A fire erupted on the balcony of a guest cabin on the Pacific Adventure cruise ship around 3:15 A.M. yesterday (Australian time) off the coast of New South Wales. The P&O Cruises’ cruise ship was carrying over 3,000 guests and a crew of over 1,000.

Newspapers reported that many guests were forced to evacuate from their cabins as the crew worked to extinguish the blaze. Accounts range that from several hundreds to over a thousand guests were displaced.

As usual, a cruise line spokesperson claimed that the fire was “small” and “quickly extinguished.” Numerous newspaper repeated the “small and quickly extinguished” fire mantra. There were no reports of injury to the guests or crew members. P&O did not disclose the cause of the fire.

There are conflicting reports regarding the extent of the fire. Some newspapers report that the fire damaged only one cabin whereas other sources claim that numerous cabins were damaged.

History Repeats Itself?

Based on comments by an anonymous guest, Cruise Mapper reports that the “fire broke out on a cabin balcony reportedly, caused by a lit cigarette . . . ” If so, this was also the most probable cause of the origin of deadly fire on the Star Princess cruise ship in 2006. That particular fire began on a balcony and spread into the adjacent cabin and then continued to burn throughout the ship. Read: Cigarette Eyed As Cause of Cruise Blaze by NBC News.

There is No “Small Fire” at Sea

Many people have suggested that the fire on the Pacific Adventure wasn’t serious because it was characterized as “small” and “quickly extinguished.” This is what the cruise line and its trade organization want you to believe. Of course, every fire on the high seas starts out small and is potentially very serious.

Does the Pacific Adventure Have Fire Detection and Suppression Systems in its Balconies?

The important issue is whether the balcony in question was equipped with a “fixed pressure water-spraying and fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems,” as required by amendments to the SOLAS regulations.

These amendments to SOLAS came about after the fire aboard the Star Princess which burned over a hundred cabins after a flicked cigarette caught a towel on a passenger balcony on fire.

The UK’s Maritime Accident Investigations Branch (MAIB) was critical of the fact that the balcony chairs and balcony partitions were highly combustible and caused heavy, toxic smoke. None of the balconies on the Star Princess had heat or smoke detectors or sprinkler systems.

We represented the family of Richard Liffridge who died in the fire. After his death, Princess said that it installed fixed sprinkler and fire detection systems on the balconies of its fleet of cruise ships. 

Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?

Mr. Liffridge’s daughter later went aboard the Star Princess and inspected the balcony and fire detection systems. You can read about that here, Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires – Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?  She testified before Congress regarding the need for all cruise ships to be equipped with balcony fire detection and suppression systems.  

However, when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended SOLAS, it did not require all cruise ships to install balcony fire systems. It waived the requirement where the cruise line balcony furniture and furnishings were of “restricted fire risk.”  

Other than Princess, few cruise lines will publicly state whether their ships are retrofitted with balcony sprinkler systems or whether the newly built cruise ships (after July 1, 2008) are equipped with such safety features.  

Do all of the 95 or so cruise ships owned by Carnival Corporation, and operated by its numerous brands including P&O Australia, have fire detection, alarm and suppression systems on the passenger balconies? Have any Carnival-owned cruise ships built before July 1, 2008 been retrofitted with fire detection and suppression systems other than the Princess fleet? How about other cruise lines?  Have some cruise lines just replaced the balcony partitions and furniture with less combustible (and less toxic-when-burned) substances and deck coverings?

The basic question is did the Pacific Adventure have fire detection and suppression systems for its balconies? P&O representatives have not mentioned this issue and the media, unfortunately, is just parroting the misleading “small and quickly extinguished” fire narrative.

Perform Your Own 30-Second Investigation of Your Cruise Balcony

If you are sailing on the Pacific Adventure now, take a moment and go out on the balcony and look to see if it is equipped with sprinkler pipes and a valve, as well as heat and/or smoke detection systems. They are easy to spot if they have been installed.

In the photograph below, you can see our client pointing out the sprinkler valve (with her right hand) and the smoke/heat detector (with her left hand). Does your cabin’s balcony have this basic equipment installed?

Please send me an email, or leave a comment on our Facebook page, letting me know the results of your thirty-second investigation. We also suggest taking a photo of the balcony overhead space. You should also ask the cruise line for an answer to the simple yes or no questions: (1) does the balcony have a sprinkler valve, and (2) does the balcony have a smoke/heat alarm? (I would not hold my breath waiting for an answer). Thanks!

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

In Memory of Richard Liffridge, March 11, 1934 – March 23, 2006

Image credit: Pacific Adventure9 News; Star PrincessNBC News; Pacific Adventure9 News Queensland.

Yesterday, we were informed by a number of guests onboard the Carnival Sunshine that the cruise ship encountered severe weather as the vessel was returning from a cruise to the Bahamas.

What’s the Chinese Proverb? A picture is worth a thousand words?

Rather than try and explain what happened, we will just post some of the videos of the ordeal from Facebook and Twitter, here:

You can see other videos of the storm and the cruise in question here.

Have a comment or question or a photo or video to share? Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Respective Facebook and Twitter accounts including Dylan Allen / @DylanAllenWx for cover images.

