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The Italian news agency ANSA and public broadcaster RAI reported this morning that a passenger from Hong Kong on the Costa Smeralda has been found to be showing symptoms (a fever) of what is suspected to be coronavirus. CNN reports that the 54 year old woman and her husband are now were being kept separately in solitary confinement on the Carnival Corporation-owned Costa cruise ship.

The Guardian reports that “more than 6,000 people have been prevented from disembarking from a cruise ship in the Italian port city of Civitavecchia after the liner was placed on lockdown over two suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus.”

The passenger flew on January 25th from Hong Kong with her husband to Milan, Italy and then traveled to Savona where they boarded the Costa Smeralda on January 26th and sailed to Barcelona and Palma on January 27th/28th. The ship called on Civitavecchia today.

A person infected with coronavirus can spread the spread the disease to others even though they feel well and are not exhibiting any symptoms.  British epidemiologists are expecting  infections to explode to 190,000 cases by as early as next week, according to the Washington Post.

Yesterday, we reported that several cruise lines are still refusing to cancel cruise to China and refund cruises, including Celebrity Cruises (Celebrity Millennium), Seabourn Cruises (Seabourn Ovation), NCL (Norwegian Jade) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises  (Seven Seas Voyager). 

The incubation period of the virus is reportedly 10-14 days. So it is virtually impossible to screen thousands of passengers who may board a cruise ship during embarkation.

The exponential explosion of the virus is causing cruise lines to lose many millions of dollars in profits. A equity manager recently told Yahoo Finance that every cancellation of a cruise is causing a loss of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 in revenue. The mantra of “your health and safety is our highest priority” which cruise lines tell concerned customers wishing to cancel upcoming cruises seems dubious. Many cruise lines which refused refunds have seem mostly guided by efforts to maintain their profits rather than a genuine concern for the health of either their passengers or crew members.

Are you aware of any cruise ships which are still scheduled to cruise to Hong Kong or a port in mainland China?

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

Update: Numerous people on Twitter are saying that the preliminary coronavirus tests on the two cruise passengers are negative. But I have not seen any “official” reports so far . . .

Photo credit: HenSti –  CC BY-SA 4.0

Several major cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruises, are refusing to cancel voyages which call on ports in China as concerns grow about the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The New York Times published an article this morning that Hong Kong has restricted travel from mainland China due to the deadly outbreak as infections reportedly exceed 4,500.

As of this morning, these companies have also decided not to refund their customers’ cruise fare for cruises scheduled to call on Chinese ports.  A regular commentator on our firm’s Cruise Law News Facebook Page states:

“Sadly Celebrity Millennium is canceling nothing. Many are writing about it on the Celebrity Captain’s Club Facebook Page. As a result many are going as they have spent a lot. Celebrity is offering no credit or cancel option without losing it all. Pretty shocking.”

A crew member employed by Seabourn who is working aboard the Seabourn Ovation, and who wishes to stay anonymous, states:

“I guess my company doesn’t have the plan on cancelling our itinerary to Hong Kong this 1st and 2nd of February. Worst, it’s our embarkation day. They think they can avoid an infected guest going onboard on that day despite the incubation period of the virus which is 10-14 days. I hope they will change their mind. Coz its like we are going to a suicide mission…”

The crew member in question states that Seabourn and its parent company HAL/Carnival Corporation do not have any new medical procedures to screen passengers who may have been exposed to coronavirus.

Cruise travel writer Gene Sloan wrote an article yesterday titled: Cruise Lines Begin Canceling China Sailings as Virus Worries Grow which mentioned that Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises are both stopping operations out of China because of the virus. Mr. Sloan writes that “Both Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises said passengers on the canceled sailings would receive full refunds. Costa Cruises didn’t address refunds in its statement.”

