Last month Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) pulled its cruise ships out of Tunis after Tunisian officials at the port prohibited Israeli passengers from entering the country.  

It could have been confusion over visa and immigration issues, but NCL issued a stern public statement condemning what it perceived as discrimination against its Jewish clients. 

“We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests. We are outraged by this act . . . "

Yesterday we were the first to report that a Filipino crew member was shot and killed in Roatan. A bandito gunned the crew member down for his cell phone. The crew member bled to death on a main street near the port.

No, the crime was not unforeseeable. No, it was not rare. The U.S. State Department has issued a critical crime warning. Since 2010 Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world. The New York Norwegian Pearl Cruise ShipTimes wrote about crime problems in Roatan in January. We published articles this year like this and this about the escalating armed violence in Roatan against U.S. citizens. Women and children have been terrorized by armed criminals in this deceivingly idyllic island. Now a crew employee is dead. 

How will NCL react?

Will NCL be outraged?  Will NCL tolerate such violence? Will NCL send a strong message to Roatan?

Is a Filipino crew member killed in Roatan worth the same as two dozen cruise guests discriminated against in Tunisia?

I certainly think so.  

Roatan has done little to address the armed robberies against cruise passengers and tourists this year. Its reward of a paltry $5,000 (U.S.) for the bad guy responsible for the death yesterday seems awfully meager. I suppose that an island where a criminal will kill for a $250 cell phone will be motivated by a $5,000 bounty for the killer. 

NCL’s CEO must act decisively. Sheehan must pull his ships from Roatan. A message must be sent that this is unacceptable. 

Anything less will be an in insult to the NCL crew members and to the memory of Filipino crew member "Jacob."

April 8 2014 Update: NCL just posted this on its Facebook Page:

"Norwegian Cruise Line is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of a crew member from Norwegian Pearl in Roatan, Honduras on Sunday, April 6, 2014.

Police reports indicate the crew member was killed during an attempted robbery while in Roatan. Local officials are investigating and have the alleged suspect in custody.

In an abundance of caution for our guests and crew, we have cancelled calls to Roatan this week for Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Jewel.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the crew member."

April 10 2014 UpdateHonduran Police Arrest Bay Islands Resident in Murder of NCL Crew Member


Read our prior article: NCL Crew Member Shot & Killed in Roatan, Honduras 

  • Kristoffer

    Jim, check the comments on the prior article. According to them, there is an unconfirmed claim of NCL pulling 3 ships from visiting Roatan, and also a report that the murderer has been caught.

  • Guillermo

    Hello Mr. Walker and all the Cruise Line Community reading this article of the unfortunate death of Mr. Jacob (RIP),
    I am a Honduran, ex crew member of a European route cruise ship and an actual employee of a store at cruise ports of Roatan Island.
    First of all I condem the death of this person (Mr. Jacob) for he is a human being and no human should loose his life on hands of another human being and knowing my words won’t mean much to his family I give my biggest condolences to his family.
    Second, you are right, Honduras is in the list of the highest rate of violence and crime in the world, but the Bay Islands have been peaceful compared to the rest of the country. We as Hondurans and the foreign people who have made Roatan their home, are trying to keep this place as peaceful as possible. There is violence in every country in the world, but the rest of the countries deal with that violence in a discreate way. I was almost mugged while walking on the streets of Athenes on my way to the Parthenon. I escaped the three thieves who followed me with hand guns because I hid and waited until I saw some police officers. Unfortunately we have a bad reputation worldwide thanks to a lot of factors including bad press, slow answers from the authorities and few honest police officers. But with the $5,000 reward people gave enough information to get the suspect into custody.
    Third, if the NCL and other cruise lines decide to do what you suggest instead of making a possitive arrangement with the people of this country to proove we can do way better in terms of security at least in the bay island area and giving an ultimatum to the government in security issues to protect our friendly tourists and the locals, they would be punishing the good people for a few bad people. You have no idea how many of us would loose our jobs, not being able to support our families and some of them (in desperwte acts) might turn to the bad side as what has being happening on main land and as a result giving the world the reputation we have.
    Fourth, I know this incident has angered everyone who knows about it but I ask you, please do not make things worst than what they already are by taking away the main income for this comunity with all what you have already written about us without even knowing who we really are. Show that you really are a bigger person and think things through before writting down more negative words in suggestion to punish the hard working people who live here.
    Fifth, if we loose the ships and the visitors, no one will take care of the reef because there won’t be enough income to do it. We loose the reef and that will have a greater impact world wide with global warming and death of endemic species…
    Last but not least, thank you for your time and I hope that even if you are thinking that nothing of what I mentioned is your problem, what happened on Sunday is everyones problem.
    One tablet or cellphone cost a life, but the actions taken after that might make things worst and that his death would be in vain.
    ps. sorry if any words were written incorrectly.

