing by his wife shortly after 8 AM. yesterday after the HAL cruise ship docked in Charlottetown, Canada.

The Maasdam left from Montreal on Saturday on a seven-day cruise,

The newspaper states that the vessel's crew conducted a shipwide search but could not locate the passenger on the cruise ship. The Canadian Coast Guard searched the cruise ship's route but could not locate the man.

According to the newspaper, a lobster fisherman found a body around 8:30 AM. in the Northumberland Strait near western Prince Edward Island. 

The cruise line confirmed that the body was that of a passenger from the cruise ship, although the Canadian police have not yet confirmed that the body was the missing passenger.   An autopsy has been requested.

If you have information about this latest cruise overboard, please leave a message below.

October 5, 2011 Update:

The CBC News identifies the deceased passenger as William Cureton, age 75, of Port Dover, Ontario.    

Photo credit:  Robert F. Bukaty / AP  (via MSNBC)

Passenger Missing From Carnival Conquest Cruise Ship

A local television station in Galveston, Texas is reporting that a 39 year old passenger is missing after going overboard from the Carnival Conquest after the cruise ship left Cozumel, Mexico. 

Carnival Conquest Cruise Ship - Overboard Passenger The incident occurred Friday evening.

ABC affiliate Channel 13 Eyewitness News' article states that  "according to a statement from Carnival Conquest, a 39-year-old male was seen jumping overboard around 6:30pm Friday while the ship was in the Gulf of Mexico, shortly after departing Cozumel."

This statement likely indicates that other passengers observed the passenger go overboard and/or ship personnel observed him jump overboard.

The article indicates that the cruise ship returned to the location where the passenger was seen going overboard in order to conduct search and rescue operations.  

Mexican vessels apparently were also in the search efforts.

The Carnival Conquest is returning to Galveston today.

This cruise ship has had passengers go overboard in the past.  In October 2006, a 48 year old woman apparently committed suicide by jumping from an upper deck.  You can read about that incident here.  Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website mentions another incident in November 2006 when a 42 year old passenger fell/jumped from his cabin and was not found. 

Professor Klein's website lists 167 incidents (not including this one) where passengers and crew have gone overboard from cruise ships in the last 10 years.  

Were you on the cruise?  Do you have information, or photos or video of the rescue attempts, to share?  Please leave a comment below.  

September 24, 2011 Update:

The passenger has been identified as Clint Wayne Markham of Forney, Texas.

The Carnival cruise ship captain, Antonio Sammartano, sent a letter to the passengers stating:

“We’re sorry to say that at this time, the missing guest has not been located. However, the Mexican navy remains on site and continues with the search.  We continue to provide support to his family and friends during this difficult time.  We ask that you please continue to join us in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers."

A Fox News station in Dallas has accounts from friends and family of Mr. Markham that he was a fine son, father and husband and that he would not have voluntarily gone overboard.  He apparently sailed on cruises every year to celebrate his birthday.  He would have been 40 years old today.   

 

Photo credit:

Wikipedia/Wikimedia Klobetime

British Press Focuses on Missing Cruise Passengers and Crewmembers Following Disappearances of Disney Cruise Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam

Today the Mail Online published an article today entitled:  The Vanishing Passengers: It's A Mystery As Bizarre As It Is Disturbing - Why Have 165 People Gone Missing From Cruise Ships In Recent Years?

The article discusses the cases of "missing' passengers and crew from cruise ships and the lackluster efforts of the cruise lines and foreign flagged investigations which are doomed to failure.  

If you are interested in learning about missing passengers and crewmembers like Rebecca Coriam who "disappeared" from the Disney Wonder cruise ship, please read this article.

Rebecca Coriam - Disney Youth Counselor - Disappearance

AOL Travel in the U.K. also published an article "165 People Have Gone Missing From Cruise Ships Since 1995."
 

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.

  

Photo Credit:   Coriam Family via Mail Online

Another Passenger Disappears from Fred Olsen "Balmoral" Cruise Ship

Mail Online in the U.K. is reporting on the disappearance of what is described as an "elderly" passenger who was traveling alone on the Balmoral cruise ship operated by Fred Olsen Lines.

The story made the news when the cruise ship returned to the port of Southampton after an eight day cruise in the Norwegian fjords.  Around 1,000 passengers were detained on the cruise ship while authorities showed photographs of the missing passenger and questioned them whether Balmoral Cruise Ship - Missing Passenger - Overboardthey had any knowledge about the passenger.

The detaining of passengers is somewhat unusual because most cruise lines and investigating agencies let the passengers disembark without ever questioning them.

The newspaper article indicated that the passenger was in his late 70's or early 80's and also referenced a "note which was discovered by a cabin stewardess."

The passenger was apparently last seen around 9:00 PM on Sunday night, and was discovered missing yesterday morning.

Does the presence of a "note" and the fact that the passenger was elderly suggest that he committed suicide?  I don't know.  What is the height of the rails?  Was he over-served alcohol?  Where are the CCTV images if the passenger went overboard, voluntarily or involuntarily?

We reported on the disappearance of an eighty year old passenger last year from the Balmoral, without explanation.  Did the cruise line improve its CCTV capacities following that incident?

This incident occurred as the parents of missing Disney Cruise youth counselor Rebecca Coriam appealed to the U.K. Shipping Minister to introduce tougher laws to protect British citizens from crimes at sea, as we mentioned in an article yesterday.

Last year, the Balmoral was dubbed the "Cursed Cruise Ship of the High Seas" following a series of norovirus bouts which sickened hundred of passengers and crew.  The Balmoral also narrowly averted disaster when it was attacked by pirates last year.   

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

Back From Vacation - Safe, Sound & Thankful

Whistler mountain bikingLast night our family arrived back in Miami after a three week vacation in the Pacific North West.  We enjoyed Pike Place Market in Seattle, kayaked in the Orcas Islands (amazing), mountain biked in Whistler, and hiked Mt. Rainier.  What a blast.

Aside from a spectacular wipe-out on a mountain bike trail by my youngest son, we returned to Miami safe and sound.  

Given the nature of my profession, I am ever mindful that some family vacations do not turn out to be happy memories. 

An experience while visiting Orcas Island reminded me of that.  My wife and law partner Lisa was visiting a quilting store when she overheard the store owner talking about just returning from a Holland America cruise to Alaska with her partner.  Lisa asked how they enjoyed the cruise.  The store owner's face turned grim.  She paused and said a young man disappeared during the cruise.     

The store owner was referring to twenty year old Blake Kepley, who disappeared during an Alaskan cruise with his family aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam on July 22nd.  Like many cruise ship disappearances, the cruise line has not disclosed whether there are closed circuit television images of the young man which may explain what happened.  This lack of transparency causes great stress to the surviving family members who must struggle not only with the misery of losing a child but the confusion of not knowing what really happened.

Kayaking Orca's IslandWhen I hear of incidents like this, I see images of other young men and women who have disappeared from cruise ships without explanation.  Like Amber Malkuch from Holland America's ZandaamRebecca Coriam from the Disney WonderMerrian Carver from the Celebrity Mercury MercuryAngelo Faliva from the Coral Princess, George Smith from Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, and Amy Bradley from Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.

I do not know how these families endure their grief.  In the case of Amy Bradley, the Bradley family has suffered through twelve years of missing their daughter with no answers from the cruise line. 

When I hear of incidents of loved ones lost at sea I pray that my children, and all children, remain safe when they travel and vacation.  And when I return home, I am thankful that my family stayed safe from harm.    

Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Missing Passenger, Blake Kepley

Blake Kepley, a Fallbrook High School graduate was last seen between 12 and 1 a.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011. His family reported the 20-year-old missing at about 2:30 p.m. that same day according to the Village News; however, Sign On San Diego reports that the family notified the cruise line as early as 7:00 a.m. Both reports maintain that Holland America waited until 4:00 p.m. before contacting the Coast Guard to report that Kepley possibly went overboard.

The Coast Guard immediately began the search; however, was unsuccessful in locating Kepley and the search was suspended nearly 24 hours later after covering more than 352 miles. Kepley went missing between Sikta and Ketchikan during his Alaskan cruise aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam.

For more information click on NBC’s San Diego News Report:

If you have any information or tips regarding the disappearance of Blake Kepley, e-mail us at jwalker@cruiselaw.com

Video credit: NBC San Diego

Disappearance of George Smith - Larry King Live & the "Missing Groom Mystery"

Larry King Live - George Smith Disappearance - Cruise ShipThe media's interest into the "missing groom" story was unparalleled in the history of the cruise industry.  Royal Caribbean had been able to dodge bad press about the disappearance of passengers and women and children sexually assaulted on its fleet of cruise ships for decades.

But the case of George Smith was different.  Every network was covering the story, non-stop. 

I will never forget sitting behind my desk speaking on the telephone with Greta Van Sustern about the case when my secretary, Betsy, buzzed me saying: "Larry King is holding on line 2."  I suppose it was a tad obnoxious to respond to Betsy: "tell Larry that I will call him back in a couple of minutes." 

But that was the way it was with the most popular case involving a cruise ship mystery like this.  We were receiving letters, Fed Ex packages, flower arrangements, notes, and invitations to stay in hotels before and after high profile interviews on a weekly basis.  

We used the media to our advantage.  We were dealing with Royal Caribbean, an admitted corporate felon which was just coming off a five year period of probation for lying to the U.S. Coast Guard about wide spread illegal dumping of chemicals and blackwater into the aqua, warm waters of Biscayne Bay in Miami to the dark, cool waters of Alaska.  This was a corporation with a reputation for dishonesty. 

Larry King Live - George Smith Missing - Royal Caribbean Cruise ShipLarry King invited me on his show twice.  First in August 2005 before I was hired by Jennifer Hagel to talk about the issues in the case.  The second time was in January 2006, together with the Smith family and their counsel, after I was retained, to talk about the details of the case. 

Shows like Larry King Live, with literally millions of viewers, were instrumental in educating the public about the problems of crimes and disappearances on cruise ships which the cruise industry had kept hidden for years.  The publicity would continue as the U.S. Congress convened five hearings in the House of Representatives and Senate into the issue of crimes and disappearances of passengers on cruise ships. 

 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you.

Disappearance of George Smith - Royal Caribbean Captain Says Its Just an Accident Involving a Bloody Nose

Two days after George Smith went overboard from the Brilliance of the Seas, the cruise ship's captain prepared a casualty report concluding that Mr. Smith accidentally fell off of the railing.   The official report did not mention any of the suspicious noises in the Smith's cabin heard by other passengers or that other young men (later accused of raping a passenger during the cruise) had been observed leaving the cabin around 4:30 AM.  

George Smith Disappearance - Royal CaribbeanCaptain Michael Lachtaridis' conclusion fit the usual Royal Caribbean play book of "blame the passenger."   The cruise line would later dance around this quick self-serving official report to the maritime authorities by suggesting that this was just a "preliminary" conclusion or just the captain's "personal opinion."

MSNBC's Dan Abrams invited Captain Lachtaridis onto his cable news program and interviewed him over the course of two nights.  It was a rather amazing experience to watch the captain, who retired shortly after Mr. Smith's disappearance but was nonetheless still wearing his stripes on TV, stick with his theory that it was just an "accident."  

Quote: 

"He wanted to get some fresh air from the balcony.  He was sitting on the railing and he lost his balance."

Quote:

"Now if George - let‘s say he fell and then if you fell, you break your nose and start bleeding and then you take a towel and then you wipe it there and then you go outside to get some fresh air.  And then you are sitting on the railing and you fell over, so, that‘s the whole thing.  I mean blood on the towel or wherever you pass by to go outside to the balcony to get some fresh air and you fall over."  

George Smith Missing - Cruise Ship DisappearanceCaptain Lachtaridis was very theatrical in his demonstration of how a nose bleed could account for the large amount of blood which covered the awning below the Smith's cabin. 

He thought that it was fine that the cruise line power-blasted the blood off of the awning by early afternoon, after the Turkish police's lighting fast two hour investigation.

He saw nothing wrong with the four men last seen with George Smith, and who had been previously warned for rowdy behavior and using foul language, continuing on with the cruise.  Until, at least, a young passenger accused them of raping her two days after George Smith went overboard.  Only then did Captain Lachtaridis kick them off of the cruise ship in Italy.

George falling in the cabin?  A bloody nose?  Sitting on the rail to get fresh air?  Falling a second time, this time off of the railing? 

Captain Lachtaridis gave quite a performance for the TV audience.

  

Photo credits:  MSNBC Dan Abrams 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you.

Disappearance of George Smith - The International Cruise Victims Organization Is Born!

George Smith Disappearance  In December 2005, Congress convened its first hearing on the issue of the safety of U.S. passengers on foreign flagged cruise ships.  The hearing came about primarily due to the efforts of several families who had lost loved ones from cruise ships on the high seas, under suspicious circumstances. 

George Smith's family was instrumental in bringing a great amount of much needed publicity to the issue of passenger "disappearances" and the shoddy manner in which cruise lines respond to such tragedies.  George III and Maureen Smith and their daughter Bree Smith of Greenwich Connecticut contacted Congressman, Chris Shays (R-CT).   

The Smith family joined forces with the father of a young woman who also "disappeared" from a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean's sister cruise line Celebrity Cruises.  Ken Carver, a former president of an insurance company in New York, lost his beloved daughter, 40 year old Boston resident Merrian Carver, who went missing under suspicious circumstances during a cruise to Alaska aboard the Mercury cruise ship.  

The cruise line tried its best to cover the incident up.  It didn’t report Merrian missing to either the FBI or the Alaskan State Troopers, even though the cabin attendant reported her missing early in the cruise. The cruise line either gave her personal items away or put them in storage. 

When Mr. Carver asked for an explanation, Royal Caribbean responded by lying to Mr. Carver and disposing of evidence.  Mr. Carver didn’t go away.  The story went public.  The The Arizona Republic published an excellently researched and written story, revealing the hideous manner that this cruise line acted when people disappear at sea. 

Mr. Carver's situation is simply the worst conduct I have ever seen by a cruise line.

One of Mr. Carver's daughters had been an intern of Congressman Shays when Mr. Carver had lived in Connecticut.  Mr. Carver's story was featured on CNN's Anderson Cooper's show.  The  producer for the program, CNN's David Fitzpatrick (a resident of Connecticut), recommended to Mr. Carver that he call on Congressman Shays and tell him about the way the cruise line treated his family. 

Ken Carver - International Cruise VictimsAs a result of the convergence of tragedies suffered by the families of George Smith and Merrian Carver, Congressman Shays convened a hearing to study the problem of passengers disappearing on cruise ships and the manner that the cruise industry treated the surviving the surviving family members.  He opened the hearing by stating:

"The bottom line is we are suspicious, candidly, that there's some huge problem in the cruise industry.  We think that people are not aware of some of the challenges and some of the potential problems they encounter."   

Mr. Carver attended the December 2005 hearing.  I attended the hearing with my client Jennifer Hagel.  Mr. Carver introduced himself to me at the hearing.  He asked me if I was interested in supporting legislation making cruising safer for the public?  I saw a conviction in Mr. Carver's eyes six years ago.  I realized that he was serious.  

Mr. Carver realized that he could not fight the cruise industry alone.  He thereafter created an organization called the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization, effective January 1, 2006.   As a former executive, Mr. Carver had the leadership and management skills to create a highly effective organization.  Like the many other ICV members, Mr. Carver also had a passionate dedication to his daughter and a desire to protect other families from going through a similar nightmare. 

Mr. Carver was responsible for convening four additional Congressional hearings, taking the ICV organization internationally, and organizing a team of victims who were responsible for the enactment of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act

George Smith, Merrian Carver and other victims may be gone from this lifetime, as we know it.  But their legacies continue today. 

The cruising public is safer for the efforts of their families.  

 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.  Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you. 

Disappearance of George Smith - Six Years Later - Royal Caribbean Blocks Dr. Henry Lee's Dummy Experiment

One of the tests which Dr. Henry Lee wanted to perform during his inspection of the Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship was dropping a life size mannequin from the rail of the balcony.

Dr. Henry Lee - George Smith Cruise DisappearanceA metal awning is located several floors below the balcony.  It is around 12 feet wide and ran the length of the cruise ship, covering the lifeboats on each side of the ship.  It is convex in shape with the high point in the middle, sloping gradually on one side toward the ship and on the other side gradually toward the water.

Before we boarded the cruise ship, Dr. Lee explained the tests he wanted to perform.

One of the issues which we wanted to determine was where the mannequin would land on the surface below.  What was the most likely location where the “dummy” would land if it was sitting on the rail and slipped and fell straight down?  Where would the dummy land if thrown from the balcony?  On which side of the high point of the surface would it land?  Would the mannequin tend to roll toward the water or safely back toward the side of the cruise ship?

Answers to these questions may assist in answering the basic question of whether Mr. Smith slipped off of the balcony or he was thrown overboard.  There was great debate in the media about this.  Was there a fight in the cabin which led to Mr. Smith going over the rail?  Or was this a simple case of falling overboard?  Vanity Fair magazine published an article which concluded that Mr. Smith was intoxicated and decided to sit on the balcony rail and fell off while smoking a cigarette - a conclusion I thought was unsubstantiated and silly.   

