MIndy Jordon Disappearance - NCLEarlier today, I mentioned the recent disappearance of a young Chinese woman from the MSC Magnifica.

It appears that she may have been a murder victim, according to the police in Italy who are investigating the case.

If this is true, this is hardly the first time that a cruise passenger has been killed at sea.

Cruise passenger Karen Roston was thrown overboard by her husband during an Admiral Cruises vacation. He was later convicted of the crime.

Mindy Jordon went overboard from a NCL cruise ship when she went on a vacation with a husband reportedly with an abusive and violent background.

The case of George Smith, of course, is perhaps the clearest example of a crime at sea, after he was reportedly thrown overboard by a man, who was also sailing on the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas as a passenger, who reportedly gave Mr. Smith a “paragliding lesson without a parachute.”

Micki Kanesaki DisappearanceA Chinese cruise passenger murdered his wife by pitching her overboard during a cruise aboard the Macau Success. He falsely claimed that his wife committed suicide.

A drunken passenger killed his wife during a cruise on the Carnival Elation to Mexico.

A lawyer was arrested for allegedly strangling & throwing his wife, Micki Kanesaki off an Italian cruise ship several years ago.

A woman from Vancouver, Canada, Fariba Amani, who was cruising aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by the Celebration Cruise Lines, disappeared under mysterious circumstances during a cruise with her boyfriend.

Farabi Amani DisappearanceThere are many others who met with foul play on cruise ships.

A Brazilian crew member, Camilla Peixoto Bandeira, working aboard the MSC Musica was strangled to death by her boyfriend.

23 year old  Amy Lynn Bradley disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas under highly suspicious circumstances where it appears that she was abducted.

Carnival passenger Annette Mizener appeared to have been thrown overboard from a Carnival ship cruising to Mexico.

A Holland America Line (HAL) crew member sexually assaulted, violently beat, and tried to throw a woman from her balcony on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam. The crew member was arrested and sentenced Jennifer Ellis-Seitz Balconyto jail, although in most such cases there are no arrests or prosecutions.

Other young, healthy and seemingly happy individuals have disappeared from cruise ships, with the cruise line wildly speculating that they probably committed suicide, like Denisa Markoska, and Angelo Faliva.

A murder investigation was opened after after a 53 year old woman went overboard from the Costa Fortuna.

A young woman, Jennifer Ellis-Seitz, disappeared over the rails of her cabin’s balcony resulting in the FBI investigating the conduct of her husband when other passengers commented on what they considered his highly strange behavior. The FBI eventually declined the case after finding no evidence of foul play. There was, of course, no automatic man overboard system in place.

It was the mysterious disappearance of Merrian Carver from the Celebrity Mercury back in 2004, and the resulting cover-up by the cruise line, which motivated her father, Ken Carver to create the International Cruise Victims organization.

Several lawmakers have asked whether a cruise ship is the perfect place to commit a crime, largely Camilla Peixoto Bandeira - MSC Disappearancebecause of jurisdictional nightmares like this.

The cruise industry is quick to label disappearances at sea as “suicides” even when the facts suggest otherwise. Read: “Suicide” – One of the Cruise Lines’ Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.

Mike Driscoll, editor of Cruiseweek, a cruise publication, was recently quoted as saying “Most over-boards to date have been suicides.”  He offered no statistical evidence to support this inaccurate claim. In fact, the majority of disappearances involve highly intoxicated individuals who go over the rails. Whether you view this phenomenon as the result of reckless conduct by the drunken passenger or the irresponsibility of the cruise line in over-serving their guests to make profits from the vast amount of alcohol sold during a cruise, there is no question that alcohol is involved in most disappearances from cruise ships.  You can track the last 288 case of overboards maintained by cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein and easily Annetter Mizener Disappearancesee that alcohol plays a significant role in most overboard cases.

Unfortunately, it also appears that a cruise is a perfect location for a murder, particularly when there are few automatic man overboard cameras installed on ships which would document and, possibly, deter criminal activity.

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March 3, 2017 Update: Cops believe missing Dublin-based mum was murdered on cruise ship and thrown overboard in suitcase.

November 16, 2018 Update: There have been at least four additional murders, or murder attempts, on cruise ships since we first published this article. In  July of 2017, the FBI arrested the husband of a  a 39-year-old woman who was murdered aboard the Emerald Princess operated by Princess Cruises in Alaska. In January of 2018, the boyfriend of a 50 year-old woman was arrested for murder aboard the Carnival Elation after he threw her off their balcony to a lifeboat below. In October of 2018, a passenger was arrested after he tried to throw his partner off of the Radiance of the Seas in Australia. Earlier this week,  a man killed a 52 year-old woman on the Royal Princess operated by Princess Cruises after allegedly choking her and throwing her over the railing following which she fell and struck a lifeboat.

Photo credits:

Mindy Jordon – International Cruise Victims

Denisa Markosa DisappearanceMicki Kanesaki – Orange County Register

Fariba Amani – Global News Canada

Jennifer Ellis-Seitz balcony – TODAY

Camilla Peixoto Bandeira – A Tribuna newspaper

Annette Mizener – ABC News

Denisa Markosa – Fokus newspaper (Macedonia)

Royal Princess Murder – Mail Online

Costa Magnifica Overboard MurderNumerous newspapers are reporting that a woman cruising with her husband aboard the MSC Magnifica with their two young children (ages 4 and 6) on a Mediterranean cruise, starting in Civitavecchia, Italy, disappeared last week. The woman has been identified as Xing Lei Li. Her husband has been identified as Daniel Belling.

Italian police arrested the husband at Rome’s airport after his wife vanished from their cruise vacation and he didn’t tell anyone.

The ship had sailed to Genoa, Malta, Greece and Cyprus. Crew members noticed that the wife was missing when they did a head count at the end of the cruise. The cruise ship alerted police and informed them that the wife had been registered as a guest on the Magnifica’s passenger manifest on February 10th, following a port call in Genoa, the day after the cruise started, but subsequently disappeared. 

A ship store employee said she remembered the couple and their two children in her store on the Costa ship, when the husband exhibited agitation and violence toward his wife.

Police seem to suspect that the husband may have thrown his wife overboard, although he denies this and claims that she is alive and may have returned to either their home in Ireland or returned to her native China.

Italian police are currently going through CCTV footage from the cruise ship. There is no indication that the MSC ship was equipped with a state-of-the-art automatic man overboard system which would have immediately alerted the bridge if a person went over the railing. 

There have been numerous incident like this over the years, although cruise industry supporters claim, without factual support, that most disappearances involve suicides.

Read: Is a Cruise Ship the Perfect Place to Commit a Crime?

March 10, 2017 Update: –  Italian police probe if cruise ship woman was murdered, stuffed in suitcase and thrown overboard.

April 24, 2018 Update: – Man accused of murdering his wife on cruise ship ‘released from jail’.

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Photo credit: Kyran O’Brien via Independent newspaper in Ireland.

 

MSC MagnificaAccording to the Italian newspaper Gazzettino, this past weekend there was "panic" onboard the MSC Magnifica cruise ship docked in Venice after a security guard inadvertently fired a gun while passengers were boarding the ship. 

The facts are a bit sketchy. The newspaper says that a security guard left a handgun in a pouch inside a basket which was somehow passed through a metal detector. The weapon was then found by another security guard on the Magnifica. Another Italian newspaper mentions a baby carrier that the gun may have been placed on. In any event, a security guard on the cruise ship handled the gun when it unexpectedly discharged. A bullet from the gun ricocheted off the floor and struck a wall of the ship, "wreaking havoc." No one was injured. but a nearby passenger reportedly hear the gunshot and fainted, according to the newspaper. 

Comments to the weird article suggest that the Magnifica has armed security personnel because the cruise ship allegedly encountered a recent security incident involving pirates during an African itinerary.  (To our knowledge, with the exception of Costa and MSC, most cruise lines do not carry guns). 

Hat tip:  Cruise Hive

Photo Credit:  MSC cruise ship (Orchestra shown in Venice) – Jim Walker  

MSC MagnificaA Brazilian labor court ordered the payment of fines, wages, overtime and "moral damages" to eleven (11) crew of the MSC Magnifica after finding that they had been subjected to working conditions similar to "slaves." You can read the order here.

According to Defonsoria Publica Da Uniao, in 2014 eleven crew members were "rescued" from the MSC cruise ship and alleged to have been forced to work up to 16 hours a day and were subjected to abuse and sexual harassment. We wrote about these allegations in April of 2014.

The testimony of a number of crew members was taken and indicated that other Brazilian crew members reaffirmed what was described as "appalling" working conditions on the MSC cruise ship.

In a blockbuster order, the labor court determined that crew members during contracts between eight to 12 months duration, the MSC crew members were required to work excessive hours and were mistreated. In addition to suffering intense bullying, the stewards and waiters had to work excessive daily hours (13-16 hours a day) without the right to adequate rest.

One Brazilian newspaper explained the plight of a MSC room steward from São Paulo who was bullied. Even working up to 18 hours straight, the crew member was called "lazy and a slut."

The labor court awarded R$ 330,000 to the eleven crew members.

Photo credit: Globo / Henrique Mendes / G1

Article credit: OVC – Organização de Vítimas de Cruzeiros

MSC Cruises denies that it engaged in any wrongful conduct and says that it intends to appeal  the labor court’s decision.  Read MSC’s full statement at the end of this article.

The Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente E Dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) (IBAMA) levied a fine of R$ 2.505 million against MSC Cruises.

Based on today’s exchange rate, the fine is approximately $635,545 in U.S. dollars.

IBAMA said that MSC Cruises released garbage into the sea during a cruise between Madeira Island and MSC Garbage Dumpingthe Port of Recife.

The complaint of the environmental crime was made by one of the ship’s passengers who was on board the MSC ship during a cruise between November 26 to December 10, 2013.

I previously wrote about the crime in an article dated December 2013 titled Video: MSC Cruise Ship Dumps Garbage Bags Off Coast of Brazil.

I later posted an article and showed videos of the illegal dumping from the Magnifica sent to me by a crew member on the MSC cruise ship.

It appears that the fine was issued in 2014 after IBAMA viewed video and photographs and listened to testimony, but the fine was not immediately disclosed to the public.

You can see photographs of the dumping here

MSC later touted itself an a steward of the seas.

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https://youtube.com/watch?v=0XpK7zMs0Dk%3Frel%3D0

 

MSC Magnifica This morning I was contacted by a person aboard the MSC Magnifica who informed me that a passenger went overboard from the cruise ship last night.

The Magnifica was sailing to Izmir, Turkey when the woman disappeared overboard. The Greek Coast Guard was notified at some point but it has been unsuccessful searching for the cruise passenger.

The person identified the woman as Chinese.

This is the second person reported overboard overboard from a cruise ship in the last several days.

On August 15, 2015, a crew member disappeared from the Queen Mary 2.

This is the 18th passenger or crew member who has gone overboard from a cruise ship so far this year.

Unfortunately, very few cruise ships have automatic man overboard systems which are designed to send a signal to the bridge as soon as a person goes over the rail.

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Photo Credit:  Bracodbk licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 via Wikipedia

MSC MagnificaA reader of Cruise Law News has notified me that a French passenger, age 86, is missing after the MSC Magnifica called on the port of Katakolon yesterday.

The passenger’s wife visited the Ancient Olympia during an excursion. But when she went back on board the cruise ship, she could not locate her husband, who disembarked earlier that morning. He left the ship at 08:30 A.M. according to the ship’s CCTV cameras.

The Hellenic Coast Guard and local police officers are trying to find the French tourist.

There is an account in a Greek newspaper

 

Photo Credit: "MSC Magnifica" by Bracodbk – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The BBC reports that Brazilian police boarded a MSC cruise ship and rescued 11 crew members working in "slave-like conditions." 

Brazilian officials say that the 11 crew members were forced to work up to 16 hours a day on the MSC Magnifica. Some of the crew members were subjected to sexual harassment.

The Brazilian authorities have been investigating the labor abuses for the past month, following a tip-off MSC Magnifica - Slave Shipfrom MSC crew members. 

"The fact that they had signed a contract, even an international contract, does not mean that the basic human rights should not be respected," Labor Ministry director Alexandre Lyra said. 

A publication in Brazil contains additional details of the working conditions. The Blog Do Sakamoto talks of exhaustive work on the MSC cruise ship with stories of abuse, bullying and fraudulent time recording.

"We have no doubt that it is slave labor," said Alexandre Lyra, head of Brazil’s Division of Surveillance for the Eradication of Slave Labor.

You can see two statements of the working conditions written by MSC crew members here.

Another newspaper in Brazil reported that crew members were subjected to racism and homophobic threats and taunts. 

MSC issued a statement denying everything.

In December and March, we posted videos and photos of MSC dumping garbage bags into the sea off the coast of Brazil from the MSC Magnifica.  If the recent allegations are true, it seems that MSC treats its employees worse than the sea it pollutes. 

 

Photo Credit: Reporter Brazil

Today, a newspaper in Switzerland joined in the coverage of the story regarding the alleged dumping of garbage bags from the MSC Cruises Magnifica cruise ship.

Le Matin, the largest French-speaking newspaper in Switzerland, published the headline:

Des ordures jetées à la mer! — Vidéo à l’appui, un avocat affirme que la compagnie italo-suisse MSC Croisières jette des poubelles dans l’océan.   

MSC Cruises Garbage DumpingYou can read the article here.

Here are some of the comments to the article:

And one company in my black boycott list . . 

Hello in the late 80’s I worked as a Chef on the Apollo Cruise Company based in Miami several times late at night I saw my eyes pour entire containers full Gulf of Mexico and offshore Brazil .. unfortunately .. I’m not surprised that 35 years later this terrible way "to do" is still in force .. Greenpeace .. Help!

Having traveled with MSC, and having followed the recommendations for "environmental protection" (reuse towels, etc..), When I see these images it disgusts me!

You can read the comments here.

So far, the story has received substantial international news coverage: New Times (U.S.A.), Cruise Hive (U.S.A.), Huffington Post (U.S.A.), Daily Mail (U.K.), AOL Travel  (U.K.), Cruising the Molly Way (U.K.), e Global Travel Media (Australia & New Zealand) and Le Matin (Switzerland).

The travel industry publication (Travel Weekly, Travel Pulse), and the cruise bloggers (Cruise Critic, Cruise Currents, Cruise Fever, Cruise Mates, Cruise Addicts, Captain Greybeard) have all stuck their heads in the sand. None of these types want to rock the boat and become blacklisted from the cruise lines’ parties and free cruises. 

The cruise industry just finished their self-laudatory Cruise Shipping Miami trade show.  The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and the CLIA CEO, Ms. Duffy, have not said a peep about the environmental abuse. The "One Industry, One Voice" cruise industry and its loyal-to-a-fault travel agent base are going to stay quiet and let this stinky story fade away.  

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

 

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Two weeks ago we posted videos and photos of garbage and debris and crew members aboard MSC cruise ships apparently throwing the refuse into the ocean.  We first asked MSC Cruises for an explanation but were ignored. You can see the videos here and here and the photos here.

This weekend the story went viral.

First the Huffington Post posted an article Cruise Ship Workers Appear To Throw Bags Of Garbage Right Into The Ocean (VIDEO).

Then the U.K.’s Daily Mail posted an article Caught on Camera: The Moment Cruise Ship Crew Member Hurled Garbage Bags Straight into the Ocean Off Brazilian Coast in Violation of International MSC Cruises Cruise bags of GarbageLaw.  The Daily Mail has the largest number of internet readers of a newspaper in the world.

Today AOL Travel also covered the story Cruise Ship Worker Filmed ‘Throwing Rubbish Bags Into Ocean’ (Video).

The articles are being widely shared on Facebook and re-tweeted on Twitter.

MSC has continued to ignore us for the past two weeks, but tells the Huffington Post that the videos show nothing more than a single dumping video taken by a passenger last December. MSC says there is only one alleged incident.

I say rubbish to that. Former crew members we have spoken with tell us of systematic illegal dumping of prohibited items in prohibited area on numerous occasions. You can read our thoughts here.

As the dumping videos go viral, all of the usually talkative cruise and travel agents, writers, and bloggers promoting the cruise industry remain silent.