A male passenger died after he fell four stories on a Carnival  cruise ship during a recent cruise, according to a news station in Fort Meyers, Florida.

The newspaper did not identify the Carnival cruise ship in its article which it published last night, although a video produced by WINK News showed footage taken of the Carnival Horizon.

The video was taken from a balcony on deck nine down to an exterior deck on level five.

The reporting is based on accounts from a vacationing family who was stayed in a cabin on the ninth floor where the passenger victim was on. A Carnival ship employee told the family that the passenger fell from the ninth floor to the fifth which reportedly was cordoned off after the fall.

The newspaper did not indicate when the incident occured, although yesterday morning the cruise ship docked in Miami, where the Miami Police Department reportedly began an investigation.

To our knowlegde, there have been no posting of the incident on social media to date.

The Carnival Horizon returned to Miami yesterday after a one week cruise to Jamaica, the Caymans and Mexico after leaving Miami on November 10, 2019.

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Photo credit: Top – Elliott Bryson III – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia; bottom – WINK News, Fort Meyers.

A cruise passenger reportedly went overboard from a Norwegian cruise ship this week as the ship was sailing to NCL’s “private island,” Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas, according to the popular Cruise Hive blog.

The blog states that a woman went overboard on November 12, 2019 as the NCL cruise ship Norwegian Sun was near Freeport, Bahamas (where the ship previously called).

A passenger who tweeted about the incident indicated that the ship quickly launched a rescue boat which located and returned the woman to the ship.

There are no “official” accounts indicating how or why the woman went overboard (but see the info from Dr. Klein’s CruiseJunkie below).

A passenger who contacted Dr. Klein’s CruiseJunkie website provided the following information:

“From a passenger:  On the ship and watched the rescue. Happened off the coast of Freeport in very calm waters with the ship going very slowly on its way to Great Stirrup Cay. Crew did great – from my balcony it appeared that the person climbed into the rescue boat on their own.  Very quick rescue.  LATER: So word in the ship is that it was a young woman. Jumped off her 9th floor balcony to go swimming. Survived relatively uninjured (a bit of a miracle). Rumor has it she’s in the brig. Cabin 9030 is cautioned taped off. Someone did get full video, so eventually that will be out there.”

According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, there have been 357 overboards from cruise ship since 2000.

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Photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

A passenger attacked and severely injured his girlfriend ten days ago onboard the Norwegian Breakaway, according to court filings in a criminal case filed in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

An affidavit of an FBI agent who investigated the incident filed together with the criminal complaint* in the case of U.S. v. Smiley (case number 3:19-mj-02201-SCC) alleges that:

On November 4, 2019 at around 3:45 A.M., cruise passenger and Texas resident Jeff Smiley III was cruising aboard the NCL cruise ship with his girlfriend of seven months when they got into an argument over money. The argument turned into a confrontation in the casino. His girlfriend tried to remove herself from the argument and attempted to walk away. She called for security and continued to walk toward an elevator.

Surveillance video shows Smiley following the woman into the elevator. The argument continued and Smiley reportedly struck the woman in the face and knocked her glasses to the floor.

The woman attempted to get away from Smiley when the elevator doors opened. Smiley allegedly threw the woman to the floor and struck her with his elbow. She tried to flee again and Smiley tackled her down a flight of stairs and continued to beat her, causing serious injuries. A statement published by the FBI states that Smiley broke the woman’s jaw and arm.

The shipboard medical team reportedly treated the woman for the fractures as well as multiple abrasions and bruises.

At around 10:10 A.M., approximately seven hours later, Smiley underwent a breathalyzer test which reportedly showed a blood-alcohol level of .099.

FBI agents (of the Violent Crimes Squad) with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the cruise ship as it was approaching San Juan.

Smiley provided a statement to the FBI agents and reportedly confessed to the attack. The Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested him on charges of violating Title 18 United States Code, Section 113(7) (assaults within maritime and territorial jurisdiction; assault resulting in a substantial bodily injury to a spouse or intimate partner).

The federal court judge in San Juan denied Smiley bond and ordered that he remain detained until trial, finding that the U.S. government proved by clear and convincing evidence that there are no conditions of release which will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the public. The Court also found as other grounds for detention: the “strong” weight of evidence against Smiley,  his “prior criminal history,” and his “history of alcohol or substance abuse.”