Dr. Henry Lee - George Smith Cruise DisappearanceBefore we arrived at the port, the cruise line notified me that Dr. Lee would not be permitted to conduct the test.  With news reporters and camera crews at the port covering Dr. Lee's inspection and helicopters hovering overhead, the images of a mannequin repeatedly being thrown over the rail was obviously a spectacle Royal Caribbean wished to avoid being shown on the nightly news channels.   

On the morning of the inspection, I decided that our team would not take "no" for an answer.  So I placed the dummy in a six foot box, tucked the box under my arm, and walked toward the cruise terminal with Dr. Lee and our team.

One of the senior security officials at the cruise line stopped me outside of the entrance to the terminal.  He told me that I would not be allowed to enter the terminal with the mannequin.  About a hundred news reporters and cameras were watching about 50 feet away.   I smiled and asked him if he wanted to get into an arm wrestling match before the reporters?  He smiled back and said no.  We entered the terminal with the mannequin. 

Once I and the dummy were inside the terminal and outside of the view of the cameras, the cruise line security personnel confiscated the mannequin.  The test would not take place. 

Dr. Henry Lee - Jim Walker - George Smith Cruise DisappearanceRoyal Caribbean would later tell the media that it did not permit the tests for the "safety of passengers."   The cruise line also offered an opportunity for us to conduct the test while the vessel was in dry-dock in the Bahamas, safely outside the view of the U.S. media.  But flying Dr. Lee and his team around the country was not an inexpensive undertaking.  

Dr. Lee never performed this experiment.

I have always wondered what the tests would have revealed.  Is it possible to fall off the balcony and roll off of the awning?  Or could this have happened only by being thrown over the rail and/or dragged off of the surface below?

 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you. 

Photo credits:  MSNBC

Disappearance of George Smith - Six Years Later - A Frantic Call Back to Connecticut

Royal Caribbean did not permit Jennifer Hagel back into her cabin after blood was discovered on the awning below the cabin.  No one on the ship explained to Jennifer that she had been found unconscious on the floor near a stairwell early in the morning, or that her husband's blood was covering the awning. 

Eventually, the cruise line permitted Ms. Hagel to call her parents back in Connecticut to tell them that George was missing from the cruise ship.  It must have been a terrible ordeal for a father several thousands of miles away to listen to his daughter consumed with grief and confusion on the other end of a long distance telephone call. 

The hardest call to be made, however, was yet to be made.  Jennifer's father, John Hagel, was tasked with having to call the Smith family and tell them that their son had vanished from the Royal Caribbean ship.

George Smith - Missing - Royal Caribbean - Cruise Ship OverboardGeorge's mother, Maureen Smith, later told CBS News: "6:30 in the morning the phone rang, and I heard this crying on the phone and it was Jennifer's father . . . he was sobbing uncontrollably and he said, 'Something terrible has happened to George on the cruise ship. He's missing.'"

This news must have torn the Smith family's hearts into millions of frantic little pieces. 

Just ten days earlier George and Jennifer were happy newlyweds about to embark on a honeymoon cruise not to mention the rest of their lives.  George was poised to take over his father's wine and liquor store, and Jennifer who had obtained her Master's Degree in teaching was about to begin her career as an elementary school teacher in Westport.  And now the Smiths were were being told that George had somehow disappeared somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.

Of course, neither John Hagel nor his daughter had any details of what happened, other than being told that George could not be found on the cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean would prove to be less than forthcoming regarding the happenings in and around George's cabin on the morning in question.

Royal Caribbean knew that George's blood covered the awning below his cabin.  The cruise line knew that passengers on both sides of his cabin had complained of noises in the cabin, an argument on the balcony, and things being thrown against the cabin walls.  It knew that its security logs recorded that when security personnel arrived at the Smith's cabin around 4:30 AM, the time that George probably went overboard, a guard observed "teens leaving the area." 

But the cruise line would tell the Smith and Hagel families nothing.    

George's sister Bree Smith told CBS News that she she repeatedly asked the cruise line whether they had searched the ship: "And they said, 'Yes we searched the boat.' I said, 'Well continue to search the boat, my brother has to be there.' They knew otherwise. Because they knew about the blood on the overhang. But they never told us about the blood on the overhang." 

George Smith - Jennifer Hagel - Royal Caribbean Cruise Disappearance

George Smith was not the first person to disappear from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  This cruise line had been faced with overboards under suspicious circumstances before.  Its game plan was to stay tight lipped.  Just nine months earlier, a crew member went overboard from the same cruise ship, the Brilliance of the Seas.  Although many crewmembers suspected a murder, the case never even made its way into a single newspaper.    

Royal Caribbean's response was to keep the dead crewmember's family in the dark and hope that they would forget about it.  This would be the cruise line's game plan for George Smith's disappearance too.

 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you. 

Photo credits:  MSNBC

Disappearance of George Smith - Six Years Later - Media Frenzy Follows Case of "Missing Honeymooner"

Larry King Live - Gearoge Smith Cruise DisappearanceFollowing Mr. Smith's disappearance, the Master of the Brilliance of the Seas quickly concluded that his disappearance was simply an “accident.” 

Royal Caribbean never told the families that there was blood on the awning below the cabin (which the cruise line quickly cleaned off with high pressure hoses) or that four men had entered Mr. Smith’s cabin shortly before he went overboard, or that passengers in the cabins on both sides of the Smith's cabin had heard strange noises on the night of his death.

George Smith was not the first passenger to “disappear” under suspicious circumstances on a cruise ship. 

Canadian cruise expert professor Ross Klein has tracked overboards and disappearances at sea for the past decade.  As of today, there are 164 cases of crewmembers and passengers going overboard in the past 15 years.  In my experience, most people are never found. Criminal prosecutions are rare and convictions are virtually nil.  Most cases receive little if any press coverage.

Nancy Grace - George Smith Cruise DisappearanceGeorge Smith’s cases was different.

When photographs of the blood covered awning taken by passengers began appearing on the cable news shows, the U.S. public began doubting what the cruise line was saying.

Soon, the story of George Smith became a topic on every cable news show, every night.

Joe Scarborough was the first to begin covering the story.  He invited me onto his program in early July 2005.  Then the Rita Cosby show covered the story, followed by Court TV with Catherine Crier, MSNBC’s Dan Abrams, FOX News’s Hannity and Colmes, CNN’s Larry King, Anderson Cooper and Nancy Grace.

Joe Scarborough began interviewing passengers on either side of the Smith’s cabin who had never been interviewed by either the cruise line or the FBI.  On one side was police officer Clete Hyman who described an argument between in the Smith’s cabin followed, eventually, by what he described as a “horrific thud.”  On the other side were other passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Lawyer, who described what Joe Scarborough - George Smith Cruise Disappearancesounded like a brawl, with furniture being moved and things slamming into the wall, leading them to complain to cruise line security personnel that they had "better get in there," because the cabin was probably "trashed."

All of these witnesses were coming forth, for the first time, on TV.  Few of them had ever been contacted by either the investigating authorities in Turkey (no surprise) or by the FBI.

From July through December 2005, the story of the “missing honeymooner” was a nightly event, covered by CNN, MSNBC and FOX news non-stop.  The coverage forever changed the public’s perception of the cruise industry and raised the issue of just how safe, or dangerous, cruising really was. 

What happened in the Smith's cabin?   

Was the cruise line covering up a crime? 

 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you.  

 

Y9EYXFNRWCF3

Disappearance of George Smith - Six Years Later - Trouble as the Cruise Ship Sails to Kusadasi

George Smith and Jennifer Hagel married in late June 2005 in Newport Rhode Island.  Their honeymoon was a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, which departed from Barcelona to ports in Italy, Greece and Kusadasi Turkey.

George Smith - Jennifer Hagel - Cruise DisappearanceLittle did George and Jennifer know that these would be their final days together.

In the early morning hours of July 5, 2005, at around 4:30 AM, George Smith would go over the rail of the couple's balcony, land on the metal awning over the lifeboats two floors below, and then fall into the waters in the Aegean Sea.  At the same time, his wife Jennifer Hagel was unconscious on the other side of the cruise ship in an alcove next to a stairwell adjacent to a passenger hallway some 400 feet away.    

The passengers on both sides of the Smith's cabin had previously complained to security about noise coming from the Smith's cabin.  On the fore side of the cabin, passenger Clete Hyman called the ship's security and complained about loud noises and partying.  He would later tell television reporters that he heard sounds of an argument out on the balcony.  On the aft side of the cabin, passengers Mr. and Mrs. Lawyer complained to security personnel that they should enter the Smith's cabin because they heard loud noises like furniture moving around, consistent with a struggle.

But no cruise line employees entered the cabin or called to determine what was happening. 

Cleaning personnel would later find Jennifer Hagel unconscious lying in the alcove.  Security personnel would then take her by wheelchair - not to the ship infirmary - but back to the cabin where the sounds of an argument and perhaps violence were heard.  The cruise line would make no effort to look for Mr. Smith, who was either lying on the metal awning over the lifeboats or fighting for his life in the water as the cruise ship sailed away.  Instead, the cruise line security personnel would put Ms. Hagel in bed, turn out the lights, and close the door.

Awning Over Life Boats - Brilliance of the SeasLater in the morning, after the Brilliance of the Seas had reached port in Turkey, 16 year old cruise passenger Emilie Rausch took a photograph of a large blood stain on the awning. 

Ms. Rausch would later tell CBS News, "when I took the picture, one of the things that made me think that this could have been blood - I saw a hand print running off the side of it."  

Young Ms. Rausch's eerie recollection was 100% accurate. 

Six months later when Ms. Hagel hired our firm and we retained Dr. Henry Lee to inspect the cruise ship for evidence, he would find a bloody hand print in the gutter of the awning over the lifeboats which George Smith had apparently grabbed before he went overboard.

 

This article is part of a series of articles this week: Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you.  

Photo credits:

Top:  Oprah Show

Bottom:  Emilie Rausch

Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later

This past week marked six years since George Allen Smith IV disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas.

Mr. Smith’s disappearance, and the manner in which Royal Caribbean chose to handle the incident, brought much needed attention to the cruise industry.  The events which followed Mr. Smith’s death led to five Congressional hearings into disappearances and crimes on cruise ships, culminating in the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act in 2010.

Our firm represented Mr. Smith’s wife, Jennifer Hagel.  She hired us to obtain answers to what George Smith - Cruise Disappearance  happened to her husband and to seek compensation for his death.

Starting on Monday, I’ll publish an article each day about the facts and circumstances surrounding the ill fated cruise.

What happened on the night in question?  What did the cruise line do when Mr. Smith was discovered missing from the cruise ship once it had reached the port of Kusadasi Turkey the following morning?  Did Royal Caribbean voluntarily provide any information to the families of Mr. Smith and his bride Jennifer Hagel for the next several months?  What role did the media play in maintaining focus on the story?  What led the families to hire maritime lawyers?  How did the cruise line respond?

I’ll address these issues.  I’ll talk about hiring Dr. Henry Lee and bringing a team of forensic experts and detectives aboard the cruise ship to try and find answers.

How did the legal cases turn out?  What is the status of the FBI investigation today?

Most importantly, has there been justice for George Smith?

 

Articles in this series:

Trouble as the Cruise Ship Sails to Kusadasi

A Frantic Call Back to Connecticut

Media Frenzy Follows Case of "Missing Honeymooner" 

Dr. Henry Lee Boards the Brilliance of the Seas 

Royal Caribbean Blocks Dr. Henry Lee's Dummy Experiment 

The International Cruise Victims Organization Is Born! 

Royal Caribbean Captain Says Its Just an Accident Involving a Bloody Nose 

Larry King Live & the "Missing Groom Mystery"

Do you have information which may solve this case?   Please let us hear from you.

LA Times Features Case of Missing Disney Cruise Line Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting although very sad article about the mystery of a missing crewmember from the Disney Wonder cruise ship.  Written by Corina Knoll, the LA Times article is entitled "Bereft Parents' Loss is as Deep as the Ocean."

Rebecca Coriam, a 24 year old from Chester, England, joined Disney Cruise Line to work with kids as a youth counselor.  On March 22nd of this year, she failed to show up for work.  As the article explains, she was last seen speaking on the telephone early in the morning and was apparently crying.  A closed circuit television camera (CCTV) recorded these images, yet Disney claims that Rebecca Coriam - Missing Disney Crewmemberthere are somehow no CCTV images of her going overboard.

Rebecca's parents, Mike and Ann Coriam, traveled to California to meet the cruise ship when it returned to port.  They met with the police officer who flew from the Bahamas which is responsible for conducting an investigation because Disney chose to register its cruise ship in that country to avoid U.S. taxes and safety regulations.

It is hard to imagine what the Coriam family was feeling when the Disney Wonder quickly unloaded several thousands of passengers and just as quickly reloaded the ship and set sail from the port in San Pedro.

What type of investigation could a single police man conduct in such a short period of time?  When I was retained by the widow of missing passenger George Smith to search for answers about what happened to him during their honeymoon cruise, we hired world renown forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee and we boarded the Royal Caribbean cruise ship with a team of ten forensic experts, photographers, videographers, and detectives.  How on earth could one cop from the Bahamas think he could accomplish anything in such short order?

The real irony here is that the Disney Cruise Line is actually incorporated as the Magical Cruise Company in England.  So we have the disappearance of a young English woman hired by a English corporation to sail on a cruise ship out of a U.S. port and yet not a single English or American police or forensics team were permitted on the cruise ship.  I was quoted in the LA Times article criticizing the token investigations by the cruise friendly flag states, saying that "the families are caught in no-man's-land between the cruise line and the foreign authorities."

There will be no answers from the one policeman in Nassau.  He will not write anything  embarrassing about a cruise line which flies the flag of the Bahamas. 

But someone working on this cruise ship knows more than they are saying.  How can a popular crew employee charged with the responsibility of the cruise guests' children on a Disney cruise ship just "disappear" with no explanation?

The LA Times article lists the Coriam family's website which was created to bring awareness to this cause.  If you know something about Rebecca's disappearance, please contact the family using the information below:

Website:    Rebecca-Coriam.com
Email:         help@rebecca-coriam.com
Coriam Family:         011 44 7747359968
Media Spokesman:     011 44 7932815970

Rebecca Coriam - Disappearance - Disney Cruise Lines

Photo credit:  Coriam family via Los Angeles Times. 

Cruise Passenger Disappears on Jet Ski In Nassau, Bahamas

The Nassau Guardian reports that a cruise ship passenger went missing sometime Saturday after he left a Paradise Island beach on a rented jet ski and did not return.  The newspaper reports that the U.S. Embassy has been notified of the passenger's disappearance, and that two friends who accompanied the passenger on the cruise left with the ship.

The Bahamas Tribune also reports on the story and states that the missing passenger is a 32 year old man from West Chester, Ohio, was last seen on the jet ski which he rented on Cabbage Beach at around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Missing Cruise Passenger - Nassau Bahamas - Jet SkiPolice informed the Tribune that the passenger arrived in Nassau on the Carnival Imagination cruise ship at around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, and was reported missing at 10.30pm.

His wife, identified as Cincinnati resident Sonia Wells, called and reported her husband missing.

Officers from various police, airforce and marine agencies reportedly searched the area where the passenger disappeared without success. 

The U.S. Department of State has the following warning about water sports rentals in the Bahamas:

"The water sports and scooter rental industries in The Bahamas are not carefully regulated.  Every year people are killed or injured due to improper, careless, or reckless operation of scooters, jet-skis, and personal watercraft or scuba/snorkeling equipment.  Visitors should rent equipment only from reputable operators, and should insist on sufficient training before using the equipment. There have been reports that some operators do not actually provide insurance coverage even when the renter opted (and paid) for insurance coverage.  Visitors should insist on seeing proof that operators have sufficient medical and liability insurance."

Nathan You can read about other jet ski accidents in the Bahamas here

"Jet Ski Operators Defend Industry After Death" explains some of the problems with renting jet skis in the Bahamas.

June 7, 2011 Update:  Newspapers and television stations in Ohio are reporting that the missing passenger is Nathan ("Nate") Wells, from West Chester Ohio, married with one daughter.  The jet ski was located in the waters off of Nassau.  He had cruised to Nassau with two friends.  In additionto the Bahamian authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard is searching for him. 

WLWT television in Cincinnati has a video interview with friends and family about Mr. Wells.  

Update on Missing Disney Crewmember Rebecca Coriam

Local ABC affifilaite channel 7 in Los Angeles has this update on the disappearance of Rebecca Coriam, a youth counselor employed on the Disney Wonder cruise ship:

 

 

If you have information about Rebecca, please contact her family:

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

You read other articles about Rebecca's disappearance, click here.
 

Passenger Missing From Celebrity's Millennium Cruise Ship

Millenium Missing Passenger - OverboardNews sources are reporting that a 65 year old passenger is missing from a cruise ship which ported in San Diego on Tuesday. 

The unidentified passenger was aboard the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship which was was on a 15-day cruise.