The cruise passenger, Jeremy Froias, arrested by the FBI for installing a secret WiFi camera in the unisex public bathroom on the top deck of the Harmony of the Seas last week was released by a federal judge in San Juan Tuesday morning after his wife posted a $25,000 bond.

We previously reported on this crime which has now received national attention.

You can read the affidavit by a FBI agent involved in the arrest which contains a description of the crime and photographs of the bathroom and camera.

The federal court case number 3:23-mj-00487-GLS convened a “detention hearing” Tuesday morning where Froias’ criminal defense lawyer argued for a low bond for his release from federal custody. The federal judge released him with the following terms and conditions:

“Defendant is to be released subject to the qualification of his wife as a TPC (i.e., “third party custodian”). Defendant is to post a $25,000 unsecured bond to be signed by him and the TPC. He is to reside at the address of record. Defendant is not to have unsupervised contact with any minors under the age of 18, including his two children. His two children will reside at the alternate address proposed by counsel (grandparents’ residence). The Defendant is to be subject to an EMD (i.e., “electronic monitoring device”) in home detention modality. He is to seek and maintain employment. Defendant is not to have any access to the internet, including in his residence or at work (which seems impossible given the apparent fact that he works as a cyber expert with a background of many years working with computers and computer networks). He is to surrender his passport. Travel is restricted between Puerto Rico and Middle District of Florida (where he lives and works). All other travel is subject to approval and coordination with the USPO (U.S.parole officer) and the Court. Courtesy supervision to be coordinated with the Middle District of Florida . . ,”

A $25,000 bond seems inappropriate, given evidence Froias secretly transmitted images and videotaped “more than 150 individuals” including “what appears to be at least 40 minors,” including some “minors (who) appeared to be as young as four or five years old” (per the FBI affidavit filed into the court filing).

Several newspapers reported that Froias worked as a “Cyber Security Officer” for the City of Kissimmee, Florida. Froias’s LinkedIn profile discloses that he worked in this capacity since November of 2022. Previously, Froias worked for the City of Kissimmee for the past nineteen years, first as a computer expert from 2004-2009 and then as a network engineer from 2009-November 2022. Froias’ photograph on LinkedIn is below:

During such employment, Froias obviously developed the computer skills which enabled him to secretly install a WiFi camera to not only record images of passengers and their children in the bathroom but to transmit the images to his iPhone using the cruise ship’s internet.

The Washington Post, in an article titled Cruise Passenger Arrested For Filming 150 People In Ship Bathroom, reported that the “public affairs manager for Kissimmee (a Central Florida city near Walt Disney World) said in an email that Froias was originally hired in April of 2004.” But “after reviewing the charging affidavit involving Jeremy Froias, we have terminated his employment effective May 8, 2023.” 

We have received a number of comments about this incident. Many passengers are upset that Royal Caribbean did not notify them during the remainder of the cruise (from May 2-6, 2023) or after they returned home:

  • “He’s a real creep, i bet his home computer is full of garbage, i wish they blast his picture too. 
  • Sure do hope there’s a way to find out what else he has in his home. Would love to see him severely punished.
  • This is absolutely disgusting! Royal Caribbean did not inform passengers AT ALL ‼️My family was on that cruise and we used that bathroom to change our 2 year old son (who was 1 at the time) I’m 99% sure we were recorded.
  • Was on that cruise disappointing Royal has not notified all the passengers on board.
  • I can say no one in my party was notified.
  • I was on that ship. I did not receive notification either. Thankfully we did not use that restroom. This person is sick in the head. Who knows where that 24hr worth of feed ended up.
  • I was on that ship as well and possibly victimized as well as my husband and son.”

We recommend that cruise passengers who were on this cruise and went into the bathroom in question, notify the link provided by the FBI as well as consult with a maritime lawyer familiar with the crime of video voyeurism.

May 10, 2023 Update:

the New York Times covered the story today, in an article titled: F.B.I. Says Video Voyeur Hid Camera in Cruise Ship Bathroom, writing:

“Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime lawyer who has represented victims in other voyeurism cases, questioned the amount of the bond. “A $25,000 bond might be appropriate for a single victim, but considering there are at least 150 victims and many dozens of children, according to the F.B.I. affidavit, a bond should not be less than $1,000,000,” he said. He said he has been contacted by passengers who were on the Harmony of the Seas during the incident.

Passengers said Royal Caribbean had failed to notify them about the hidden camera during and after the sailing. They said they found out through the media and an F.B.I. notice seeking to identify potential victims.

‘It’s terrifying that passengers and their children were filmed secretly while they were naked using the bathroom,’ said April Wise, 52, who was on the cruise with her husband and niece. ‘Thankfully, we didn’t use that bathroom, but thousands of people were on the ship and they still don’t know if they were filmed or not. It’s unacceptable that Royal Caribbean has not contacted the victims.’”

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

Image credit: Jeremy Froias – LinkedIn.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a cruise passenger last week after it was discovered that he installed a secret camera in a public bathroom on a cruise ship sailing from Miami on a cruise to the Caribbean.

An affidavit from a FBI agent verified that on April 29th, Jeremy Froias boarded the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas in Miami for a seven-day cruise to Philipsburg, St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Coco Cay, Bahamas, returning to Miami last Saturday, May 6th. On April 30th, Froias installed a “hidden Wi-Fi camera in a public bathroom on the aft of the Harmony‘s top deck between the ‘Flow Rider’ surfing stimulator and a bar:

After the camera had been operational for around 24 hours, a passenger noticed it and informed the crew on May 1st. Security personnel then searched the bathroom and found the hidden camera. The camera had a memory card inserted which included several hours of video files.