NCL cruise ships have a reputation for having perhaps the most closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) on its cruise ships than any other fleet of ships. NCL has surveillance cameras in passenger hallways and elevators, unlike most cruise lines. NCL also has “surveillance operators” on its ships who are suppose to “conduct real time monitoring of Ship/passenger/crew Safety and Security,” among other job duties. The NCL surveillance operators are also required to “immediately report to the bridge any real time security and safety observations that may place the ship, passengers, or crew in jeopardy.”

It remains to be seen whether such an operator was monitoring the surveillance cameras at the time of the alleged crime and why ship security did not intervene into the confrontation before the woman was severely beaten.

Earlier this year (in April), the DOJ filed charges against another passenger caught on a surveillance camera video aboard a NCL cruise ship dragging a woman down the length of a passenger hallway and then beating her. According to Newsweek, the shipboard CCTV video shows the woman violently slap and repeatedly punch a woman on the Norwegian Gem, rendering her unconscious.

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Photo credit: Ad Meskens – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

*The FBI statement says: “The public is reminded a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The recent news of a crew member sexually assaulting a woman on an unidentified cruise ship sailing to St. Thomas reported by several newspapers in the U.S. Virgin Islands involved what the prosecutor is characterizing in court documents as a “brazen rape of his colleague.”

The criminal complaint, supporting affidavit of the investigating FBI agent, and the indictment and criminal information in the federal court file in St. Thomas reveal that the “aggravated sexual abuse by force” was allegedly committed by Celebrity crew member Louie Ison Mangampat aboard the Celebrity Equinoz as the cruise ship was sailing to St. Thomas on September 25, 2019.

The court documents reveal that on the night in question Mangampat and several other crew members gathered in a crew cabin when he “yanked” the female crew member “into the bathroom, where he locked her inside.” The FBI affidavit indicates that he then began “groping her against her active resistance.” Despite her attempts to block him from her body, Mangampat is alleged to have inserted one or more of his fingers into the crew member’s vagina. He is accused of performing oral sex on the woman and then “inserting his penis into her vagina.”

The woman reportedly broke away and got out of the bathroom and ran to her friend’s cabin where her friend called security and she was escorted to the ship infirmary. The ship doctor observed blood and internal physical injuries to the woman.

Mangampat admitted “having sex” with the crew member in written and video statements but claimed that it was consensual. He agreed to an interview with an FBI agent and denied having sexual intercourse and claimed that they only kissed.

In a motion for detention, the prosecutor characterized the assault as being of the “most serious – and disturbing – nature.” The government argued that the arrested crew member posed a danger to the community in light of his “brazen rape of his colleague.”

The original news article, like most such articles about the cruise industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands, did not contain any reference to the name of the cruise ship or cruise line and contained no information regarding what is alleged to have occured during the cruise to St. Thomas.

Mangampat’s Facebook page indicates that he was employed by Celebrity as a sushi cook.

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Photo credit: Brian Burnell via George Hutchinson CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

The Virgin Island Consortium reported today that a crew member was arraigned in Federal District Court for the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas on charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a passenger on a cruise ship.

The newspaper announced the charges against a Filipino crew member by the name of Louie Isom Mangampat. According to the indictment, Mangampat sexually assaulted a woman while on board a cruise ship bound for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In federal court, there is no criminal offense of “rape” but only charges of sexual abuse or aggravated sexual abuse according to the federal statutes.

According to the United States Department of Justice (as mentioned by Newsweek), “aggravated sexual abuse” refers to offences where someone (1) uses “force against another person” and thereby causes that person “to engage in a sexual act,” or (2) causes another person to engage in a sexual act “by means of threats express or implied,” or places that person in fear that any person will be “subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping.”

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Virgin Islands Police Department.

The newspaper did not identify the name of the crew member’s employer, the name of the cruise ship involved, or any details of the alleged criminal offense.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of those islands in the Caribbean where the officials and newspapers do not reveal the names of cruise lines in fear of alienating their tourism partners.