The cruise line did not realize that the passenger was missing until she did not show appear for a customs check when the cruise ship docked in San Diego.  The ship had previously stopped in  Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  The Millennium left Cabo on Sunday at about 3 p.m.  According to the AP, the missing woman was apparently last seen on board the cruise ship about 10 p.m. Monday.

The passenger apparently went overboard somewhere between Cabo San Lucas and San Diego.  A C-130 aircraft, helicopter and Coast Guard vessel searched an area that spans 175 miles between the cities.

We have discussed many overboards on the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fleet of cruise ships.  Click on "disappearances" (to the left) to read about other disappearances of cruise ship passengers.  As we have reported before, there have been over 150 overboards from cruise ships in the past decade.

There is no acceptable excuse why a passenger or crew member should ever simply "disappear" during a cruise.  Such an incident exposes deficient security and closed circuit television (CCTV) systems on the cruise ship.

 May 4th Update:  The cruise line subsequently went back and reviewed the CCTV images and determined that the woman climbed over the ship's railing and let go about 9:15 p.m. Monday.

Mystery Continues Over Missing U.K. Cruise Passenger and Crewmember

In the past two months, two citizens from the United Kingdom have disappeared during cruises.  Disney crewmember Rebecca Coriam went missing from Disney's Wonder in March while the cruise ship was sailing from California to Mexico.  This month, U.K. passenger John Halford vanished from the Spirit cruise ship operated by Thomson Cruise Lines while the ship was approaching Egypt. 

Disappearances from cruise ships are an issue the cruise lines hate to talk about.  In an age where the shipping industry faces the risk of terrorism and pirates and there is a need to focus close attention on the rails of cruise ships to protect the passengers and crew, it is inexplicable that anyone can simply vanish into thin air during a cruise.  The fact that it happens raises two possibilities in my opinion:  The cruise ships have insufficient security personnel and an absence Rebecca Corian - Missing - Disney Wonder Cruise Ship of an effective closed circuit television (CCTV) apparatus to monitor who enter or exit (voluntarily or involuntarily) the ships.  Or, the cruise ships have adequate CCTV and security systems in place, but they are simply not being honest with the families about what happened to their loved ones.

In both cases, the families have gone public to state that their missing family members were happy and enjoying life.  In Rebecca Coriam's situation, the disappearance involved a popular and cheerful young woman, undoubtedly adored by her family and well liked by her friends, who enjoyed her job.  Our web site has received at least one comment from a Disney passenger who raved about Rebecca's wonderful skills at interacting with and entertaining the passenger's daughter.  

Mr. Halford's family describe their missing father in similar terms.  According to the Milton Keyes Citizen newspaper, Ruth Halford described her husband, John, like this: "He was happy, certainly not depressed, enjoying his cruise and meeting people but looking forward to getting home again to be with me and the children . . . "

The last known publicly disclosed facts about each disappearance leave room for speculation.  CCTV showed Rebecca speaking on the telephone in a public area the night before she went missing.  A search was not initiated until she did not appear for work until the next morning at 9:00 a.m.  Certainly there must be additional CCTV images if she went overboard from one of the decks.  Crew members obviously do not have private balconies.  Where is the CCTV of what happened?  Why didn't Rebecca's cabinmate or friends notice her missing earlier?

The last known facts about Mr. Halford indicate that he was last seen on board the cruise ship at 11:45 p.m. the night before he disappeared, drinking cocktails in the bar when the ship was approaching its final port, according to the Milton Keyes newspaper.  But when the ship reached port and the passengers were disembarking at 7:00 a.m., there was no trace of him. 

John Halford - Missing - Thompson Spirit Cruise Ship Did he end his own life?  That seems far fetched.  He was looking forward to his silver wedding anniversary in June and dearly loved his three children by all accounts.

The fact that there are two families grieving about these "mysteries" reflects poorly on the cruise industry.  It is inexcusable that no CCTV tape exists to reveal what happened, if in fact no CCTV tape exists. 

Ruth Halford tells her local newspaper:  “It’s terrible for the children. We are trying to cope together and not to give up hope but it is so difficult.”

“If anyone has seen him or knows what happened that night it would be so helpful. Not knowing is terrible and it is getting worse and worse by the day.”

If foul play was involved in either situation, the fact that a victim can "disappear" without a trace on a cruise raises profound questions about the issue of shipboard crime and whether the concept of "cruise ship justice" is at best an illusion.  If the disappearances involved accidents or intentional decisions to go overboard, the families deserve to know this and try and understand why this happened. 

They should not live a lifetime of doubt and speculation.  They are entitled to some sense of closure, if that is possible.

 

To contact the Coriam family, go to the family's website: Rebecca-Coriam.com

To read about other articles about Ms. Coriam, click here.

To contact the police in Mr. Halford's case, please call 845 8 505 (country code 41).

To read other cases about Mr. Halford, click here.

Passenger Disappears from Cruise Ship in Red Sea

A local newspaper in the U.K. is reporting that a 63 year old passenger is missing from a cruise ship in the Red Sea. 

The MK News in Milton Keyes is reporting this morning that John Halford, age 63, from Greenleys in Milton Keynes, left the airport in Luton on Thursday March 31st for a cruise aboard the Thomson Cruise Line.  The cruise finished in Sharm al-Shaykh in Egypt on Thursday April 7th, when he was found to not be on board. 

John Halford - Missing - Thompson Cruises - EgyptSharm al-Shaykh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea.

The newspaper reports that it is believed that Mr. Halford went missing sometime between 11.45 p.m. on Wednesday April 6th and 7.30 a.m. on Thursday April 7th.

People who were on the cruise, or know where he might be, are asked to contact Thames Valley Police via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre 0845 8 505 505. 

There have been over 150 passengers and crew members who have gone missing from cruise ships in the last decade. 

The cruise industry trade organization, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), states that it does not keep statistics of people missing from the 25 cruise lines which are members of CLIA.  The most definitive source of cruise disappearances is found in cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website.   

 

Photo credit:  MK News 

BBC Radio Interviews Cruise Law's Jim Walker Regarding Disappearance of Disney Crew Member Rebecca Coriam

This afternoon BBC Radio (Radio Merseyside) interviewed maritime lawyer Jim Walker in Miami regarding the disappearance of Disney youth activities worker Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship.

Rebecca was reported missing when she failed to report to work aboard the cruise ship on March 22, 2011.  You can listen to the BBC Radio interview here.  It runs just five minutes or so.    

Disney Cruise Line  - Rebecca Coriam - MissingIt has been almost a month and Rebecca's family continue to seek answers about her disappearance.

Ironically, Disney Cruise incorporated its cruise line as the Magical Cruise Company in the U.K. (for tax purposes) where Rebecca's family resides.  Yet, there are no investigators from the U.K. invested with jurisdiction for investigating her disappearance.  Instead, the "investigation" is being officially conducted by a policeman from the Bahamas because Disney flagged its cruise ship in that country (again primarily for tax purposes).   

How is it that the Scotland Yard or someother competent agency are not involved in investigating the disappearance of a U.K. employee from a cruise ship operated by a company incorporated in the U.K.? 

Ms. Coriam's family created a website which contains contact information.  The site is Rebecca-Coriam.com.  If you have information about Rebecca, please click on the website and e-mail the family.     

You can read our other articles on this case here.  

 

Photo credit:  KTLA.com

Family of Missing Disney Crew Member Rebecca Coriam Create Website

The parents of missing Disney Cruises youth counselor, Rebecca Coriam, recently launched a website Rebecca-Coriam.com seeking answers to the disappearance of their daughter from Disney's Wonder cruise ship.  The family's website states:

"Rebecca was last seen just before dawn on the 22nd March 2011, where she worked on the Disney Wonder Cruise liner as a youth activities worker.

Rebecca Coriam - Missing Disney Cruises - Youth Activities Counselor The alarm was raised when she failed to show for duty at 09.00hrs. The crew searched the ship but could not find her; Rebecca has since been listed 'Missing at sea.'

Rebecca’s parent’s Mike and Ann Coriam with Rebecca’s Aunt flew to LA on Friday 25th March 2011 to meet with the Disney Wonder when it arrived in port. They returned home on Monday 28th March 2011 with no answers and no clue to what has happened to their daughter and niece.

Father Paul of St Werburghs, of Chester has contacted the Mexican Catholic Churches along the Pacific coastline asking them to aid the coastline search for Rebecca.

The Investigation is still under way; the family and authorities are doing all they can to find Rebecca."

The family recently told their local newspaper, the Chester Chronicle, that "they are still being left in the dark over their daughter’s disappearance." 

Were you a crew member or passenger on the Wonder when Rebecca went missing?

If you have information about Rebecca, please contact the family:

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

You can read our articles about this case here.

Will Twitter Help Family of Missing Disney Crew Member Find Answers?

Today a newspaper in the U.K., the Chester Chronicle, contains an interesting article "Family Demand Answers as Investigation into Chester Disney Cruise Ship Worker Continues."   Although the article is a bit of a rehash of events since last week about the disappearance of youth counselor Rebecca Coriam from Disney Cruise Line's Wonder cruise ship, the newspaper reports that: 

" ... cousin Kerry Gaffney has been using the social networking website Twitter in a desperate bid for information on Rebecca’s whereabouts.  Her post read: 'My cousin, Rebecca Coriam, is missing and Disney is not as helpful as it makes out.  Please help put the pressure on them.'  Another post said the family are getting conflicting reports about what was seen and what went on."

Kerry Gaffney's witter name is @kerrymg and the tweet asked those on Twitter to "RT" (re-tweet) her message.

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are useful tools to obtain information from the public about mysteries on the high seas.  Cruise lines maintain exclusive control of the scene of disappearances, and access to witnesses and evidence on cruise ships.  When the Disney Wonder returned to port in Los Angeles last Sunday, over 1,700 passengers scattered across the U.S., Canada and other countries without being interviewed by anyone.  This is fine with the cruise Disney Cruise Twitter - @DisneyCruiselines, who want this public spectacle to end sooner than later irrespective of whether the family finds answers to this latest mystery.

So how can you appeal to potential witnesses scattered around the country?  One way is Twitter.

Disney's Twitter page for its cruise line is @DisneyCruise.  It has 26,000 followers.  

Twitter, Facebook, websites and blogs can help level the playing field with cruise lines and their we-just-want-the-media-to-go-away attitude.   If you are reading this and have a Twitter page, send a message:

"What is @DisneyCruise doing to find information for the Coriam family about the #cruise disappearance of their daughter on the Wonder?" 

Ask your followers to re-tweet your question.

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

Over the past years, we have been involved in a number of cases where cruise passengers and crew members have been victims of crimes on cruise ships heading to the Bahamas or ashore in downtown Nassau.  We have witnessed the local police bungle the cases miserably and quickly close their files. 

The Bahamian police cannot solve crimes against cruise passengers and employees which happen across the street from their police station.  So the notion of the Bahamian police solving the disappearance of a young woman from England lost in the Pacific ocean off of the coast of Mexico is a rather ludicrous proposition.

This afternoon, the Bahamian police announced in the case of missing Disney crew member Rebecca Coriam  ". . . there is no evidence to suggest foul play." 

A number of news sources, including the BBC, are quoting Superintendent Paul Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, saying today:  "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. The case remains open and under active investigation.''

What on earth does this mean?  No evidence of foul play?  Does this mean that there is evidence of something other than foul play?  Does it mean that the police think that Ms. Coriam inadvertently or intentionally went overboard?   Or does it mean simply that the police in the Bahamas don't  have any idea what happened and instead of admitting that, they are doing Disney a favor by trying to convince the public to keep sailing on cruise ships flagged in the Bahamas?  

Remember this is not an announcement from the Bahamian Maritime Authority (BMA) which is suppose to investigate casualties on cruise ships which are registered in the Bahamas to avoid taxes.  This is the Royal Bahamas Police who flew from the Bahamas to meet the ship on Sunday in Los Angeles, quickly conducted some type of "investigation" on the ship on Sunday (five days after the disappearance), let the ship return on its regularly scheduled  itinerary, and then quickly flew back to Nassau yesterday for a press statement today.  

There were over 1,700 passengers on the Disney Wonder and many hundreds of crew members.  The ship is over three football fields long and over a dozen decks high.  There are hours of CCTV Marching Military Band Greet Bahamian Flagged Cruise Shipfootage to sit and review, electronic telephone and link-lock data to analyze, polygraphs to administer, and detective work to perform.  It is not possible to interview witnesses and inspect the premises with a competent forensic team in such short order.

In our prior articles about this disappearance, we discussed the limitations of the "authorities" which are suppose to investigate cruise disappearances and the type of investigation that the family needs to conduct on its own initiative. 

The Bahamas, whether it be the BMA or the local police, is not interested in and otherwise incapable of conducting an aggressive, competent, fair and impartial investigation into the affairs of the cruise ships which pay to incorporate in that country.  The conflict of interest is glaring and repugnant.

Making a press statement of "no foul play" at this early date is like punting on first down in order to avoid embarrassing the other team. 

The Royal Bahamas Police's services are advertised on its website, including ". . .  temporary liquor licenses, firearm licensing, vendors permits, online character certificates, and barricade rental."   "Conducting international investigations" does not seem to be a service it provides.  

So what are the real skills of the Bahamas when it comes to the cruise industry?  Entertainment.  Beaches.  The straw market in Nassau.  And its wonderful military bands, which march along side the Miami-based but Bahamian-flagged cruise ships when they port in Nassau. 

In fact, the Bahamas sends 10 times more military musicians to greet its cruise ship friends at port than it sent police to investigate Ms. Coriam's disappearance.          

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

Michael and Ann Coriam returned to the U.K. with their younger daughter's belongings but no answers regarding the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.  Sky News released a video today of the Coriam family's interview with the media in Los Angeles before their return home. 

 

 

Credit:  Sky News via The Sun Newspaper  

Read our other stories about this case:

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

Who Investigates Disappearances on Cruise Ships? 

Parents of Missing Disney Cruise Line Youth Counselor Arrive in Los Angeles Seeking Answers 

Mystery Regarding Missing Crew Member Remains as Disney Wonder Cruise Ship Returns to Sea

Mystery Regarding Missing Crew Member Remains as Disney Wonder Cruise Ship Returns to Sea

A number of different news stations are reporting that the Coriam family remains without an explanation regarding the circumstances surrounding the apparent overboard disappearance of their daughter, Rebecca, from Disney's Wonder cruise ship last week.

The Wonder returned to port in California yesterday amidst reports that the Coriam family had flown to Los Angeles to meet the cruise ship.  Newspapers are reporting that the "Royal Bahamas Police Force" had also flown to the U.S. to meet the ship as well.  This is an unusual development because the Bahamian police are a separate entity from the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) which is charged with the investigation because Disney chose to flag its vessel in the Bahamas for tax purposes.  We have been involved in cases where the Bahamian police will be involved in a criminal investigation when the cruise ship sails into the port of Nassau after a crime occurs on the ship and Nassau is the next port.  We are not aware of police officers from the Bahamas traveling to an United States port to investigate in conjunction with investigators from the BMA.

The BMA and the cruise line are issuing the usual press statements.  The BMA states that "Disney is fully cooperating," and Disney states that "we've been in close contact with the Coriam family, and we're assisting them in any way we can."  At the same time, the Coriam family states that Disney is not providing an explanation regarding what happened to their daughter.

The Wonder left the port in L.A. in the the early evening yesterday and has returned to its routine cruise schedule.  FOX News published an article "Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of 24-Year-Old Disney Cruise Line Employee" which includes a video (below) of several passengers speculating about what happened.  

It must be maddening for the family to see people talking about such circumstances, without knowing their identity and an opportunity to question the passengers and crew members directly.  I have always thought that passengers should be given contact information for the family and/or an opportunity to meet with the family members at the port to discuss what they observed before they scatter across the U.S. after the cruise.  At a minimum, the family should be provided with a complete list of the passengers and contact information so that they have an opportunity to conduct their own investigation.  In many cases we have been involved in the witnesses with the most relevant information are not interviewed by either the cruise line or law enforcement following a disappearance or shipboard crime.  

 

 

Video credit:  FOX News

Read our other stories about this case:

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

Who Investigates Disappearances on Cruise Ships? 

Parents of Missing Disney Cruise Line Youth Counselor Arrive in Los Angeles Seeking Answers

Parents of Missing Disney Cruise Line Youth Counselor Arrive in Los Angeles Seeking Answers

The parents and aunt of missing Disney Cruise Line employee Rebecca Coriam arrived in Los Angeles today from the U.K. seeking information about the young woman's unexplained disappearance from the Wonder cruise ship.  The video of Mr. and Ms. Coriam from ABC-7 Los Angeles is below.

We have written a number of articles about this situation:

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

Who Investigates Disappearances on Cruise Ships?

Did a Crew Member Go Overboard from the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship?

 

 

The local CBS station in Los Angeles is reporting that: 

"Her family said her roommate told them Coriam had called a friend, but Disney representatives were not releasing information regarding the call.  'They say they know what the conversation was but they’re not telling us,' Coriam’s aunt, Trish Davies, told ABC7. They say they’ve got to wait for the investigation.” 

