A crew member from Vanuatu was sentenced to five years and eight months in jail on Tuesday after he was found guilty two months ago of raping a co-worker during their employment for P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn.

A court in Vanuatu sentenced former Pacific Dawn crew member Noel Isaac to a count of  sexual intercourse without consent in December of 2017, according to a recent article in the Daily Post newspaper in Vanuatu.  The court had earlier found him guilty of one count of an act of indecency as well as one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

The court found beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Isaac trespassed into the victim’s cabin on the morning of December 6, 2017. Despite her pleas, he overcame her resistance and committed what the newspaper described as full and forcible sexual intercourse with her without her consent shortly before he disembarked from the cruise ship.

The victimed crew member reportedly did not return to her job duties and was forced to leave the ship due to the trauma. She later notified P&O that she would not return to work due to the assault. She reported the crime to the local police who reportedly had to halt the investigation awaiting the ship’s next visit to obtain the CCTV images.

The victim  was a new hire who worked in the galley. She boarded the Pacific Dawn in Brisbane in early December 2017; the ship thereafter sailed for New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The assault took place just a few days after she started work on the cruise ship.

The newspaper describes Mr. Isaac as having difficulties answering basic questions at trial about the incident. He claimed that he did not know where the victim’s cabin was located on the ship and denied ever going in to her cabin two days after he first met her. However, the evidence showed that Mr. Isaac entered and remained in the victim’s cabin for 40 minutes on the morning in question, according to the local newspaper.

Convictions of crew members for sexual assault are rare, due to the fact that flag states are not interested or equipped to investigate such crimes which occur in far off locations at sea. In this case, Carnival Corporation owned the Pacific Dawn, which was operated by P&O Cruises Australia and registered in London. This case, however, involved a crime committed by a citizen of Vanuatu where the ship called on its capital, Port Vila and where the crew member resided.

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Photo credit: P&O Cruises via Traveller magazine.

 

The disappearance of a 47 year-old woman last week from P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn was one of 213 people overboard from cruise ships in the last decade and one of 7 disappearances in less than 4 months this year alone. The incident raises the fundamental issue whether it is, in fact, possible for someone to fall off a cruise ship. 

I have written about nearly 200 overboard incidents since I started this blog eight and a-half years ago.  The single most common comment which I hear is that it’s impossible for someone to fall off of a cruise ship. When I reported on the recent overboard incident on the Pacific Dawn, the first comment was passengers don’t just fall off of a cruise ship.

But based on some of the eye-witness accounts, that is exactly what might have happened on the Pacific Dawn. 

The 47-year-old passenger from Brisbane, Australia, was reportedly with her husband on an exterior Pacific Dawn Overboarddeck, about 15 feet away from where other passengers were playing table tennis inside the cruise ship. Several passengers said the woman "went outside to vomit as she was seasick," according to an Australian newspaper the Courier Mail.

One eye-witness told the Courier Mail that the woman began to vomit while leaning over a railing when she lost her footing and went overboard.

Another passenger, who expressed condolences to the family of the woman, posted a somber photograph (right) of an empty deck and the railing where the woman apparently went overboard. The low railings immediately caught my eye. 

A standard sized life-ring, which you can see mounted slightly above the deck, is only 28-30 inches in diameter, which suggests that the top of the top of railing is probably no more than a total of 40 to 42 inches in height. 

One of the eye-witnesses took a photograph of the railing (below right) which was published in several newspapers. The photo shows four crew members standing around the deck railing. Two of the crew members are leaning on the railing with one crew member is standing in the middle nearby the railing, which appears to barely come to the crew members’ waists and the middle crew member’s hips.

Several years ago, when I attended a series of Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. on proposed legislation to require the cruise lines to raise the height of railing on their ships, the cruise lines refused to consider raising their ships’ railings Pacific Dawn Overboardto more than 42 inches.

The cruise industry has known for years that passengers who have puked (due to being either sick or intoxicated) over the railings on cruise ships sometimes have fallen overboard in the process. Yet, the cruise lines consistently resisted agreeing to higher railings. They felt that a higher raising would have been too expensive to retrofit on their fleet of ships.

Eventually, when the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) was finally passed into law in 2010 in the U.S., the cruise industry successfully had lobbied for the lower (42 inch) provision.

Before the Pacific Dawn even finished its cruise following the woman’s disappearance, news reports announced that P&O Cruises already intended to argue that the woman intentionally went overboard. MSN reported that although "early reports suggested the woman was suffering from sea sickness and had been vomiting over the side," a representative for P&O said "there was nothing to suggest anything of this kind" despite the fact that there were high waves and strong winds at the time. Another newspaper reported that: "9NEWS understands cruise liner P&O will claim its early investigation has concluded that ‘it appears the missing person has jumped with the husband attempting to catch her unsuccessfully.’"  9News reported that a ship’s security camera footage allegedly showed the passenger "deliberately launching herself over the side" of the ship, according to P&O.

