Two additional crew members on cruise ships were arrested in South Florida in the last week on charges of child pornography, bringing the total of cruise ship employees apprehended for possessing child abuse materials to a total of at least eight in a period of a little over three months.

Iwayan Pasek Brahmantara

Police officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) arrested Iwayan Pasek Brahmantara (photo above), a 32 year-old man recently identified as a Royal Caribbean crew member recently employed as an assistant waiter on the Wonder of the Seas, on Sunday on charges of possessing child pornography and a bestiality video, according to Local News-10. This followed the arrest just the day before involving a crew member, Komang Parianta, also recently identified as working for Royal Caribbean on the Icon of the Seas, on charges of possessing child pornography. Parianta was accused of possessing child sexual abuse videos including a “girl around five years old” being sexually abused by a man as well as a “girl between 12 to 13 years old” also being abused.

Zin Naing Htun

These last two arrests followed the arrest of a Royal Caribbean ship employee, Zin Naing Htun, 36 (photo immediately above), of Myanmar, around a week ago. Crew member Htun was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. One video depicted a child between the ages of 10 and 12 acting in a “sexual manner,” and a second depicted a child between 12 and 14 years old removing her clothes, according to a local NBC news station.

According to a MDPD arrest report, Indonesian Iwayan Pasek Brahmantara was detained on Sunday after law enforcement conducted a cabin search. The officers found two videos on his phone of girls as young as 5 years old being sexually assaulted by men and a video of a female “engaging in sexual intercourse with a horse.”

As of Tuesday, Brahmantara was being held in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on an immigration hold. Jail records show Brahamantara is facing three counts of possession of videos depicting a sexual performance by a child and possession of a video depicting sexual activities involving animals.

Brahmantara’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages indicate that he was a former crew member who worked for Marella Cruises beginning in 2016. He recently was employed by Royal Caribbean.

In addition to these crew members, six other cruise ship employees have been arrested for possessing child sexual abuse materials since February: Tirso Anthony Neri, age 44 (Disney Dream), Alvin Gonzalez, age 49 (Disney Dream),  Amiel Trazo, age 28 (Disney Dream), Jamaal Wade, age 28 (employed by RWS Global as a dancer / performer on a Holland America Line cruise ship), and Dennis Ofrancia De Leon, age 44 (Celebrity Reflection). Some of these crew members possessed child pornography of children as young as two to five years of age.

Top left to bottom right: Zin Naing Htun (Royal Caribbean), Iwayan Pasek Brahmantara (Royal Caribbean), Amiel Trazo (Disney), Anthony Gonzalez (Disney), Dennis Ofrancia De Leon (Celebrity), Komang Parianta (Royal Caribbean), Tirso Anthony Neri (Disney), and Jamaal Wade (RWS Global on a HAL ship).

There remains substantial questions whether cruise lines perform adequate pre-employment investigations into the backgrounds of prospective employees. This spate of child perverts hired by the cruise lines makes that clear. Most of these deviant crew members above come from countries like Indonesia and the Philippines which have no sexual predator database nor computerized sources of data where employers can search for relevant background information based on a search of their driver’s license or social security number.

Cruise lines are currently aggressively recruiting new employees. Royal Caribbean, in particular, is hiring 10,000 workers in 2024 to keep up with surging demand in cruise travel, according to a report from Reuters. There appears to be little hesitation by cruise lines in bringing new crew members into the cruise industry which is trending toward building larger and larger ships which require thousands of new hires. Whether cruise lines continue to hire crew members with a propensity to engage in possessing and transporting child pornography and other criminal behavior during their long contracts (6-10 month) at sea seems probable.

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May 21, 2024 Update:

From Inquirer:

“The Migrant Workers Office (MWO) of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, is working with agencies deploying Filipino seafarers to cruise ships to address the use of child pornography among cruise ship workers.

At least seven Filipino cruise ship workers have been arrested and detained in Florida for possession and transportation of child pornography within the past six months, the MWO reported.

‘US federal and state laws criminalize the production or promotion of child pornography. Individuals caught possessing, viewing, transporting and distributing child pornography will be prosecuted and penalized.”

He urged the manning agencies to advise the seafarers to desist from downloading, possessing, viewing, transporting, distributing and selling child pornography, as well as subscribing to child pornography sites.”

May 22, 2024 Update:

The question arises: Is child pornography illegal in the Philippines? Kind of. In 2009, following advocacy by UNICEF and others, child sexual abuse materials were made illegal in the Philippines for the first time. But more needs to be done. “The legal age of sexual consent in the Philippines is still just 12 years old,” according to: UNICEF.

Image credit: Cover image (top) -Komang Parianta and Iwayan Pasek Brahmantara; Iwayan Pasek Brahmantara – mug shot zone; Zin Naing Htun – NBC news station.