Who Investigates Disappearances on Cruise Ships?

The disappearance of a youth counselor from the Disney Wonder cruise ship this week raises the issue of who is responsible for conducting investigations when crew members disappear at sea.

Disney released the following statement to us yesterday:

"The Mexican Navy has been conducting searches since Tuesday, and we immediately contacted the FBI and the Bahamian Maritime Authority, which is leading the investigation on this matter.  We have also conducted a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the ship and spoken with the crew member’s colleagues to gather as much information as possible.”   Disney also told us that Mexican Navy - Cruise Overboards - Crew Passenger Disappearancesthe cruise line notified the U.S. Coast Guard. 

But what is the reality of who does what in cases like this?  What is the true involvement of the Mexican government, the U.S. Coast Guard, the FBI, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, and the cruise line in these type of circumstances? 

The Mexican Navy:  Because the incident appears to have occurred off of the coast of Mexico, the Mexican Navy is involved.  Now, some people will say that the "Mexican Navy" conjures up an image of "three men in a row boat."  Such criticism, although disrespectful, may accurately characterize the small scale of the Mexican maritime operations.  When you think of dramatic search and rescue operations, the "Mexican Navy" does not come to mind.  Rather, one would hope that the U.S. Coast Guard, with its quick deployment of cutters, jets and helicopters, is involved.  

Mexico is a country of limited resources.  Its is questionable what motivation Mexico has to expend money and resources searching for a citizen of another country who went overboard from a ship registered registered in the Bahamas.  Once its navy ends its search (which it has probably already done), the country of Mexico will have no further involvement.  

The U.S. Coast Guard:  CNN's article "Disney Cruise Employee Missing Off Mexico" indicates that while the Mexican navy is leading the search, it asked for the U.S. Coast Guard's help early in the effort.  The Coast Guard provided long-range search aircraft but was not now actively involved in the search as of yesterday.  The U.S. Coast Guard is an impressive and highly experienced group of men and women, but there is only so much it can do when cruise overboards occur around the FBI - Cruise Disappearances - Passenger Crew Overboardsworld.

The FBI:  CNN's article contains a revealing quote from a spokesperson from the FBI. "The FBI is not involved because it does not have jurisdiction, as the ship was off the coast of Mexico flying under a foreign flag," said spokeswoman Laura Eimiller of the agency's Los Angeles office. 

This is a typical comment from the Los Angeles office of the FBI which, unlike the U.S. Coast Guard, is filled with bureaucrats with little motivation to leave their desks and head over to the port when the cruise ship returns to L.A.  The fact of the matter is that the FBI has special maritime jurisdiction to investigate incidents which occur on U.S. based cruise ships around the world, especially when a U.S. citizen is involved, even though the ships fly flags of convenience.

The statement of the FBI spokesperson that the FBI has no jurisdiction because the ship was in Mexican waters is preposterous.  Last month, the FBI investigated the murder of a Polish crew member from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship calling on Cozumel which was allegedly committed by a Mexican citizen, even thought the victim was employed on a foreign flagged ship and the crime occurred ashore in Mexico.

The Bahamas Maritime Authority:  Under the Bahamas Merchant Shipping Act 1976, the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) is supposedly responsible for investigating incidents involving Bahamas-registered ships worldwide.  The BMA has been criticized for being being beholden to large shipping companies like Disney and Royal Caribbean which register their cruise ships there to escape U.S. safety rules and regulations and U.S. taxes.  

Bahamas Maritime Authority - Cruise DisappearancesThe BMA has a deplorable record responding to serious injuries, deaths or crimes involving passengers passengers and crew members on cruise ships flying the Bahamian flag.  Often no real investigation is performed.  Often the "investigation" will consist of a representative or two from the BMA appearing at the next port of call, sometimes working with the cruise line's defense lawyers or risk management team.  No BMA report concluding malfeasance of the cruise line in a passenger or crew death will ever see the light of day.

If foul play is involved, the BMA will do nothing.  As the BMA concedes on its website, "in fact, reports and documents may not be used as evidence in the event of any subsequent criminal proceedings. If a criminal investigation proves necessary, the entire incident should be investigated by a body independent of the original investigating authority."

So if foul play is involved (and there is no indication of that one way or the other), then who will be involved?  The FBI has already declined to get involved.  No police detectives from Nassau will fly to California to investigate.  No police or sheriff agencies in California (where the vessel is ported) will become involved.  No police agency from Florida (where the cruise line is located) or the United Kingdom (where the cruise line is incorporated) will investigate a disappearance at sea involving a cruise ship sailing between California and Mexico. 

The Cruise Line:  The Wonder cruise ship is operated by the Magical Cruise Company, Limited, d/b/a Disney Cruise Line, which is incorporated in the United Kingdom for tax purposes.  Although Disney is saying that it is speaking with its crew member’s colleagues "to gather as much information as possible," these statements and reports will never become public knowledge and will usually be kept away from the crew member's family.  Cruises line have exclusive control of the scene of the incident, witnesses, and evidence such as CCTV tapes.  Cruise lines consider their own Disney Cruise Wonder - Passenger Crew Disappearancesinvestigation to be privileged "work product," conducted for the purpose of defending them from potential law suits.  Disney usually hires some of the top maritime defense firms here in Miami to defend their legal interests. 

The Crew Member's Country: An issue remains of the nationality of the crew member.  Most youth counselors on cruise ships are American, Canadian, or English.  If you are from the U.S. and it was your child who went overboard, who would you want investigating the disappearance?  The FBI or the Bahamas Maritime Authority?   If a Canadian or English citizen is involved, no one from these countries will be actively involved with an investigation. 

The Bottom Line:  Disappearances at sea like this fall into "no man's land."   The FBI takes the "not my problem" approach.  The flag state's investigation will end up in a file cabinet in an old building in Nassau.  Disney's investigation files will never leave the cruise line's risk management and legal departments.  

According to cruise expert Ross Klein's website, 157 people have gone overboard from cruise ships in the last decade.   Many appear to be due to intoxication, negligence, suicide, and sometimes foul play, but many remain unsolved mysteries.  Often there is a delay in reporting the Rebecca Coriam - Disney Crew Member - Chester England disappearances to the authorities and the crew member's family.  Uncertainly, confusion and a lack of closure are the usual outcomes.   Certainly there must be a better way to investigate disappearances from cruise ships than this.  The families of loved ones lost at sea deserve better.    

 

March 25th Update:  BBC News identifies the crew member as Rebecca Coriam of Chester England.  The BBC article states that England's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been "in touch with the relevant organisations and authorities" and identifies the Bahamas Maritime Authority and Interpol.  

Photo credit:     BBC News

Did a Crew Member Go Overboard from the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship?

In the past day our office has received numerous requests for information about a woman who apparently went overboard from the Disney Wonder cruise ship two days ago.

There are no reports of this alleged incident in the mainstream press.  This does not necessarily mean anything because the last three cruise line overboard were either not reported in the press at all or the stories were mentioned only in non-U.S. newspapers.

Disney Wonder Cruise Ship OverboardCruise expert Ross Klein's website contains a short reference to the incident, stating: "From a crew member (unconfirmed):  Two days ago one of the youth activities counselors apparently jumped over board.  It was at 3 am.  They are still searching the ship without any news about her."  

Professor Klein reports that there have been 157 cruise ship overboards in the last decade.

There have been five other cruise ship overboards this year, involving crew members from Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, Celebrity Cruise's Constellation, Carnival's Miracle, and Costa's Atlantica, as well as a passenger from Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas.

Neither the cruise industry nor the U.S. maintain a list of cruise overboards.  

Disney responded to our request for information indicating that the cruise line reported the incident to the Mexican Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, the F.B.I., and the Bahamas Maritime Authority.   Disney sent us the folowing statement: 

“Given the circumstances we are very concerned about this situation and are doing everything possible to assist with the search effort and investigation. The Mexican Navy has been conducting searches since Tuesday, and we immediately contacted the FBI and the Bahamian Maritime Authority, which is leading the investigation on this matter. We have also conducted a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the ship and spoken with the crew member’s colleagues to gather as much information as possible.”   

Consider reading:  Who Investigates Disappearances on Cruise Ships?

Do you have information about this latest overboard?  Please leave a comment below. 

 

March 24th Update:  The crew member apparently disappeared off of the coast of Mexico.  The ship is sailing to Cabo San Lucas today.  Here is a video from ABC-7 News (Los Angeles):

  

 

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Officials are searching for a female Disney Wonder cruise ship crew member who has been missing since Tuesday.

We have also conducted a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the ship and spoken with the crew member's colleagues to gather as much information as possible," a Disney Cruise Lines statement indicated.

The Disney Wonder, which sailed out from the Port of Los Angeles, has been on a seven-night cruise to the Mexican Riviera.

Disney Cruise Lines spokeswoman Rena Langley said the Mexican Navy is conducting the search. The U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI also is assisting. The Bahamian Maritime Authority is investigating the incident.

Langley said the crew member, who has been with the cruise line since 2010, never returned for her scheduled shift. She did not identify the missing woman. It's unclear if she fell overboard, but Langley said it's "certainly a possibility."

"Given the circumstances, we are very concerned about this situation and are doing everything possible to assist with the search effort and investigation," Disney officials said.

March 25 Update:  BBC News identified the crew member as Ms. Rebecca Coriam, age 24, from Chester, England.

Crew Member Goes Overboard from Celebrity Constellation Cruise Ship

Celebrity Cruises Cruise Ship - Crew Member Overboard A reader of Cruise Law News informs us that a crew member from a Celebrity Cruises ship disappeared at sea. 

Indian crew member Anthony Rodrigues went overboard on March 10, 2011 from the Celebrity Constellation.  Mr. Rodrigues was a 19 year employee of the cruise line.  His family members in Mumbai were not notified for two days and were not given an explanation for him going overboard.

Unfortunately, overboards from cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean / Celebrity Cruises fleet appear to be a regular occurrence.  Two weeks ago, we wrote an article about another crew member from India disappearing - Crew Member Missing from the Grandeur of the Seas - Why Are So Many People Disappearing From Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships?

Of course, missing crew members are not limited to Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  Yesterday, we commented on a Carnival crew member who went overboard - Carnival Cruise Employee Goes Overboard - Does the U.S. Media Care When Foreign Crew Members Disappear at Sea?

There is no official database of passengers and crew who go overboard from cruise ships. The cruise lines say that this is something that they just don't track.  Perhaps they should start studying the problem.  The best source for tracking cruise overboards is cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website which lists 155 overboards in the past ten years.  

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

 

Photo credit:    dsparku

Carnival Cruise Employee Goes Overboard - Does the U.S. Media Care When Foreign Crew Members Disappear at Sea?

Carnival Cruise Ship Miracle - Missing Crew MemberA reader of Cruise Law News alerted us that the Carnival Miracle lost a crew member overboard late in the night on March 14th or in the early hours of March 15th.  The cruise ship was sailing between Curacao and Aruba.

A newspaper in Curacao reports that the missing crew member was a 47 year old man from the Philippines.

The incident is listed on cruise expert Canadian Professor Ross Klein's website which lists 155 crew member and passenger overboards from cruise ships in the last year. 

There have been a large number of overboards recently, with some occurring in this area of the southern Caribbean.  Many suspect that they are related to the increasing drug smuggling on cruise ships. 

As with this case, the U.S. media rarely publishes stories about missing crew members - even though most cruise lines are based here in Miami.  One of the most disturbing overboard cases we have seen involved Princess crew member Angelo Faliva, who disappeared as the cruise ship sailed between Aruba and Cartagena, Colombia.  Mr. Faliva was from Italy and the case received lots of attention in Italy, but virtually no coverage in the U.S.     

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

Crew Member Missing from the Grandeur of the Seas - Why Are So Many People Disappearing From Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships?

Newspapers in India are reporting that a young man working as a crew member on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship disappeared at sea.

"Disappearances" at sea have been a regular occurrence on Royal Caribbean cruise ships over the past several years.   

The Times of India ("Did 'Missing' Ship Staffer End Life?") and the Hindustan Times ("Chef Commits Suicide in U.S., Mom Cries Foul") report that 27 year old Sandip Surwade went missing from Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship on February 18th in waters near Aruba.

Sandip Surawade - Missing - Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the SeasThe Indian newspapers report that Mr. Surwade left India for work on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship in June of last year.  On February 20th of this year, a representative from the local hiring agency in India came to Mr. Surwade's home in Bara Bungalow, Thane (north of Mumbai) and told his family that he was "missing."  The hiring agency gave the family a telephone number and e-mail address of Dr. Fabio Acevedo, a supervisor in the medical crew department of the cruise line.

Later, the cruise line told the family that their son committed suicide by jumping off the cruise ship around 9:00 p.m. on February 18th.  The cruise line claims that Mr. Surwade left a letter which mentions the name of a female crew member with whom Mr. Surwade was allegedly involved, notwithstanding that he was reportedly engaged to be married in April. The letter purportedly states that his supervisors were troubling him and the woman due to their relationship. 

His family doubts the authenticity of the letter which, according to the newspaper articles, was written in chaste Hindi, a language with which he not particularly familiar. The family tells the newspapers that Royal Caribbean and the local agent for the cruise line has "stonewalled" them. 

The cruise line, however, states that there are closed circuit video tapes documenting the overboard and an eye witness who allegedly confirms that Mr. Surwade jumped from the ship.  

What is one to make of this mess?  The family suspects foul play.  If another crew member saw him jump, why did the cruise line first tell the family that their son was "missing" and then mention "suicide" later?  Why did it take the cruise line 2 days to tell the family?

Adding to the confusion is that the first public account of this incident is in a newspaper in Aruba, Cruise Ship Overboard - Missing Crew Memberindicating that it was a passenger who committed suicide.  Another newspaper in Aruba indicates that the cruise ship first reported the incident around 11:00 p.m. on February 18th which, if true, would be 2 hours after the overboard.  Helicopters and a coast guard cutter from Aruba searched for 4 hours before ending the search with intentions of searching again at day light.      

An online website, "Cruise Bruise," speculates wildly that Mr. Surwade's disappearance may have been a drug-related murder.  As we reported,  Royal Caribbean crew members were smuggling large quantities of cocaine from South America aboard this cruise ship and there was a drug bust on the Grandeur of the Seas ship a few days later when the ship reached Montego Bay.  However, there is no indication that Mr. Sandip was involved in drug smuggling or a victim of violence by drug smugglers, and at this point there is no connection between his disappearance and the drug bust as suggested by others.

Nonetheless, we are  suspicious of most anything this cruise line says.  It suffers from a lack of transparency and the most unexplained disappearances and deaths of any cruise line. 

Did this crew member really commit suicide, which is the cruise line's favorite excuse?  Consider how cruise lines use the "suicide defense" as a public relations tool -  "Suicide" - One of the Cruise Lines' Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.

Also consider in the last year:

January 6. 2011: Another Passenger Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

November 30, 2010: Death of a Young Jamaican Cook on the Mega Ship Oasis of the Seas 

May 24, 2010: Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas

May 5, 2010: Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas

March 22, 2010: "Man Overboard" Reported on Radiance of the Seas

January 4, 2010: Asleep At the Wheel: What Does the Delayed Reporting of Neha Chhikara's Disappearance from the Monarch of the Seas Reveal About Royal Caribbean's Shipboard Security?

Sandip Surawade - Overboard - Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the SeasJanuary 1, 2010:  Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard

Determining the cause of cruise ship overboards and mysterious deaths is the role of experts - the F.B.I., sometimes the U.S. Coast Guard, or other law enforcement authorities - not the cruise lines' PR departments.   

But this case raises a more profound question.  Who investigates the circumstances of a crew member from India who goes overboard into waters around Aruba from a cruise ship flagged in the Bahamas and operated by a cruise line incorporated in Liberia?

This is a no man's land, where there are no clear answers - only self-serving statements by a cruise line with a reputation of being less than honest. 

 

Photo credits: 

Photographs   24ORA.com

Overboard drawing     CruelKev2's blog regarding overboard cruise passengers 

The Right Way To Report A Sad Cruise Story

A Carnival crew member went overboard around 1:00 a.m. yesterday from the Carnival Splendor cruise ship.  According to crew members, the crew member jumped.  Unfortunately, despite a prompt search, the crew member was lost.

The incident was not reported by Carnival's corporate headquarters, nor was the incident reported by the press.  Instead the first person to report on it was a popular Cruise Director, John Heald, who was aboard the cruise ship at the time of the tragic incident.  Mr. Heald is employed as Senior Cruise Director - John Heald Carnival's Senior Cruise Director and writes a very popular blog named, naturally enough, John Healds Blog

The article Mr. Heald wrote - A Very Sad Day -  explains what happened in a clear and sensitive manner.  You will not find any hint in the blog of the stiff corporate mumbo-jumbo which we see from most cruise lines.  One of the problems cruise lines face is that they are afraid to reveal tragedies like this.  When they say nothing, or delay, or sugar coat ugly facts, they lose credibility at best or look like they are hiding things at worst.

