An adult male passenger is reportedly missing from the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship and is believed to have gone overboard before the ship arrived in Progreso, Mexico today.

The Carnival cruise ship left Mobile, Alabama on December 15th at 4:00 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Progreso, Mexico today at 8:00 a.m.

According to the Cruise Life Cargo Facebook page, announcements were made via the Fantasy’s onboard PA system last night that a guest was missing on the ship.

We are currently on the Carnival Fantasy at port in Progreso, MX. Last night there were announcements board cast through…

Posted by Cruise Life Cargo on Monday, December 17, 2018

The Facebook page reported that there was a search by Carnival crew members as the Carnival Fantasy sailed toward Progreso. Approximately five and one-half hours after the Carnival cruise ship reached the Mexican port, local authorities boarded the ship with a search dog to try and locate the missing passenger.

Posted by Cruise Life Cargo on Monday, December 17, 2018

The missing man was reportedly on the autism spectrum, although there was no conclusion offered why he went overboard.

This is the fourth person who has gone overboard from a cruise ship in less than one month. All of the disappearances involved circumstances where the ship did not realize that the passenger (and in one case a crew member) went overboard.

None of the cruise ships seemed to be equipped with a state-of-the-art man overboard (MOB) system, as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which would immediately notify the bridge that a person went over the railing. Such systems utilize sophisticated motion detection, infrared and radar technology that can track the person at night in the water.

For the few cruise lines which have invested in such technology, the system can substantially increase a ship’s response to a guest or crew member going overboard. Most importantly, the system can significantly improve the likelihood of a ship conducting a successful search and rescue.

One such system, by MARSS MOBtronic, has been commercially available since 2010.  There are a number of other reliable MOB systems readily available to the cruise lines.

For cruise lines which have not invested in the technology, ship personnel are forced to conduct a search of the ship, review hours of CCTV images, and, in this case, request local authorities to board the ship with a search animal to conduct manual searches of the ship. Such efforts are usually futile.

Carnival has apparently not located CCTV images of the person going overboard and it has no idea when or why the incident occurred. It apparently did not request assistance from either the U.S. or Mexican coast guards to conduct searches at sea.  In the last overboard from a Carnival cruise ship (the Carnival Victory three days ago) Carnival was quick to announce that the guest allegedly went overboard “intentionally.”

The Carnival Fantasy has continued on with its cruise to Cozumel (scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning) and is scheduled to arrive back to Mobile on the morning of December 20th.

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein reports that 24 people have gone overboard from cruise ships this year. That’s an average of 2 a month.

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December 19, 2018 Update: 

Carnival has to review hours of CCTV and invite the Mexican Navy aboard with a search dog to try to locate a passenger?

WKRG New5 Cruise passenger with special needs confirmed dead.

Photo credit: Carnival Fantasy (top) – Carnival Cruise Line; bottom – Cruise Life Cargo.

Carnival Fantasy Loose RailingA follower of my blog sent me a video of a loose deck railing taken by a passenger yesterday on the Carnival Fantasy which is currently sailing from Mobile, Alabama to Cozumel, Mexico.

The video (bottom) was posted to Facebook and shows the passenger pointng out a railing with heavily rusted brackets (video image left). The video has a caption saying:

Carnival Cruise broken rail! Beware and look before you lean!!!! 12/17/17

Please share so people will look!

The narration includes the following:

So we are on a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean. . . I lean on the rail  . . . just came out of the food court . . . lean on the rail and find out that the rail was broken  . . it moved about this far (pointing) when I lean on it . . . scared me, I thought I was going overboard but thank God . . . this side  is still holding, this side is broke off  . . . you guys be wary with your kids . . . when you are on Carnival Cruise Lines, or any cruise line really, just check the rails . . . that could have been serious . . . wooh!  

I have not been on this cruise ship, but I believe that the passenger is referring to deck 8 (Atlantic Deck).

We recently posted an article about a spy camera & transmitter installed in a passenger cabin on this ship. So, the point is that you can’t take anything for granted when you cruise, including even whether the rails are maintained in good shape or they are so rusted to the point of being dangerous.

