U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Fort Lauderdale arrested a Carnival cruise passenger identified in the press as 40-year old Michael Paige Palmer on a federal criminal count of possessing child pornography, according to WFTV-ABC(9).
The arrest took place on Christmas Eve after the passenger disembarked from an unidentified* Carnival cruise ship when it returned to Port Canaveral, Florida,
Customs officials at the port were tipped off to inspect the passenger’s digital devices after he disembarked. During the inspection, customs officials reportedly found passenger Palmer, a resident of Virginia, with a USB drive that had child pornography on it.
The arrest arises out of an investigation which began over a year and a half ago following an arrest in Saskatchewan, Canada. A Canadian man had been sharing child pornography with dozens of people using a mobile app on his iPhone. A chat group would use the application to discuss and share child pornography. In June 2016, Canadian authorities ordered the application’s makers to release information on 78 users who had shared child porn with the man. Mr. Palmer was identified as one of the men using the app.
Crew members and passengers with child pornography have been arrested on cruise ships in the past several years. Several years ago I asked Is Child Pornography Widespread on Cruise Ships?
Arrests like this usually take place only after the cruise ship returns to port. The Customs and Border Patrol should begin vetting the name of passengers before the cruise starts, rather than screening passengers and arresting suspects only at the end of the cruise, as we have written about several times.
Cruising is essentially a microcosm of life, with the same dangers as life ashore. Parents need to keep that in mind and look after their children even if they are on vacation.
*According to the Port Canaveral port itenerary, the Carnival Liberty was the only Carnival cruise ship in Port Canaveral on December 24th.
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Image credit: Cruise Critic