But Mr. Heald's informative and respectful blog timely explained the circumstances which brought the cruise ship to a stop in the middle of the night.  It avoided speculation and conspiracy theories. It was the right thing to do.  Over a hundred readers commented, almost all 100% in support of the thoughts expressed in his article. 

Over 140 people have gone overboard in the last decade.  This is the first time I have seen such a prompt statement of a crew or passenger overboard by anyone associated with the cruise line which contained accurate and timely information and also conveyed the story in human terms. 

The industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association, should invite all of the public relations and corporate communications experts from all of the other cruise lines to a cruise with Senior Cruise Director Heald so they can watch a real pro in action.       

 

Photo credit:   Carnival-News.com

Passenger Missing from Balmoral Cruise Ship

Fred Olsen - Balmoral Cruise Ship - Missing PassengerBBC News reports that a passenger is missing from the Fred Olsen 1,350 passenger cruise ship Balmoral, which is due to return to Dover tomorrow after a 21-day Adriatic cruise.

The cruise ship was in the English Channel when the unidentified passenger was noticed to be missing.  A Royal Navy frigate, the HMS Westminster, is taking part in the search for the passenger, along with a U.K. Coast Guard helicopter, a French Coast Guard aircraft and a French warship.

The Daily Mail in the U.K reports that a "man overboard" alert was issued after the 80-year-old's wife reported him missing to staff on the cruise ship in the early hours of October 11th. His wife is beleived to have woken in their cabin on the ship to find he was no longer in bed. 

Were you on the Balmoral and have information to share?  Please leave a comment below or post your information or photos at Cruise Law News' facebook page.

Princess' Cult of a Cruise - FollowMeAtSea Folly - Part 2 - Fun At Sabatini's

Last November, Princess Cruises invited a number of cruise fans and travel writers on an all expenses paid cruise where they were encouraged to tweet wonderful things about cruising with Princess.  The group used the hashtag "#FollowMeAtSea."  

When a large billion dollar corporation provides "reporters" with a free cruise, and plies them with champagne and free i-pods, free publicity is the result. You know how it works - here's-a-free-cruise-so-write-something-nice-about-us.  Predictably, the pampered Twitter passengers gushed praise on their generous cruise hosts.  The typical comment on Twitter was something like "WOW! this is great!"    

But something interesting happened last year.  A number of people on Twitter, undoubtedly irritated by the mindless cheer-leading of the Twitter cruisers, began to ask fundamental questions about the sustainability of cruising.  After all, cruise ships burn the nastiest fuel in the world - bunker fuel.  And we are at a time when the endless spewing of millions of gallons of cruse oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil well demonstrates that reliance on fossil fuels is a doomed business model - not to mention the disastrous effects on our air, water, and marine life.

Twitter Cruise - #FollowMeAtSeaA heated debate soon erupted on Twitter.  The environmentalists asked pointed questions that the travel writers were completely unprepared to address and the cruise line was afraid to answer.  I commented on Princess Cruises' failed social media experiment in a blog Princess' Cult of a Cruise - #FollowMeAtSea Folly.

I asked questions on Twitter which I felt were important, like what excuse does Princess Cruises have for the worst environmental record for dumping illegal levels of copper, ammonia, zinc and fecal coliform bacteria into Alaska's pristine waters?  There were some nasty responses from the cruisers, who obviously wanted to party and not concern themselves with such thoughts. Finally, one of the travel writers promised to "grill" the environmental officer on the subject of Princess' history of dumping pollutants into Alaskan waters. 

But by the end of the cruise, most of the #FollowMeAtSeas groupies had given up any pretense that there was any legitimate "reporting" on anything having to so with the environment, or other important issues like crime on cruises.  The "reporter" who promised to grill the environmental officer about pollution never followed up on her promise.  Instead, she was later photographed with the Captain, including sitting on his lap while other "reporters" took turns posing for photos while wearing the officers' hats.  Oh well, so much for the rigorous cross-examination.    

So here we are at #FollowMeAtSeas - Part 2.  Princess has offered another free booze and cruise experience to entice another group of travel agents and cruise fans on the Coral Princess cruise ship sailing an Alaskan itinerary.  Free chocolates.  Free massages.  Free fruit baskets and champagne.  You know the drill - go tweet something nice about us.

Most of these cruisers I follow on Twitter, like @OrlandoChris and @CruiseBuzz, have mastered the art of social media and have great blogs and a big Twitter presence.  All of the members of this latest Twitter Press Group seem like great people, entertaining and fun to be around I am sure.

Captain Manfuso - Coral Princess - Princess CruisesSo I have been occasionally following the FollowMeatSea hashtag to see how the cruise is going. 

Most of the tweets from the group are what I expect.  Just this evening, there as an "AMAZING" tweet from @earthxplorer.  A "Wow" from @Travelogged.  Another "Wow" from @OrlandoChris, who touted the cruise line's C.R.U.I.S.E. program - "Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing In Service Excellence."  And finally @BethBlair gave the cruise line a "A+" and tweeted that all of the Princess employees were "friendly, helpful and professional."

There is no controversy on Twitter this year.  The environmentalists have their hands full with the oil spill in the Gulf and are directing their energy to tweets about BP and the mounting ecological disaster.  No one cares about another silly Twitter cruise.  

But there were three tweets from the Princess Twitter group this evening that put a chill down my back.  The first was a tweet by @OrlandoChris - "Looking forward to Sabatini's experience tonight . . .  The second tweet was by @theplanetd "14 courses and an elastic waistband a match made in heaven here at Sabatini's."  And the third by @CruiseBuzz referring to a blog about Princess Cruises' "Ultimate Ship Tour."  The article contained a photo of the Master of the Coral Princess, who I immediately recognized  - the infamous Captain Manfuso. 

You see, last November, a young, handsome and well liked Italian chef aboard the Coral Princess disappeared.  His name is Angelo Faliva.  He worked in Sabatini's.  He was last seen speaking Angelo Faliva - Princess Crew Member - Missing - Coral Princess with some passengers in the restaurant.  There was talk that he had a disagreement with a Filipino crew member in the galley.  There were also rumors that he saw something that he should not have - like drug dealing.  Was there a fight?  Was he thrown overboard?  Or did someone place him in the ship's incinerator as some crew members suspect?

Princess Cruises is not saying.  Even though there are many hundreds of closed circuit television cameras all over the cruise ship, the cruise line claims that they have absolutely no information about Mr. Faliva.  According to Princess, he just disappeared into thin air.

Mr. Faliva's family is devastated. According to news sources in Italy, Princess Cruises has treated the Faliva family rotten.  Mr. Faliva's younger sister, Chiara, traveled to the U.S. and tried to speak to Captain Manfuso who she characterized as cold and rude.  He would not explain anything to her.  

The Faliva family remains in the dark.  Take a moment and read a few of the many articles below which we published about the cruise line's refusal to cooperate with the Faliva family.

So here we have the newest group of "Twitter reporters" who are happy to be wined and dined at Sabatini's and tweet endless compliments about Princess.  But someone should sober up and ask a few meaningful questions. How can a crew members cook for guests in Sabatini's and then vanish without a trace?  What "courtesy" or "respect" was extended to the Faliva family?  If you lose a loved one from a Princess cruise, will Princess remain "friendly, helpful and professional?"

Princess' PR spokespeople Karen Candy and Julie Benson know the case well.  Try questioning them about it and see their response.

Will anyone ask Captain Manfuso what really happened to Mr. Faliva?  Will anyone print a copy of his photograph above and ask Mr. Faliva's fellow employees in Sabatini's what they know about his disappearance?

Or will we hear more comments like "WOW" the veal cutlet at Sabatini's last night was "AMAZING!" 

I'm not holding my breath.  I know this cruise will end with no real reporting about anything of importance to anyone.  

And I can't wait to see who gets tipsy on champagne and sits on Captain Manfuso's lap at the end of the cruise and poses for a photo wearing his hat . . .     

 

For information about crew member Angelo Failva missing from the Princess Coral Princess cruise ship, please consider reading:

Angelo Faliva - Missing - Princess Coral Princess Cruise ShipCrew Member Missing from Princess Cruises' Coral Princess Cruise Ship  

Family of Missing Crew Member Seeks Answers - Princess Cruises Claims "We Are Puzzled"

2009 Ends With Family of Missing Princess Cruises Crew Member Continuing to Seek Answers

Top Cruise Story of 2009 - Sister of Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva Speaks Out: "Vogliamo la Verità!" - "We Want the Truth!"

The Case of Missing Crew Member Angelo Faliva - Is Princess Cruises Engaged In A Cover Up?

Update: Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva - What Say You, Master Mariano Manfuso?

Angelo Faliva Case: Were You on the Coral Princess on November 25, 2009?

Neither Dead Nor Alive - The Faliva Family Remains In Limbo

International Cruise Victims - the Story of Angelo Faliva

Update on Missing Crewmember Angelo Faliva - a Story of "Pain & Incompetency"

Italian TV Show "Chi l'ha Visto?" Features Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva

What Happened to Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva? The Faliva Family Seeks Answers

 

Credits:

Twitter cruise photo             galavanting.tv/

Captain Manfuso photo    @CruiseBuzz's  Ultimate Ship Tour

Angelo Faliva photos            Faliva family

 

Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas

Has another person disappeared from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?

A passenger on Royal Caribbean's mega ship Oasis of the Seas is commenting on Cruise Critic that the Captain announced earlier this afternoon that the cruise ship was turning around to search for a missing person.  

Passengers aboard the cruise ship (see the comments below) are telling us that a crew member went overboard.

Overboard - Missing - Royal Caribbean - Oasis of the Seas If this information is correct, then this is the fourth overboard from Royal Caribbean cruise ships this year.  On May 6th we reported on Royal Caribbean crew member Satianand (Satyanand) Buddaru who disappeared from the Explorer of the Seas -  Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas

In March a crew member employed by Park West Gallery jumped overboard from the Radiance of the Seas.  Our stories about the incident are available here: "Man Overboard" Reported on Radiance of the Seas and here Master of Radiance of the Seas Praised for Rapid Response to Crew Overboard.

On New Year's Eve Royal Caribbean crew member Neha Chhikara jumped from the Monarch of the Seas.

These type of incidents raise questions whether this cruise line has adequate security systems in place to address the issue of passenger and crew member overboards.  Last year, the  popular web site Jaunted published an article "Enough With People Jumping Off Cruise Ships Already!" The article refers to ". . . an assistant purser on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas (who) apparently hated his job so much that he couldn't wait until he was back on land to quit, hopping overboard as the ship steamed from Key West to Miami . . . "  Fortunately, he was rescued.

Royal Caribbean has had more than its share of unexplained "disappearances" of passengers and crew, including the very disturbing case of Mirrian Carver who vanished from the Mercury cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean's subsidiary Celebrity Cruises.  ABC's Primetime covered the story in an article "Cruise Cover-Up?  Cruise Line Doesn't Notify Anyone When Woman Disappears On Second Day Of Trip."  

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have a reputation of being very secretive when people go overboard.  Following the last crew overboard from the Explorer of the Seas, we received sixty-three (63) comments to our article.  Most of the comments were from passengers or crew members on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  Passengers are often the only source of accurate and timely information when things go wrong on the high seas.

Were you on the Oasis of the Seas during this latest disappearance?  If you have information to share, please leave a comment below.

May 25th 2:00 p.m. Update - Crew Member Identified:

The Coast Guard News identifies the crew member as 45 year old  Dillon Roache, of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The Coast Guard states that Mr. Roache was "confirmed overboard" between Nassau and St. Thomas.  This means that the cruise ship's surveillance cameras captured images of the crew member going overboard.  As we have mentioned in prior articles, Royal Caribbean apparently does not monitor its exterior cameras or use technology to alert the bridge when the security cameras detect persons going overboard. 

Many male crew members from St. Vincent work as manual laborers (utility cleaners, night cleaners, etc.).  The work is hard and the pay is as low as $137 for 85 hour work week.  Read "Screwed If By Sea" for an idea of the working conditions on Royal Caribbean.  

May 26th Update - Crew Members Reported Mr. Roach Missing around  1:00 p.m. on Monday  

The Virgin Islands Daily News reports that according to a statement issued by Royal Caribbean, "about 1 p.m. on Monday, May 24th the Oasis of the Seas’ crew reported that one of their co-workers was missing. Security searched the ship and paged the missing crew member, then contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bahamian Coast Guard."  According to the newspaper, "closed circuit camera footage revealed that the missing crew member fell from the ship, Royal Caribbean said."  But the cruise line did not disclose the circumstances to explain why the crew member went overboard.

May 27th Update - Questions Remain How Crew Member Went Overboard:

In prior incidents when crew members went overboard from Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the cruise line claimed the crew members jumped.  But in this situation, the cruise line has stayed Oasis of the Seas - Crew Overboard - Webcam - Surveillancemum.  The Norwegian shipping magazine Tradewinds just published an article about this latest disappearance from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  The article states that the crew member "fell' and referred to the incident as a "horrific accident."   Notably absent from this article, as well as the  statements from the Coast Guard or cruise line, is any indication that the crew member was suicidal and "jumped."     

The Oasis of the Seas has hundreds of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.  It has several webcams where you can even watch what's happening on the cruise ship from your home computer, like the webcam of the pool and sports zone (above right).  Royal Caribbean knows what happened, but is not telling.

This is the type of case where the cruise lines could establish some degree of credibility and transparency with the American public.  Instead, this cruise line has defaulted to its usual character of secrecy.

Does anyone has information regarding how the incident occurred?  Please leave a comment below. 

May 29 Update - Passengers Return to Fort Lauderdale:

Some passengers returning home from the cruise today have emailed us.  A few have left comments, including one passenger, "Dave," who writes that the crew member jumped off of deck five at 3 a.m. in the morning and was "seen on the camera swimming in the ocean."   Can other passengers confirm this?   Leave us a comment below if you have information to share .  .  . 

May 30 Update - Interview with Wife:

The Caribbean Daily News interviewed the crew member's wife, Doris Roache, who indicated that her husband had worked for Royal Caribbean for five years, and was employed as an assistant waiter.  He left St. Vincent on Friday May 21st after spending two months vacation with her.  He flew to Miami and stayed in a hotel Friday night and joined the cruise ship on Saturday, May 22nd. The ship sailed at 5 p.m. Saturday evening.  Mrs. Roache received a call from her husband between 11:00 -12:00 p.m. Saturday night. He told her he was okay and that the ship was sailing towards the Bahamas.  She later received a call on Monday morning, May 24th, between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. from the "ship’s administration" saying that her husband was missing and that he was last seen aboard the ship at 11:00 p.m. Sunday, May 23rd. while the ship was sailing.  "They said that he did not come to work; he is an assistant waiter and he is never late so they sent somebody to look for him and he was nowhere to be found.” 

 

Credits:

Oasis of the Seas       Kenneth Karsten via shipspotting.com

Oasis of the Seas webcam       Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. 

Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas

A member of Cruise Critic sailing aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship is commenting that a crew member apparently went overboard from the cruise ship last night.  There is a suggestion by those on the cruise ship that the crew member is a waiter and may have jumped. 

We reported earlier this year on two other crew members who jumped from Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  On December 31, 2009 we posted the article " Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard" involving an apparent suicide of Royal Caribbean crew member Neha Chhikara who jumped from the Monarch of the Seas.  Her case involved allegations that her husband, Ankit Delal, also working on the cruise ship, physically and emotionally abused her.

Explorer of the Seas - OverboardIn March, another crew member jumped from Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas.  You can read about that incident here:  "Man Overboard" Reported on Radiance of the Seas.   We reported that the Master of the  cruise ship responded quickly; however, the crew member (an employee of Park West Gallery) did not survive - "Master of Radiance of the Seas Praised for Rapid Response to Crew Overboard."

It is currently unknown whether the crew member was rescued.  139 people have gone overboard from cruise ships in the last ten years, according to Professor Ross Klein's Cruise Junkie web site.

We will update the article as more information becomes available.  Were you on the cruise or have information to share?  Please leave a comment below. 

May 6, 2010 Update:

FoxNews.com is reporting that the U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a search for the 26 year old crew member 138 miles north of the coastal town of Isabela, Puerto Rico.  

Royal Caribbean's PR spokesperson Cynthia Martinez is quoted as saying that an after-the-fact review of closed circuit television tapes (CCTV) reveals the crew member lowering himself over the side of the cruise ship around 8:15 p.m. last night.  However, a passenger commenting on the Cruise Critic web sites indicates that the ship did not turn to search for the crew members until around 10:20 p.m. - around two hours later.

These types of incidents reveal security deficiencies on cruise ships.  If a crew member can lower himself over the rail and into the water without being spotted by security or detected by cameras, a terrorist can just as easily come over the rail and onto the ship without being detected. 

Does anyone on the Royal Caribbean cruise ships monitor the exterior cameras? 

We have reported on this problem on other Royal Caribbean overboards - "Asleep At the Wheel: What Does the Delayed Reporting of Neha Chhikara's Disappearance from the Monarch of the Seas Reveal About Royal Caribbean's Shipboard Security? "

May 7, 2010 Update - Search begins:

The Coast Guard News reports that Coast Guard watchstanders in San Juan received a call at approximately 9:15 p.m. Wednesday from the cruise ship Explorer of the Seas reporting the incident.

