Passenger Missing from Queen Mary 2?

Queen Mary 2This morning, a crew member from the Queen Mary 2 sent this message from the ship: "Missing woman on QM2. No details yet. Ship turned around and Coast Guard alerted."

The QM2 is on a voyage out of New York heading to the Caribbean (St. Maarten). AIS programs show the ship is sailing north, retracing its path.  The crew member states that the ship turned around around 8:00 A.M. this morning.

Yesterday, a young man went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas.  There have been 283 overboards from cruise ships since 2000.

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

Update:  BBC News is covering the story.

Sky News identifies the missing passenger as a 74 year old British woman.

Photo credit: Brian Burnell with permission was uploaded to Commons by George Hutchinson; CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

Queen Mary 2 AIS

Chile Asserts Juridiction Over QM2 Following Crew Member Disappearance

Last year, crew members aboard the Cunard QM2 notified me that while the Cunard cruise ship was between Southampton and New York, a 26-year-old chef, whose name I later learned was Favio Onate, disappeared in the early hours of August 15, 2015.  I wrote a short article Cunard Crew Member Lost at Sea, which was short on details but contained many comments from his co-employees who spoke highly of the young chef who perished at sea that foggy morning.

Later it was revealed from comments from crew members that Favio had been observed drinking but had been put to bed in his cabin. However, Favio was not seen by the ship doctor nor supervised by ship security. He later left his cabin and went to an open deck where he acted erratically and allegedly went overboard. 

FavioOnate QM2 Cruise Disappearance269 people have gone overboard since 2000. A small number are rescued but the majority are not and their bodies are not recovered.

Cruise lines, I have found, do a poor job of notifying the surviving family members of the devastating news of a missing loved one. They often delay. Many times family member first learn of the loss of their loved ones from newspapers or on social media. Cruise lines don't provide basic information. They seem to think that they have the right to suppress the information that the family members desperately need in order to understand what happened and try to come to terms of what happened.

From the perspective of the families, cruise lines do an even poorer job investigating the circumstances surrounding the person's disappearance at sea. Cruise line investigations are often managed by the cruise line's legal and risk management departments which appear more interested in protecting the legal interests and image of the cruise industry.  

Cruise lines often quickly blame the overboard person, thus stopping any legitimate investigation once they have affixed a label of "suicide at sea" on the nightmare. Investigating authorities at the next port are often to quick to adopt the conclusions reached by the cruise line and rarely conduct investigations which can be called either independent or comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination.

Many people commenting on social media are quick to say that it is impossible to fall off a cruise ship. They are often quick to hurl insults attacking the intelligence of those lost at sea. But these people don't ask intelligent questions themselves inquiring into the working conditions on the ships or other factors which may have led the crew members to go over the rails or the apparent lack of medical and HR resources which could help people suffering from emotional issues on the high seas.

All of this results in the surviving families feeling cheated by the cruise lines which are often, and rightfully, accused of engaging in a cover up of the truth.  Cruise lines never permit their employees to answer questions regarding what happened or release reports from the ship and often refuse to produce the last CCTV images of the person connected with his or her disappearance.  

This is what Favio's family and cousins apparently felt after they could not obtain information regarding the details of what happened to Favio. News accounts say that Cunard claims to have been in regular contact with Favio's family. The cruise line says that it arranged for "a trip for his parents and sister to the UK to receive information about the circumstances surrounding the incident." When cruise lines communicate with family members, the information is often conclusory and without an explanation of the details of what happened on the ship. Favio's family were not satisfied and filed a legal request to inspect the QM2 when it arrived in a port in Chile and take statements from the vessel's captain and crew members. Fox News Latino reports that the judiciary in Chile, where Favio is from, issued a warrant on Tuesday for police to search the QM2, which docked on Wednesday in port of Valparaiso. 

The Fox news source say that the legal procedure will seek to "locate, individualize, and take depositions" from the captain and any witnesses among the crew who "saw or knew anything about the incident under investigation." The newspaper also said that the "police will check out the cruise ship's security cameras, make a photographic record of the scene of the incident, and carry out a . . . examination of the cabin where the chef slept and of the elevators, decks, cabins and restrooms used by the staff.

The Daily Mail added that the police seized the relevant CCTV images and forensic experts inspected the chef's cabin and deck where he went overboard.

The family held a demonstration at the port with huge banners which read: "Justice for Favio" (video) with friends handing out pamphlets in different languages in order to show the passengers that the friends and family "still have doubts and very little information about Favio's disappearance."

A number of radio and television stations covered the spectacle in Chile.

Its a sad commentary on how Cunard treated Favio's family to have to seek legal intervention for George Smith Disappearancepolice and prosecutors to board the QM2 to basic information regarding the circumstances surrounding Favio's last moments.

The highly publicized court-ordered vessel inspection reminds me of the investigation and vessel inspection of the Brilliance of the Seas which we conducted following the disappearance of George Smith III back in July of 2005. After not receiving adequate information from Royal Caribbean, we hired forensic scientist Henry Lee and boarded the cruise ship with a team of seven forensic experts, videographers and detectives when the ship ported in Miami in December 2005. 