However, Holland America Line (HAL) which operates the Westerdam, which is scheduled to depart from Hong Kong this Saturday on a 14-night voyage to Taiwan and Japan that ends in Shanghai, refuses to either cancel the cruise or provide refunds to its customers. HAL will then sail the Westerdam on a 14-night voyage out of Shanghai that is scheduled to include calls at the Chinese ports of Qingdao and Tianjin (the port for Beijing).

HAL states that in light of the outbreak, it will allegedly implement “stepped-up screening procedures” for its cruise ships, including a “requirement for temperature and questionnaire screening for persons from affected areas.”

Thousands of people confined to one cruise ship during an epidemic is a recipe for disaster even if the cruise line took peoples’ temperature prior to boarding. reed. The incubation period for coronavirus is up to 14 days, so passengers may show no signs of illness prior to boarding, while still being able to transmit the illness.

The anonymous crew member sent our office a copy of a HAL pamphlet (which also applies to Seabourn cruise ships) explaining how crew members should respond to guest inquiries about the feared virus, “should a guest inquire about our procedures or the company’s response to the illness, you can simply reply:”

“Your health and safety are always are top priority. Our medical experts are always in close contact with international health organizations. We are taking many precautions – as we always do – to prevent illness onboard.”

Passengers aboard the Seabourn Ovation, which will be sailing from Vietnam across the South China Sea on January 31st, and then calling on Hong Kong on February 1st and 2nd, will be sailing to a port which other cruise lines have prudently cancelled on their itineraries.

It’s a shame that Celebrity, HAL and Seabourn are refusing to cancel and refund the cruises to Chinese ports and, in the case of HAL/Seabourn, requiring crew members to issue talking points dreamed up by clueless shore-side executives. Perhaps now that Hong Kong is closing its China borders as the coronavirus spreads (as of this morning per CNN) these greedy and irresponsible cruise lines will bend to public pressure.

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Update: A crew member aboard the M/S Westerdam tells us that today HAL replaced Shanghai with Yokohoma, but the HAL cruise ship is still calling on Hong Kong on February 1st.

January 29, 2020 update: Other cruise lines, like NCL and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, are reportedly refusing to cancel cruises to Hong Kong and refund cruise fares.  The Norwegian Jade remains scheduled to sail on January 30 and February 17, 2020 from Hong Kong and is refusing to issue refunds to its customers. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is refusing to cancel or refund the Bali to Hong Kong voyage on the Seven Seas Voyager leaving on February 12, 2020 and calling on Hong Kong on February 29 and March 1, 2020.

February 2, 2020 Update: Westerdam Cruise Ship Stuck in South China Sea Because of Philippines Coronavirus Ban – perhaps a fitting result for greedy HAL after it refuses to cancel (or offer refunds) and permits another 800 passengers to board in Hong Kong.

Photo credit:  New York Times; Westerdam – Master0Garfield –  CC BY-SA 4.0.

The U.S. Coast Guard states that it is searching this evening for a person who went overboard this evening from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas which was moored at port (at Pier 3) in Old Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cruceros Puerto Rico initially reported on the incident, and published a number of photographs of the scene of the overboard.

Major newspapers are not stating any details regarding the person who went overboard.

The man reportedly went over the rails from the “10th floor” of the cruise ship.

Autoridades buscan a persona que se alega cayó del crucero Oasis of the Seas a la bahía de San Juan. #busqueda #rescate #oasisofthesea

Posted by Maribel Meléndez Fontán on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The ship was chartered for a week long Atlantis cruise from Fort Lauderdale. Eight years ago, a passenger went overboard from the Allure of the Seas during an Atlantis cruise.

The last time that a passenger went overboard from the Oasis of the Seas was nearly four years ago when a guest fell from the Royal Caribbean ship which was sailing in the Caribbean. There was a widely circulated video of the man going overboard.

Four years ago, another cruise passenger from this cruise ship fell overboard as the ship sailed to Cozumel. The Disney Magic, sailing the same route, then rescued the passenger. Royal Caribbean had served the young man over 20 alcoholic drinks in the hours prior to the guest going into the water.

