An adult male passenger is reportedly missing from the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship and is believed to have gone overboard before the ship arrived in Progreso, Mexico today.

The Carnival cruise ship left Mobile, Alabama on December 15th at 4:00 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Progreso, Mexico today at 8:00 a.m.

According to the Cruise Life Cargo Facebook page, announcements were made via the Fantasy’s onboard PA system last night that a guest was missing on the ship.

We are currently on the Carnival Fantasy at port in Progreso, MX. Last night there were announcements board cast through…

Posted by Cruise Life Cargo on Monday, December 17, 2018

The Facebook page reported that there was a search by Carnival crew members as the Carnival Fantasy sailed toward Progreso. Approximately five and one-half hours after the Carnival cruise ship reached the Mexican port, local authorities boarded the ship with a search dog to try and locate the missing passenger.

Posted by Cruise Life Cargo on Monday, December 17, 2018

The missing man was reportedly on the autism spectrum, although there was no conclusion offered why he went overboard.

This is the fourth person who has gone overboard from a cruise ship in less than one month. All of the disappearances involved circumstances where the ship did not realize that the passenger (and in one case a crew member) went overboard.

None of the cruise ships seemed to be equipped with a state-of-the-art man overboard (MOB) system, as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which would immediately notify the bridge that a person went over the railing. Such systems utilize sophisticated motion detection, infrared and radar technology that can track the person at night in the water.

For the few cruise lines which have invested in such technology, the system can substantially increase a ship’s response to a guest or crew member going overboard. Most importantly, the system can significantly improve the likelihood of a ship conducting a successful search and rescue.

One such system, by MARSS MOBtronic, has been commercially available since 2010.  There are a number of other reliable MOB systems readily available to the cruise lines.

For cruise lines which have not invested in the technology, ship personnel are forced to conduct a search of the ship, review hours of CCTV images, and, in this case, request local authorities to board the ship with a search animal to conduct manual searches of the ship. Such efforts are usually futile.

Carnival has apparently not located CCTV images of the person going overboard and it has no idea when or why the incident occurred. It apparently did not request assistance from either the U.S. or Mexican coast guards to conduct searches at sea.  In the last overboard from a Carnival cruise ship (the Carnival Victory three days ago) Carnival was quick to announce that the guest allegedly went overboard “intentionally.”

The Carnival Fantasy has continued on with its cruise to Cozumel (scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning) and is scheduled to arrive back to Mobile on the morning of December 20th.

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein reports that 24 people have gone overboard from cruise ships this year. That’s an average of 2 a month.

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Photo credit: Carnival Fantasy (top) – Carnival Cruise Line; bottom – Cruise Life Cargo.

The cruise ship MSC Poesia was caught in rough weather while sailing off the coast of Uruguay last week, according to an article posted by the Crew Center site and video posted on Noticias de Cruceros.

Crew Center explains that during  the December 2 – December 9 cruise, the MSC Poesia was sailing near Punta Del Este when the storm hit the cruise ship. “Due to high winds and rough seas, the vessel rocked side-to-side causing interior equipment to smash throughout the ship as it violently rolled.”

Video taken in ship’s galley show plates and saucers falling to the floor and many items loudly cracking and breaking. You can hear the cascading sound of hundreds of plates breaking. “The same happen throughout ships bars and staterooms.”

This is obviously not the first time that a cruise ship hit by rough weather experienced china breaking in a galley.

Costa Fired Crew Member Who Posted Video of Plates Breaking

The Costa Fascinosa was hit by 90 knot winds after the cruise ship left Venice four years ago. The cruise ship listed heavily and plates and glasses crashed to the decks and floors throughout the galleys and bars on the ship. Passengers experienced widespread panic.

A Filipino pastry chef working aboard the Fascinosa posted his accounts of the storm on Facebook and included photographs (right) and video of considerable damage in the galley where he worked.

Costa issued a press release, downplaying the incident, after the photos and video were widely distributed on the internet. The video was removed from YouTube.

Costa quickly terminated the pastry chef’s employment for mentioning the incident on Facebook.

