This morning we were contacted by passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas indicating that two dockworkers were killed when the cruise ship was leaving the port.

The passengers described the incident as occurring when the two dockworkers were in a small vessel trying to remove the last mooring lines. The Independence of the Seas’ wake allegedly swamped the vessel with its azipods and threw the two men into the water. The vessel then allegedly slammed into the Celebrity Silhouette and overturned.

The two men were described as wearing life-vests, although one vest apparently became loose when the man was tossed into the water.

The passengers who we communicated with were critical that the Independence "launched rescue but not fast enough. Celebrity took 30 min after we launched rescue to respond."  They described a "lack of quick response and feeling of helplessness."

The incident occurred yesterday around 5:00 PM.  The Independence was delayed approximately 3 Independence of the Seas St Kittshours.

The incident has already been posted on social media sites.

The Times Caribbean Blog posted this on Facebook (and the photo to the right):  

"Eyewitnesses suggest that the Cruise Liner may have pulled out before the men had enough time to clear the berthing area. As a result the sea currents created by the massive cruise liner may have caused the smaller berthing boat to capsize and the men were apparently sucked below water by the current and drowned."

The news account also indicated that "the small boat was capsized when our rear azipods pushed us away from the dock. The two men where thrown overboard and never resurfaced, only one had on a life vest, the other man’s life vest came off when he was thrown into the water. The capsized boat was then pushed into the back of the Silhouette. All of this viewed from my aft balcony, kinda puts a damper on an otherwise wonderful cruise. Very sad for the families of these two men.’" 

CNN iReport posted information (based on the Times Caribbean account) and a local newspaper in St. Kitts, SKNVibes, published an article as well.

The St. Kitts & Nevis Observer identified the two men. 

April 5 2014 UpdateLinesman expresses safety concerns following colleague’s death.

If anyone has additional information or photos or video of the incident, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.


Photo Credit: Times Caribbean

  • Marcus Wolf

    Comments made by a crew member may not be accurate or were written mistakenly.
    As a former crew member, I can tell you that NO CREW MEMBER that works on cruise ships has a balcony attached to their cabin. Crew cabins are the size of shoe boxes….believe me!!!!

  • Zsolt Matrai

    Well said!!!

  • jojo

    This can be avoided if there is a clear agreement and communication between the officer of the bridge and the shore side harbor master.Risk assessment must be done.

  • Julia

    There’s no way that the boat slammed in the Celebrity Silhouette back. Silhouette was across the dock.

  • asten77

    I witnessed this and have an HD video of it that I took. Julie is mistaken, the boat was indeed pushed into the Silhouette and then capsized. It was horrible to see.

  • james

    As for the comments about the crew member, there are several reason why a crew member could be in an aft cabin – cast crossover, handover periods, refurbishment of their cabins, cruising etc, etc. Yes, crew don’t get nice cabins. But I personally have stayed in balcony cabins for various reasons.

    Don’t take it with a piece of salt just because you’ve never experienced it. What they have quoted could be perfectly right.

  • My wife and I and six friends were on the Silhouette which was tied of next to The Independence of the Seas. We were out on our balcony when the Independence pulled out, My wife commented that they had left 8 minutes early, which seemed unusual. We have been on 102 cruises and never remember a ship leaving early. As soon as the Independence cleared the dock, we saw the capsized boat. The recovery efforts seemed minimal so we didn’t know that anyone had been injured or killed. The captain of our ship made an announcement explaining why our departure was now delayed by three hours, but as is always the case with Celebrity Cruise lines, gave no meaningful information, I’m sure that there were hundreds of people on the Independence that have videos and pictures of the incident in detail.

  • Fredrik

    Jersey kern , it is normal to leave as soon as all crew and passengers are ombord.

  • Mary Caplan

    I was on the port side of Independence on my balcony and have a picture of the overturned boat and two life rings that were thrown. Because there was no apparent rescue at the time, I assumed whoever had been on the small vessel had been rescued. I did not see it overturn. As Independence backed out, I could see a third life ring floating away. After we departed dock we were delayed. I believe that those who think there was nothing done soon enough fail to take into consideration that the captain, or bay pilot, or both probably did not have immediate knowledge of the incident from where they were operating.

  • Lorne Adamson

    I was on my balcony toward the bow of the Silhouette on deck 7.
    I have photos of the Independence leaving, at 4:57 pm when the motorcycles were boarding the Silhouette, 4:59 and 5:00 when the Independence was pulling away from the dock, and at 5:03 pm of the overturned boat.

  • My friend witness this happened