The passenger is a retired Air Force sergeant who lives in Alabama.  So, thank you for your service, and thank you for pointing out this hazard!

The Good Samaritan passenger indicated on his Facebook page that he was going to alert the crew of the dangerous condition of the railing and would provide an update . . . .

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Video credit: Facebook

 

Carnival Fantasy A number of news sources are reporting that the Carnival Fantasy is experiencing a mechanical "technical problem" affecting its propulsion system, which limits the ship’s maximum. Carnival said that because of this problem, the Fantasy will not call on its scheduled port stop, Cozumel, Mexico, and will remain at sea for the duration of the cruise.

Instead, Carnival will take the ship on a three-night "Cruise to Nowhere." 

Carnival offered its booked guests the option to cancel and receive a full refund, or stay on board and sailing on the "cruise to nowhere." Passengers who decided to stay on the cruise reportedly will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare, a $50 onboard credit and a 50 percent toward a future cruise.

The Fantasy is 27 years old. 

"Cruises to nowhere" are illegal under the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) of 1886 unless the cruise line obtains a special waiver.

Recently, several cruises on Carnival and other lines have been affected by what the companies characterize as "technical issues" with the ships’ engines.

The Carnival Paradise and the Carnival Splendor faces similar problems in the last six weeks.  Celebrity Cruises canceled or shortened cruises at the last minute on the Celebrity Summit two weeks ago. 

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Photo credit: Ron Cogswell – CC BY 2.0, commons / wikimedia. 

A 41 year old man returning on a cruise was arrested on child pornography charges last Thursday after his cruise ended and the ship returned to Charleston, South Carolina, according to a report in the Post and Courier newspaper

The newspaper reports that Eric Jason Blankenship of West Virginia was charged with one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He disembarked from the Carnival Fantasy

The Charleston Police Department, a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, acted on information that Blackenship had received child pornography.

The police detained him when he was disembarking the ship and found multiple images containing child pornography on his phone,

Blankenship was reportedly released on a $100,000 bail,  

We have written about dozens of cases where cruise passengers and crew members have been arrested for child pornography. 

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Cruise Ship Child Pornography

Photo Credit: abcnews4

Carnival FantasyAccording to First Coast News, a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a 67-year-old woman from the Carnival Fantasy to a Jacksonville hospital yesterday evening.

The passenger was reportedly experiencing life-threatening symptoms.

The Coast Guard helicopter, based out of Air Station Clearwater, lifted the cruise passenger off the ship and flew her, along with her husband and a cruise line nurse, to UF Health Jacksonville.

Neither the cruise line nor the passenger has to pay for these emergency medevac services.

The United States taxpayers foot the bill.

Disney Fantasy MedevacWPLG Local 10 News reports that a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a 21 year old passenger from the Disney Fantasy cruise ship yesterday. 

The 21 year-old man had finished two scuba dives near Key West and returned to the Disney cruise ship complaining of chest pain. The ship medical doctor took x-rays and determined that one of his lungs was partially collapsed.

The doctor consulted with the Coast Guard which medevaced the passenger.

Photo Credit: Coast Guard via WPLG Local 10

 

 

 

 

Carnival Fantasy Cruise ShipThe Tampa Tribune reports that the Coast Guard medevaced an ill passenger via helicopter from a Carnival cruise ship today. 

The Coast Guard in Miami sent a helicopter to medically evacuate a 27-year-old man from the Carnival Fantasy after he began experiencing severe abdominal pain. 

The cruise ship was reportedly more than 80 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The helicopter hoisted the sick passenger and a cruise ship nurse off the cruise ship and then transported the ill man to Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach around noon today.

The cruise ship was heading back to Charleston, South Carolina.

Arnold Palmer Hospital Orlando A number of readers have asked me for information about the little four year old boy who nearly drowned last week aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.

Today there is a short article in the Orlando Sentinel indicating that the child may face "extensive brain damage" but his parents, "helped by their faith, remain optimistic their little ‘warrior’ will continue to recover." 

The boy, whose first name is "Chase," and his family are identified in the article.