Coast Guard rescue crews then began searching for the man overboard.  The Coast Guard deployed a HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Air Station Miami, a C-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, and Coast Guard Cutters Matinicus and Chincoteague (110-foot patrol boats) homeported in San Juan.

May 7, 2010 Update - Comments by family:

The brother and sister of the crew member have left comments below, seeking information and an explanation regarding what happened.  We hope that the cruise line will provide the necessary information and assistance.  Condolences to the Buddaru Family. 

May 8, 2010 Update - Search ends:

According to the Daily Sun newspaper in Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard suspended its search for the crew member yesterday morning at "about 7 a.m.”  A Coast Guard spokesperson said "regrettably we did not find him alive."  

 May 8, 2010 - Crew member identified:

A newspaper Defi Media Group is reporting that the Royal Caribbean crew member is Satianand (Satyanand) Buddaru, age 26, whose family lives on the island of Mauritius.  The newspaper suggests that he worked as a bartender on the cruise ship, although most comments indicate that he was a waiter or assistant waiter.  His sister, Anuradha, stated that she spoke to him "on the telephone Wednesday Satianand Buddaru - Satyanand Buddarumorning.  It seemed normal.  He had no personal problem."

May 9 Update - Passengers applaud Master and crew: 

Passengers aboard the cruise ship are commenting that the cruise ship responded promptly and the crew handled themselves profesionally during this difficult experience. 

A newspaper in Mauritius LexPress.mu reports that Mr. Buddaru had worked for three years for Royal Caribbean.  

May 10, 2010 Update:

Defi Media in Mauritius has an article today on Mr. Buddaru's disappearance, and incudes a photograph (above right) of the young man.

May 11, 2010 Update:

A newspaper in the cruise ship's home port in New Jersey is reporting that the FBI is investigating the incident.  The article also mentions that crew members reported Mr. Buddaru missing around 8:40 p.m.  The Coast Guard issued a statement that they were notified around 9:15 p.m.  The CCTV images apparently show the crew member going overboard at 8:13 p.m.

 

Credits

Photo of Explorer of the Seas       Luke Redmond's Fickr photostream

Photograph of Ms. Buddaru  DefiMedia Mauritius

"Deadly Honeymoon" - Lifetime Movie Network - Cruise Disappearance

After endless promotional movie clips, Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) finally premiered "Deadly Honeymoon" tonight.  The movie is loosely based (very loosely based) on the tragic death of George Smith IV during his honeymoon cruise with our client, Jennifer Hagel, aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship in July 2005. 

The movie follows two young newlyweds from Denver, Colorado as they embark on their honeymoon cruise from their "picture-perfect" wedding in Hawaii.  The actors in the TV movie are Chris Carmack as "Trevor Forrest" and Summer Glau who plays his newly wed wife, "Lindsey."

Chris Carmack - Trevor Forrest - George Smtih - Summer Glau - Lindsey - Jennifer Hagel - Deadly Honeymoon  LMN describes the dream vacation evolving into a night of "wild partying, infidelity and strange encounters with a group of passengers."

The next morning the passengers awake to find Trevor missing, presumed to have fallen overboard to his death.  But as the investigation proceeds, an FBI Investigator who just happens to be aboard the cruise ship questions whether Trevor’s death really was just an accident.

I had never heard of the Lifetime Movie Network before.  Now I know why. 

The movie is very dramatic.  But like most Hollywood productions it is ridiculous, having little to so with the actual facts of the case.  I can't imagine being a member of the Hagel or Smith families having to watch this nonsense.

In reality, was there "partying" during George Smith's cruise?  Yes, but what cruise ship doesn't have partying and drinking?  Was there "infidelity?"  No.  Were there "strange encounters" with other passengers?  Yes.  Passengers Josh Askin, Rusty Koffman and the two Rosenbergs who were last with George Smith on the night in question are motley characters, in my opinion.  Two nights after George Smith disappeared, they were accused of raping or watching the assault of a young woman on the cruise ship.  But Royal Caribbean had already sent their defense lawyers to the scene, and the charges were quickly dropped.  Greg Rosenberg, one of the men in George Smith's cabin before Mr. Smith went overboard, is reportedly serving time today on drug trafficking charges.  He is in prison at this moment. 

But does this movie, provide any insight into what happened on July 5, 2005 when the Brilliance of the Seas was sailing to Kusadasi, Turkey?  No.  

In real life, disappearances on cruise ships, whether due to crime or not, are rarely solved.  This is due to the failure of the cruise industry to protect U.S. passenger on foreign-flagged cruise ships like the Brilliance of the Seas. And the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigations to prosecute crimes which occur on the high seas.

In the last 10 years, over 130 passengers have "disappeared."  Most cases remain mysteries. This is something that cruise lines don't want the U.S. public to know.

July 6, 2010 Update - Five Years Later:

The Death of George Allen Smith IV - Five Years Later

September 14, 2010 Update On George Smith Disappearance Case:

There is now a final settlement - Cruise Disappearance Case of George Smith IV - Civil Case Settled But Is Justice Done?

January 2012 Update: Update on Disappearance of George Smith From Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Ship

May 2012 Update: "New" Evidence in George Smith Case: "We Gave That Guy A Paragliding Lesson Without A Parachute"

 

Credit:            Lifetime Movie Network 

"Danger On The Love Boat: Cruise Ship Crimes, Disappearances & Cover Ups"

For the past three years, I have written several hundreds of pages of stories about the cruise ship cases we have handled.  The cruise lines' skill, in engaging in an endless number of stunts and cover ups before judges and juries, our U.S. Congress and the American people, never ceases to amaze me. 

I have written these stories with an eye toward incorporating these experiences into a book about cruise ship crime.  We have represented over 70 victims of sexual assault on cruise ships.  Some cruise lines are nasty and other lines are even nastier regarding how they treat the victims.  A central focus of my writing has been the extraordinary steps taken by the cruise lines to keep the public from knowing the truth about what happens on the high seas. 

"Danger On The Love Boat - Cruise Ship Crimes, Disappearances, Cover Ups"®I have released tidbits of these stories as blog articles here on Cruise Law News ("CLN") to see if there is an interest.

So far, I have received a lot of encouragement.  Most recently, I received a nice recommendation via a #FollowFriday recommendation on Twitter from a very talented paralegal, Kristina Duncan, whose Twitter page is @legalninjaKris.  A reader to her blog made the following comment:

Mr. Walker’s series is a compelling presentation of cruising’s nasty underbelly.  It should be read by everyone considering a cruise, so they will be aware of the risks before signing a contract.  It is shocking to see how much support in law cruise operators have in defense of the outrageous behavior Mr. Walker documents.  There is an obvious need for serious legislation to deal with these issues.  I hope Mr. Walker will see his series titles as chapters in a much-needed book exposing cruise operator conduct to the American public.  Thank you for publicizing this informative series.

So with thanks to Ms. Duncan, I'll admit that a cruise book has been in the works for a while.  I have a commitment from a good publishing house. There are many stories that are not well known, yet.  Like the outrageous circumstances surrounding the "disappearance" of Italian crew member Angelo Faliva (photo above), as well as other equally disturbing crimes not yet revealed to the public.  The task now is to figure out which stories are the most compelling and to turn the manuscript over to the publishing company.  

I will donate 100% of the "profits" (if any) to a non-profit organization involved in cruise safety issues.  If no one buys a copy, I'll buy a 1,000 myself and pass them out to my friends and family - and then send the other 993 copies to whoever wants one!  

I hear that most publishing companies like to make the decision to name the books they publish.  We'll see if that happens.  I am struggling with the title.  I am thinking of: "Danger On The Love Boat: Cruise Ship Crimes, Disappearances & Cover Ups."®

The lawyers and support staff at Cruise Law don't like the title.  What so you think?

Contact me on the "Ask Jim A Question" box to the left, or leave a comment below, or call me at (305) 995-5300 with your thoughts.  I'll send a couple of free copies to anyone who can think of a good name for the book.

Thanks!  

 

Credits:       vascellor.it 

Update On Death of Royal Caribbean Crew Member Neha Chhikara

Neha Chhikara - Ankit Dalal - Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship OverboardA newspaper in India is reporting that there are developments in the sad case of Neha Chhikara, who died after going overboard from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Monarch of the Seas on New Year's Eve.  Ms. Chhikara was sailing aboard the cruise ship with her husband, Ankit Dalal, who is described as working on the Monarch as a "manager" of some type.  She was about to start working as a guest relations manager.

Ms. Chhikara's family accuses Mr. Dalal and his family of abusing their daughter as part of a "dowry dispute."  She is alleged to have jumped overboard because she could not stand the physical and emotional abuse caused by her husband.  In return, the Dalal family accused their daughter-in-law of being emotionally imbalanced.  We have written many articles about the incident.

The Sify News is now reporting that a "vigilance department" in India, which is investigating the complaint of "harassment for dowry," has received a report from "U.S. officials" regarding the death.  It is less than clear who in the U.S. is investigating Ms. Chhikara's death; perhaps it is the FBI.  The newspaper mentions that the U.S. report allegedly "indicts" Mr. Dalal, at least according to the Chhikara family. 

It is also unclear why the U.S. is investigating an incident involving two Indian nationals on a foreign flagged cruise ship in international waters.  Uncertainty of who will take jurisdiction is one of the problems which families of crew members face when their loved ones disappear from cruise ships.  

Update:

The Indian Express reports that the report was a "joint report" by the the "U.S. authorities and the Bahamas government." 

The Monarch is registered in Nassau, Bahamas and the cruise ship was sailing from Nassau to CocoCay, Bahamas at the time of her disappearance overboard.  There is no information being reported now that was not contained in the initial reports of the incident.  See our report on January 1, 2010 - Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard.

 

Credits:

Photograph of Neha Chhikara and Ankit Dalal           FaceBook    

Your Dream Cruise - The Perfect Place For The Perfect Crime?

A blockbuster story has been published in Germany tracking crimes and the "disappearances" of passengers and crew members from cruise ships over the past decade.

Published in the popular German magazine "Wunderwelt Wisen," the article discusses the cases of passengers James Scavonne, Dianne Brimble, Merrian Carver, Christopher Caldwell, and George Smith IV, as well as the recent disappearance of Italian crew member Angelo Faliva.

Under the title "Dream Boats," the author, Philipp Saller, informs the reader that a tourist who chooses a cruise ship is choosing a holiday in a small town without a police station.  He concludes that "dream ships are perfect for the perfect crime." 

I first heard this analogy when I attended the December 2005 Congressional hearing regarding cruise crime issues, following the disappearance of George Smith IV.  His Congressman, Christopher Shays, raised the question at the hearing - "is going on a cruise the perfect way to commit the perfect crime?"

Cruise lines currently have no legal obligation to report crimes and disappearances which occur on the high seas to the FBI.  Not surprisingly, there have been very few FBI investigations over the course of the 40 year history of the cruise industry.  Prosecuting crimes on cruise ships is rare. 

A reprint of the article is below.  We are in the process of having the article translated and will update this article when we have the English translation.  

Cruise ship - The Perfect Place For The Perfect Crime

Cruise Ship - Perfect Place For The Perfect Crime?

Cruise Ship - Perfect Place For The Perfect Crime?

Cruise Ship - Perfect Place For The Perfect Crime?

 

Credits:

Wunderwelt Wissen (Philipp Saller) 

Ken Carver Pushes For Cruise Law After Daughter "Disappears" From Celebrity's Mercury Cruise Ship

A local news station in Phoenix, Arizona,  ABC-15 (KNXV), is reporting on the latest efforts by Kendall Carver to protect families who cruise in international waters.

In a video interview entitled "Valley Man Pushes for New Laws after Daughter Vanishes,"  Mr. Carver explains that his 40-year-old vanished on the second day of a seven-day Alaskan cruise aboard Celebrity Cruises' Mercury cruise ship back in 2004.  The cruise ship covered the incident Merrian Carver - Celebrity Mercury Cruise Ship - Disappearance up and then lied to Mr. Carver.

ABC-15 reports that for more than a year, Mr. Carver says the cruise line "provided little information.  He hired private detectives, lawyers and spent quite a bit of money searching for any indication as to what happened.  Eventually, he said they found an employee on the boat who had some information."

"We deposed the steward to find out that he had reported our daughter missing daily for five days on that ship and his supervisor told him to forget it and do his job," said Carver.  "They had not notified the FBI, they had not notified anybody, in fact, they gathered her belongings and got rid of them."

Carver says what many people may not know is that the cruise ship industry doesn't even have to report crimes ranging from theft to a disappearance.

"You can get the crime report for any city in the country, by zip code, by name, but you can't get that for cruise ships," Mr. Carver told ABC-15.

To push for new laws and help victims of cruise ship crimes, Carver formed the organization - International Cruise Victims (ICV).  He has been working on this cause everyday for the past five years.

"We have hundreds of volunteers, with next to no money and as of this week we are now in 20 countries around the world," said Carver.  "It's one of those things as a father I couldn't walk away from, I still want answers and people need to know what's going on."

As a result of the ICV's efforts, a cruise law - called the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2009 - passed the House of Representatives last year.  The bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate this year.

"This would make it mandatory that they immediately advise the FBI," said Carver.  "They (travelers) don't realize when they get onto these ships they're going into a foreign country."

To learn more, read about the story of Merrian Carver on the ICV website. Please consider joining  the ICV and making a small donation to keep the grass root organization operating.

The ABC-15 video with Mr. Carver is below:

 

 

For additional information about Ken's fight to protect the cruising public, consider reading:

Family Wins Battle Against Cruise Ship Industry After Daughter's Disappearance

 

 

Credits:

Photograph of Mirrian Carver        Ken Carver  

Video        ABC-15 (KNXV) Phoenix, AZ  (Christopher Sign reporting)

"Man Overboard" Reported on Radiance of the Seas

According to the cruise community site Cruise Line Fans, a "man overboard" was  reported at 8:00 p.m. last night from Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas cruise ship. Here is the account:

"At about 8pm last night the call was heard OSCAR! OSCAR! OSCAR! PORT SIDE!  The ship shook as it slowed done and turned around.  Flashing buoy rings could be seen in the distance.  The rescue boats was quickly launched.  Within 20 minutes CPR was being conducted on a Radiance of the Seas - Crew - Overboardman being brought back onboard."

If this account is accurate, the good news is that the overboard was reported right away and the cruise ship responded quickly.

No one else has published information about this latest cruise overboard.  The news was first released via the Twitter page of @CruiseLine Fans.

Do you have information regarding this latest overboard?  If so, please leave a comment below.

Update:

A reader commented below that a crew member jumped, apparently an employee of the art concessionaire. 

 

Creidts:

Radiance of the Seas      Wikipedia

What Happened to Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva? The Faliva Family Seeks Answers

The popular Italian TV Show "Chi l'ha Visto?" featured the story of Angelo Faliva last night.

Mr. Faliva was a healthy, happy and well-liked chef aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship when he "disappeared" on the high seas near Columbia last November.  The cruise line is content with throwing its hand up and claiming "we don't know what happened" - a less than believable explanation given the fact that the Princess cruise ships have hundreds of video cameras all over Coral Princess - Where Is Angelo Faliva? - Princess Cruises their cruise ships.

We have written many articles about Mr. Faliva and his family's struggle to seek information about his disappearance.

The "Chi l'ha Visto?" program in Italy is a cross between the U.S.'s Sixty Minutes and America's Most Wanted television programs.  

The Italian producers interviewed Angelo's sister, Chiara, who has taken the lead in searching for answers, as well as Mr. Faliva's mother and father, Giuseppina and Roberto.  There are very insightful videos of Angelo showing his dynamic and fun-loving personality.

The Faliva family expresses their appreciation of the efforts of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization to publicize this latest cruise ship disappearance and the indifference of the cruise line and the flag country (Bermuda) to seriously investigate and solve this mystery.  

The ICV's story regarding Mr. Faliva can be viewed here.  The "Chi l'ha Visto?" video is below.  It is in Italian, but the images are compelling.  Even if you can't  speak Italian, you can feel what the family is saying.    

 

 

If you have information about this story, please contact us.

 

Credits:

Coral Princess Bridge Cam        Princess Cruises

Video                   "Chi l'ha Visto?" 

Italian TV Show "Chi l'ha Visto?" Features Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva

The hometown newspaper for missing crew member Angelo Faliva, reports that the popular Italian program "'Chi l'ha Visto?" will again feature the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of young Mr. Faliva from the Coral Princess cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.   

Cremona On Line's website states:

"Questa sera a 'Chi l'ha visto?' sarà trattato il caso di Angelo Faliva, il cuoco di 32 anni scomparso misteriosamente sulla Coral Princess il 25 novembre scorso. La nave da crociera su cui lavorava era in crociera nei Caraibi."

Angelo Faliva - Missing - Coral Princess - Princess Cruises "'Chi l'ha Visto?" is a very popular television show in Italy which covers the disappearances of loved ones who vanish under uncertain and discomforting circumstances.  (We will link the video of the show once it is available.) 

