Over the past years, we have been involved in a number of cases where cruise passengers and crew members have been victims of crimes on cruise ships heading to the Bahamas or ashore in downtown Nassau. We have witnessed the local police bungle the cases miserably and quickly close their files.
The Bahamian police cannot solve crimes against cruise passengers and employees which happen across the street from their police station. So the notion of the Bahamian police solving the disappearance of a young woman from England lost in the Pacific ocean off of the coast of Mexico is a rather ludicrous proposition.
This afternoon, the Bahamian police announced in the case of missing Disney crew member Rebecca Coriam ". . . there is no evidence to suggest foul play."
A number of news sources, including the BBC, are quoting Superintendent Paul Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, saying today: "With respect to the investigation into the disappearance of Miss Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship, the Royal Bahamas Police have concluded its investigation on board the vessel. "At the present time there is no evidence to suggest foul play. The case remains open and under active investigation.”
What on earth does this mean? No evidence of foul play? Does this mean that there is evidence of something other than foul play? Does it mean that the police think that Ms. Coriam inadvertently or intentionally went overboard? Or does it mean simply that the police in the Bahamas don’t have any idea what happened and instead of admitting that, they are doing Disney a favor by trying to convince the public to keep sailing on cruise ships flagged in the Bahamas?
Remember this is not an announcement from the Bahamian Maritime Authority (BMA) which is suppose to investigate casualties on cruise ships which are registered in the Bahamas to avoid taxes. This is the Royal Bahamas Police who flew from the Bahamas to meet the ship on Sunday in Los Angeles, quickly conducted some type of "investigation" on the ship on Sunday (five days after the disappearance), let the ship return on its regularly scheduled itinerary, and then quickly flew back to Nassau yesterday for a press statement today.
There were over 1,700 passengers on the Disney Wonder and many hundreds of crew members. The ship is over three football fields long and over a dozen decks high. There are hours of CCTV footage to sit and review, electronic telephone and link-lock data to analyze, polygraphs to administer, and detective work to perform. It is not possible to interview witnesses and inspect the premises with a competent forensic team in such short order.
In our prior articles about this disappearance, we discussed the limitations of the "authorities" which are suppose to investigate cruise disappearances and the type of investigation that the family needs to conduct on its own initiative.
The Bahamas, whether it be the BMA or the local police, is not interested in and otherwise incapable of conducting an aggressive, competent, fair and impartial investigation into the affairs of the cruise ships which pay to incorporate in that country. The conflict of interest is glaring and repugnant.
Making a press statement of "no foul play" at this early date is like punting on first down in order to avoid embarrassing the other team.
The Royal Bahamas Police’s services are advertised on its website, including ". . . temporary liquor licenses, firearm licensing, vendors permits, online character certificates, and barricade rental." "Conducting international investigations" does not seem to be a service it provides.
So what are the real skills of the Bahamas when it comes to the cruise industry? Entertainment. Beaches. The straw market in Nassau. And its wonderful military bands, which march along side the Miami-based but Bahamian-flagged cruise ships when they port in Nassau.
In fact, the Bahamas sends 10 times more military musicians to greet its cruise ship friends at port than it sent police to investigate Ms. Coriam’s disappearance.