A Disney crew member is heading toward trial in Miami-Dade County on multiple criminal charges that he engaged in lewd and lascivious molestation of a ten year old child aboard the Disney Magic.

The Miami-Dade County Police Department arrested 24 year old Oliver Lovatt on allegation that he sexually molested a young boy in the “Oceaneer Kids Lab” aboard the Disney Magic last April.

The Miami Herald reports that “Lovatt blindfolded a 10-year-old boy and spun him around several times as part of a game. It was at that time he ‘fondled the victim’s penis outside of the clothing,’ according to a Miami-Dade police arrest report. The boy also told police that the Disney youth counselor sat next to him while he was playing a game building a house of cards.  When Lovatt reportedly moved his hand towards the child, the boy covered his genitals, fearing he’d be fondled again.

Lovatt is from Manchester, Britain where he excelled in acting, dancing and singing in his youth.

The Herald also reported that the molestation was captured by surveillance cameras and Lovatt confessed to police that he fondled the child.

The criminal trial of Lovatt (photo right, before he began working for Disney) is scheduled to begin in two weeks on Octobeer 28, 2019 before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson. Althought the incident occurred in April, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is just now asking the public whether “there are any other victims out there.” (Anyone with information can call the Miami-Dade Special Victims Bureau at 305-715-3300). There appears to be no efforts to date by Disney to inform families who traveled on the Disney Magic of the pedophile tendencies of its employee, and ask the parents to be on the look out for signs of sexual abuse after their cruises.

Around one-third of sexual assault victims on cruise ships are reportedly minors. And there have been many reported sexual assaults of victims on cruise ships operated by Disney Cruises, which obviously caters to children.

Here are some examples of prior cases where children were attacked during cruises on Disney cruises:

In December of 2015, a 31 year old crew member was arrested for molesting  an 11-year-old girl. The crime also occured aboard the Disney Magic. The Miami-Dade police detained the crew member when it returned to the port of Miami, where he  confessed to the crime. He was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a minor and sentenced to jail.  We are representing the child and her parents in a claim against Disney.

In 2014, a a 33 year-old Disney waiter molested an 11 year-old girl aboard the Disney Dream at the port of Cape Canaveral. The staff captain of the ship reportedly ordered a security officer to “keep her mouth shut” after she investigated the sexual assault of the child. Disney then sailed the ship and the perpetrator out of the jurisdiction and flew him back to his home in India from the next port (Nassau).

The security officer said that she felt like Disney tried to sweep the crime under the carpet, partly because the little girl and her grandmother were Brazilian. “Disney wouldn’t have got away with it if they were Americans,” she said. Read more here: Did Disney Cruise Lines Cover Up Sexual Molestation of 11 Year Old Girl on Disney Dream?

We created a Facebook photo album of images from the investigation which was aired by WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando, which you can see here.

A 24 year old passenger was indicted in 2010 for sexually  abusing a 13 year old girl on the Disney Wonder.  The girl attended a program at the cruise ship’s teen club with other girls. The adult passenger approached the girls, claiming to be an employee of the cruise line, and told them to return to their rooms. He instructed the child in question to follow him because he was allegedly a security officer with the cruise ship.  When they reached an area where no other people were around, he then assaulted the girl. A federal district court sentenced the passenger to 46 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution.

We also suggest reading: Denial, Skepticism Plague Sexual Assaults Against Passengers on Cruises.

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Photographs / screengrab: Miami Dade Police Department (top); Vimeo – Oliver Lovatt (middle); WKMG (bottom).

The United States Coast Guard medevaced an ill crew member Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8th,  from the Norwegian Joy, approximately 30 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon.

The 61-year-old Filipino man reportedly was suffering heart complications.

The Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship contacted the 13th Coast Guard District Command Center around 12:40 p.m. that the crew member needed to be medically evacuated from the cruise ship. The Coast Guard dispatched a North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter around 1:36 p.m. The helicopter arrived on scene with the Norwegian Joy at 2:04 p.m. and hoisted the man onto the helicopter from the ship. The helicopter flew to the North Bend Air Base at 3:15 p.m. and transferred the patient to Life Flight Network which, in turn, flew him to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Springfield, Oregon for further care. This was the third medevac within 24 hours from a cruise ship.

 

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

Video credit: Video by Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read U.S. Coast Guard District 13 via Defense Visual Information Distribution Services (DVIDS).

