Earlier today, I mentioned the recent disappearance of a young Chinese woman from the MSC Magnifica.
It appears that she may have been a murder victim, according to the police in Italy who are investigating the case.
If this is true, this is hardly the first time that a cruise passenger has been killed at sea.
Cruise passenger Karen Roston was thrown overboard by her husband during an Admiral Cruises vacation. He was later convicted of the crime.
Mindy Jordon went overboard from a NCL cruise ship when she went on a vacation with a husband reportedly with an abusive and violent background.
The case of George Smith, of course, is perhaps the clearest example of a crime at sea, after he was reportedly thrown overboard by a man, who was also sailing on the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas as a passenger, who reportedly gave Mr. Smith a “paragliding lesson without a parachute.”
A Chinese cruise passenger murdered his wife by pitching her overboard during a cruise aboard the Macau Success. He falsely claimed that his wife committed suicide.
A drunken passenger killed his wife during a cruise on the Carnival Elation to Mexico.
A lawyer was arrested for allegedly strangling & throwing his wife, Micki Kanesaki off an Italian cruise ship several years ago.
A woman from Vancouver, Canada, Fariba Amani, who was cruising aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by the Celebration Cruise Lines, disappeared under mysterious circumstances during a cruise with her boyfriend.
There are many others who met with foul play on cruise ships.
A Brazilian crew member, Camilla Peixoto Bandeira, working aboard the MSC Musica was strangled to death by her boyfriend.
23 year old Amy Lynn Bradley disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas under highly suspicious circumstances where it appears that she was abducted.
Carnival passenger Annette Mizener appeared to have been thrown overboard from a Carnival ship cruising to Mexico.
A Holland America Line (HAL) crew member sexually assaulted, violently beat, and tried to throw a woman from her balcony on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam. The crew member was arrested and sentenced to jail, although in most such cases there are no arrests or prosecutions.
Other young, healthy and seemingly happy individuals have disappeared from cruise ships, with the cruise line wildly speculating that they probably committed suicide, like Denisa Markoska, and Angelo Faliva.
A murder investigation was opened after after a 53 year old woman went overboard from the Costa Fortuna.
A young woman, Jennifer Ellis-Seitz, disappeared over the rails of her cabin’s balcony resulting in the FBI investigating the conduct of her husband when other passengers commented on what they considered his highly strange behavior. The FBI eventually declined the case after finding no evidence of foul play. There was, of course, no automatic man overboard system in place.
It was the mysterious disappearance of Merrian Carver from the Celebrity Mercury back in 2004, and the resulting cover-up by the cruise line, which motivated her father, Ken Carver to create the International Cruise Victims organization.
Several lawmakers have asked whether a cruise ship is the perfect place to commit a crime, largely because of jurisdictional nightmares like this.
The cruise industry is quick to label disappearances at sea as “suicides” even when the facts suggest otherwise. Read: “Suicide” – One of the Cruise Lines’ Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.
Mike Driscoll, editor of Cruiseweek, a cruise publication, was recently quoted as saying “Most over-boards to date have been suicides.” He offered no statistical evidence to support this inaccurate claim. In fact, the majority of disappearances involve highly intoxicated individuals who go over the rails. Whether you view this phenomenon as the result of reckless conduct by the drunken passenger or the irresponsibility of the cruise line in over-serving their guests to make profits from the vast amount of alcohol sold during a cruise, there is no question that alcohol is involved in most disappearances from cruise ships. You can track the last 288 case of overboards maintained by cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein and easily see that alcohol plays a significant role in most overboard cases.
Unfortunately, it also appears that a cruise is a perfect location for a murder, particularly when there are few automatic man overboard cameras installed on ships which would document and, possibly, deter criminal activity.
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March 3, 2017 Update: Cops believe missing Dublin-based mum was murdered on cruise ship and thrown overboard in suitcase.
November 16, 2018 Update: There have been at least four additional murders, or murder attempts, on cruise ships since we first published this article. In July of 2017, the FBI arrested the husband of a a 39-year-old woman who was murdered aboard the Emerald Princess operated by Princess Cruises in Alaska. In January of 2018, the boyfriend of a 50 year-old woman was arrested for murder aboard the Carnival Elation after he threw her off their balcony to a lifeboat below. In October of 2018, a passenger was arrested after he tried to throw his partner off of the Radiance of the Seas in Australia. Earlier this week, a man killed a 52 year-old woman on the Royal Princess operated by Princess Cruises after allegedly choking her and throwing her over the railing following which she fell and struck a lifeboat.
Mindy Jordon – International Cruise Victims
Micki Kanesaki – Orange County Register
Fariba Amani – Global News Canada
Jennifer Ellis-Seitz balcony – TODAY
Camilla Peixoto Bandeira – A Tribuna newspaper
Annette Mizener – ABC News
Denisa Markosa – Fokus newspaper (Macedonia)
Royal Princess Murder – Mail Online