Initial videos showed Froias installing the camera and, later, returning to the bathroom to adjust the angle of the camera, focusing the video on the toilet area. The video also shows Froias taking his Apple iPhone 14 Pro-Max out of his pocket and connecting the phone to the hidden camera via Wi-Fi. Froias’s iPhone can be seen in the video, and it appears to be displaying the video feed being captured by the camera.

The videos “depict more than 150 individuals, including what appear to be at least 40 minors . . . Some of the minors appeared to be as young as four or five years old.”

You can read the affidavit and the photographs of the bathroom and hidden camera filed into the court record here.

“Individuals are seen coming into the bathroom to either use the toilet or to change into or out of swimsuits. Froias’s camera captured these individuals in various stages of undress, including capturing videos of their naked genitals, buttocks, and female breasts.”

Ship security interviewed Froias who admitted to placing the hidden camera in the bathroom.

Froias has now been charged with 18 USC 1801 (video voyeurism) and 18 USC 2252(a)(5)(B) (attempted possession of child exploitation material).

A number of newspapers in San Juan have covered the disturbing story which has not yet been reported by the media in Miami or the national press.

 The FBI office in San Juan Division is seeking to identify potential victims. The FBI states that it believes the Froias “primarily targeted cruise ship passengers between the timeframe of April 30 and May 1, 2023, who may have used the public bathroom on the aft of the Harmony’s top deck between the ‘Flow Rider’ surfing simulator and a bar. Passengers using this bathroom may have been video recorded by Froias.”

If you and/or your minor dependent(s) were victimized or have information relevant to this investigation, the FBI asks that you please fill out this short form.

The question is did Royal Caribbean notify any of the passengers, before they left the ship on May 6th when the ship returned to Miami, that they and their children were probably secretly video recorded if they went into the bathroom in question on April 30th or May 1st? Royal Caribbean knew sometime on May 1st of the secret camera and that at least 150 guests had been the victims of video voyeurism.

This is not the first time that video voyeurism has occurred on a cruise ship. Four years ago, a couple traveling with their young son on the Carnival Fantasy discovered a small video camera hidden in the bundled cables, behind the television in their cabin, which pointed toward their bed.

Just two months ago, a crew member was caught filming women in a children’s bathroom on the MSC Meraviglia.

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

May 9, 2023 Update;

The federal docket sheet in the U.S. v. Froias case 3:23-mj-00487-GLS case, mentions that a “detention hearing” took place yesterday morning. The federal court ordered Froias released on these terms and conditions:

“Defendant is to be released subject to the qualification of his wife as a TPC (i.e., “third party custodian”). Defendant is to post a $25,000 unsecured bond to be signed by him and the TPC. He is to reside at the address of record. Defendant is not to have unsupervised contact with any minors under the age of 18, including his two children. His two children will reside at the alternate address proposed by counsel (grandparents’ residence). The Defendant is to be subject to an EMD (i.e., “electronic monitoring device”) in home detention modality. He is to seek and maintain employment. Defendant is not to have any access to the internet, including in his residence or at work (which seems impossible given the apparent fact that he works as a cyber expert with a background of many years working with computers and computer networks). He is to surrender his passport. Travel is restricted between Puerto Rico and Middle District of Florida (where he apparently lives and works). All other travel is subject to approval and coordination with the USPO (U.S.parole officer) and the Court. Courtesy supervision to be coordinated with the Middle District of Florida . . ,”

A $25,000 bond seems inappropriate, given evidence Froias secretly transmitted & videotaped “more than 150 individuals” including “what appears to be at least 40 minors,” including some “minors (who) appeared to be as young as four or five years old” (per the FBI affidavit filed into the court filing).

May 10, 2023 Update:

Disgraced Former Cyber Security Officer for City of Kissimmee Released On $25,000 Bond

Image credit: Harmony of the Seas (top) – kees torn – UNION BEAR, Harmony of the Seas & EN AVANT 20, CC BY-SA 2.0 commons / wikimedia; photo of bathroom on Harmonu\y of the Seas – FBI via CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 3:23-mj-00487-GLS-1.

The MSC Seaside failed a recent health inspection conducted by inspectors at Port Canaveral with a score of just 67. Such a low score is virtually unheard of. There have been only three lower USPH inspection scores in the last twenty years, all involving smaller ships from lesser or hardly known cruise lines. A couple of years ago, a “little-known Caribbean ferry” (the Miami Herald’s characterization) named Kydon, scored a low USPH inspection score of just 61.

The inspection report, dated April 27, 2023, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the MSC Seaside totals 18 pages and outlines 105 violations. In the first entry in the health inspection report, inspectors found “ten flies” in a bar on the MSC cruise ship. Dirty “dinnerware, glassware and buckets” were located throughout the ship’s pantry and room service pantries (one area was “overflowing with soiled utensils”). Numerous washing machines for dishes and glassware were observed to be in a state of disrepair. Other common findings included:

  • Restrooms and passenger handwashing stations lacked soap;
  • Counters soiled with old food residue;
  • Dishes, cups, pots, pans, serving containers, and other utensils soiled with encrusted and or wet food residue;
  • “Black filth residue coated the outside of four large containers of yogurt; ;
  • Numerous hazardous food items, including uncooked chicken, measured in the temperature danger zone; and
  • A crew member cooking raw hamburgers at the buffet station was observed later working in the buffet line without washing his hands – the “inspector intervened and observed the crew member’s hands and refrigerator handle covered in hamburger blood.”