Last night, October 8, 2019, the Coast Guard of New Zealand dispatched a helicopter to the Celebrity Solstice to medevac a crew member who needed to be hospitalized.

The Solstice had departed the Bay of Islands at about 5:30 in the afternoon. After two hours, the captain reportedly announced that he had reduced the speed of the ship to around 5 knotts while waiting for the helicopter to arrive. The helicopter landed on the ship’s heliport, and picked the crew member up. The helicopter departed the ship around 8:30 pm and flew the crew member to a hospital in Auckland, following which the Celebrity cruise ship sailed toward Sydney, Australia.

There is no public information whether the crew member was injured or had become ill.

The Celebrity Solstice has previously sailed from Honolulu (Oahu), Hawaii on September 23rd, Lahaina (Maui), Hawaii on September 24th, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia on September 30th, Bora Bora, French Polynesia on October 1st and Auckland, New Zealand on October 7th. The last port of Bay of Islands, New Zealand was the last port before the medevac.

This was the third medevac from a cruise ship in a 24 hour period. A young man (passenger) was medevaced from the Carnival Valor which was sailing just south of New Orleans on Tuesday. The cruise guest had been seriously injured after falling around 15-16 feet. Also a crew member suffering from a heart ailment was medevaced from the Norwegian Joy yesterday afternoon off of the coast of Oregon.

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Photo credit: Celebrity Solstice – Aah-Yeah -CC BY 2.0, commons/wikimedia.

The United States Coast Guard medevaced a twenty-three year old passenger from the Carnival Valor yesterday morning according to multiple news accounts.

WKRG-New Orleans reports that the Coast Guard medevaced the male passenger from the Carnival cruise ship just off the coast of Venice, Louisiana early Tuesday morning.

The Coast Guard station in New Orleans received a request around 1:14 a.m. for the medevac of a 23-year-old man with “multiple significant injuries” after he fell a distance of around 15-16 feet aboard the cruise ship.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from New Orleans was sent to medevac the injured young man.

There currently is no public information regarding how or where the guest fell on the cruise ship. Nola.com states that “the man fell on deck and did not go in the water, according to Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen. Gulliksen didn’t have any other details about how the man fell.”

The helicopter arrived at the of the Canival Valor around 5:45 a.m., hoisted the man, and transported him to New Orleans University Medical Hospital, whee he arrived in critical condition. You can watch the video of the medevac here.

The Carnival Valor departed New Orleans on October 7th heading for Cozumel, and then Progreso, Mexico, and returning to New Orleans on October 12th.

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October 9, 2019 Update: FOX-8 News in New Orleans reports that the man was on his honeymoon and fell “almost 20 feet. . . from an interior balcony onto the deck” of the cruise shop.

October 10, 2019 Update: The U.K. tabloids report that the passenger fell from a balcony in the interior of the ship from the 14th deck to deck 10. He was reportedly on his honeymoon and they had “enjoying their unlimited drinks package throughout the day, before the incident occurred.”

Video/photo credit: Video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sydney Phoenix U.S. Coast Guard District 8 via Defense Visual Information Distribution System (DIVDS).

Two Celebrity crew members apparently jumped from the Celebrity Summit cruise ship earlier this week. Canadian fire-rescue and coast guard departments rescued them both from the cold Saint Lawrence River.

Several newspapers reported that the crew menbers apparently jumped into the river in Quebec City early on  Monday morning. Le Soleil newspaper reported that the fiirst crew member, a 27 year old man, jumped into the river from the Celebrity Summit cruise ship, which had been moored at the Port of Quebec since Sunday. The incident occurred around 5:40 a.m., and the crew member was sighted by patrolmen from the Port of Quebec near the cruise terminal. A patrol officer went down the quay ladder, and rescued the ship employee.

The temperature of the river was reportedly about 13 ° celsius and the crew member was hypothermic when rescued.

The Canadian Coast Guard rescued the second crew member, a 36 year old man, around 7 a.m. after he drifted with the current around 5 kilometers down the river.  He also suffered from hypothermia.

Both men were taken to the hospital after they were rescued. According to TVA Nouvelles, the men are believed to be from Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates. It is believed that they may have attempted to immigrate into Canada illegally.

