Yesterday, a local newspaper in Louisiana, KLFY, interviewed the mother of missing cruise passenger Juwanna Brooks who disappeared from the Carnival Triumph on January 21st, as the cruise ship was sailing toward Cozumel after departing from New Orleans the previous day.  

The cruise to Mexico, a Christmas present from her husband, was Ms. Brook’s first cruise.  

It is a painful interview to watch as the mother states that she hoped that her daughter, who she describes as a wonderful daughter, mother and grandmother, would be located and returned to her, "one way or the other."

She also described that social media accounts of her daughter’s disappearance was "downright cruel."

She is absolutely right about that. There are so many outrageously mean and nasty people on Facebook that the popular page on Facebook of Carnival cruise fans, called Carnival Cruisers…Past, Present, Future (CCPPF), states that it prohibits any "rude, hateful, snarky, ugly comments" about man overboard situations and removes such comments. Its posting about this latest overboard case welcomes "thoughts, prayers, and comfort for the family" and says:

"Sadly, there has been a man overboard ("man overboard" is a general term and not gender specific. In this case, the victim is a woman) on Carnival Triumph. When something like this happens , it tends to bring out the worst in some of our members and it is always shocking to me some of the mean cruel things people can say regarding such a tragedy regarding another human being."

I had to implement a similar policy on our Facebook page over the years after people who read this blog’s articles felt compelled to immediately insult the people who disappear during cruises as "stupid.*" 

People should not disappear from a cruise ship. We attended all of the hearings leading up to the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) and listened to members of Congress being educated by the grieving families of cruise passengers who were lost at sea, as well as the cruise industry trying to downplay the issue. The cruise line representatives accurately stated that many of the passengers intentionally went overboard and/or engaged in reckless conduct (i.e., intoxication) which often resulted in them going overboard. But at the end of the day, Congress passed legislation requiring cruise lines to install man overboard (MOB) technology, whenever feasible, to automatically detect whenever someone goes over the rails. MOB systems need to be installed whether the person goes overboard due to carelessness or even suicide. 

After all, the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the coast guards of foreign countries, none of which are reimbursed by the cruise lines for any sevices provided to the public, spend millions of dollars responding to the dozens of over-boards which occur each year. Even if the person going overboard cannot be rescued, the recovery of their bodies is obviously important to their loved ones as part of the grieving process. Implementing MOB technology saves lifes, saves unnecessary search and rescue costs and is the right thing to do. 

Unfortunately, Carnival is one cruise line which refuses to install any of the available automatic man overboard systems which are available on the market. Maritime Executive has featured several articles from a highly reputable captain and maritime expert explaining that the MOB technology is successful and feasible.

Carnival has a reputation as providing affordable "fun ships" for the masses. But, in truth, it is a recalcitrant cruise line that has a history of non-compliance with the few U.S. laws which apply to the foreign-flagged cruise industry. In the last year, it was been fined $40,000,000 for lying to the U.S. Coast Guard regarding the widespread oil pollution from its fleet of cruise ships. More recently, Carnival was  caught engaging in deceitful conduct of trying to hide food and galley equipment from federal sanitation inspectors from the USPH. It’s the one cruise line which refuses to hire lifeguards, when other lines (Disney, Royal Caribbean and NCL) have finally done so. So perhaps it’s no surprise, when it come to the issue of its guests going overboard, that Carnival refuses to implement automatic man overboard technology ever since the 2010 CVSSA went into effect. 

It’s long overdue for Carnival to install available MOB technology on its fleet of cruise ships.

How long will the parents of missing passengers at sea have to hope that their loved ones will return from cruises "one way or the other?" 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

*/  Our Facebook page states: "We welcome a difference of opinion. However, we do not tolerate hateful speech, ad hominen attacks, crude language, or personal insults. We do not permit the denigrating or mocking of people who disappear at sea or die in cruise swimming pool accidents."

  • leslie

    What, exactly, can we do as passengers, to make Carnival “do the right thing” and install the MOB technology if others going before Congress have not been successful? This is so very discouraging.

  • Dpe

    I agree that harmful comments to a grieving family are never appropriate. That said, I have been on probably close to 50 cruises. Nobody “falls-off” a cruise ship. They would have to climb a railing, or be pushed (Which already on a railing). Similar to the new Brightline rail service in South Florida, where two folks we’re already killed by oncoming trains. Folks who obeyed the railroad crossing’s bells and lights weren’t the victims.

  • tinikini

    First, and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to this family. I cannot imagine the heartache of not knowing anything.

    In response to Leslie…

    My opinion is the only way they are to be stopped is by everyone boycotting the cruise industry. But that will never happen. It would take the country as a whole to stop cruising and hurt the bottom line. The bottom line is the only way they will be stopped, as they continually prove by their own actions that the bottom line is always first. I was hoping that Trump would go after them for taxes, using our Coast Guard resources, and polluting, but it didn’t happen. We stopped cruising in 2012, when then Costa Concordia disaster unfolded, ironically, we were at sea when that happened. We no longer cruise because of safety and ecological reasons and don’t feel comfortable taking our elderly parents anymore due to lack of security and medical. We also feel that they should treat their employees better and pay them better. We feel that in this day and age we have to be choosy about how and where we ship, by plane, by car, by foot and to any and all destinations. (:

  • We appreciate your posts very much. We cruise 3-4times a year. Just came off the NCL Jade Friday and will cruise RCL on Feb 10 and back on the Jade Mar 5. Your posts keep us informed of problems and positive actions with cruise lines. MOB systems need to be installed immediately on ships. I’m shocked at those deaths involving crew members during drills and those deaths and injuries can be stopped by the cruise lines with proper inspections and training. Finally, crew members need to join a union to obtain better working conditions. In closing, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.