The U.S. Deartment of Transportation database indicates that there were 26 sexual assaults committed against passengers and crew members in the last quarter (April throught June 2019) – including 11 on Carnival, 9 on Royal Caribbean, 4 on MSC, 1 on Disney and 1 on HAL cruise ships.

Tomorrow, we will check the docket and arrest / probable cause affidavits in federal court in the Virgin Islands to determine the name of the cruise ship / cruise line and alleged details of the sexual crime.

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November 8, 2019 Update:

The crew member is accused of assaulted a female crew member aboard the Celebrity Equinox, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

The court files reveals the details of the assault: Celebrity Crew Member’s “Brazen Rape of Colleague.”

Photo credit: Mitya Trotsky – top; Justin Link – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia – bottom.

The El Universo newspaper reports that the Celebrity Xpedition cruise ship ran aground and became stranded on a sandbar yesterday evening.

The newspaper states that the cruise ship ran aground Tuesday at Punta Vicente Roca, located north of Isabela Island in the Galapagos.

The Celebrity ship sent an alert yesterday evening. The Armed Forces of Equador and the Galapagos National Park responded to the grounding.

Three boats reportedly went to the ship and transferred the passengers and some crew members to the Celebrity Flora.

There was reportedly no damage to the ship’s hull. The ship was  was refloated and will be towed to the Italbaca Canal, located between the Baltra and Santa Cruz Islands.

Forty-six passengers and “non-essential” crew members were evacuated according to parent company Royal Caribbean, as reported by the Miami Herald.

Forbes touted the Celebrity Xpedition as “the most luxurious way to explore the Galapagos Islands.”

Six months ago,  the passenger ship Galapagos Majestic ran aground in the Galapagos (on May 31st) with 26 people on board, according to marine professonal and journalist Mikhail Voytenko (via Fleetmon). The excursion ship sank the following day after the passengers were evacuated.

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Photo Credit: Top – Raphodon CC 3.0 creative commons/wikipedia; middle – El Universo; bottom – ecuavisa via Mikhail Voytenko via Fleetmon.

Today, the popular Crew Center published two articles regarding recent attempts by Filipino seafarers to end their lives.

First, Crew Center mentioned a 24-year-old Filipino crew member, employed by MSC Cruises as a buffet steward, who reportedly posted several comments on social media regarding the long work hours and the little rest during his first contract on the MSC Meraviglia.

  • “Is that so? 12 hrs duty daily, 4-6 hrs sleep. Let’s just smile. 9 Months of hell here we go.
  • Tired from work. The mind is tired. Tired brain. Tired body. Tired everything. It seems like I’m giving up.”

The unidentified ship employee also was reportedly experiencing problems with his shipboard girlfriend. A Maitre’d and a Buffet Manager responded to the emergency by going to the crew member’s cabin and reportedly requested emergency medical treatment. The crew member was treated at a hospital in Boston.

Crew Center reported that guests on the MSC ship posted photographs on Facebook of emergency medical vehicles arriving at the ship when it was at port in Boston. They stated “we were guests on board, we saw his unfortunate disembark. Unfortunately, these cases are becoming more frequent. We consider that permanent psychological assistance for the crew on board of the cruise ships is necessary. They work very hard!”

Posted by Pino Mihaela Maccarrone on Sunday, November 3, 2019

Crew Center also reports on an attempted suicide by a second Fiipino Seafarer who worked in the galley on the Oceania Riviera. The incident was first made public on the Filipino Seafarer Facebook page called “Buhay Sa Cruise Ship.”

Crew Center reports that the incident occured while the cruise ship was in  Saguenay, Quebec on November 2nd. The Canadian Coast Guard performed a medical evacuation and rushed the crew member to the hospital.

PINOY ATTEMPTS SUICIDE AGAIN THIS TIME AT OCEANIA RIVIERAGood day sir Rinell Banda.. check nyu din sa amin oceania…

Posted by Buhay sa Cruise Ship on Sunday, November 3, 2019

Crew members from around the world, including the Philippines which supplies the largest number of seafarers in the world to the cruise lines, have little support from the cruise industry and none from the U.S. government. There is an obvious need for the wealthy cruise lines to hire shipboard psychologists for the hard working crew and to support the employees during their long contracts at sea.