According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, there have been 361 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

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

Update: Divers reportedly recovered the body of a “white male” according to a passenger’s post on Twitter:

January 23, 2020 Update: News reports state that the man, whose name has not been released, was 46 years old and from Naples, Florida. CBS News reports that he apparently jumped overboard.

Photo and video credit: Maribel Meléndez Fontán (Facebook); Eric Patton (Twitter); David Begnaud (Twitter).

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a global network of senior marketing executives, selected Carnival Corporation as one of the “Bruised, Battered and Embattled Brands” in 2019.

According to the advertising publication Campaign, the CMO Council selected 20 companies to be on its “bruised and battered” dis-honor roll. Carnival Corporation joined the likes of other seriously challenged companies such as Juul and Boeing. “Challenged companies” may well be a euphemism. Juul manufactures an inherently dangerous and deadly product with its adolescent-attracting flavored vapes. And Boeing is under intense public scrutiny after aviation authorities grounded its defective 737 Max jets which are prone to deadly crashes.

Carnival made the list for its continuing environmental crimes, as well as the recent spectacle of two of its cruise ships colliding in Mexico.  Regarding its environmental crimes, Carnival lied about the use of illegal by-pass valves on the Carnival-owned Princess operated cruise ships and conspired to cover the crimes up.

Recently, Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald came under pressure from a Federal Court in Miami to stop the cruise giant’s widespread and ongoing disregard of environmental laws.

Earlier last year, after the presiding Federal Court judge placed Carnival on court-supervised probation, she ordered CEO Donald to appear in Court. The court scolded him for operating what she described as a “recidivist criminal corporation.”

Mr. Donald faced what most executives would consider to be humiliating treatment when he had to stand before the court, take an oath and admit to numerous environmental felonies and obstruction of justice committed by Carnival. But Carnival kept polluting the air and water.

The Court found that Carnival violated the terms of its probation and committed additional violations of environmental laws by discharging waste water (both sewage and grey water), chemicals, and plastic co-mingled with food and trash, as well as illegally burning high sulphur fuel. The Court sanctioned Carnival $20,000,000 last summer after fining it $40,000,000 three years ago.

Just last month, Carnival announced via a press release that it joined the Getting to Zero Coalition, an alliance of large corporations which claim to be interested in accelerating the decarbonization of the  shipping industry.

The coalition members, comprised of an odd assortment of shipping, fossil fuel companies and other large corporations, state that their goal is “commercially viable zero emission vessels powered by zero emission fuels by 2030.” The coalition admits that this goal is a maritime “moon-shot” ambition.

Many critics of Carnival view the cruise company joining the decarbonization club to be a publicity stunt, particularly after the court-appointed monitor (CAM) in the pollution case recently found that Carnival-owned ships are still routinely violating international laws governing smoke stack emissions. Just last week, the CAM found that Carnival-owned brands violated air emissions laws eleven times in a span of only eleven weeks in August to October of last year. The violations were committed by  cruise ships operated by four Carnival brands – Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and P&O Cruises.

Carnival’s membership in the zero emissions club is hard to take seriously when its ships are belching carbon in ports. In the last several years, Carnival also implemented so-called Advanced Air Quality Systems (i.e, scrubbers) to wash emissions from its stacks  in order to comply with the IMO’s new sulphur limit. Carnival elected this alternative in order to avoid purchasing more expensive low sulphur fuel. Carnival further chose to use “open loop” scrubber systems which discharge the toxic sludge from the stacks directly into the water. This is a cheaper alternative to “closed loop” scrubber systems which require operators to responsibly dispose of the sludge waste water ashore.

Turning air pollution into water pollution is hardly a solution that will pass the court’s scrutiny, in my opinion, notwithstanding Carnival’s public relations efforts.