As the Miami Herald explained, inspectors randomly inspect ships multiple times a year (usually twice), as part of the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP), in an effort to control the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise vessels. Ships must score 86 points or higher, out of 100, to pass.

Most ships score in the 90’s with some receiving perfect scores. Disney Cruise Line, for example, received scores of 100 in the last inspections of its fleet of five cruise ships.

The VSP has been in effect since the early 1990’s. Seventy-eight (78) cruise ships have failed inspection in the history of the VSP. In the last twenty (20) years, only three cruise ships have obtained lower sanitation scores than the MSC Seaside (the un-Cruise Aventure’s Safari Endeavour (68), Bernhard Schulte Cruise Services’ Amadea (63). and V. Ships Leisure U.S.A.’s Pearl Mist (61).

The last significant news coverage of failed cruise ship USPH inspections occurred back in January 2018 when we reported on four Carnival cruise ships failing inspections, involving the Carnival Liberty (80), Carnival Breeze (77), Carnival Triumph (78) and the spectacular failure of the Carnival Vista (79 score) where crew members were caught hiding food and galley equipment in crew members quarters from USPH inspectors.  

In 2013, Silversea Cruises was caught ordering its crew members to hide perishable food in crew quarters aboard the Silver Shadow. CNN aired a special program about the “hide and seek” games which crew members were ordered to play on the Silver Shadow cruise ship, where the ship routinely hid trolleys of food items in crew members cabins to avoid detection by USPH sanitation inspectors.

Our blog was the first to cover the story in our article Silver Shadow Fails Sanitation Inspection After Caught Hiding Filthy Conditions from Health Inspectors.

Silversea engaged in an intentional, calculated scheme to hide food and galley equipment in the crew cabins. Crew members on the cruise ship alerted our firm that they (galley workers) were being ordered by their supervisors to take trolleys of perishable foods (eggs, fish & cheese) to the crew quarters and hide the food from inspectors during bi-annual CDC inspections. We advised the “whistle-blower” crew members to notify the CDC. As a result of a surprise inspection, the CDC discovered that the cruise line hid “over 15 full trolleys” of food and food equipment, pans, dishware and utensils in “over 10 individual cabins” in order to avoid scrutiny of vessel sanitation inspectors. It flunked the Silversea ship with a score of 82.

You can watch the CNN video here.

MSC Cruises has not issued a statement regarding the failed report. There have been approximately over 3,500 USPH inspections of cruise ships since the VSP began. The MSC Seaside’s score of 67 is the the fourth lowest cruise ship inspection score in the last 20 years.

The CDC permits the a cruise line to submit a “Corrective Action Report” whenever a ship fails an inspection. The cruise company can explain in the report the steps taken to fix the unsanitary conditions and/or explain why points should not have been deducted. MSC Cruises did not bother to submit such as report.

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

May 5, 2023 Update: A number of people, with cruises scheduled on the MSC Seaside in the next week or two, have asked me whether the cruise ship will sail or whether it will be shut down for the serious health violations. The answer which I have provided is that it is extremely rare for the CDC / USPH to enter a “no-sail” order shutting down a cruise ship for health reasons. I have seen it only one time, when the Celebrity Mercury had four repeated norovirus outbreaks while sailing out of Charleston over a decade ago. Unlike a health and safety department in a local city which would close (at least temporarily) a restaurant business with this many serious health violations, the federal agencies rarely do. From thirteen years ago:

Image credit: MSC Seaside – Yanjipy – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.

There were two news stories this past week which prove that the maxim “rich cruise tycoons get richer” remains true while the debt-strapped cruise industry continues to struggle. Business Insider reported that Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. CEO Jason Liberty collected $10,760,000 last year. Meanwhile, crew members on Royal Caribbean cruise ships made a median annual wages of just $15,264.

No executive is worth 705 times more than an average employee, but this is business as usual in an industry where crew members work twelve hour plus days for as long as eight to ten months without a single day off to earn only a fraction of the exorbitant compensation packages of the wealthy cruise executives.

The shipping trade newspaper Tradewinds was at least partially right when it wrote that the cruise industry is “floating in a sea of debt.” The only issue is whether it’s more accurate to say that the industry is taking on water and slowly sinking. Three of the major lines have debt in excess of $72,000,000,000 which Tradewinds characterized as “unprecedented” and “astronomical.” “Carnival is $35,000,000,000 in the hole, Royal Caribbean owes $24,000,000,000 and Norwegian owes $13,400,000,000.” All of the cruise lines have consistently lost money since 2020 and, as Tradewinds noted, are “still suffering the financial strains of the pandemic.” Tradewinds quoted Carnival CEO Josh Weinstein saying that Carnival “expects to report an annual adjusted loss of $350,000,000 to $550,000,000 for 2023.”

Yet, cruise executives have all received generous if not outrageously extravagant compensation packages of many tens of millions of dollars as well as every imaginable executive perk.