We suggest reading: Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides.

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Photo credit: Estormiz – CC0 commons/ wikimedia.

The Norwegian Star experienced a problem with one of its azipods over the weekend, apparently resulting in a fire of some type, resulting in a cancelled port on its last cruise. NCL then continued the next cruise without any mention to the new guests that there had been a fire or whether the ship had been inspected by appropriate authorities. NCL also altered the current cruise involving this ship, according to passengers who contacted us and those who posted information on social media.

One cruise passenger who contacted us who prefers to remain anonymous stated:

“NCL Star experienced loud, shuddering, rattling noise at approximately 1am on Nov. 2nd. The ship seemed to stop and we heard 3 short alarm blasts and “Bravo.” We found out from crew an engine was lost and a fire had ensued. We were told we would miss Dubrovnik (the headliner port) and heading back to Venice. We were only offered a $100 NON-REFUNDABLE credit to use or lose over less than 18 hours. Customer Service would not budge on the non-refundable issue.” A copy of the letter given to passengers is below:

NCL has mentioned only that its ship sustained unspecified “mechanical issues” in a letter to passengers on the last cruise and returned to Venice with reduced speed.

There has been no official word from NCL regarding reports of a fire during the last cruise. There is also no information regarding who, if anyone, inspected the ship following the alleged fire.

NCL altered the current cruise on the Norwegian Star with the cruise line dropping Mykonos and Santorini to the surprise of its customers.

This is not the first time that the eighteeen-year old Norwegian Star has either limped around with reduced power or sustained a complete power loss. Read NCL’s Norwegian Star Suffers Engine Failure Again which we published in January of 2017.

The popular Travelling with Bruce YouTube channel also published a post yesterday regarding this issue, which also mentions reports by passengers of a fire:

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Photo credit: Kefalonia2015 – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons/wikimedia.

This past week, the Carnival Freedom cruise ship was photographed belching thick black smoke while arriving in George Town, Grand Cayman.

The photograph was taken by an individual who wishes to remain anonymous.

It was taken on Tuesday, October 29th. The twelve-year old Carnival ship left Galveston, Texas on the evening of October 27th and arrived in George Town on Tuesday morning.

The photographer explained that the Carnival Freedom had just arrived in George Town and was on the way to the anchorage area to be tendered when it started smoking heavily from the exhaust stacks.

Other Recent Carnival Air Emissions

This was not the first time that a Carnival ship was filmed belching thick smoke near port.

This past summer, the webcam in the port of Nassau in the Bahamas showed the Carnival Victory belching thick black smoke from its funnel for around an hour. PTZtv, which operates the webcam, tweeted the video with the caption “no smoke without . . . ? – – hard to imagine anything good happening here.”

The video initially shows a Royal Caribbean cruise ship (Navigator of the Seas) in the foreground, but the pollution is actually coming from the funnel of a Carnival cruise ship (Carnival Victory) which was docked  behind the Royal Caribbean ship.

The responses on social media to the spectacle involving the Carnival Victory were predictable. Some suggested that this was somehow normal emissions coming from the engines which were blowing soot loose, or perhaps the boilers needed minor maintenance or adjustment.

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 while traveling through Iceland’s Environmental Protection Zone. The heavy fuel oil that many cruise ships use is high in sulphur. Sulphur emissions from ship exhausts are linked to thousands of premature deaths from lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary problems and childhood asthma cases annually.

A Brief History of Carnival Corporation’s Air and Water Pollution

In the last three years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) levied record fines totalling $60,000,000 against Carnival Corporation. Carnival-owned Princess Cruises pleaded guilty in December of 2016 to widespread pollution crimes involving the use of secret bypass valves on five Princess cruise ships to discharge oil directly into the water around the world, as well as conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The DOJ fined Carnival $40,000,000.

More recently, the DOJ levied an additional $20,000,000 fine against Carnival Corporation after the U.S. government caught the cruise giant of “repeatedly” discharging food which was mixed with plastic waste, metals and other non-food items in violation of its probation.

In 2002, Carnival pled guilty to numerous felonies after being caught discharging oily waste into the sea. Carnival reportedly routinely falsified its oil record books in order to conceal its illegal practices. The U.S. Government leveled a $18,000,000 fine and placed Carnival on probation.