MSC Fired Crew Member Who Posted Photographs on Facebook

When the MSC Magnifica smashed into a pier at the entrance to the port in Piraeus Greece five years ago, the cruise line issued a statement claiming that the damage was minor and that the vessel’s itinerary was not affected. However, a crew member photographed widespread damage to the ship and extensive repairs needed to repair a large hole in the hull which delayed the ship’s departure. After the photos appeared on Facebook, MSC quickly terminated the crew member’s employment for releasing the photos.

The cruise lines rely on carefully crafted images of idyllic vacations at sea. But when crew members complain about unsafe conditions or merely take photographs showing the truth of the matter, the company views them as expendable.

This video on the MSC Poesia does nor appear to have been posted by the crew members in the galley and there does not appear to be any information identifying them.

What Happens on Cruise Ships Stays at Sea?

Like Vegas, what happens on the ships is supposed to stay on the ships. It’s an unwritten rule that a crew member who airs the cruise line’s dirty laundry risks immediate termination and a one-way ticket back home.

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Video credit: Noticias de Cruceros YouTube page

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. chairman and CEO Richard Fain acquired 18,900 shares of Royal Caribbean (“RCL”) stock for $1,990,000 or a weighted average price of around $105.60 a share, according to Seatrade Cruise News.

Mr. Fain bought the RCL shares on Thursday. The stock is reportedly for a trust primarily for the benefit of certain Fain family members.

After the transaction, Mr. Fain owns 842,537 shares directly and 235,106 shares indirectly for a total of 1,077,643 shares.

RCL closed at $105.07 on the day of the trade.

At close of business on Friday, RCL stock was trading at $107.09, raising the value of Mr. Fain’s Royal Caribbean stock to $126,181,218.87.

Royal Caribbean Chairman Mr. Fain remains the highest paid executive in the cruise industry.

Mr. Fain is the highest paid cruise executive for the second year in a row. Mr. Fain was paid $13,343,413 last year (2017), an increase of nearly three million dollars, from $10,405,684 in 2016.

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

Interested in this issue? Consider reading:

Fearless Fain, Royal Caribbean’s CEO.

Cruise Executive Richard Fain Hits the Jackpot Again.

Photo image: Consumerist

A cruise guest is reportedly missing from a Carnival cruise ship this morning, according to several passengers including a journalist on the ship. A passenger informed me that the ship is the Carnival Victory.

According to at least one passenger on the ship, CCTV “cameras confirm that the passenger went overboard. It’s unknown if he jumped or fell. The U.S. Coast Guard is searching by air.”

The overboard passenger appears to have gone overboard around 4 or 5 hours earlier, according to passenger accounts.

The Carnival ship was returning to Miami at the time of the overboard.

It does not appear that Carnival has complied with the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act which requires cruise ships calling on U.S. ports to be equipped with man overboard systems which automatically send send a signal to the bridge whenever someone goes overboard.

The cruise ship can quickly try to locate and rescue the person using sophisticated motion detection, infrared and radar technology. Numerous experts have recommended such state-of-the-art MOB systems like this and this.

Cruise expert Ross Klein reports that at least 23 people have gone overboard this year. an average of at least 2 people a month. 325 people have gone overboard since 2000.

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December 14, 2018 P.M. Update: The Miami Herald covers the story – 26-year-old man overboard from cruise ship near the Florida Keys.  “A 2010 federal law requires cruise ships to be equipped with technology to detect overboard incidents as soon as they happen “to the extent that such technology is available.” Most cruise lines do not believe the available overboard detection technology is reliable, and most ships do not have it. Carnival declined to comment on whether the Carnival Victory has automatic overboard detection technology.”

The refusal by Carnival and other cruise lines to install auto man overboard systems on their ship causes extraordinary delays in searching for the person going overboard.  Ms. Wyatt (above) was tweeting about the man overboard before 8:00 a.m this morning, even before Carnival reported the overboard to the U.S. Coast Guard!

December 15, 2018 Update: The Orlando Sentinel identified the overboard guest as 26 year-old Thomas McElhany.

Photo credit: Top – Carnival Victory AIS – MarineTraffic; missing passenger – Kimberly Wyatt @tv_leader

Two British passengers, aged 70 and 72, were arrested on a cruise ship returning to Europe from the Caribbean after the ship docked at the cruise terminal in Lisbon, Portugal.