It seems probable that these crew members were not permitted to leave the cruise ship at this port of call and made a decision to literally “jump ship” while the ship was still in port. The Summit left Quebec City later that Monday afternoon. It is unknown whether the cruise line returned the employees to the ship or whether the men remained in the hospital with the intention of flying them back to their respetcive counties when they were released from medical care.

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Photo credit: The Sun, Patrice LaRoche via Le Soleil.

A passenger went overboard from the MSC Divina late last week, according to a passenger who reported the incident to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein who operates the popular CruiseJunkie web site.

The passenger stated “Last week we were on the MSC Divina and there a person went overboard. Around 6 in the morning the signal man overboard woke up the entire boat. We were on our way to Valencia.  The boat turned around and about an our later the man (or woman) was found!”

The passenger referred to a video (apparently taken by an Italian passenger) on YouTube showing the rescue (bottom).

Another passenger reported on Twitter that a man jumped overboard and was rescued around 90 minutes later:

There have been at least 351 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000. Dr. Klein’s data further indicates that a least 16 passengers and crew members have gone overboard from MSC cruise ships in the last 13 years. An average of  over 22 people disappear each year from cruise ships and only 13.8% are saved.

The last passenger who went overboard from another MSC cruise ship, the MSC Meravigliathis past July was quickly rescued, although she later died in a hospital.

The MSC Meraviglia is one of the few cruise lines in the world which has implemented a state of the art automatic man overboard system. As I explained shortly after the MSC Meraviglia first was launched, MSC Cruises developed an “intelligent video capturing and analysis system” in collaboration with security technology experts, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. MSC Cruises tested the new man overboard system on the company’s newest ship which debuted in June of 2017. MSC reported that “through over 25,000 hours of video analysis, extensive software testing and continuous algorithmic updates, the system has now reached a confirmed accuracy level of 97%.”

The man overboard data and images are analysed by two separate and independent image processing systems which significantly lower false alerts. Once the alarm is activated in case of an overboard, an acoustic signal and light will notify the ship’s security officer, in a central security room, who can immediately retrieve and review the images and data and immediately notify the bridge to begin rescue efforts, according to the Seatrade magazine.

MSC did not attribute the rescue of the overboard woman from the MSC Meraviglia directly to the success of its new overboard system. However, it released a statement to a German newspaper stating: “Our ship’s security systems and ship’s command responded promptly, effectively and appropriately.” The newspaper continued by reporting that “within minutes, the ship had changed its route and returned to where the incident occurred.”

Read: MSC Cruises Implements New Man Overboard System Amidst Industry Delays.

MSC claimed in 2017 that it would begin to retrofit the rest of its fleet of cruise ships with automatic man overboard systems. It is unknown whether MSC has retrofitted the MSC Divina with such a system.

Unfortunately, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) does not mandate the use of such technology. Trade organizations, like the Cruise Line International Organization (CLIA), unreasonably resists the move toward this life-saving technology, citing a myriad of excuses (alleging the cost and unreliability of the technology) which are belied by the success of the systems which are available on the market today.

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Video credits: Top, middle – Vickie Stephens – Twitter; bottom – cristaldust – YouTube.

A former Royal Caribbean employee, identified as someone who previously “ran children’s programs for Royal Caribbean International,” has been charged with multiple sexual crimes against a 12 year old boy, according to several newspapers.

Andrew Meeks, age 35, a fourth-grade school teacher in Wisconsin, who is on a forced leave of absence during a police investigation, made his initial appearance in criminal court earlier last week after being accused of sexually assaulting a child.

The criminal complaint filed against Meeks alleges four felony sexual crimes:

  • sexual assault of a child,
  • child enticement,
  • causing mental harm to a child, and
  • exposing a child to harmful descriptions.

The case arises out of the alleged conduct of Meeks while he was a fourth grade teacher in McFarland, Wisconsin over the last year.  Meeks allegedly “inappropriately touched the student against the boy’s wishes, constantly talked about sex, and taught the 12-year-old boy how to find pornography on his phone and hide it from the student’s mother.”  The Wisconsin State Journal also reported that Meeks tried to teach him about certain sex acts and masturbation techniques. “The boy said Meeks also told him he believed the boy is gay and encouraged him to ‘come out.’ The boy said he insisted he is not gay, but said Meeks forced him to say he was.” There reportedly were several thousands of text messages between Meeks and the minor.

Meeks reportedly faces a sentence of more than 100 years if convicted.