The article makes reference to comments the parents are posting on a site to share personal health news as well as the family’s Facebook page. 

Disney Fantasy Cruise ShipThe Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the Disney Fantasy cruise ship returned to Port Canaveral yesterday night shortly after sailing from the Florida port after 2 passengers experienced medical emergencies. 

The medical emergencies involved a 6 year old child with diabetes and a 77 year old man with a heart condition. 

The Disney cruise ship initially sailed from Port Canaveral around 5 PM but returned at around 8:30 PM to disembark the two passengers for emergency medical treatment at a local hospital.

Readers will recall that the Disney Fantasy was the location of a near-drowning last week when a 4 year old child slipped below the water in the Donald Pool which is not staffed with a lifeguard.  The incident sparked a debate about parental responsibility and whether the pool was safely designed and adequately staffed. You can read about that incident here

 

Photo Credit: Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel

Earlier this week I wrote an article about a 4 year old boy who almost drowned in a pool on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.

I advocated having a lifeguard at every pool on a cruise ship, especially on Disney ships which cater to families with kids.  Lifeguards are needed because parents are not perfect, and there is a tendency for parents to let their guards down when they are on vacation.  And why shouldn’t Disney do it?  Like Carnival, Disney pays no U.S. taxes on its enormous cruise revenues by registering its ship overseas. It has money to burn. 

Disney Cruise Ship PoolDisney also claims that it trains over 1,000 lifeguards each year for its resorts and cruise ships. 

Kids deserve to have their parents and the cruise line working together to keep them safe.

A few people agreed, but most were quick to blame if not condemn the parents of the child who was pulled from the pool. The comments on my Facebook page were harsh.

Today I received a nice email from a concerned cruiser. She makes some good points, which Disney should consider:

"Hi Jim,

My family and I disembarked from the Disney Fantasy in Cape Canaveral on Sat March 30. While we had a terrific time, I was saddened to hear that a 4 year old boy nearly drowned getting on that ship just hours later. That news has pretty much spoiled my good memories because I have trouble bearing to reminisce about my good time in the midst of another’s tragedy. My prayers are with the boy and his family.

While on our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Fantasy (Mar 23 to 30), I noticed that the pool areas where extremely chaotic and in my opinion an accident just waiting to happen. The design of the “Donald Pool” where the boy nearly drowned is what I would consider unsafe. The pool is over 5 feet deep but has very small width and length. It cannot accommodate the number of kids on the ship safely without kids being jumped on and kicked in the head etc. Also, because of the very small length and width compared to depth, there is not enough room around the edges for parents to adequately supervise the children. When my kids were swimming I had a very difficult time finding any room around the pool to watch them. I tried to get into the pool with my children and the lack of room in the pool resulted in my being jumped on, kicked in the face, etc. Also, the perimeter of the pool has a shallow area that pushes parental seating (and therefore supervision) even further away and obstructs the view of the children in the deep water.

In addition, there is a gigantic screen TV showing Disney movies that easily diverts people’s attentions.

Crowded Disney Swimming PoolThere are a very limited number of deck chairs around the pools but these are inadequate to allow supervision of the children and often only serve to block the view of other adults relocated to being further back away from the pool due to its design. I was very uncomfortable that Disney had no lifeguards at the pool but they had more than one person coming around to the deck chairs asking if you would like an alcoholic drink.

Finally, Disney in most of its show’s encourages adults to relax and allow their kids to roam the ship unattended. In fact one of the comics that they have in their shows makes a joke about parents not letting kids out of their sight and says “it’s a ship, where can they go”!

The design of the pool, the atmosphere of the ship, the easy access to alcohol and the lack of lifeguards are simply drownings waiting to happen, no matter how vigilant the parents. Unless Disney makes some changes to their procedures, and assumes a better level of corporate responsibility, I unfortunately suspect we will see more drownings on the Disney Fantasy in the years to come.

With deep concern and prayers for all . . ." 

 

April 8, 2013 Update:  According to the Orlando Sentinel, the child is struggling with his recovery at the Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.  

Photo Credit: USA TODAY