The most egregious example of the outrageous executive vs. crew member pay ratio again involves the compensation of the perennially greedy Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio. The compensation of the NCLH CEO last year was reported by Seatrade Cruise News to be $21,200,000.

Given the fact that the median salary of NCL crew members is just $19,319 shows an obscene pay ratio of over 1,092 to 1.

Del Rio’s compensation in just the last four (4) years has been a whopping $95,100,000.

NCLH reached a high of nearly $60 a share in January of 2020 before the deadly COVID-19 pandemic when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) finally shuttered the cruise industry in March 2020. NCLH, like other cruise lines, took on exorbitant debt (now over $13,000,000,000) in order to survive. Since then, NCLH has remained unprofitable as its stock has dropped over 77% to last week’s close of $13.35. Notwithstanding its shaky economic status which resulted in the company laying off hundreds of shore-side employees and leaving crew members unpaid and languishing at sea. CEO Del Rio consistently received enormous compensation as high as $36,4000,000,000 in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Del Rio announced that that he was retiring at the end of June of this year, but not before he placed his son, 44-year-old Frank Del Rio Jr., as president of the NCLH brand Oceania Cruises. In addition to a base annual salary of  $500,000.00, like his father he will enjoy incentive and equity bonuses, “retirement, welfare and fringe benefits,” a medical executive reimbursement plan, a cash car allowance of $1,500.00 per month / $18,000 per year, and paid vacation of four (4) weeks per year. (Frank Jr.’s employment contract is attached). 

Tomorrow, NCLH will announce its first quarter financial results. Some analysts suggest that the company has enjoyed increased passenger ticket revenues and improving booking trends, while others point to its crippling debt and significant cruise operating expenses and cost increases as likely resulting in another disappointing, unprofitable quarter. But whatever comes tomorrow, cruise tycoon Del Rio and his prodigy will enjoy their rich lifestyles as their ship employees continue to work twelve-hours a days with no time off.

Interested in this topic? Consider reading from four years ago: Cruise Line CEO’s Income: The Rich Get Richer – NCL Del Rio Collects Over $22,500,000 Last Year and The Highest Paid Cruise Industry CEOs by Skift (“Everybody in the cruise business suffered during Covid except CEOs, it seemed. As passengers canceled or got sick, and workers got laid off (but) executive compensation topped 1,000 times the median worker’s pay. Including tips . . . Don’t take the media’s word for it that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio is overpaid.”)

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

Image credit: Jason Liberty – Loic Venance /AFP via Getty Images via Business Insider; Frank Del Rio – Fox News.

An Australian passenger has gone overboard from the Quantum of the Seas Wednesday night as the Royal Caribbean ship was sailing from Australia to Hawaii.

We first reported on the situation after reading about it in the popular cruise blog, Cruise Hive, yesterday afternoon.

The incident occurred around 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday (Hawaii-Aleutian standard time). Initially, as with most overboard cases, there was no confirmation from Royal Caribbean how the incident occurred or whether the person was a guest or crew member. AIS tracking systems do not show the classic circling maneuvers taken by ships searching for a person who has gone overboard. Compare the Quantum of the Seas‘ AIS data (immediately below) with the AIS data from the recent (last December) overboard from the Pacific Explorer (bottom). Instead, the tracking system shows that the ship made what appear to be only a slight change in it course, to the northwest, as it continued on to Honolulu, after leaving from Tahiti (after initially departing from Brisbane).

There is scuttlebutt that the guest intentionally went overboard at some time after his partner died earlier (for unknown reasons) on the cruise ship. The Sydney Morning Herald was the first newspaper to report this news.

Irrespective of how the person goes into the water (whether by jumping overboard in a effort to end his life, or by accident, or after consuming a gross amount of alcohol, or being thrown overboard), the search and rescue procedures should all be the same.

Cruise expert and sociologist Dr. Ross Klein maintains the definitive database regarding guests and crew members who have gone overboard (due to either an accident, excessive alcohol service, foul play, or suicide). His website documents at least 375 people have gone overboard from 1995 through December of 2022. Dr. Klein has testified several times as an expert before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding cruise ship safety systems and the problem of overboards from cruise ships.

The last person to go overboard from a cruise ship was an eighteen year old guest from the Costa Toscana. The German young man reportedly intentionally went overboard from the Costa Toscana which had just left the port for Genoa on April 13, 2023.

Prior to that, a 36 year-old woman went overboard from the MSC Meraviglia as the cruise ship was returning to Port Canaveral on December 15, 2022.

Two days earlier on December 13, 2022 a 23-year-old woman who went missing after falling overboard from the Pacific Explorer cruise ship off the South Australian coast near Cape Jaffa was found dead after an extensive search by boats and a helicopter.

Like the Quantum of the Seas, the Pacific Explorer was not equipped with available automatic man overboard (MOB) technology which would have instantly notified the bridge officers that a person went over the railings of the ship and into the water. The automatic MOB technology utilizes motion detection and radar systems which automatically sends a signal to the bridge and tracks the overboard person in the water, even at night, so that the ship can immediately begin search and rescue maneuvers.  Without such systems, which cost less than $500,000 to install, the chances of locating a  person in the ocean, particularly at night, are akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

Last month, another new automatic man overboard system was introduced into the market. The system, manufactured by SICK USA, 3D LiDAR sensors MRS6000, “can prevent faulty alarms by blanking out spray, waves and birds,” a common excuse voiced by the non-compliant cruise industry.