Last June, the Miami New Times reported on Carnival bragging about receiving a “Corporate Citizenship” award weeks after the Miami Herald broke the news that the company had been caught falsifying records, communicating in secret with the U.S. Coast Guard, covering up dirty ships before inspectors could check them out, and, most notably, dumping polluted waste (including plastic) into water near the Bahamas.

The New Times characterized the best “corporate citizens” award by Corporate responsibility (CR) Magazine as “extremely dubious.” The newspaper pointed out that other CR award winners included “the Gap and Nike (famous for using sweatshop workers), tobacco giant Altria (which owns Marlboro cigarettes), big banks including CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs, pharmaceutical giants such as Merck, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, and even carbon-polluting power and oil companies, including XCEL Energy and ConocoPhillips.”

Alleged-model-citizen-now-turned-battered-and-bruised-recidivist-corporate-felon Carnival is facing the reality that attempts at self-promotion, while actively polluting the air and sea, will not go far in a federal courtroom and will backfire in the court of public opinion.

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

Photo credit: Top – Carnival ships – Matthew Bruin via CNBC; middle – Arnold Donald – CNBC; lower – Scrubber sludge from Princess Star Princess cruise ship – City of Ketchikan; bottom – Carnival Freedom cruise ship- anonymous.

The Court Appointed Monitor (CAM) in the criminal environmental case pending against Carnival Corporation filed a 100 page report this morning which outlines numerous ongoing environmental violations committed by Carnival and several of its brands in the last 90 days.

The CAM stated that Carnival’s violations during this quarter included incidents related to:

  • Air emissions;
  • Discharges to the sea, including Advanced Air Quality System washwater, ballast water, black water (sewage), chemicals, food waste, grey water, oil, recreational (e.g., pool/Jacuzzi) water, and solid items/garbage (including plastics);
  • Pollution prevention equipment maintenance and operation; and
  • Recordkeeping, including alleged training record falsification; unauthorized modification of a logbook with randomly adjusted numbers; multiple instances of missing or inadvertently destroyed logbooks; and errors and discrepancies discovered in log books and records.

The environmental violations are so widespread that it is not possible to discuss them all in one short article.  The CAM states in its report that Carnival “continues to violate environmental laws and the ECP (Environmental Compliance Plan), even while efforts aimed at compliance are underway …”

This article will focus on incidents related to Carnival’s air emission violations.

As discussed below, Carnival-owned brands violated air emissions laws eleven times in a span of only eleven weeks. The violations were committed by five Carnival Cruise Line operated cruise ships, three ships operated by Princess Cruises, two operated by Holland America Line and one by P&O Cruises.

The Carnival Freedom violated air emission laws three times in a period of just three weeks.

These incidents included:

  • The P&O UK Arcadia burned heavy fuel oil for one hour and forty-two minutes in Spanish waters in violation of a European Union Directive on August 22, 2019;
  • The Carnival Dream burned heavy fuel oil for approximately three hours in the North American Emission Control Area in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on August 23, 2019;
  • The Star Princess  exceeded emission ratio limits due to a drop in seawater flow in the Advanced Air Quality System for approximately 3.5 hours while underway toward Seattle, Washington, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on August 25, 2019;
  • The Holland America Line Noordam burned heavy fuel oil for thirty-three minutes while underway toward Glacier Bay, Alaska, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on August 26, 2019;
  • The Holland America Line Noordam exceeded emission ratio limits for one hour and forty-eight minutes due to a reduced flow rate in the Advanced Air Quality System while underway toward New York in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on September 3, 2019;
  • The Carnival Freedom burned approximately 2.8 metric tonnes of heavy fuel oil in the North American Emission Control Area on September 13, 2019;
  • The Holland America Line Westerdam burned heavy fuel oil for one hour and two minutes following a blackout in Vancouver, Canada, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on September 22, 2019;
  • The Carnival Freedom exceeded emission ratio limits for one hour and forty minutes due to high load in Galveston, Texas, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI by on September 29, 2019;
  • The Pacific Princess burned heavy fuel oil for approximately one hour and forty-five minutes in route to Stockholm, Sweden, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on October 1, 2019;
  • The Carnival Fantasy burned heavy fuel oil for approximately two hours in the North American Emission Control Area in violation of MARPOL Annex VI  on October 5, 2019; and
  • The Carnival Freedom burned heavy fuel oil for approximately five hours and fifteen minutes in the North American Emission Control Area in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on October 6, 2019.