Portuguese police stated that the couple were arrested with a large amount of cocaine concealed in suitcases in their cruise ship cabin, according to the Independent newspaper which first reported on the drug bust.

Portugal’s National Drugs Trafficking Unit released a statement titled “Combating drug trafficking by sea” which disclosed the drug arrest. However, the Portuguese police did not reveal either the names of the cruise passengers or the names of the cruise line or cruise ship where the drugs were transported.

The Guardian and Standard newspapers reported that the British cruise passengers were traveling on the Marco Polo, a 425-cabin cruise ship operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages. The newspaper stated that the police seized around 9 or 10 kilos of cocaine.

The last drug bust involving a cruise ship operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages occurred on the M/S Astor. A year ago, three cruise passengers were arrested with thirty (30) kilos of cocaine when the cruise ship was in Australia.

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Photo credit: Pjotr Mahhonin – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

A cruise passenger reportedly went overboard from the MSC Preziosa in the Caribbean several days ago, according to the France-Antilles newspaper.

The Martinique newspaper reports that a 69-year-old Dutch citizen was not located on the MSC Cruises ship when it arrived in Fort-de-France last Saturday, December 8th.

The last port before Martinique scheduled on the cruise was Philipsburg, St. Maarten on Friday, December 7th. The unidentified passenger was last seen Friday night on the balcony of their cabin by her husband.

The newspaper concluded that “most likely hypothesis would be a fall” from the cruise ship” estimated at 30 meters.

The ship left Fort-de-France at its scheduled departure time of 11:00 p.m. on Saturday.

A helicopter and Navy jet conducted a search for the woman after he was not located on the cruise ship on Saturday morning in Martinique. The search was called off on Sunday, December 9th following which transmissions of the missing passenger continued to be circulated to merchant ships in the area.

This appears to be another case where a cruise line failed to have an automatic man overboard system installed on the ship. Such systems automatically send a signal to the bridge when a person goes over the railing. The cruise ship can quickly try to locate and rescue the person using sophisticated motion detection, infrared and radar technology.

Numerous experts have recommended such state-of-the-art MOB systems like this and this. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires such systems for cruise ships calling on U.S ports, to the extent that such technology if available.

The last man overboard occurred on November 22, 2018 and involved a Royal Caribbean crew member who apparently jumped from the Adventure of the Seas.

The majority of cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, do not have such systems installed, claiming that the overboard detection technology is not reliable, as recently reported by the Miami Herald.

MSC Cruises, ironically, is one of the few cruise lines that has installed such technology on at least one cruise ship, the MSC Meraviglia.  MSC Cruises stated last year that it was planning to deploy similar systems across its fleet of cruise ships.

According to Seatrade Cruise News, MSC Cruises developed an “intelligent video capturing and analysis system” in collaboration with security technology experts, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. 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%.”

Seatrade also explained that the 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.

We have criticized MSC in the past because crew members and passengers have disappeared from ships without this type of technology.  Brazilian crew member Simone Scheuer Sousa disappeared from the MSC Musica last year. MSC’s untimely response to an overboard passenger early last year from the MSC Divina further demonstrated the need for an automatic man overboard system.

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has estimated that, before this latest overboard, at least 322 people have gone overboard from cruise ship since 2000 and at least 22 people this year.

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December 14, 2018 Update: Miami Herald Search called off for Dutch woman who went overboard on MSC cruise ship.

Photo credit: Neptuno1976 CC by SA 3.0 commons / wikipedia.

 

A Celebrity Cruises officer reportedly ended his life on the Celebrity Millennium, according to an article published yesterday by the Crew Center website.

On December 6th, Anton Ilichev, a young officer from Ukraine, was reportedly found hanging dead in his cabin’s bathroom, according to the article.

Crew Center states that Mr. Ilichev was working as a suite manager and had worked for Celebrity for several contracts. The Celebrity cruise ship was on a 14 Night Southeast Asia Cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore when this incident occurred. His current contract was about to end and he was scheduled to disembark in Singapore on vacation.

Crew Center expressed condolences to Mr. Ilichev’s family, friends and his fellow crew members. By all accounts, Mr. Ilichev was a popular and well liked crew member. Friends and his co-employees expressed similar sentiments on Facebook.

