The arrival of Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas, in Israel was marred by news that a crew member ended his life as the ship was sailing toward Haifa earlier this week, according to several crew members who wish to remain anonymous. The cruise ship’s master announced the crew member’s death yesterday via the ship intercom system. The ship employee’s name and details of death were not disclosed.
The unnamed crew member, who is reportedly from India, went overboard from the Odyssey of the Seas Tuesday night as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailed south of Cyprus en route to Haifa. The sole newspaper covering the sad event is a newspaper in Cyprus – KNEWS, the English edition of Kathimerini Cyprus, which publish an article this morning titled Cyprus Halts Search For Sailor Lost at Sea – Cypriot Authorities Fail to Locate Crew Member in the Water After Falling Overboard From Haifa-Bound Cruise Ship.
KNEW reports that “a crew member on a cruise ship bound for Haifa was last seen Tuesday night, according to the captain of the vessel, who said the sailor was last seen when the vessel was some 20 nautical miles south of Cape Gata on the southern coast of Cyprus.”
The search and rescue efforts by Cyprus’ Joint Rescue Coordination Center were unsuccessful and stopped today. The rescue center was first notified yesterday (Wednesday) shortly before noon.
The newspaper in Cyprus, where the Odyssey of the Seas will visit when it begins cruises from Israel in June, did not identify the name of the cruise ship or that it was operated by Royal Caribbean. It is not uncommon for governmental agencies and newspaper in countries which have commercial relationships with cruise lines to refuse to identify the name of the cruise line or cruise ship in cases of crew suicides to avoid embarrassing their business partners.
Two dozen Royal Caribbean ship employees have gone overboard over the past ten years. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the problem of crew members going missing from Royal Caribbean cruise ships without explanation. During a period of less than four years between 2009 and 2013, at least thirteen crew members went over the rails of Royal Caribbean (and subsidiary Celebrity) cruise ships, including the Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas (twice), Radiance of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas. Oasis of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Summit, and Monarch of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas (two). Most of these cases were never investigated by the flag state, which, it seems, could not care less.
The majority of the crew members appeared to have ended their lives intentionally and/or they disappeared mysteriously. The last Royal Caribbean crew member to go overboard was a 27 year old ship employee from Poland. Closed-circuit camera on the cruise ship showed him jumping from the Jewel of the Seas off of the coast of Greece last May.
A 35 year-old crew member from India went overboard from the Rhapsody of the Seas in September of 2019.
A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Majesty of the Seas in January of 2019.
A young Celebrity Cruises officer hung himself on the Celebrity Millennium, on December 6, 2018.
Another Royal Caribbean crew member, a performer, age 20, of the United Kingdom, went overboard from the Harmony of the Seas the day after Christmas of 2018.
A Royal Caribbean crew member disappeared from the Adventure of the Seas at the end of November of last year.
A crew member went overboard from the Celebrity Reflection in October of 2018.
A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard in an apparent suicide from the Vision of the Seas in December of 2017.
A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Liberty of the Seas in April of 2017.
A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Independence of the Seas in August of 2014.
A Celebrity crew member disappeared at sea from the Celebrity Constellation in January of 2014.
In all, at least twenty-four (24) crew members went overboard from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships from 2009 to the present. Most cases involved suicides. Yet, Royal Caribbean does not employ mental health counselors on its fleet of cruise ships.
I previously described this sad state of affairs in an article titled Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides.
Condolences to this unidentified crew member’s family and friends as well as his teammates who he left behind.
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Photo Credits: Odyssey of the Seas – Ynet newspaper; Helicopter search – Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center via KNEWS.