Drug busts on NCL cruise ships have been big news for the past month.
First there was the arrest of five galley workers on the Norwegian Sun who were apprehended in Tampa when they smuggled 7 kilos of cocaine from Roatan.
Two of the arrested NCL ship employees were from St. Lucia along with two crew members from Grenada and one employee from St. Vincent. Read article here.
Then came the arrest last week of another NCL crew member, a Nicaraguan, who worked in the galley of the Norwegian Dawn and tried to smuggle cocaine aboard when the cruise ship was docked in Roatan.
Since then, I heard that there were widespread arrests of NCL crew members on the Epic as well as some on the Sun. Several NCL crew members have told me that as many as 20 crew members from Nicaragua have been arrested with cocaine in the last several weeks.
But there’s a downside to the arrests. Some crew members are innocent and yet they get fired by the cruise line and put on the do-not-enter-the-U.S. list of U.S. immigration.
A reader of Cruise Law News sent this story about a crew member from St. Lucia who worked about the Norwegian Pearl. He was arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs. But then he was released and another crew member was arrested instead.
NCL didn’t permit him to keep working. In fact, he was fingerprinted, his U.S. tourist and seaman’s visas were canceled, he was blacklisted from the U.S., and then was given a one-way flight back home.
We are often contacted in these type of cases. Unfortunately, maritime law is extremely unfavorable to crew members. Cruise lines can hire and fire crew members for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. The U.S. government can act even more arbitrarily and capriciously than the cruise lines. Low level customs agents yield incredible power to ruin the lives of hard working young men from the Caribbean.
Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Photo Credit: St. Lucia Times