  • susan gallardo

    I strongly recommend to persecute the killer.Put them behind bar.What a shame to your country

  • Alfaro

    Honduras have a high criminal rate but at least we don’t have people putting bombs and killing others people in schools and universities. Why Honduras have being looked at less; we have problems like others countries, but Roatan is a different part of Honduras, don’t get Roatan as a whole general with Honduras.

    Roatan is a touristic paradise island and if you prohibit the cruise arrive you will get a lot of unemployed people the things to do, is giving Honduras Government a memorandum to change and get more police presence in Roatan Island. I’m sorry for the dead of an innocent people like Mr. Jacob, but is not correct to exile Roatan Island for the criminal rate in San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa. You need to think that people in there eat from the money tourist expended.

    Changes have to me made but not this way.

    I’m and Honduran and live in San Pedro Sula I’m sad hearing that they are excluding Roatan as a Cruise Port. Have a nice day, thanks for your time.

  • Carlos

    Hay mas crímenes en otros países y no le dan la publicidad que le dan cuando sucede un homicidio en Honduras , en Estados Unidos por ejemplo:homicidios en las escuelas realizados por Niños ,homicidios realizados por locos ,esto solo por mencionar algo . Y porque no comentan sobre esto ? PUBLIQUENLOS , Honduras es Bella y como en todos los países , hay homicidios.

  • The possible reaction to the murder on Roatan is certainly a dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.
    In lieu of the cruise lines pulling their ships from Roatan, I think two actions might prevent a Roatan “meltdown.”

    1. The Government of Honduras needs to provide an overwhelming police/military presence to deter the type of crime that has been praying on the tourists and ship crewmembers. An increase in the “verifiable” numbers of police. I would rather see more police than go home in a box.

    2. Millions of dollars pass thru the shops, which are largely owned, by the cruise lines and not the locals. If the tourists are afraid to venture out of these shop areas, then they won’t spend any $ say in Coxen Hole. My wife and I have been to Roatan many times on cruises and go outside of the tourist traps as soon as we can. It is apparent to us the dollars are not “trickling down” to the local populace. Folks with no money for food and clothes; folks with no hope for the future are going to look at cruise line passengers like a “gourmet” meal.
    This is a small place with a small population. Surely the cruise lines could pool a few hundred thousand $ to improve the infrastructure of the island and the lives of its citizens. To ignore problems in Roatan (which let’s face it, Roatans’ economy IS the cruise lines business) will lead to what? Not stopping there; passengers not venturing out of the confines of the cruise line shops?
    Swift action by both the cruise lines and the Honduran Government should happen and be widely publicized.
    PS – My wife and I have been going to Roatan on cruises since the mid 90’s when Commodore Cruise Lines was in business. We never felt threatened and always shopped in Coxen Hole. Therefore, we have an ulterior motive -“We want to go back to Roatan and not have to look over our shoulder.”

  • Josephine Bernadez

    Sorry for us Filipino who just want a decent job just to provide our family way back home and to send our children to a nice school.. But how this people who didn’t even think of that.. I hope NCL will talk to our government about what happen and I hope if you can send that suspect to our country .. We have full of angers full of disappointment and an over flowing of deep mourning right now… Jacob has a 3 yrs old daughter a wife a father who has sick and all Jacob wanted is to provide the needs of his family. Can you imagine he can’t buy his own cellphone? He just borrowed the cellphone that he used that time just to communicate with his family and looking for a free wifi outside of the ship.. Justice is not yet served on us I hope All cruise line will not ever ever come back to Roatan or Honduras anymore

  • tinikini

    Well said Vic…..I went to Roatan in 2001 and stayed at Fantasy Island Resort with a dive group. The people of Roatan treated us very well and were always friendly and accommodating. We rented a car and drove around the island. We stopped at local places, even meet the mayor in an area we stopped in for a beer and snacks. The mayor suggested some areas to check out which we did without any problems. We never felt threatened or unsafe. The island, its beaches and the water around it all is just amazingly beautiful.

    However a lady in her late 60’s early 70’s that was in our group rented a bicycle and went to town and got turned around and asked a guy for directions and then he wanted $20.00 for the information or the bicycle.
    She told him to go to hell and he tried to grab the bicycle but she fought back and he left her alone. This happened in the daytime, however we all told her that she should not have gone to town by herself as she was somewhere she had never been before and that you must take precautions until you know the area.