You can read the CAM’s report here.

Carnival Corporation has been caught violating air emission laws in the past several years while on probation for environmental crimes. The Miami Herald reported that the Carnival P&O Azura burned heavy fuel oil for 16 hours in 2017 while traveling through Iceland’s Environmental Protection Zone.

The CAM also indicated that it will begin to examine issues related to Carnival’s so-called Advanced Air Quality Systems (i.e, scrubbers) as well as prohibited washwater discharges (i.e., sludge) as the new global marine fuel sulfur cap (of 0.5%) set by the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization goes into effect beginning this week. Our view is that in order to avoid buying more expensive fuel to comply with the IMO’s new sulphur cap, Carnival is using scrubbers – often called “cheat devices” – which simply turn air pollution from Carnival’s fleet of ships into water pollution. Read: Smoke and Mirrors: Cruise Line Scrubbers Turn Air Pollution Into Water Pollution.

Carnival’s PR department has been busy this year responding to reports on social media whenever an older Carnival Cruise Line ship belches smoke, saying that the incident (involving the Carnival Freedom) (photo top and bottom) was merely a “engine turbocharger malfunction” or other mechanical problem which was quickly fixed.

It is clear at this point that, absent meaningful (i.e., hundreds of millions of dollars) in fines and/or significant sanctions (such as prohibiting the docking of Carnival-owned ships in U.S. ports), Carnival will continue to violate environmental laws and ignore the Court’s environmental protection plan.

Next, we will discuss the CAM’s findings regarding Carnival’s widespread illegal discharges of waste water including black water, chlorine and plastics.

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

Photo credits: Top – Carnival Freedom – Anonymous; Middle- Carnival Victory – PTZtv.; Bottom – Carnival Freedom – Cayman  News Service.

The Carnival Elation discharged “gray water” while docked at Port Canaveral yesterday morning, according to the Florida Today publication.

Twenty-two metric tons of gray water (over 6,000 gallons) were spilled, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Carnival and the Port Downplay the Pollution

The newspaper suggested that “a valve was inadvertently opened” during ballast operations. Carnival’s PR department released a press statement yesterday afternoon, stating “while Carnival Elation was offloading water from its ballast systems, which helps balance the ship for navigational purposes, a gray water valve was inadvertently opened, discharging treated gray water from the plumbing and shower systems for a short period. No sewage was offloaded.”

The port’s director of communications and public affairs, Steven Linden, also down-played the incident. According to Florida Today, he said that it was only “grey water, and no human waste or anything biological. The majority of the discharge is just water, and not a threat to the environment or wildlife.”

The Truth About Grey Water

The truth of the matter, or course, is that grey water often contains harmful chemicals, detergents, pathogens, bacteria, metals, food items and nutrients. The Ocean Conservancy reports that grey water can “lead to oxygen depletion, spread pathogenic bacteria and viruses and increase nutrient levels in the surrounding ecosystem. Higher nutrient levels can lead to toxic algal blooms and dead zones that can cause harmful disturbances throughout food chains.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that untreated gray water has similar characteristics to domestic sewage, and fecal coliform concentrations in untreated vessel gray water are one to three times higher than untreated domestic wastewater.