The mystery of Princess crew member Angelo Faliva is a story which we have carefully followed since his "disappearance" last November.  

This type of incident - which has not received much coverage in the U.S. yet - demonstrates the fundamental corruptness of the foreign flagged cruise industry.  Crimes and disappearances often go un-reported, un-investigated and un-prosecuted because of the indifference of the flag countries and the desire of the image-obsessed cruise lines to sweep the problem under the rug.

This is a particularly disgraceful story because the cruise line, Princess Cruises - of "Love Boat" fame - has provided no useful information to the grieving Faliva family.  The "investigators" in Bermuda, where the cruise line registered the cruise ship to avoid taxes, labor and wage laws as well as legal accountability, are doing nothing.  This is exactly why cruise lines pay countries like Bermuda - in the middle of nowhere - to register their cruise lines.    

We will be following this story closely.  To bring yourself up to date regarding the plight of the Faliva family, consider reading:

Crew Member Missing from Princess Cruises' Coral Princess Cruise Ship 

 Family of Missing Crew Member Seeks Answers - Princess Cruises Claims "We Are Puzzled"

2009 Ends With Family of Missing Princess Cruises Crew Member Continuing to Seek Answers

Top Cruise Story of 2009 - Sister of Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva Speaks Out: "Vogliamo la Verità!" - "We Want the Truth!"

The Case of Missing Crew Member Angelo Faliva - Is Princess Cruises Engaged In A Cover Up?

Update: Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva - What Say You, Master Mariano Manfuso?

Angelo Faliva Case: Were You on the Coral Princess on November 25, 2009?

Neither Dead Nor Alive - The Faliva Family Remains In Limbo

International Cruise Victims - the Story of Angelo Faliva

Update on Missing Crewmember Angelo Faliva - a Story of "Pain & Incompetency"

 

Do you have information about Mr. Faliva?  Please contact us. 

Readers Provide Information on Overboard Cruise Ship Passengers

In the last two weeks, there have been two overboard passengers from U.S.-based cruise ships - Costa's Serena  and Holland America Line's Rotterdam.

These incidents have been reported - not by the cruise lines or the press - but by Canadian Professor and cruise expert Ross Klein who hosts the informative web site Cruise Junkie.  Dr. Klein has been tracking passenger and crew overboards for the past decade. 

Like Dr. Klein, we are increasingly being contacted by passengers, crew and other concerned individuals when things go wrong on cruise ships.  Here is some updated information we received from our readers:

Passenger Overboard From Costa Serena

Costa Serena - Passenger OverboardIn response to our article "Person Overboard from Costa Serena Cruise Ship?," one passenger confirmed that a 34 year old French passenger went missing at midnight on February 26th. 

"The ship had to turn around the following day. But the ship and coast guard did not find the man. On that following night the ship was given the go ahead to return to original course. but at that time it was too late to visit the port of Cadiz."

Another passenger informed us:

"Yesterday we returned from the Costa Serena. The Captain had reported to all of us passengers that the missing man was a Frenchman of the surname Pascal, reported missing by his father who was also traveling on the Costa Serena. At the time he went missing the ship was traveling from Tenerife to Cadiz (our itinerary was changed from going to Madeira because of their disaster).  Once Mr. Pascal was reported missing, the ship had turned round and for several hours searched in the area where he may have fallen overboard.  Then we were told the search and rescue authorities were taking over and as it was too late for us to visit Cadiz, we were taken straight to our following destination, i.e. Malaga. We hope that you will be able to find more regarding the fate of the missing man and let us know."
 

Passenger Overboard From HAL's Rotterdam

In response to an article " Passenger Reported Overboard From Holland America's Rotterdam Cruise Ship," a United States Naval Aircrewman reported the following:

Holland America Line - Rotterdam - Overboard

"I was surprised that this report was not confirmed, and was hoping to help. I was aboard the aircraft referenced that arrived "onstation" to assist in the S.A.R. Operation, a United States Navy P-3C of Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron (VP)- 26.

We arrived on station after the victim had been in water for about an hour and a half, the delay largely attributed to communication delays, and the relay of the initiated SAR from ship, to shore, to our controller. WE initiated a search pattern that proved unsuccessful. At which point we adjusted our search to the estimated current drift. After several hours we searched our absolute min allowable "off-station" fuel load (required for the transit back to base) and at the last moment we located the SAR victim. Since we were bingo fuel all we could do was give a gps point and get back home. During SAR operations we prefer to maintain "eyes-on" to guide the pick-up vessel in.

I speak for my crew in saying we are grateful to know that at least he was picked up even though we could not affect a rescue. We offer our condolences to the family and relatives, and I hope you know that we did all that we could."

Thanks To Our Readers

Thank you to our readers who have expressed their concern for these passengers and their families and have taken the time to provide information regarding these sad cases.

A special thank you to our brave U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Airmen who put their lives on the line to search for and recover our loved ones at sea.

 

Credits:

Costa Serena                      CruiseAir's photostream

HAL's Rotterdam                Cajun Bob's photostream

Person Overboard from Costa Serena Cruise Ship?

CruiseJunkie.com reports that was a person may have gone overboard from the Costa Serena last Saturday February 27th.

A passenger informed the CruiseJunkie web site that a person was reported missing from the Costa cruise ship while in the Atlantic between the Canary Islands and Malaga.

Costa Serena Overboard? - Missing - DisappearanceThe web site stresses that this incident is not yet confirmed from the cruise line company but is based on the account from a passenger on board the ship.

We last reported on an overboard passenger last week - Passenger Reported Overboard From Holland America's Rotterdam Cruise Ship.  There was no official confirmation from the cruise line in that case either.

This is one of the problems with overboards and crimes on cruise ships.  As matters now stand, cruise lines are under no legal obligation to report such incidents to U.S. authorities.  As a practical matter, cruise lines do not like to report incidents which tend to show that cruising is unsafe.

It has become increasingly difficult for cruise lines to engage in cover ups, with an increasing number of people using blogs and other social media tools like Twitter and FaceBook.  

Although the cruise industry refuses to disclose the actual number of people going overboard from cruise ships, the Cruise Junkie web page documents over 130 passengers and crew members have jumped, fallen, or been thrown from cruise ships in the last decade.  

 

Credits:

Costa Serena cruise ship                     comequandofuoripiove1973 Flickr Photostream

 

Passenger Reported Overboard From Holland America's Rotterdam Cruise Ship

The on line web information portal CruiseJunkie.com is reporting that a passenger may have gone overboard yesterday from the Rotterdam cruise ship.

The report is based on information received from a passenger on the Holland America Line cruise ship. 

Rotterdam Cruise Ship - Overboard - Missing PassengerCruiseJunkie.com is operated by Dr. Ross Klein, a cruise industry expert who has, among other pages, a large web page called "Events At Sea - All The Things That Can Go Wrong On A Cruise."  Dr. Klein reported yesterday:

I have been informed that a passenger jumped from the M/S Rotterdam today and was recovered deceased at about 5 pm local time. The ship will be in Costa Rica tomorrow.  This account has not be confirmed or reported by the media.

in addition to Dr, Klein's site, a comment on the popular on line cruise community CruiseCritic.com mentions the incident under the topic "Man Overboard on Rotterdam???"

 ". . . A "man overboard" was reported to the bridge, just before noon. What was done, then was to chart where the person went overboard and turn the ship around to that area. By 2:00 PM, an airplane came to circle around and look for anything in the water. By 4:00 PM, the plane had spotted something, and the ship headed there. By 5:00 PM, a tender was dropped into the ocean and found what was believed to be the person. Many of us were on deck 3, and as the tender returned to the ship, the Captain asked that all on deck 3 please, out of respect, to leave the deck. I don't know anything else. We will find out soon if we'll miss our port, tomorrow. I don't know if we'll get information about the person. There was an announcement, earlier, for someone in cabin x, to please call the front desk immediately. Tonight is formal night and I don't think anyone wants to dress up."

We previously reported on a HAL handling of an overboard passenger in an article ""Suicide" - One of the Cruise Lines' Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea."  That case involved passenger Amber Malkuch.  HAL quickly called her disappearance a suicide.  This surprised not only Ms. Malkuch's friends and family, but dumbfounded the Alaskan State Troopers who had yet to review photographs and video, conduct interviews or analyze toxicology reports. 

It will be interesting to see how HAL handles this situation.  By not issuing a press statement, it looks like HAL is trying to keep the incident secret.  

Dr. Klein reports that there have been over 130 cruise overboard in the last 10 years. How many more have not been reported by the cruise industry? 

February 27, 2010 Update:

CruiseJunkiereports: "Around 10 A.M. this morning, while breakfast was going on, one guest, supposedly of cabin 1905, jumped from the outside deck. The jump was apparently witnessed as there was an immediate man overboard call and the ship manouvered quickly and then anchored and a search happened. The ship staff searched for hours, and then about 5 pm, they recovered the man's body. The ship has been under code red for 6 days for norovirus and the staff was already under huge stress." 

CruiseCritic reports that the overboard passenger was a member of the CruiseCritic on line community.
 

 

  

Credits:

Rotterdam cruise ship                 jimg944 Flickr Photostream

Coast Guard Searches for Crewmember Missing From Pacific Venus Cruise Ship

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a press statement that it is searching for a crew member from the cruise ship Pacific Venus, which was sailing from Hawaii back to Yokohama, Japan.

The 24 year-old crew member was noticed missing at approximately 2 p.m., on Saturday, February 20th, after he failed to show up for his post aboard the cruise ship. The Master of the Pacific Venus' Pacific Venus cruise ship - missing crewmember called the Coast Guard in Honolulu at 5 p.m. Saturday to report the missing crew member and to say the ship had turned around to look for him.

The Pacific Venus spent several hours Saturday afternoon searching for the crewmember before sunset in an area where he was last seen been aboard the cruise ship.

The Coast Guard deployed two C-130 long-range search aircraft to search for the overboard crewmember.

The Coast Guard also reports that a "Good Samaritan" vessel, a Japanese vessel Nippon Maru, answered a call to help through the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) program, and searched for the crewmember.

A newspaper in Hawaii reports on the story in an article entitled "Coast Guard Continues to Search for Overboard Cruise Ship Crew Member" and indicated that the Coast Guard will continue searching for the overboard crewmember.

 

Credit

Pacific Venus cruise ship                      ykanazawa Flickr photostream
 

Update on Missing Crewmember Angelo Faliva - a Story of "Pain & Incompetency"

An Italian blogger Stefano Nazzi provides updated information regarding the "disappearance" of Italian crew member Angelo Faliva from the Coral Princess cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

In his article entitled "Chi Indaga Sulla Scomparsa di Angelo Faliva?" Mr. Nazzi questions whether anyone is actually investigating Mr. Faliva's disappearance.  He characterizes the situation as Angelo Faliva - Coral Princess Cruise Ship - Princess Cruises an "ugly story" - one "of pain" suffered by the Faliva family and "incompetence and laxity" by the police in Bermuda. 

In theory, the country of Bermuda is suppose to be investigating the case, because Princess Cruises flags its cruise ships in that country to avoid U.S. taxes and U.S. labor and wage laws.  

The fact that Bermuda has no genuine interest in investigating crimes and mysterious incidents on Princess cruise ships is becoming increasingly apparent.  Princess Cruises operates its fleet of cruise ships out of its corporate headquarters in Santa Clarita, California.  The police in Bermuda are literally and figuratively in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, apparently doing little to provide answers for the Faliva family.

The Italian blog suggests that the police in Bermuda have still not inspected Mr. Faliva's three cellular telephones or his computer and camera. Nor have they examined the records of the cruise ship's surveillance cameras.  When Mr. Faliva's younger sister, Chiara, inquired into the delay, the police in Bermuda complained that they were busy with other matters.  They wrote that they felt harassed by Ms. Faliva and preferred to be left alone!

The blog also contains a comment by Chiara Faliva that her family believes that the Princess cruise ship knows more about her brother's death than it will admit.  And the authorities in Bermuda are providing no answers as the family's search for information approaches three months.      

She writes that "frankly I believe that persons on board the ship know what happened at my brother.  Besides the sadness, pain, and anger, I experience also disgust, amazement and incredulity . . ." by the attitude of the "investigating" authorities.   

Angelo Faliva (below, in the galley of the Coral Princess) was a happy and well liked chef who enjoyed working on the cruise ship.  How can there be no explanation provided by Princess Cruises?  

We have written many articles about the cruise line's malfeasance and the flag state's refusal to provide answers. 
  
Do you have information about this story?  Please contact Ms. Chiara chiara_faliva@msn.com

Angelo Faliva - Coral Princess Cruise Ship - Princess Cruises

 

Credits:

Photographs of Angelo Faliva      Chiara Faliva

International Cruise Victims - the Story of Angelo Faliva

The non-profit organization International Cruise Victims ("ICV") posted a story on its website regarding Princess Cruises crew member Angelo Faliva who "disappeared" from the Coral Princess cruise ship in November 2009.   

The ICV represents victims of crime on cruise ships, their families and friends, and individuals concerned about disappearances on cruise ships and the cruise industry's lack of transparency. With several hundred members throughout the world, the organization advocates for legislative reform and provides support to victims of crimes occurring on cruise ships. For additional information about the ICV, please contact its president, Ken Carver.

Meanwhile Mr. Faliva's sister, Chiara, continues to seek information from any passengers or crew members who may have information. Ms. Faliva posted a request on a "Princess Cruise Staff" Facebook page:

PLEASE HELP ME: Hi, my name is Chiara Faliva, and I'm the sister of Angelo Faliva, the 31 year old Italian chef disappeared from the cruise "Coral Princess" the night of 25th November 2009, while the cruise was sailing between Aruba and Cartagena (Colombia). I'm looking for passengers that were in this ship that night . . . I just want to have some contacts with them. Please, please help me. My e-mail is:  chiara_faliva@msn.com. Thank you very much for your attention.

Angelo and Chiara are seen in this photograph in in happier times as loving brother and sister. 

Chiara Faliva - Angelo Faliva - Princess Cruises - Coral Princess Crew Member
 
We have written many articles about this latest "disappearance" and the failure of the cruise lines and flag states to provide answers. 
 
How can such a healthy and happy young man "disappear" without anyone at Princess Cruises knowing a thing?
 
Do you have information about this story?  Please contact Ms. Chiara chiara_faliva@msn.com or the ICV.
 
 
 
Credits:
 
Photograph    Chiara Faliva

 

Angelo Faliva Case: Were You on the Coral Princess on November 25, 2009?

The family of Angelo Faliva continues to search for answers regarding the "disappearance " of Angelo Faliva from Princess Cruises' Coral Princess cruise ship on November 25, 2009.

Mr. Faliva's younger sister, Chiara Faliva, has appeared on television in Italy to plea for help, Sabatini's Restaurant - Coral Princess - Princess Cruisesfollowing the reported lack of cooperation from Princess Cruises and the Government of Bermuda.

Newspapers in Italy report that Ms. Faliva has complained that the cruise line did not timely send the tapes from the onboard cameras to the investigators from Bermuda.  What type of CCTV system did the cruise ship have?  What is the quality of the CCTV images?  

Why the delay sending the images to Bermuda? 

Princess Cruises has a very high tech "wedding cam" on all of its cruise ships. This is part of its "romance at sea" marketing theme.  The image below to the right is the live via satellite "wedding cam" on the Coral Princess.  The image is crystal clear.  You can sit at home thousands of miles away seeing exactly what is happening in the chapel on the cruise ship.  Certainly Princess Cruises has the same technology for its onboard security systems?  If so, then there should no doubt be images of Angelo Faliva available to explain what happened to him.Wedding Cam - Coral Princess - Cruise Ship Cam - Princess Cruises

There is also a suggestion that no one interviewed the passengers in Sabatini's restaurant (photograph above), where Angelo Faliva worked as a chef. 

Has anyone other than the cruise line interviewed the other crew members who worked with Mr. Faliva in Sabatini's? 

Where is Mr. Faliva's laptop computer and cell phone?  Has a qualified expert retrieved the data on the computer and telephone?  Who knows?

The Faliva family remains in the dark.

Where you a passenger on the Coral Princess on November 25, 2009? 

We have heard from a few people, but certainly others must have some information?

Please contact me @ jwalker@cruiselaw.com 

       

 

 

Credits:    

Sabatini's restuarant                    CruiseWeb.com

Coral Princess wedding cam     Coral Princess, Princess Cruises 

Video                 Sky.it

Update: Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva - What Say You, Master Mariano Manfuso?

Master - Coral Princess - Princess Cruises - Captain Mariano ManfusoThe disturbing circumstances surrounding the "disappearance" of Princess crew member Angelo Faliva continue to fill the newspapers and television airways in Italy as the cruise line continues to keep the Faliva family in the dark. 

U.K. security officer, Officer Michael Groves, has weighed in with his opinion regarding the sorry state of affairs surrounding Princess Cruises' attempt to spin a story that it has no idea what happened to young Angelo Faliva.  Officer Groves writes:

"I read with sadness the news that yet another young, vibrant and seemingly happy crew member has apparently "disappeared" from yet another cruise ship, the Coral Princess and yet the company, his employers can only really round off the incident as “We are really very puzzled . . . We do not know what happened.”