Over ten years later, cruise lines continue to withhold information from grieving families who are forced to board the cruise ship with police officers to try and find out what happened to their missing loved ones.

Photo Credit: Reseg

Small Fire, Pod Failure on QM2

small fire reportedly broke out in the gas turbine exhaust of the QM2 on December 12th. It was quickly extinguished although the cruise ship temporarily lost power.

One of the cruise ship pods also malfunctioned and the ship was briefly delayed in Lisbon to address this problem. 

The QM2 is headed now back to the U.K. and on Tuesday, June 15th will be headed on a trans-Atlantic voyage to New York.  

Photo Credit: "Queen Mary 2 outbound from Southampton 2 Sept 2013" photographed by Brian Burnell with permission was uploaded to Commons by George Hutchinson.Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons / Wikipedia. 

QM2 Ocean Liner

Cunard Crew Member Lost at Sea

A crew member reportedly disappeared from the Queen Mary II as the cruise ship was in transit across the Atlantic Ocean.

A person on the cruise ship who wishes to remain anonymous contacted me this morning to report that a crew member went overboard early this morning. The crew member apparently was not seen when he went overboard and the ship does not have an automatic man overboard system.  The cruise ship turned around to search for the man who went overboard many hours ago. The captain Kevin Oprey announced the overboard incident to the passengers.

The weather is bad with reports of fog as the search continues. The QM2 is sailing between Southampton and Halifax. 

The crew member is reportedly a male chef from Chile.

17 people have gone overboard from cruise ships so far this year

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Photo Credit: Christian Bischof licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 via Wikipedia

Queen Mary 2

Cunard's QM 2 is Latest Cruise Ship to Sicken Passengers with Norovirus

Queen Mary 2 - QM 2 Cruise ShipCunard's Queen Mary 2 is in the news with reports that over 150 passengers have been stricken with norovirus as the cruise ship sails on a thirteen night itinerary in the Caribbean from New York.

The Daily Mail states that 150 - 200 passengers have fallen ill with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

There were reportedly norovirus cases on board the cruise ship during the transatlantic crossing to New York. The Daily Mail suggests that the cruise ship may therefore not been properly cleaned prior to this latest cruise.

Some cruise passengers are debating all of this on the Cruise Critic message board with one person speculating that as many as 500 people may have been affected during the cruise.  Carnival, which owns Cunard, said that although 130 passengers were affected only 19 currently have "active symptoms." 

The Travel Mole publication suggests that Cunard has been playing down reports that "hundreds" of passengers have been hit by the virus.    

If you are on the cruise, please leave a comment about how the cruise line has handled the situation.

 

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Did Cunard Child Supervisor Molest Other Children During Cruises?

Earlier this week, we reported on the arrest of former Cunard child supervisor Paul Trotter on allegations that he abused a child and possessed indecent photographs of children on his computer.

The British police investigated Mr. Trotter (photo below, playing piano on Cunard cruise ship) after the parents of a child, identified only as being under the age of thirteen, brought the matter to the attention of authorities after the cruise.  The initial newspaper articles indication that Mr. Trotter worked aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth cruise ships, although one reader brought to my attention that he also worked aboard Cunard's Queen Victoria.

You can read our last article about Mr. Trotter here.

Cunard Cruise Children Activities Supervisor Paul TrotterThe disturbing thing with Mr. Trotter is that he reportedly worked for Cunard on various cruise ships over the course of five years.  The issue arises whether he allegedly molested other children during cruises. 

It is currently unknown whether Cunard terminated Mr. Trotter's employment or whether he voluntarily resigned.

Any expert in child sexual abuse will tell you that child predators are extremely manipulative and will position themselves to interact with children to satisfy their deviant sexual interests.  They cannot be cured.  They will abuse children again and again if given an opportunity.

It would be naive to think that any sexual predator, working for years and years with children, abused only one child and was promptly caught and prosecuted for that singular crime.  Although the police investigation resulted in an arrest on charges of abusing one child, we know that the British police announced that they are speaking with the families of other children in England who cruised with Cunard as well. 

We have been contacted by other families who cruised on Cunard asking for information on Mr. Trotter - what cruise ships did he work on and exactly when was he a child supervisor on these ships? 

We asked Cunard for this information.  We will update this article if we receive a response.

Certainly families who cruised with Cunard are entitled to know whether an alleged child predator was supervising their children during their cruises?

 February 16, 2012 Update:  Cunard's response is below:

"We are deeply shocked by these allegations as the safety and well being of our customers is of paramount importance to us.  A thorough police investigation is underway which we are supporting and co-operating with fully.  Given that the police inquiry is ongoing, we cannot comment any further or answer any questions at this stage.

What we can say is that we are working closely with the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK-based charity which specializes in supporting children and families to ensure that affected families and children are offered appropriate support.  Following these allegations being made, we also asked the NSPCC to conduct an independent comprehensive review of our facilities, policies and procedures.  This review is underway and we will be implementing any recommendations resulting from this review." 