Carnival Files Quarterly Pollution Report and TPA Audit Findings Revealing Other Grey Water Discharges

A couple of days ago, Carnival Corporation recently filed its “December 31, 2019 Quarterly Issue Tracker and its response to the TPA (Third Party Auditor) Final Audit Findings (Major Non-Conformities)” in the criminal pollution case where it remains on probation (case no. 16-20897 – Judge Seitz). In these documents, Carnival discusses its discharges of grey water from a number of Carnival-owned cruise ships and its “corrective and preventative action plan:”

  • June 2018 – Queen Mary 2, in Phuket, Thailand- a grey water tank overflowed directly overboard for approximately five minutes after ship employees were distracted by numerous alarms sounding which were unrelated to the grew water tank.
  • August 2019 – Carnival Paradise, at anchor in Grand Cayman – grey water overflowed for five minutes during an internal grey water transfer.
  • September 2019 – Carnival Imagination – heading to Long Beach, California when 50 liters of grey water overflowed when the line became clogged with food particles washed into a drain from the pizza galley.

Holland America Line’s Westerdam discharged over 22,000 gallons of grey water into Glacier Bay National Park in September of 2018. Details of the illegal dumping are contained in the Alaskan Notice of Violation. The notice claims that the discharge was a “mistake,” but the discharge continued on for 25 minutes.

Other Illegal Discharges From Carnival Owned Ships

The court filings also discussed a dozen incidents in the last year where Carnival owned ships illegally discharged black water / sewage /permeate overboard, as well as another dozen incidents when Carnival ships discharged chlorine water overboard in a wide variety of swimming pool and jacuzzi incidents.

The vast majority of the non-conformities involved many dozens of incidents when non-food items, including plastics, were found in food bins and tanks ready to be discharged into the water.

Over the next few days, we will discuss these incidents, as well as other incidents where Carnival ships illegally discharged bilge / ballast water, oil, and chemicals overboard.

$60,000,000 In Criminal Fines In Just 3 Years

Carnival Corporation has been fined over $60,000,000 in the last three years for widespread illegal oil pollution and discharge of grey water, oily bilge water, chemicals, and plastic items mixed together with food waste and garbage.

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Image Credit:

Hargcb – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

FOX 35 Orlando

A cruise passenger reportedly went overboard from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, according to several newspapers.

The Norwegian Jewel was on a 12-day Australia-New Zealand cruise when the passenger went overboard near the east coast off the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island.

The man went overboard around 7:00 P.M on Sunday (New Zealand time).

The NCL ship returned to the area where the man is believed to have gone into the water and conducted what appears to be a short search for the passenger before continuing on its itinerary. A container ship, several yachts and two helicopters also reportedly searched for the passenger.

Several people also posted about the incident on Twitter.

According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, there have been 358 people (27 this year) who have gone overboard since 2000.

Update: According to a newspaper in New Zealand, NCL has since released a statement “saying the man, a 62-year-old Australian national, had deliberately jumped overboard while sailing from Napier.”

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

Image credit: via MarineTraffic

The Carnival Glory and the Carnival Legend collided this morning at the port in Cozumel, causing extensive damage to the starboard side of the stern of the Glory. 

The Carnival Glory then appeared to come close to striking the moored Oasis of  the Seas, according to a passenger who was in port who wishes to remain anonymous.  The passenger sent the videos below.

Several other passengers also posted videos of the incident on Twitter, including this video posted by @BruinMatthew:

The videos below were taken by a passenger at the port in Cozumel who wishes to remain anonymous:

There is no public information regarding whether there were injuries to any guests or crew members.

Carnival issued a press statement which states in part:

“We are assessing the damage but there are no issues that impact the seaworthiness of either ship.”

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

December 21, 2019 Update: Carnival Cruise Line says that the incident was caused by “spontaneous wind gusts and strong currents.”

The master of the cruise ship, Pero Grubjesic, wrote to the guests on the ship saying “once again, we apologize for the disruption this may have caused. We will be extending a US$100, per stateroom, onboard credit to your Sail & Sign account.”