To our knowledge, only the Disney Cruises fleet and one cruise ship operated by MSC Cruises, the MSC Meraviglia, have implemented the life saving technology. No cruise ships owned or operated by Royal Caribbean brands have such systems.

In this case, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a C-130 aircraft which searched unsuccessfully for nine hours for the missing man. Search and rescues, involving aircraft and cutters deployed by the U.S. Coast Guard, cost as much as $1,000,000 for a single person overboard. Such costs are borne by the U.S. government and are not reimbursed by the cruise lines.

Potentially complicating matters is the fact that Royal Caribbean has operating procedures which restrict the crew from conducting a prompt search and rescue of the overboard person. Royal Caribbean’s safety and quality (“SQM”) manual outline the cruise line’s written policies and procedures regarding a “missing person” that each cruise ship must follow.

The Royal Caribbean SQM (blurred in original) requires the master of the cruise ship to “immediately” notify the cruise line’s security and marine operations departments (located at its headquarters in Miami) by telephone in any “suspected overboard situation.” Unless there is an actual and reliable sighting of the person going overboard, the SQM also prohibits the Master from turning the ship around to conduct searches in the water and even then only after the Master first notifies the cruise line’s marine operations department in Miami and obtains approval to do so. (Read: Royal Caribbean Unreasonably Delays Reporting Overboard Crew Member from Vision of the Seas).

It is unknown exactly what steps the cruise ship took to initiate a search for the overboard guest, although the AIS data does not show the ship taking a “Williamson turn“to bring the ship under power to the point (it previously passed) to look for the person in the water. Life rings, high powered flashlights and a rescue boat were used. But posts on social media suggest that the the “conditions were rough and obviously the water was pitch black.”

Trying to locate a person in the black water at night is a near impossible task with no automatic system which can locate and track the person in the darkness.

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

April 28, 2023 Update:

The Independent has some interesting updates to this story:

Passenger falls overboard on Royal Caribbean cruise hours after a woman dies on ship

Australian man that fell overboard Royal Caribbean cruise identified

Image credit: Quantum of the Seas – Hublot via AP Images via NBC News and CruiseHive; rescue boat from Quantum of the Seas – Joshua Reynolds facebook page via the News Daily (Australia); photo of search in water – @cruisingtravellers Instagram via SkyNews (Australia)

A cruise ship nurse reportedly sexually assaulted a U.S. guest on a cruise ship which called yesterday on the port of Nassau in the Bahamas.

The article states that around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2029, a forty-three year-old female passenger visited the cruise ship’s infirmary for medical attention. “Reports state that it was during this time, that she was administered a dosage of medication by a male nurse, who allegedly sexually assaulted her moments later. The matter was subsequently reported to the police, which led to the arrest of the 34-year-old suspect.”

The newspaper did not identify either the name of the cruise line employer of the 34 year-old nurse or or the cruise ship in question. On line itineraries show that there were at least four cruise ships which called on Nassau yesterday: the Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Liberty, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, and MSC Seascape.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) requires cruise line to report certain crimes which occur onboard cruise ships, that embark and disembark in the United States, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The crimes reports are summarized in a database maintained online by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In 2022, over 62% of sexual assaults occurred on Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean ships. Of the 87 reported cases, there were reports of thirty-two (32) sexual assaults reported on cruise ships operated by Carnival Cruise Line to and from U.S. ports and twenty-two (22) cases on Royal Caribbean ships. MSC Cruises had four (4) reports of the crime of sexual assault on its U.S. based ships. The database does not identify the name of the cruise ship, whether the assailant is a guest or a ship employee or whether the victim is a minor.

The CVSSA data is limited to crimes where the victim is a U.S. national. When woman from Europe or South American, etc. are victims of sexual assault, there is no obligation by the cruise lines to report the crimes.

Does anyone know the name of the cruise ship involved in this latest (alleged) crime?

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Image Credit: Nassau port with Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise ships – Cruise Radio.

April 20, 2023 Update: Newsweek covered the story today, and asked Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises for a comment: No cruise line has acknowledged the incident occured on its cruise ship.

May 3, 2023 Update: The newspapers in Nassau have identified the 34 year-old ship nurse, Titus Dabre, and the cruise ship where the sexual assault occurred, MSC Seascape.

An eighteen year old passenger went overboard from the Costa Toscana last week, according to other guests on the Costa cruise ship. Shortly after the young man went into the water, several passengers sailing on the Costa Toscana tweeted that a man went into water during dinner. A patrol boat operated by the Italian Coast Guard located the deceased man two hours later.

An Italian newspaper reported that: ” The man who died yesterday evening (April 13th) seven miles off the coast of Civitavecchia was 18 years old and of German nationality. The young man was on the ship Costa Toscana who had just left the port for Genoa, when some witnesses saw him fall into the sea.”

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, who has testified several times as an expert before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding cruise ship safety systems and the problem of sexual assaults on cruise ships, maintains the definitive database regarding guests and crew members who have gone overboard (due to either an accident, excessive alcohol service, foul play, or suicide). His website documents at last 375 people have gone overboard from 1995 through December of 2022).