Puzzled – lets look at that word. As we all know its definition means to be perplexed or confused, to ponder or study over some perplexing problem or matter.

Sorry I am more than puzzled, I am appalled! I am appalled that yet again a monolithic liner – a modern ‘floating’ city with reams of close circuit television camera’s (CCTV) affixed to numerous points both internally and most certainly externally on board the Coral Princess, appears to have yielded no footage at all?"    

Princess Cruises' deplorable handling of this case was highlighted by the reportedly cold treatment of Mr. Faliva's sister, Chiara, by the Master of the cruise ship, Captain Mariano Manfuso, after Ms. Faliva Coral Princess - Master - Princess Cruises - Captain Mariano Manfusotraveled from Italy to California - where Princess Cruises is based - to try and find information about her brother.

Why have Princess Cruises and Master Manfuso (photos above and to the right) not cooperated with the Faliva family?  Why has Master Manfuso not turned over copies of all of the vessel's logs and reports to the Faliva family?  

Why didn't Master Manfuso make certain that the cruise ship's surveillance tapes from hundreds of cameras were immediately turned over to the FBI or to the Bermuda investigators?  Why the delay? 

How can I sit in my office in Miami and look online at Princess' grainy bridge cam (below) for the Coral Princess, but Princess' security guards and supervisors can't monitor the hundreds of high resolution surveillance cameras on the ship itself to determine when a crew member goes overboard?

Was Master Manfuso put on the sideline after the cruise line lawyers and risk managers took over the "investigation?" 

Is the cruise line engaged in a cover up? 

What is going on aboard your cruise ship Master Manfuso?  

The world is watching.

 

 

Coral Princess - Bridge Cam - Princess Cruises - Surveillance Cameras - Angelo Faliva

 

 

Credits:

Top photograph of Captain Manfuso                Flickr photo.klick's photostream

Bottom photograph of Captain Manfuso          mincomercio.gov.co  

Coral Princess bridge cam                                 Coral Princess, Princess Cruises   

Royal Caribbean Passenger Disappearance Update: Is Anyone Cooperating With the Chhikara Family?

Neha Chhikara - Royal Caribbean - Missing - OverboardThe India Times is continuing to follow the case of Neha Chhikara.

Ms. Chhikara disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas on December 31, 2009 following allegations that her husband, Royal Caribbean crew member Ankit Dalal, physically and emotionally abused her.

In an article entitled "Search Operations Off, Gurgaon's Woman's Family Says Husband Has Gone Missing," the Chhikara family alleges that Mr. Dalal has gone “missing” after the Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to port in Port Canaveral. 

The story reflects the struggle to obtain information which families experience when they lose a loved one from a cruise ship.

The investigating authorities (the Bahamas Maritime Authority and the FBI) have apparently provided no information to the family or the police in India.  The cruise line is not cooperating with the family who does not even know where the Royal Caribbean crew member is at this time.  Meanwhile, the article reports that the police in India are waiting on information from the U.S. before they proceed with their investigation.

Cruise line investigations are highly secretive.  The investigation conducted by Royal Caribbean is designed to protect its own legal interests and its marketing image.  Getting information from the FBI is like squeezing blood from a stone.  And the investigation by the Bahamas - which is the flag country for the cruise ship - will likely be slanted in favor of the cruise line.        

The Chhikara family has not even spoken to their son-in-law.  Certainly Royal Caribbean has interviewed him multiple times.  The cruise line should send these statements to the family now, and not subject them to further torture after losing their daughter on Royal Caribbean's watch.

Credits:

Photograph of Ms. Chhikara     India Times

Royal Caribbean OverBoard: Family of Neha Chhikara Interviewed - Video & Photographs

Star News in India - which offers viewers "24-hour Hindi news" - has posted a video interview of the family of Neha Chhikara regarding the death of their daughter.

The family claims that Ms. Chhikara's husband, Ankit Dalal, tortured her.  This alleged mistreatment led to her suicide on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Chhikara family contends.    

The video contains photographs of the married couple and family members in earlier times, e-mails sent by Ms. Chhikara from the cruise ship to her brother complaining of abuse, the tearful comments (in Hindu) by the grieving family, and video of the police commenting on the dowry complaint against the Dalal family.  

None of the news sources have obtained comments by the Dala family so far.

This sad story continues to dominate the news in India.

 

 

For other articles on Cruise Law News regarding this story, please read:

Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard

A Bride's Despair - Did Dowry Dispute Lead to Death?

Dowry Complaint Filed Against Royal Caribbean Crew Member

 

Credits:

Video             Star News YouTube

A Bride's Despair - Family of Neha Chhikara Claims Royal Caribbean Crew Member Abused Daughter - Did Dowry Dispute Lead to Death?

Three newspapers in India are reporting that a Royal Caribbean employee, Ankit Dalal, abused his wife, Neha Chhikara, shortly before she apparently jumped from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Monarch of the Seas on New Year's Eve.  

Mr. Dalal is identified in a newspaper articles as a manager for Royal Caribbean on the cruise ship. 

Neha Chhikara - Royal Caribbean - Monarch of the Seas - Overboard We previously reported on this story - Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard

The newspapers report Ms. Chhikara married Mr. Dalal in 2008.  His family reportedly demanded additional dowry and was allegedly abusive toward her. 

According to an article entitled "Air Hostess Death at Sea: Kin Cry Foul" in the Times of India, Ms. Chhikara's husband physically and mentally tortured her for additional dowry - as alleged by Ms. Chhikara's family.  Ms. Chhikara previously worked as a flight attendant. 

Ms. Chhikara's father filed what is called a "dowry complaint" with the police in India.

The family alleges that Mr. Dalal mistreated her.  "She was asked to bring cash and jewelry every now and then and when she refused, they would beat her up. Once she was beaten so badly by Dalal that her jaw got dislocated and she also lost her job as air hostess,'' Atul Ahlawat, Ms. Chhikara's cousin, alleges.

The Times of India reports that shortly before she went overboard, Ms. Chhikara emailed her family: 

"I don't think he wants me to work here on the ship  . . .  he keeps threatening to call up security and get me detained by US authorities so that I can never come to the US.  He threatens to handcuff me and lock me up in a cell on the ship  . . ."

The Tribune in India also reports that Ms. Chhikara sent what is called a SOS shortly before her death complaining of being abused.  The India Express, in an article entitled "Gurgaon Woman Jumped Off Cruise Liner," also reports that an e-mail she sent an hour before her death said:

"Ankit has been beating me up every day  . . .  I have lost the strength to live and am very depressed.  I do not think he wants me to work on this ship.  He has threatened me that he would get my appointment canceled  . . .  I am under extreme torture  . . ."

None of the newspapers were able to obtain quotes from Mr. Dalal or his family.

These articles suggest that Ms. Chhikara was about to begin work as a crew member for Royal Caribbean.  Previous PR statements by this cruise line characterize Ms. Chhikara as just a "passenger."  She apparently had applied to Royal Caribbean and been accepted for employment aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.    

This is a sad story to see a young beautiful person's life end, under these alleged circumstances, at the beginning of a new year. 

 

Credits:

Photograph           IndiaExpress.com

Top Cruise Story of 2009 - Sister of Missing Princess Crew Member Angelo Faliva Speaks Out: "Vogliamo la Verità!" - "We Want the Truth!"

Chiara Faliva - Sister of Angelo Favila - Coral Princess - Princess CruisesThe Faliva family has expressed their frustration with Princess Cruises' lack of information, the attitude of the cruise ship's captain, and the cruise line's delay in cooperating with investigators following the "disappearance" of Angelo Faliva from the Coral Princess cruise ship on November 25th.

The Italian newspaper Gialli quotes Mr. Faliva's sister, Chiara Faliva, questioning how a cruise ship filled with video surveillance cameras and other crew members can claim that is has no information regarding the disappearance of her brother.  With a December 30th headline of . . .

Mio Fratello è Stato Ucciso? Vogliamo la Verità!- "Was My Brother Killed?  We want the Truth!" 

. . . the newspaper raises issues whether Princess Cruises is withholding information from the Faliva family, investigators, and the public.  

The newspaper article includes a letter from 23 year old Ms. Faliva, the youngest sister of Angelo Faliva, who states that she is united in pain with her family and nearly a thousand friends on FaceBook.

Angelo Falavi - Missing - Chef - Coral Princess - Coral Princess

Ms. Faliva's heart-felt public plea for help raises concerns and questions regarding the cruise line's handling of the disappearance:

Mr. Faliva was happy on the cruise ship and enjoyed the ports of call. Just three days before vanishing, he expressed his intention of returning to work for another contract on the cruise ship. The Faliva family completely rejects the notion that he may have committed suicide - which is a PR tactic many cruise lines engage in.  We have written about some cruise lines like Holland America Lines (which, like Princess, is owned by Carnival) quickly concluding that the missing person committed suicide -  "Suicide" - One of the Cruise Lines' Favorite Excuses for Disappearances at Sea.

Coral Princess - Princess CruisesMr. Faliva apparently spoke with some passengers in the Sabatini restaurant on the cruise ship, and then left his station around 8:15 p.m.  Yet, the cruise line delayed over 12 hours reporting him missing.  This delayed the search conducted by the Colombian Navy until the afternoon of the following day. 

Why the delay?  How can a crew member who leaves work not be noticed by a supervisor or his fellow employees?

Where were the video cameras positioned?  What are the infrared capabilities?  How can a person "disappear" without any of the 950 other crew members and 2,500 passengers seeing or hearing anything on a cruise ship which is alive 24 hours day?

Why did Princess Cruises delay sending the videotapes to the investigators in Bermuda for almost a month?  Why were these tapes not preserved immediately and seized by the investigators in November?

Who are the passengers in the restaurant who spoke to Mr. Faliva?  And what do they know?

Angelo Falavi - Cruise Chef - Coral Princess - Princess Cruises Mr. Faliva apparently had a prior incident of some type with another crewmember, who is identified as a "Filipino sous chef."  Who is he?  Has he been interviewed by the investigators?

Why was the Master of the Coral Princess insensitive to Ms. Faliva after she traveled from Italy to Los Angeles for answers?  Why did he complain that his name appeared in newspapers in Italy?  And why would he spare only 30 minutes of his time and act cold toward her?

Ms. Faliva's letter raises three chilling scenarios:  Did someone kill Mr. Faliva and throw him into the sea?  Did he escape from attackers by jumping overboard, hoping to survive the fall?  The family also raised the ghastly scenario - did someone wanting him to vanish place him into one of the two incinerators located on decks 1 and 2?

This family is approaching 40 days since they learned their son and brother vanished into nothing.  They have just that, nothing, from the cruise line so far.   

Ms. Faliva expresses her family's desire not to lose hope - but not at the expenses of not knowing the truth.  They are displeased - and so should the public reading this story.

For those passengers and crew members on the Coral Princess during this cruise who may know something - speak out, contact the family, the FBI, and the newspapers in Italy covering this important story. 

 Don't let this case be another unexplained mystery.

 

 

 

If you wish to receive articles like this via email, please type your email address in the box to the left or sign up to receive a RSS feed.

Credits:

Photograph of Mr. Faliva in the galley       Italian newspaper Gialli

Coral Princess cruise ship      Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer of the DailyBreeze.com

Mr. Faliva                 msn.com/latinoamerica

Crew Member Missing from Princess Cruises' Coral Princess Cruise Ship

The Associated Press and an Italian newspaper are reporting that a crew member employed by Princess Cruises aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship "disappeared" on either November 25th or 26th. 

Angelo Faliva - Missing from Princess Cruises Coral Princess Cruise ShipThe AP article is entitled "Italian Chef Missing at Sea on Caribbean Cruise."

The Italian newspaper Leggo Cronaca's article is entitled "GIALLO SU NAVE DA CROCIERA SCOMPARE CUOCO ITALIANO." (Italian Chef Disappears on Cruise Ship.)

The Princess Cruises crew member is identified as Angelo Faliva, age 31.  Mr. Faliva is employed by the cruise line as a sous chef. 

Conflicting Accounts of When & Where Crew Member "Disappeared"  

The AP reports that there are different accounts regarding when and where crew member Faliva was last seen as the Coral Princess sailed from Aruba to Cartagena, Colombia, between Nov. 25 and 26.

Princess Cruises PR person Julie Benson said Faliva was last seen on a deck at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, when he spoke with another crew member as the ship neared Cartagena.

According to the AP, Mr. Faliva's family said they had been told that he had unexpectedly walked out of the ship's galley at about 8:15 p.m. the night before, while he was working the dinner shift, and Angela Faliva Princess Cruises - Coral Princessnever returned and hadn't been seen since.

The Faliva family said it was alerted Thursday that he had been reported missing and that a life preserver was also missing, with its nighttime illumination flares torn off and left aboard the ship.

"He surely didn't jump off. It wasn't suicide," his sister Chiara Faliva told the AP from the family's home in Cremona. "We think there was an accident or a homicide."

The Coral Princess left South Florida November 23rd and will arrive in Los Angeles on December  7th at which time the FBI may board the cruise ship.

No Information From Cruise Line PR Department

As expected, Princess PR department claims that Mr. Faliva's cabin had been sealed and the cruise ship was searched.  Princess Cruises also claims that it reviewed the closed circuit television ("CCTV") footage but there is no video of a crew member going overboard.

Julie Benson - Princess PR Department"Obviously, we're very concerned," Princess' PR representative Julie Benson (left) said. "This is highly unusual and clearly we are concerned for his safety. It very well may be that he went overboard, but we don't know that for a fact."

The AP reports that the commander of the Colombian Coast Guard station in Cartagena, Lt. Javier Sanchez, said officials there received a report from the Coral Princess at 10 a.m. Thursday that one of the cooks had last been seen the night before between 7-8 p.m. when the ship was navigating Colombian waters near La Guajira.

But like the Princess spokeswoman, he too said the Coast Guard received word from the ship later Thursday that a person had seen the chef at about 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

Crew Member Employed Since 2006

According to the AP, Mr. Faliva's sister said her brother had been working for Princess Cruises since 2006 and that this was his third six-month tour with the line. He was a sous chef in the ship's Princess Cruises' - Angelo Favila Missing from Coral Princess Italian restaurant "Sabatini's."

She said she had received an e-mail from her brother the day before he went missing, and he reported that everything was going well. She said the captain had told the family that her brother had last been seen in the kitchen preparing dinner.

"He left quickly without saying anything to anyone and left the kitchen," she said. "From that point on, they don't know anything."

Over 10 People "Disappear" from Cruise Ships a Year

Contrary to the comments by Princess Cruises' PR department, "missing" passengers and crew members are not "highly unusual."  Over 125 people have gone overboard in the last nine years, according to a Canadian Professor who tracks cruise "disappearances."  22 overboards have been documented for this year alone. The majority of the disappearances have been from the Carnival owned cruise ships. Princess is owned by cruise giant Carnival Corporation.

One of the problems with "disappearances" of passengers and crew members is that the FBI does not board the cruise ship until the end of the cruise.  This leaves preservation of the Bridge Cam - Coral Princess - Princess Cruises - Missing Crew Member scene of the disappearance to the cruise lines, which are often motivated by their own legal interests and marketing image.  

Why No CCTV Images?

There is often an issue why the cruise lines are unable to locate CCTV images of the missing crew member or passenger. Mr. Faliva should have been recorded walking in and around the cruise ship and, if he went overboard, on the deck.  The technology has long existed to record passenger and crew overboards. 

There is also technology available for the bridge to be notified when there is an overboard situation on a cruise ship.  We have written about this technology in a prior blog " Update on Missing Passenger From Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess."     

This cruise ship has a web cam for entertainment purposes for the public, such as the image recorded today from Coral Princess' bridge cam at 2:00 p.m. (Los Angeles time).  Princess Cruises has not offered an explanation regarding how someone can "disappear" without a trace of evidence.  

The Falavi family deserves an explanation regarding what CCTV images exist of their brother and son on the cruise ship.  They should also receive the statements from the security personnel and other crew members regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr. Falavi's disappearance.

We have written about cruise "disappearances" in the past.  For example "Suicide" - One of the Cruise Lines' Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.  There is often a tendency of the cruise lines' PR departments to blame the passenger or crew member for going overboard before law enforcement concludes an investigation.      

For those readers who speak Italian, there is also an audio portion of a news report regarding this story.  Recent newspapers from Italy contain additional photographs of the missing crew member, Mr. Faliva, shown here at the stern of the Coral Princess:

Angelo Faliva - Missing - Coral Princess, Princess Cruises

 

Credits:

Mr. Faliva (top)        Falavi Family via Leggo Cronaca newspaper, Italy 

Coral Princess Logo       Brad Graverson / Staff Photographer of the DailyBreeze.com 

Princess PR representative Julie Benson    Twitter @JulieBenson

Coral Princess        Barbara Bagnell (via National Post)

Bridge Cam     Princess Cruises Coral Princess

Mr. Faliva (bottom)           Falavi Family via IlTempo.it