Video credit: Top – @BruinMatthew via Twitter; middle and bottom – anonymous passenger.

Photograph credits – top – anonymous passenger; bottom – anonymous crew member.

Multiple news organizations are reporting that a man from the state of Kansas pleaded guilty today to murdering his longtime girlfriend during a cruise from Florida to the Bahamas in January 2018.

As we reported last year, Eric Duane Newman, now age 55, of Topeka, Kansas,  went on the Carnival Elation with his long term girlfriend, Tamara Tucker, age 50, in January of 2018.

The woman reportedly died after she fell from her balcony on an upper deck down to deck 11 on the Carnival cruise ship which had sailed from Jacksonville to Freeport, in the Bahamas. Other passengers sent us photographs of the couple’s cabin and the area where she landed after her boyfriend pushed her over the rails. You can see the photographs here.

In our article at the time, we mentioned that a passenger reportedly was seen handcuffed after the incident. Police from Freeport boarded the cruise ship after the fatality.

The FBI’s subsequent investigation revealed that at approximately 12:15 a.m. on January 19, 2018, Newman physically attacked Tucker following a verbal argument in their cabin, and “strangled her by placing both of his hands around her neck.” In the process, Newman pushed Tucker over the cabin room balcony railing causing her to fall to her death onto the 11th deck. Ms. Tucker died from blunt force trauma as a result of the fall.

Newman pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson of the District of Kansas to one count of murder in the second degree with malice aforethought.

Sentencing has been scheduled for March 18, 2020 before Chief U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson.

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

Carnival Elation (top) – anonymous; Eric Newman and Tamara Tucker (in happier times)(above) – Facebook.

A volcano on New Zealand’s White Island erupted today while a couple of tour groups were visiting the location. One excursion was from the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas which was  reportedly visiting the island.

Numerous news organizations report that around fifty people were visiting White Island when a volcano erupted on Monday afternoon (New Zealand time). Many of the visitors were present at the crater of the volcano shortly before it exploded. The blast reportedly injured a number of visitors and left many of them missing and unaccounted for.

Several news organization in New Zealand report that “many of those on the island were from a cruise ship visiting New Zealand, Ovation of the Seas . . . ”

Royal Caribbean advertises a “White Island Volcano Experience Cruise and Guided Exploration,” excursion number TR93, (cache copy) as one of its shore excursions for New Zealand, at a cost of USD $324.00 per adult. Royal Caribbean deleted the description of the tour on its website, although a cache view of the tour is still available.  The cruise line promised “an unforgettable guided tour of New Zealand’s most active volcano …” Highlights of the White Island excursion included:

  • ‘Tour one of the world’s most active volcanos; your tour takes you directly to the crater complex, since most of the volcano sits beneath the sea . . . “
  • “Get close to the drama: Gas masks help you get near roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams and the amazing lake of steaming acid . . .”

There are no officials statements yet from Royal Caribbean regarding the incident.

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

Update: Six people are confirmed dead. Around eight people are still missing, and around thirty are reportedly injured.

Cruise lines have a legal duty to conduct a thorough background check into the reputation, qualifications and safety record of the tour operators which they involve in their excursions for their guests. They are legally required under U.S. maritime law to vet the individuals and companies who/which provide excursions in ports of call. Cruise lines also have a legal duty to warn passengers of dangers which they know or should know about.

Royal Caribbean operates many thousands of excursions around the world. It would require the cruise line to vet and inspect ten to fifteen foreign excursion companies around the world each and every day of the year if it were inclined to perform a background check on each tour operator at least once a year. The cruise line does not devote the resources necessary to properly vet and oversee the safe operation of excursions around the world, despite the hundreds of millions of tax-free dollars it collects from its passengers who take such cruise excursions.

Photo credit: John Arrieta (Twitter) via Daily Mail; video credit: Michael Schade twitter – @sch.