Several crew members raised concerns that there is an absence of resources for mental health support and counseling for employees on cruise ships, commenting:

“There is no mental support whatsoever in such a difficult environment! Don’t you dare ask the doctor for a day off for simply being mentally exhausted, they’ll tell you that you are free to sign off. Crew members should have the chance for therapy/counceling onboard and should be encouraged to attend! But crew members sadly will always, always be just numbers. 😰 Condolences to his family.”

As I mentioned in an article titled Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides, anyone who follows the cruise industry knows that suicides of crew members are hardly rare.

A 22-year-old Serbian crew member, Nikola Arnautovic, on the Carnival Fascination, hung himself four months ago. A petition was started on Change.org – Save lives! Make psychologists compulsory for Carnival Cruise workers and 1 day off a week.

A British chef was found hanging in his cabin aboard the Crystal Serenity cruise ship several years ago.  Two weeks earlier, a safety officer on the Disney Dream ended his life in a similar manner. And the day before that, a woman in Carnival’s entertainment department was found hanging in an officer’s quarters on the Carnival Sensation.

An Indian dishwasher on the Costa Magica was found hanging in his cabin in February 2017. A galley worker also killed himself a few years earlier on the Island Princess by hanging.

Of course, most crew members do not end their lives by hanging themselves. Most ship employees who choose to end their lives do so by jumping overboard.  During a period of less than three years between December 2009 and October 2012, at least twelve crew members jumped overboard or simply disappeared from cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises. I wrote about the problem in an article titled “Is Royal Caribbean Working Its Crew Members to Death?”  The grueling schedule and long hours crew members are required to work 7 days a week, 30 days a month with no days off over the course of a 6 to 10 month contract, for far less than the U.S. minimum wage, often leave ship employees, who are already isolated from their families, exhausted and demoralized.

In the past decade, many dozens of crew members have jumped into the sea. The common reaction by guests is pointlessly “you can’t fall from a cruise ship” as if casting blame on the dead crew member will somehow solve the problem.

Mental health services for cruise ship employees are non-existent. And the  emotional well being of crew members is not a topic that is discussed in the U.S. Few Americans seem concerned with the working conditions on cruise ships faced by citizens of the greater world community. Most U.S. citizens respond to the exploitation of crew members from India or Jamaica with the rationalization that whatever pittance the “foreign” crew members receive is more than the workers can receive back home. “If they don’t like the work, they can quit” is the common saying.

It is unknown exactly what work conditions Mr. Ilichev faced on the Celebrity ship or what he experienced in his personal life. Crew Center raised the issue of providing services for mental health of crew members in Why aren’t there psychologists on board cruise ships?  Cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, invest many hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on building increasingly huge cruise ships each year. They need to begin investing in their crew member’s well being at sea.

Please join the discussion on our Facebook page.

December 11, 2018 Update: Newsweek covers the story – Cruise Ship Crew Member Takes Own Life During Last Voyage with Company.

Photo credit: Facebook

A strike in San Juan today impacted cruise passengers on the Celebrity Summit and Jewel of the Seas. Departing passengers have been unable to retrieve their luggage and take taxis to the airport and arriving passengers have been delayed or unable to travel to the port due to the strikes.

Social media (Twitter and Facebook) has been abuzz with postings from cruise guests and their family members of travelers contacting the cruise line and air lines. As one travel agent commented, this apparently was not the first time that port operations were disrupted by a strike.

Several cruise passengers contacted us this afternoon seeking information about the strike.

The current strike involves an organized protest against governmental cuts of employee benefits in Puerto Rico. Strikes in the U.S. nowadays are relatively rare. Most strikes which affect cruise passengers occur in Europe (read Carnival Breeze to Cross Picket Line in Venice). Strikes by cruise line employees are not permitted by the cruise lines (read Carnival Fires 150 Crew Members from India for Protesting Low Cruise Ship Wages).

A number of people on Twitter were concerned about their parents’ ability to deal with the lack of services, whereas at least one cruiser expressed her understandable frustrations about getting home to man’s best friend.

Complicating matters as several thousand guests tried to handle their own baggage was that it began to rain earlier this morning.