    It is sad to see this happening to Roatan and its native people, years later. Roatan must step up and do what they need to do. The cruise industry will never help them so they need to figure it out on their own. Like Vic said, if you cannot venture out of the port safely, have you really been anywhere?

    The island of Cozumel,Quintana Roo,Mexico has it figured out, maybe they could help Roatan figure it out. You do not live in Cozumel,unless you are approved by the government. Period. No matter what nationality you are. I have been traveling to Cozumel for the last 14 years, have a timeshare there, and will eventually retire there. NEVER have we had an incident there, nor have we witnessed any incidents while there. We travel freely around the island without being fearful. There is a strong police force present with BIG guns and the police take no bullshit from anyone and they are not corrupt. There is security all over the resorts and you are screened and have to show ID before you can even enter or leave our resort. Do we pay attention to our surroundings, make good decisions, and mind our manners while we are there? Yes. But are we fearful and on edge? Never.

    I will pray for Jacob’s family, the NCL crew, and the people of Roatan. This truly is a sad situation for all involved.

  • Daniery Matute

    Soy un hondureño orgulloso de mi país y lamento lo sucedido a uno de sus empleados ya que una vida es valiosa en cualquier lugar del mundo.- Lo que esta sucediendo en nuestro país con relación a la delincuencia no es un caso aislado de lo que acontece en cualquier país del mundo y lo que pasa es que no trasciende en los noticiarios, como para ejemplo el caso de barrios o estados que existen en los Estados Unidos en los cuales la policía no entra por lo violentos que son esas áreas, y así en muchos otros países que tratan de que sus noticias no trasciendan. Lo que no comparto con ustedes es que traten de manejar el tema asiéndonos ver como un país violento, ignoro cuantos viajes han realizado a las Islas de la Bahía, pero si consultan con otras empresas lograran confirmar que sus clientes no han tenido mayores problemas y han disfrutado la hospitalidad de nuestros compatriotas. les agradeceré así como informaron este acontecimiento también pongan lo bueno de nuestro país, que es en beneficio mutuo por que ganan ustedes trayéndonos turistas así como nuestro país recibiéndolos. Gracias

  • BayIslander

    Sorry for the death of Jacob, condolences to his family and friends, I know you don’t know me but I am a teacher from Roatan,I was raise here 31 years living here.I would like to say, loosing a love one is hard, but why should the rest of us pay, for what one guy did, I believe we need to put things into to action, to protect our island more, the Transportation that brings people to this island need to be fix, and the government need to make sure and keep people in jail for what ever crime the commit, there are a lot of us that lives of the cruise ship. And it would affect us if they pull out, they cruise ship company and the municipal need to make some kind of agreement on have to protect passengers and locals. But Roatan wouldn’t be able to do anything if they don’t be independent, and Honduras don’t want that. So this beautiful island really need lots of help even to fight for our rights. By the grace of God I hope that they guy that they caught get the punishment he deserved.

    And that the NCl could take into consideration the locals, not all of us are bad.

  • Sunil Purohit

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the crew member. Hope this never happens again to any of out precious guest’s on any of the cruise lines on any port of call.. I hope Rotan Government takes a serious action against crime.. and not just Roatan , all the caribbean ports should have a special task force for the tourist, for them to be comfortable on their vacations…. May god help the poor innocent crue members family , who died far away from the family working hard…. Really feel sorry but at the same time they should HANG to death the culprits in middle of the street if front of public , so no one can attempt such crime to our valued guests.

  • Kris

    Vic and Judy, you are spot on! We just got back from Roatan in February and vowed we would go back because we loved iit so much. We traveled and spent our dollars locally and the money we spent we wanted the citizens to have for showing us such a good time and for their hospitality. Give the money to the islanders, build up their infrastructure- the money should go to the people of Roatan to make it better.

    This is indeed a catch 22. Our deepest condolences to Mr. Jacob and his family for this senseless action.


    Actually it is confirmed that NCL pulled out the 3 ships that are supposed to arrive in Honduras. One of the ships is the Pearl which my family and I will be on 4/11/14. This is really tragic, I can’t even imagine what his family in the Philippines are going through! I just have to say, after what happened, even IF NCL decides to port in Honduras this coming Sunday, I am too terrified to get off the ship. Things like this should be the last thing on your mind when you’re on vacation! Especially if the scene of the murder was only a “short distance from the ship?”