HNG News outlined Meeks’ prior employment as centering around children. He previously worked as a YMCA camp counselor and taught children in Korea. Upon his return to the United States, he reportedly ran the children’s programs at Royal Caribbean and then began teaching children in Wisconsin among other jobs teaching.

The news reports state that Meeks has no criminal record in Wisconsin. There is no evidence that he committed a crime or acted inappropriately while working for Royal Caribbean. It is less than exactly clear when Meeks worked and what he did for the cruise line.

It is disturbing that someone with an alleged history of sexually abusing a minor like this would have been responble for running Royal Caribbean’s youth activities program. Unless caught by parents, employers and/or the police, pedophiles will spend their lifetimes positioning themselves to have access to children to prey upon.

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

Photo credit: Top – HNG News / McFarland Thistle; middle – Ed Treleven Wisconsin State Journal.

 

A 35 year-old crew member from India reportedly died after going overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which was calling on a Croatian port four days ago.

On September 22, 2019, Mansley Pereira, who was employed as a waiter by the Miami-based cruise line, went overboard while the Rhapsody of the Seas was in the port of Dubrovnik.

Several friends of Mr. Pereira contacted Cruise Law News inquiring into the details of his death.

They supplied several photographs and videos of a rescue boat responding to the man overboard situation, as well as a photo and video of a dozen of other crew members who positioned themselves on the adjacent pier trying to rescue Mr. Pereira.

A portion of a video was posted on Twitter, after other crew members pulled Mr. Pereira onto the rescue vessel. Once on the rescue boat, Mr. Pereira is shown on the video with  what appears to be at least one other crew member giving him chest compressions.

We are not showing the entire video which shows the crew of the rescue boat pulling Mr. Pereira into the boat, as it is graphic.

The photograph to the right appears to show passengers and other crew members looking over the side of the cruise ship as the rescue/recovery efforts were underway at the port in Croatia.

Mr. Pereira lived in the village of Chinchinimn in Southwest Goa, India. He is married with two young children. He is survived by his parents and brother and related family members and inlaws. He reportedly spoke to his family by telephone earlier on the day of his death, appearing to them to be in good spirits. The local newspaper indicates that his family disputes that Mr. Pereira decided to end his own life.

To our knowledge, there is no video or CCTV of Mr. Pereira going overboard. We are not aware of any eye-witnesses to him going overboard.

A newspaper in India, the Herald in Goa, reported that Mr. Pereira was a seaman for several years. His employer, Royal Caribbean, claims that “Mansley committed suicide by jumping into the sea.”

Several dozens of Royal Caribbean ship employees have gone overboard over the past ten years. A couple of year ago, I wrote about the problem of crew members going missing from Royal Caribbean cruise ships without explanation. During a period of less than four years between 2009 and 2013, at least thirteen crew members went over the rails of Royal Caribbean (and Celebrity) ships, including the Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas (twice), Radiance of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas. Oasis of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Summit, and Monarch of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas (two). Most of these cases were never investigated by the flag state, which, it seems, could not care less.

The majority of the crew members appeared to have ended their lifes intentionally and/or they disappeared mysteriously.  A  Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Majesty of the Seas in January of this year.

A young Celebrity Cruises officer hung himself on the Celebrity Millennium, on December 6, 2018.

Another Royal Caribbean crew member, a performer, age 20, of the United Kingdom, went overboard from the Harmony of the Seas the day after Christmas of 2018.

A Royal Caribbean crew member disappeared from the Adventure of the Seas at the end of November of last year.

A crew member went overboard from the Celebrity Reflection in October of 2018.

A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard in an apparent suicide from the Vision of the Seas in December of 2017.

A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Liberty of the Seas in April of 2017.

A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Independence of the Seas in August of 2014,

A Celebrity crew member disappeared at sea from the Celebrity Constellation in January of 2014.

In total, at least twnty-two (22) crew members went overboard from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships in the ten year period from 2009 to the present. Most cases involve suicides. Yet, Royal Caribbean does not employ mental health counselors on its fleet of cruise ships.

The Rhapsody of the Seas is near the end of a seven days cruise. It departed on September 21st from Venice, Italy and arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 22nd.  The ship subsequently sailed to Kotor, Montenagro and arrived in Santorini, Greece yesterday. It will call on Katakolon, Greece today and return to Venice on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

If you have information regarding the circumstances of Mr. Pereira’s death, please contact us. We will place you in contact with Mr. Pereira’s family and/or friends.

