A controversy has emerged whether the officers of Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper cruise ship acted appropriately following the death of passenger Nina Nilssen ashore in Antigua.
A travel writer who was sailing aboard the Royal Clipper criticized the handling of the tragedy in her blog entitled: "We spend tranquil days in Antigua and St. Kitts but these are overshadowed by the murder onshore of one of our passengers." She felt that the officers were not forthcoming with information and the cruise line had no plans in place to handle the crisis.
Another passenger who was sailing on the cruise ship voiced sharp criticism of the Star Clipper organization, including the failure to warn of dangers ashore in Antigua. In the Antigua & Barbados online forum the passenger writes:
I was on board the Royal Clipper, the cruise ship that docked off Pigeon Beach where this passenger was killed. I can assure you that you commenters on this forum have showed more compassion and concern than was shown by the officers of this ship. After a day of rumors, the following announcement was made over the loudspeaker: "Today a family made an unfortunate disembarkation due to a missing family member." End of announcement, end of story. No warning had been given to any passengers that the area might be dangerous. Passengers were encouraged by ship personnel to use a back path between the beach and the marina, which I believe is where the body was found. I totally blame the Star Clippers Cruise Line for this tragedy. The next day on St. Kitts, the ship once again anchored off an isolated and un protected beach, with nary a word of warning to the passengers . . .
But the travel agent who booked the cruise for the Nilssen family had high praise for the cruise ship’s officer in her comments to one of our articles:
Star Clippers have been on top of this from day one. They kept the members of the party that remained on the ship updated and treated them with kindness. The family that stayed at Antigua was treated with respect and understanding. Star Clippers assisted the family and has returned the fares of those remaining in Antigua . . .
We have written other articles on this tragedy:
Anyone with information about this crime should contact the police in Antigua: The Criminal Investigations Department at 462-3913 or 462-3914, Dockyard Police Station at 460-1002. (Area code 268)
Photograph 1 San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate online)
Photograph 2 Todd Trumbull / The Chronicle (via San Francisco Chronicle)