In addition to the Celebrity Summit and the Jewel of the Seas, AIS programs show the Star Pride in port in San Juan. However, we have not received any comments from passengers on the Star Pride yet.

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Photo and video credit: Twitter; photo top – Emily Burns @ArizonaHorseGal.

The News Rep newspaper contained this ominous headline yesterday – ISIS terrorists have just hijacked a cruise ship . . .  

The newspaper, which focuses on security, military and warfare issues, stated “Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists have stormed a cruise ship full of unaware tourists somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. Special Operations Command Europe has been alerted and swiftly deploys its SOF (Special Operations Forces) units to Greece. There, the American commandos link up with their Greek counterparts and prepare to storm the vessel . . .”

But the ISIS attack on a cruise ship was just part of a annual drill by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) which concluded today in Crete. This year’s exercise took place from December 2nd to 7th in the port of Souda, Greece with special forces from the Greek police, military and coast guard.

The U.S. and Greece are conducting joint anti-terrorism drills in Greece in light of terrorism in neighboring Turkey and nearby countries such as Syria and in North Africa like Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

New Rep states that U.S. special operations forces include the Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group, Navy SEALs, and Air Force special operations assets, such as the CV-22B Osprey helicopter, from the 352nd Special Operations Wing.

A newspaper in Greece explained  that the task forces explored how to respond to various terror-attack scenarios on “relatively unprotected” or “vulnerable targets” known as “soft targets.”  The National Herald states that the security drill involved an “Islamic State terrorist attack on a large cruise ship” in the Greek port.

Each year there is a different location for Jackal Stone exercises which have in the past included the boarding of commercial vessels in European ports via rigid inflatable boats and repelling SOF’s from helicopters.

This recent joint security exercise is a reminder of the vulnerability of cruise ships which are considered to be “soft targets” to terrorism. We suggest reading the best selling book by former Director of Security at Princess Cruises, Commander Mark Gaouette, Cruising for Trouble: Cruise Ships as Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists and Common Criminals.

The foreseeability of a terrorist attack is well known and highly documented, as the Rand organization noted long ago.

The cruise industry encountered a deadly terrorist attack in Tunis several years ago when terrorists killed cruise passengers from the Costa Fascinosa and MSC Splendida after they were bused without security or any warnings to a museum. We also know that al Qaeda planned to seize cruise ships and execute passengers in the past.

Read: How the Next Jihadist Terror Attack Against Cruise Passengers Will Happen.

I previously received an interesting comment from a reader who said that cruise ships should use muster drills to educate passengers what do to if there is a terrorist attack during a cruise. What is the protocol for a passenger if terrorists enter the ship?  Go to your cabins, hunker down and hope for the best? Try and overwhelm the attackers? Try and escape via lifeboats? Who knows?

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Photo Credit: Top – YouTube/DFMagazine via the Mirror (Armed troops land on cross-Channel ferry as part of terror security drill amid fears of ISIS ship attack); bottom – Mark Gaouette via Amazon.

The Silver Spirit cruise ship struck a bollard* last week after it was forced to abort its departure from the harbor in Key West, according to the Blue Paper newspaper.

Last Thursday, November 27th, the Silversea cruise ship had docked at the Mallory Square dock in Key West. As can be seen in a video taken from a live webcam operated by Broadwave LiveCams, two larger cruise ships, the Carnival Victory and Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, depart the dock successfully despite high winds.

The video starts with a time lapse of the larger cruise ships leaving the dock in Key West.

The Silver Spirit is shown attempting to depart from the dock around 6:30 P.M. However, while the Silversea cruise ship attempts to return to the dock due to the winds, the ship crashes into a bolllard (a/k/a a “dolphin”) before it again docks.

The allision* caused damage to the mid section of the ship’s hull and destroyed the bollard.

The popular Crew-Center site reports that “according to Key West officials, the damage caused by the crash is estimated at around half-million dollars and the dock at Mallory Square will not be operational for at least three months. The cruise operator Silversea sent an insurance consultant to Key West to estimate the damages to the pier.”

Marine terms:

  • *An “allision” is the striking of a vessel against a fixed object (like a bollard) in contrast to a collision between two vessels.
  • A “bollard” is a short, thick post on a wharf, to which a ship’s rope may be secured.

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Video and image credit: BroadwaveLiveCams