In 1998, the DOJ fined Carnival Corporation-owned brand, Holland America Line, $2,000,000 after catching  it discharging oily water without the use of an oil-water separator.

In 1993, the U.S. charged Princess Cruises (which Carnival subsequently purchased) with deliberately dumping plastic wastes overboard from its ships in violation of MARPOL and the Act of Prevent Pollution from Ships and fined it $500,000 in the Southern District of Florida.

In sum, Carnival has been continuously polluting the air and water for thirty years, despite over $80,000,000 in fines.

Environmental Dodges and Cheat Devices

Carnival prides itself of being the the leader in using what it calls “advanced air quality systems” (a/k/a “scrubbers”) which it uses on 85 of its 102 ships, according to a recent article in Skift. Many critics describe scrubbers as “cheat devices” which turn air pollution into water pollution by scrubbing the sulfer dioxide and non-combustible particles from the smokestacks and discharding the toxic sludge into the water.

The upcoming IMO regulations, which are effective in January 2020, require ships to use fuel oil with a sulphur content of no more than 0.5 %). However, the IMO permitted a loophole requested by the shipping industry. A cruise line can continue to use the lower cost but high-sulfur fuel, as long as they install an exhaust gas cleaning system, (i.e., a “scrubber”) on the ship to maintain emissions at the same levels as low-sulfur fuel. Rather than purchasing higher prices low sulphur fuels, Carnival has chosen to use scrubbers because it is cheaper, notwithstanding the harmful effect to the water and ocean life by discharding the toxic wastewater.

Carnival Status Conference Scheduled for December 2019:

Yesterday, Judge Seitz scheduled a hearing for December 19th, at 10:00 a.m. in the U.S. Government’s case against Carnival Corporation to discuss, among other issues, “compliance challenges” regarding incidents mentioned in Carnival’s Quarterly Tracking Chart filings, including air emissions, as well as the discharge of non-food items including plastics in food waste, and the discharge of other prohibited waste streams, including ballast water, black water (sewage), garbage, grey water, and oil and oily wastes.

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November 4, 2019 Update:

Carnival Cruise Line responded to a FOX News reporter who covered the incident in an article published today titled: Carnival Cruise Line says smoke seen in Carnival Freedom photo was caused by engine turbocharger malfunction. Carnival claims that the “Carnival Freedom emitted dark smoke from the funnel. This was related to a malfunction of an engine turbocharger (which) was quickly shut down and the smoke ceased.”

TravePulse published Cruise Ship Reportedly Seen Spewing Black Smoke Over Cayman Islands.

Express Cruise: Black bellows from Carnival cruise ship – are passengers at risk from pollution?

The Caymans News Service published Carnival’s pollution grabs headlines in which it published another photograph (left) of the Carnival Freedom belches smoke, as it was tendering passengers. Yes, that’s a rainbow in the background.

Photo credits: Carnival Freedom – Anonymous; Carnival Victory – PTZtv.; Carnival Freedom – Cayman News Service.

A Norwegian newspaper reports that a woman in her 40’s fell from the deck of a Hurtigruten cruise ship as it approached the port in Ålesund.

Sunnmorsposten reports that the unidentified woman was located in the water about an hour after she went overboard from the M/S Finnmarken following an extensive search involving a helicopter and six vessels.

After her initial rescue, the passenger was rushed to a local hospital in Ålesund where she was described as in “extremely serious” condition. She was transferred to the larger St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim where she reportedly died.

A Norwegian police department posted details of the progress of the search and rescue efforts via Twitter:

Forbes and Newsweek covered the story in English.

Forbes stated that “Local police held the vessel in Ålesund while an investigation was conducted. They have since said there is ‘no reason to believe’ there was any criminal activity involved, but the investigation will continue in order to ‘clarify the circumstances’ surrounding the woman’s fall.

According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, there have been  356 people who have gone overboard since 2000. To our knowedge, no one has gone overboard from a Hurtigruten ship in the past.

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Photo credit: MS Finnmarken in Kirkenes – Chris from Wien, Austria CC BY-SA 2.0, commons / wikimedia.