Several newspapers suggest that this young man may have suffered from depression and decided to intentionally end his life.

Suicide by a passenger jumping from a cruise ship is relatively rare. The most common occurrence is a young passenger like this becoming grossly intoxicated on the ship and falling overboard, in addition to a woman being thrown overboard by an acquaintance or husband.

Very few cruise ships have been equipped with automatic man overboard systems. These types of systems, which have been available for over a decade, operate when a person goes over the rails of the ship, triggering a motion-detection apparatus. An alarm is then sent immediately to the bridge. The system captures video images of the person and then tracks the person in the water using infrared technology. Even though these systems have been required for cruise ships entering and departing from U.S. ports for over a decade by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, few cruise lines have invested in this technology.

To our knowledge, only the Disney Cruises fleet and one cruise ship operated by MSC Cruises, the MSC Meraviglia, have implemented the life savings technology. No cruise ships operated by Costa or any other cruise brand owned by Carnival Corporation have such systems.

Last week, another new automatic man overboard system was introduced into the market. The system, manufactured by SICK USA, 3D LiDAR sensors MRS6000, “can prevent faulty alarms by blanking out spray, waves and birds,” a common excuse voiced by the non-compliant cruise industry.

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April 17, 2023 Update: Newsweek covered the story with portions of our article used without attribution.

Image credit: Costa Toscana AIS search data via L’Unione Sarda.

Two crew members employed by Princess Cruises on a cruise ship in Alaska in the summer of 2019 will now serve decades in prison for their involvement in creating and/or distributing child pornography. One of the men met a sixteen (16) year-old child who was taking an Alaskan cruise with her parents while he was working as an assistant cruise director. He repeatedly texted and called the minor after she left the cruise and he later arranged to meet her in a hotel where he filmed having sex with the girl.

Daniel Crow – Princess Assistant Cruise Director

Daniel Scott Crow, employed by Princess Cruises as an assistant cruise director, was sentenced late last year by Southern District of Florida Judge Jose Martinez to thirty (30) years in prison for enticing an underage child to engage in sex with him and take part in the production of child pornography. Crow was thirty-five (35) years of age when he met the sixteen (16) year old child during a cruise in July 2019 on an unidentified Princess Cruises ship. A press release by the Department of Justice (DOJ) sets forth the basic facts of the disturbing sexual crimes committed by Crowe.

Angelo Fernandes – Princess Crew Member

A second Princess crew member, Angelo Victor Fernandes, from India, age 34, worked on the same Princess cruise ship as Crow. Fernandes was friends with Crow and the two men discussed “obtaining children for sex.” Fernandes admitted to federal agents when he was arrested that he was sexually attracted to Crow and sent him sexually explicit videos and child pornography in exchange for videos of Crow masturbating. The two crew members discussed travelling to sexually abuse children as young as five years of age. Judge Aileen Cannon, of the federal district court in Fort Pierce, Florida, sentenced Fernandes last week to 188 months (over 15 and1/2 years) in prison. A press release by the DOJ sets forth the basic facts of the crimes committed by Fernandes.

The name of the Princess cruise ship was not disclosed in the court records, although there is an affidavit which reveals that crew member Fernandes worked on the Coral Princess cruise ships as early as 2013.

The Crew Members Exchanged Graphic Child Pornography and Discussed Violent Sexual Abuse of Children

Portions of the criminal files against Crow (United States of America v. Daniel Scott Crow, case number 22-cr-14035) and Fernandes (United States of America v. Fernandes, case number 22-cr-14046) were sealed by the courts. A number of filings were not under seal and revealed statements by Crow that he was employed as an assistant cruise director on a Princess Cruises ship. (He previously worked for Royal Caribbean.) Crow met the child as an “entertainer for children on the cruise.” He initially informed the girl that company rules prohibited him from interacting with guests so he exchanged Instagram handles and telephone numbers with the girl. After the cruise, he messaged the child daily via WhatsApp and would ask her for photos and videos of her in the nude and masturbating.

Crow arranged to meet with the child at a hotel in May of 2020 for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts which he videotaped.

In April of 2022, Homeland Security Investigations detained Crow at an airport when he was returning to the U.S. A search of Crow’s cell phone revealed chats between him and Fernandes. The two Princess employees communicated about Crow traveling to Thailand, Philippines or India in order to engage in sexual activity with minor children.

Crow received a substantial amount of child pornography from Fernandes. Crow directed him to provide pornography of pre-pubescent minors and chided Fernandes that the children were ”too old.” Consequently, Fernandes sent Crow 13 videos containing over 600 images of child pornography which included prepubescent minors under the age of twelve (12), including images of toddlers being sexually abused. The text messages and WhatsApp exchanges between Crow and Fernandes reflect a disturbing focus on sadistic and masochistic abuse of children.

A Scheme to Produce and Exchange Child Pornography

The Mercury newspaper reports that Federal prosecutors uncovered a scheme between these two cruise ship employees to trade sexually explicit videos of Crow in exchange for child pornography. The newspaper states that “Fernandes had a sexual interest in Crow, who ‘exploited’ that interest by agreeing to send Fernandes lascivious videos of himself masturbating in exchange for child pornography.” Fernandes, in turn, “sent Crow a series of videos depicting prepubescent children being sexually abused and Crow responded with approval, describing one video as ‘perfect’ and asking Fernandes where he got it.”