Send your respects and/or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo/video credit: Top – Mayurdatt Shanti Vassudev Lotlikar; middle and bottom – anonymous friends of Mansley Pereira.

A fire broke out on the morning of Friday, September 20, 2019 on the Carnival Legend while the cruise ship was sailing into Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, according to Crew Center. The popular cruise related website stated that the master of the ship made an announcement around 7:15 a.m.  for firefighting teams to respond to the engine room 5 vertical stack 2.

A cruise passenger mentioned the fire to Carnival’s head cruise director and brand ambassador John Heald:

Hi John, we are currently enjoying our Journeys cruise on the Legend. This morning we were awoken by an announcement to…

Posted by Melissa Stalley Bennett on Friday, September 20, 2019

 

Notwithstanding the positive spin on the report, there is no such thing as a “small fire” on a cruise ship.  All fires present an obvious danger to the passengers and crew.

The deadly Star Princess in 2006 started from a smoldering towel on a passenger balcony caused by a cigarette.

The best known engine room fires involved Carnival ships, the Carnival Splendor in 2010 and the Carnival Triumph (a/k/a the infamous “poop cruise”) in 2013. The engine room fires disabled both cruise ships which had to be towed back to the U.S.

The last engine room fire involving a Carnival cruise ship involved the Carnival Sensation in February of this year.  Carnival, which inevitably calls fires on its ships “small” and “quickly extinguished,” denied that a fire even occured. It claimed that this was just a “smokeless event,” notwithstanding accounts from passengers, including a news produer, that the fire created smoke “so thick you could not see.” Read Smoke But No Fire on the Carnival Sensation?

There have been other instances where cruise passengers reported that a fire occurred during a cruise which Carnival denied, including a fire reported on the Carnival Pride in 2015.  I call this the “smoke but no fire” excuse.  Carnival tried to convince the passengers after a fire broke out on the Carnival Splendor in 2000 that what they smelled was just a “flameless fire.” You can hear “there’s-smoke-but-no-flames-or-fire” characterization on this announcement recorded on this YouTube video of the Splendor fire which disabled the ship.

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Update: Carnival released the following statement:

“Friday while in Alaska, Carnival Legend experienced a small fire in the engine room that was quickly extinguished by the fire suppression system and the ship’s team.  Guests and crew were not affected.  The incident did not impact the ship’s itinerary and it is continuing on its 9-day cruise as scheduled.  Carnival Legend departed Vancouver on Tuesday, Sept. 17.”

Travelling with Bruce, a fast growing Facebook-based web page, reported on the fire on its page:

Photo Credit: Carnival Legend in Alaska – Carnival Cruise Line

This weekend was the ten year anniversary of this blog. The first day of publishing Cruise Law News was September 15, 2009.

Over the last decade, I’ve published 3,075 articles about cruise ship related issues.  An average of over two million people read around two million pages of Cruise Law News a year.  It is the most widely read legal blog in the world published by a full time lawyer, with an Alexa ranking of 110,000.

My blog led to the Cruise Law twitter feed, @CruiseLaw, which we started in February of 2012. Later, we began our popular Facebook page in December of 2012.

There are currently 266,432 subscribers to this blog and/or people who follow Cruise Law on Twitter or follow us on our Facebook page.

The motto of this blog is “everything cruise lines don’t want you to know.” Like cruise lines overworking and underpaying crew members while avoiding taxes and U.S. wage and labor laws.  Like cruise ships throwing bags filled with oily rags overboard or crew members being instructed to hide dirty pots and pans and trollies full of food in the crew member cabins and hallways. I write about issues which cruise lines and travel agents prefer that the public not know about.

If your prefer looking at glossy photographs of romatic trips to the Caribbean or reading puff pieces about dream cruise vacations, Cruise Law News is not for you.

Thank you for reading Cruise Law News and following us on Twitter and Facebook! I remember the first article which I wrote a decade ago which was read by less than 100 people.  I owe the success of this blog to the readers that have supported me over these many years.

We depend on crew members and the cruising public to send us information regarding what is really going on.  If you have news about unsafe conditions facing passengers and crew members or other issues of concern to you, like cruise ship pollution, we’d like to hear from you. Unless you instruct us otherwise, we keep all sources of information confidential and anonymous.

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

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