The Alaska State Police identified the woman who went overboard last week from the Celebrity Solstice. ABC 13 in Houston reported that authorities in Alaska are conducting a death investigation after a Houston woman went overboard during a cruise. Alaska State Troopers identify the woman as 40-year-old Selena Pau Pres.”

Last week we reported that the passenger went overboard from the Celebrity Solstice during a cruise through Alaska. The woman disappeared from the Celebrity cruise ship on Tuesday, May 17th around 3:00 a.m. in the upper Lynn Canal approximately 20 miles northwest of Juneau, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The cruise line did not respond to requests from ABC-13 or KHOU-11, both local stations in Houston, for an explanation how its guest went overboard. Celebrity Cruises has not issued a statement regarding the missing passenger nor has the cruise line responded to numerous inquiries from other media.

According to KHOU11, the cruise ship’s captain stated to the Coast Guard that the passenger fell from the the ship near Eldred Rock in the Inside Passage. (The Inside Passage is the historic route that cruise ships and Alaska state ferries follow through the waters of southeast Alaska and British Columbia).

The KHOU station indicated that the guest Ms. Pau Pres went overboard from an upper deck, based on accounts from other passengers.

It’s our experience that most cruise lines, whenever possible, are quick to blame passengers who go overboard and accuse them of jumping from the ship. Here, Celebrity Cruises has not done so but has refused to respond to any inquiries from the press.

It is important that Celebrity preserve all videos of this guest, which not only shown her going overboard but depict her whereabouts on the ship for the hours before her tragic disappearance.  The cruise line should preserve all relevant surveillance tapes as well as evidence of the guest’s onboard purchases documenting the ship’s sale of alcohol that she may have consumed.

It is well establed under maritime law that a cruise line faces potential liability when it serves its guests alcohol past the point of intoxication.

A few years ago, a twenty-two year old guest went overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship (Independence of the Seas)  after the cruise line served him thirty (30) ounces of alcohol. After the young man went overboard, the cruise ship’s captain  informed the ship via the intercom that he allegedly intentionally jumped. The cruise line repeatedly the incomplete information to numerous news outlets, without mentioning that the guest was in a state of intoxication.  You can read about the case here- Lawsuit: Royal Caribbean Serves Passenger At Least 30 Ounces of Alcohol, Unreasonably Delays Search, and Claims Guest Intentionally Went Overboard.

As we mentioned last week, this particular cruise line and its parent company, Royal Caribbean, are two of the cruise lines which refuses to install automatic man overboard systems as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. Such systems utilize sophisticated motion detection and infrared and radar technology to immediately send a signal directly to the bridge when a person goes over the rails and then tracks the person in the water even at night.

Without such systems, cruise ships first conduct a manual search of the ship and then review the video of cameras along the side of the ship (which are not actively manned) to see if they show someone going overboard. (In fact, Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises, requires that Royal Caribbean owned ships first contact Royal Caribbean’s Global Security Office in Miami before turning the ship around to begin search operations in the water).

When a cruise line announces that its surveillance cameras shown a passenger going overboard (as was done in this case), it is invariably only after a shipboard search has wasted a hour or two.

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Image credits: Top – Celebrity Solstice – ABC13 Houston.