The search of Crow’s phone also revealed that he was following the Instagram accounts of several other minor girls, although it is currently unknown whether he met these children on the Princess cruise ship during his employment

Assistant Cruise Director: From a Position of Trust to Violent Images of Abuse of Minors and Enticement of a Child

In court papers, the federal prosecutor argued that Crow’s actions were not a “one-time mistake” but “calculated decisions based on his own deeply held sexual desires. Crow was a man in a position of trust, acting as a cruise entertainer responsible for the care and entertainment of children,” the prosecutor wrote. The prosecutor urged Judge Martinez to sentence Crow to forty-five (45) years in prison.

Crow’s defense attorney sought a reduced, maximum sentence of 15 years, in part because the victim was seventeen (17) when they first engaged in sex. He argued that in some states “teenagers aged 16 or 17 can lawfully engage in sexual relations with adults.”

Blame the Child Victim?

Crow’s defense lawyer tried to argue that the child was essentially a “precocious, mature, sexually aggressive” seductress who was “partially responsible” for Crow’s crimes. He argued that the victim enticed Crow into having sex, going as far as to argue that the minor was a “precocious 17-year-old sexually aggressive young lady fully cognizant of the sexual attraction she created in the Defendant, she used this attraction and built upon it by continuing to text the Defendant sexual, graphic fantasies she harbored.”

Isolation and Depression During COVID-19 Lock Down?

Crow’s lawyer also argued that after the coronavirus hit the cruise industry, Crow and other crew members suffered from the effects of long-term isolation when they were required to quarantine in their cabins. Crow’s alcohol consumption increased when he began working on the Princess cruise ship and his drinking increased even more due to the “extreme social isolation and difficult circumstances” associated with COVID-19. He would stay sober only until around 11:00 a.m. when he and other crew members would begin drinking alcohol. From February to August 2021, the crew was in isolation and he would always be intoxicated. Several crew members killed themselves due to the isolation and stress.

Crow told a psychosexual expert, who evaluated him on behalf of his attorney, that while he was in isolation, the conditions on the cruise ship were so deplorable that crew members died by suicide. He claimed that Princess cut off their television and limited their WI-FI. “We had no social contact. Two people killed themselves, but the cruise line didn’t want us to know about that so they cut off all of their news. We had no human interaction.” His father gave a history to the expert of Crow’ life on the cruise ship which he characterized as being a “prisoner.” “He was not allowed to even walk around the cruise ship. All he did was sit in his cabin and drink.” His father believed that this led to his son’s alcoholism, depression, and deviant behavior.

His father lamented that all his son had to do during this time period was to exchange text messages with other crew members who were also isolated in their cabins. (The identity of the other ship employees was not revealed and it is currently unknown how many other crew members other than Fernandes sent him pornography.)

Judge Martinez did not appear sympathetic to these arguments and sentenced Crow to three decades in prison, followed by supervision for life after his release from prison.

Sexual Abuse of Minors on Cruise Ships Remains A Problem

This is not the first time that an assistant cruise director has been caught sexually interacting with a minor.

Ten years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”) arrested the assistant cruise director, 29 year-old Senad Djedovic, of the Norwegian Star cruise ship for engaging in sex with a 16 year old passenger and possessing child pornography. At the end of the cruise, he engaged in sex with her in a stairwell on the cruise.  After the cruise, Djedovic exchanged emails with the girl which included explicit images and a video of him masturbating in front of a photo of the child.

A Disney youth counselor was arrested on charges of molesting a 10 year-old child on the Disney Magic in 2019.

Sexual assault of minors by both crew members and other guests remain an ongoing and largely undiscussed problem on cruise ships. Approximately one-third of the over one-hundred sexual assaults on cruise ships each year involve children.

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Sources for article:

  1. Complaint (Crow)
  2. Factual Proffer (Crow)
  3. Defendant’s Motion for Downward Departure (Crow)
  4. Expert Report in Support of Defendant’s Motion for Downward Departure (Crow)
  5. USA’s Response to Defendant’s Motion for Downward Departure/Downward Variance (Crow)
  6. Complaint (Fernandes)
  7. Factual Proffer (Fernandes)
  8. Defendant’s Motion for Downward Departure (Fernandes)
  9. USA’s Response to Defendant’s Objection to Presentence Report (Fernandes)

April 1, 2023 Update:

We have confirmed that the Coral Princess was in fact the cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises where Crow first met the minor girl. We have also updated this article with photographs of Crow on the Princess cruise ship from a crew member who wishes to remain anonymous. The Princess name tag (right photo) for Crow states:

“Dan, Assistant Cruise Director & USA.”

April 2, 2023 Update: We have received photographs of Fernandes and confirmed that he was employed by Princess Cruises as a Guest Activities officer.

April 3, 2023 Update:

Image credits: Daniel Crow and Anglo Fernandes – anonymous; Coral Princess – Reuters: Marco Bello via ABC Australia.

April 4, 2023 Update: Notwithstanding the serious and outrageous conduct that these two Princess Cruises’ officers have been convicted of, Princess Cruises has still not issued a press release of any type. Question – when will a major news organization cover these disturbing developments?

April 11, 2023 Update: