Acting on a tip, Mexican authorities reportedly discovered an undisclosed amount of cocaine aboard the MSC Divina while the cruise ship was in port in Cozumel, Mexico.

According to the Riviera Maya News, Mexican federal agents located six packets of cocaine inside of a compartment behind a toilet in an undisclosed location on the MSC cruise ship.  The MSC Divina had previously sailed from Kralendijk, Bonaire on January 23rd, Willemstad, Curacao on January 24th, Oranjestad, Aruba on January 25th, Ocho Rios, Jamaica on January 27th, and George Town, Grand Cayman on January 28th before arriving in Cozumel yesterday. The ship is scheduled to arrive in Miami tomorrow.

There were no reported arrests of any of the crew members or passengers.

This is not the first time that drugs have been seized on a MSC cruise ship.

In November of 2018, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested seven MSC crew members for smuggling cocaine into the port of Miami aboard the MSC SeasideCBP officers reportedly found six kilos of cocaine and over $100,000 in cash. The Miami Herald covered the drug bust and identified the MSC crew members who allegedly smuggled the drugs.  MSC crew member Jamaican Damion Hawthorne (age 32)(from Ocho Rios) recruited South African crew members Londiwe Shange (age 27), Wandile Mhlongo (age 29), Thembeka Sokhulu (age 36), and Viwe Tshaka (age 23).  Jamaican Errol Roy Sutherland was also allegedly involved in the drug smuggling operation.

In 2010, eight people were convicted of attempting to smuggle over 75 pounds of cocaine (worth many millions of dollars) ashore from the MSC Orchestra when it arrived in Dover from Brazil.

In January of 2011, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office with K-9 dogs raided the MSC Poesia at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale before it sailed and arrested a number of music fans on its Jam Cruise for a relatively small quantity of recreational drugs.

In August of 2013, the Spanish police arrested two crew members from the cruise ship MSC Magnífica, which docked in Spain on drug trafficking charges after they were caught with 15 kilos of cocaine on the cruise ship.

In November of 2013, a MSC crew member was implicated in a scheme to import ten kilos of cocaine from South America to Italy on the cruise ship MSC Armonia.

In March of 2014, the police in Brazil arrested a crew member on the cruise ship MSC Preziosa for smuggling cocaine.

I first read about this drug bust in Crew Center’s article Six Packages Of Cocaine Discovered On The Cruise Ship MSC Divina.

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Photo credit: la Fiscalía General de la República via Riviera Maya News.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that it is searching for a passenger, from the MSC Divina cruise ship, who is suspected of going overboard early this morning in waters north of Puerto Rico.

According to the Coast Guard, a French citizen, Jeon Pierre Knorr, age 74, reportedly was "last seen by his wife at approximately 3 a.m. going out to the couple’s room balcony to take some fresh air." The Coast Guard says that the "circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the passenger remain unknown."

Based on the Coast Guard statement, it does not sound like the cruise ship was initially aware of the passenger going overboard. Online AIS’s do not show the Divina taking part in any type of search. MSC DivinaThe Coast Guard states that MSC Divina officials notified the Coast Guard that, at some undisclosed time, they searched the ship and made call-outs through the public announcement system without success. 

The Coast Guard indicates that it deployed aircraft, helicopters and a fast-response cutter to look for the man.

2017 begins with the same problem with overboards that has plagued the industry for many years. The Divina obviously was not equipped with an automatic man overboard which could be triggered with a signal to the bridge when a person crosses the rail. Such systems are now sophisticated with thermal imaging properties and radar capacities to track the person in the water at night so that the ship can initiate an immediate search and rescue operation. You can see an example here. President Obama signed automatic man overboard requirements into law in the 2012 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Law. Most cruise lines have ignored this law.   

Cruise lines say that such technology is not reliable or feasible, but the technology is readily available and highly efficient.

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January 3, 2017 Update:  Recent Divina Overboard Reveals Flaws in MSC Safety & Security

Photo credit: My Ken, GFDL, commons / wikimedia.

MSC Divina Cruise ShipA reader of Cruise Law news has alerted me to another person going overboard from a cruise ship.

A newspaper in Italy states that a Portuguese man, 46 years old, was found dead off of the coast of Corsica. He was sailing as a passenger on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean sea when he went overboard for reasons not disclosed.

The Expresso XL newspaper reports that "the victim has been formally identified as a Portuguese man of 46 years who had disappeared from the vessel MSC Divina . . . "

The passenger had been reported missing from the MSC cruise ship at 1:00 PM today. The weather was calm.

Helicopters and a jet searched for the unidentified man after he was reported missing.  An investigation is being conducted into the case by shoreside maritime officials in France.

The French maritime authorities released the following statement (translated):

"This Saturday, February 9 shortly before noon, the body of a lifeless man spotted ten miles southwest of Bonifacio by a customs plane. He had taken part in the device search to try to find a passenger MSC Divina missing since 1am in the area.

Hoisted by the helicopter PUMA Solenzara, the victim has been formally identified as a Portuguese man of 46 years who had disappeared from the ship.

An investigation will be launched to determine the exact circumstances of his death."

Anyone with information please leave a comment below. 

 

Photo credit MSC Divina – Wikimedia Commons / Mllturro