April 20, 2012 Update:  Cunard Youth Supervisor Admits to Sexually Abusing 13 Boys During Cruises
 

Photo credit: stretch gp23 YouTube

Fire & Rough Weather Mar Queen Mary 2 Cruise

A fire broke out on the Queen Mary 2 Wednesday night.

Cruise Critic, which characterizes the fire as "small," explains that "fire was caused by one of QM2's gas turbines, which are situated below and behind the ship's funnel. They're used to augment power to the ship's main quartet of diesel turbines, allowing the ship to travel at a higher maximum speed  . . . "

Cunard issued a statement claiming that the fire was "immediately extinguished."  The Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Fire - Rough Seascruise line also claims that "neither passengers nor crew were adversely affected, and neither was the operation of the ship."

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website contains a reference to a post on Cruise Critic which provides a different perspective on the incident:

"A gas carbine in the engine room of the QM2 caught on fire this evening. Cunard staff were given a 90 minute warning in order to prepare to deploy the lifeboats. Guests had their children dropped off and their animals picked up from the kennels. Apparently it is now under control, but people are understandably shaken up."    

Last December, the QM2 suffered a major engine room incident - Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion.  

The QM2 will be arriving today in New York late due to what the cruise line describes as "high winds and active seas." 

It is a scary proposition that the Cunard cruise ship was contemplating the use of life boats in such rough weather.

It will be interesting to hear the first hand accounts of the QM2 cruise passengers once they disembark today from their transatlantic voyage.

If you were on the cruise and have comments, photos or video to share, please leave a comment below.

 

October 10, 2011 Update:  We are receiving some interesting and intelligent comments from a number of cruisers who were on the QM2.  Sounds like a bumpy ride and a fortunate ending to a potentially dangerous situation.  Here is a quote from a passenger who emailed me rather than leaving a comment:

"The biggest problem with the fire on the QM2 was its location. It was NOT as previously reported in an engine room, but in a gas turbine up on deck 12. The problem was this was an open deck and the winds were very strong that night. Yes the fire was minor but the risk was that it could have been spread by very high winds. In fact after the fire was contained, the captain announced that there would be an observation team on deck 12 all night as there were some burning embers.
We learned later that if the fire had not been contained we would have had to board lifeboats in very rough waters (20-25 ft seas). Many of the passengers were needing assistance when we tendered in calm seas, because of age and physical limitations, walkers, wheelchairs etc. At the time of the fire we were more than 250 nautical miles out to sea.  Just wanted to clear up a few facts. Thank you." 
  

 

Photo credit:  Wikipedia (Malis)   

Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion

A temporary power outage on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in September was caused by the "catastrophic failure of a capacitor and explosion in an 11kV harmonic filter" on the vessel, according to the U.K.'s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which issued a marine safety report yesterday.

On September 23rd, the Queen Mary 2 was approaching Barcelona early in the morning when the vessel lost lights and power, causing the cruise ship to drift off of the coast of Spain.  No Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Explosion - Blown Out Doorexplanation for the power failure was provided by the Captain or the cruise line.

There are excellent articles regarding this incident published today by Cruise Critic - "Power Outage on QM2 Found to Be Result of Explosion" and another by Gene Sloan's CruiseLog - "Safety officials issue warning after explosion on Cunard's Queen Mary 2:" 

The explosion near one of QM2's main electric switchboard rooms (photo below) when a capacitor failed and leaking oil sprayed onto high voltage bars, causing a "major arc flash event. The explosion blew the steel door to the room out of its frame! (photo, left)  "The blast ... also caused serious damage to an adjoining steel door into the main switchboard room, the stiffeners on the bulkhead of the compartment were buckled, and the steel cover plate on a cross-flooding duct was blown out into the main switchboard room," the report says.  "Fortunately there were no personnel in the vicinity."

The reporting of this latest incident raises the issue of the safety of foreign flagged cruise ships, and comes after a string of recent disturbing mishaps.

Yesterday, we reported on Passengers Poisoned By Gas On Princess Cruise Ship

Earlier in the week, the negligence of Holland America Line permitted a drunk passenger to enter a restricted area and drop an anchor as the cruise ship was underway - Drunk Passenger Drops Cruise Ship Anchor

Last week, a passenger died on the Carnival Splendor under mysterious circumstances and Carnival added to the mystery by issuing a terse and questionable statement that the death was "medical related" notwithstanding a small army of FBI agents spending the day in the cabin and leaving with bags of evidence - Death on a Fun Ship: What Really Happened on the Carnival Liberty?

And two weeks ago, the cruise industry faced the spectacle of what an engine room fire can due to a new mega ship as the disabled Carnival Splendor drifted around off of the coast of Mexico for the better part of what seemed like forever.       

But the cruise industry will never admit that it has a safety problem.  Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises (USA) and chairman of the marketing committee for CLIA, disagreed with me yesterday in an article about cruise safety issues in Cruise Critic.  Sasso said "I challenge people to measure the cruise industry's safety record against any other industry  .  .  .  Any critic that says cruises are unsafe -- sorry, it's just B.S."  

Right out of the horse's mouth.

Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Explosion

 

Credit:  maib.gov.uk (via Cruise Log)