By the time that the ship had returned to Brisbane, the cruise line had already revealed the woman’s name to the press and implied that she may have committed suicide. 

It’s troubling to see a cruise line dispute eye-witness accounts, state that it intends to prove the passenger intentionally went overboard even before law enforcement boards the ship, and then reveal the name of the victim to the media.

Police "investigators" have apparently now reviewed the surveillance film and agreed with P&O’s pre-determined conclusions. But notably absent in the media statements, from either the police or the cruise line, is there any mention that the video shows the woman climbing up on the railings. 

Whatever occurred on the Pacific Dawn, this would not be the first time that a cruise line may have falsely reported that an overboard passenger committed suicide.

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

We suggest reading: "Suicide" – One of the Cruise Lines’ Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.

Photograph credit: Top – Twitter via hashhag @vviivviieennnne and Fox News; bottom – Channel 10/Twitter via Courier Mail and Associated Newspapers Limited via MSN.com

Oriana P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Paul Ludlowon posted a comment on the P&O Facebook page announcing the cancellation of a cruise aboard the Oriana (voyage X801). P&O says that the Oriana will "undergo three week technical maintenance from January 6 2018."

Mr. Ludlowon writes that "as a result we will be canceling this cruise . . .  and we are extremely sorry for the late notice and disruption."

215 comments about the cancellation of the 50-night itinerary were posted on the P&O website as of this morning. P&O intended to visit 13 different countries during the "Caribbean & Amazon Adventure" cruise.

P&O offered just a 5% future cruise credit. Many disappointed customers complained about P&O’s meager compensation offer. One person wrote that the offer "is hardly generous given the inconvenience this is causing passengers like us." P&O response to this comment was typical to P&O’s non-negotiable response to the problem – "We are sorry you are disappointed by this however this will be our only offer in terms of compensation."

P&O did not offer any explanation of the details of the so-called "technical maintenance." Many cruise lines use this euphemism to refer to engine, propeller or other propulsion-related problems. P&O referred to a "technical issue" in a statement when the Oriana’s arrival in Southampton was delayed seven weeks ago due to a boiler problem. 

The Oriana underwent a cosmetic refit one year ago. 

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Photo credit: Antonio from Trieste, Italy, CC BY 2.0, commons / wikimedia.

Oriana Cruise ShipThe British press is reporting that the Oriana cruise ship has returned to port in Southampton with “dozens” of passengers sick with norovirus.

The 19 year-old P&O cruise ship ended its cruise around the Canary Islands early because of propeller problems. The Daily Echo newspaper in the U.K. is calling the ship “cursed” because of the norovirus outbreak.

The Daily Echo says that the ship returned to port on Wednesday due to propeller issues and passengers were permitted to stay on board and using the facility until Saturday. However, 57 passengers on board were then struck down with the highly contagious norovirus.

P&O Cruises offered refunds and credits to passengers, but some passengers said they might sue.

The cruise line said that it started “enhanced sanitation” protocols.

P&O Cruises also released the familiar PR statement: “the safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority.”

 

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia / Pjotr Mahhonin

On the heels of power and propulsion difficulties facing Carnival Cruise Line cruise ships Triumph, Dream, Legend and Elation, it is now being reported that another cruise ship operated by a Carnival Corporation brand, P&O Cruises, is suffering propulsion problems.

Passengers are reporting that the P&O Ventura has broken down several times over the past three days and is having major problems with one of its two propulsion units.  The situation sounds similar to the problems which the Carnival Legend as it limps back from a Caribbean cruise to Tampa with only one of its propulsion system working. (Its has been pointed out to us that the Legend has two Azipod systems, whereas the Ventura has conventional diesel engines).  

I first heard of the Ventura’s problems in an article by U.K. cruise blogger John Honeywell (Captain Carnival P&O Ventura Cruise ShipGreybeard) who writes:

"P&O’s Ventura continues to make its way across the Atlantic at reduced speed thanks to a fault with the power to its starboard propeller, is expected to reach Southampton on schedule next Saturday, after missing a visit to Madeira scheduled for Tuesday.."   

Several people are leaving comments on the popular Cruise Critic forum:

The Ventura is ". . . broken down and just drifting!"

".  .  . they are now moving again but have been given no explanation."

P&O commented ". . .  We are currently working with the manufacturers and shore support to identify and rectify an issue with the starboard propulsion motor on Ventura. We can assure everyone that power and services on the ship are unaffected."

" . . .  looks like still having problems, the person on board has now said that as they were floating around so long and now cant seem to get over 18kts they now cant go to Madeira but will be diverting to Ponta delgada." 

The media is in a frenzy reporting on all of Carnival’s problems. But, so far, no one is reporting on the problems facing Carnival Corporation’s P&O Ventura.  

Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest cruise owner and operator in the world. It operates: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in North America; P&O Cruises (UK), and Cunard in the United Kingdom; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe; Iberocruceros in Spain; and P&O Cruises (Australia) in Australia.

The Ventura was built in Italy and is owned by Carnival Corporation. It is flagged in Bermuda and was launched in 2007.

Photo credit: Telegraph

P & O Cruises Aurora Web CamMultiple news sources are reporting that a passenger went overboard from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea yesterday.  Little information is being released except that the passenger is described as a "British woman" and is apparently in her seventies. 

The incident occurred on the Aurora cruise ship as it sailed from the Oporto, Portugal to to Barcelona, Spain.  The news accounts state that the woman "fell" although there is no real description whether she jumped, or was thrown overboard, or she somehow fell into the water.

Cruise ship overboard cases are rarely solved. In this case, there is no real information being released to explain what happened.  

The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. quotes a passenger saying that "we heard that the woman is 72 and was on holiday with her daughter but we don’t know how she fell in. The passengers are all very sad and subdued as the outlook doesn’t look good. The sea is very choppy. We are just so concerned for this woman and her family. It is awful."

P & O states that "the ship’s crew were alerted and ordered an immediate search of the area," although cruise lines often say this when it’s not true. There is no information when the woman was reported Aurora Cruise Ship - P & O Cruisesmissing and when the search was initiated.

Investigations fall to the flag state which for P & O cruise ships is Bermuda.  That country has a dreadful record conducting investigation involving overboard passengers and crew members or crimes on cruise ships at sea.

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, this is the 188th person overboard from a cruise ship in the last decade or so.

The last cruise ship passenger overboard from a cruise ship was 2 weeks ago when a 21 year old passenger disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.  

The cruise ship had left Southampton on Wednesday September 26th and was sailing on a 14 day cruise.

Anyone with information about this latest overboard, please leave a comment below.

 

September 29 2012 Update:  A comment to this article below states that the passenger committed suicide, although this cannot be confirmed. 

Credits:

Aurora Web Cam: P & O Cruises 

Aurora cruise ship photo: SOLVENT via Telegraph 

Hat tip Goatys’ News

Sun Princess Cruise Ship A reader of Professor Ross Klein’s website Cruise Junkie states that the Sun Princess cruise ship lost power for a few hours last week.

The Princess Cruises ship was apparently at the end of a 104 day "world cruise," from Sydney Australia and back.

The Incident allegedly occurred around 4:30 in the morning of Tuesday, August 27, 2012, when the cruise ship was in the Tasman Sea west of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.  The reader states that the vessel lost all power, after a transformer had blown.  The cruise ship then floated around without any power for around three and one-half hours.  After the transformer was repaired around 8:00, the cruise ship continued sailing back to Sydney. 

Power failures like this have plagued the cruise industry over the last couple of years, with similar incidents affecting Azamara, Carnival, Costa, Cunard and Royal Caribbean ships.

Power failures during calm seas may pose nothing more than an inconvenience to the passengers, but it is a dangerous prospect if a cruise ship loses power during rough seas.

This cruise ship, built in 1995, experienced power failures in 2005 and 2007.

Anyone with more information about what happened, please leave a comment below.

 

Photo credit: Wikipedia / Lemeki Lenoa

PO Cruises Sexual Harassment Lawsuit CruiseMates recently ran an article by its editor Paul Motter entitled "Most Ridiculous Cruise Ship Lawsuits." One of the lawsuits was filed by a 50 year old lady passenger aboard a P&O cruise ship who attended a talent show dressed in a leopard skin dress who sang a Tina Turner song River Deep Mountain High.

One of the P&O judges, entertainer Rory Healey, allegedly told her he could see her underwear through her dress, commented on her breasts and suggested she could "cougar" him any time.

Her husband said that Mr. Healey then touched the screen showing her image, fondling and kissing the screen image of her breasts. Read more here.

CruiseMates editor Motter mocked the woman and labeled her lawsuit as "ridiculous." 

One CruiseMates reader commented: "Wonder what Jim Walker would say about this?" Mr. Motter responded: "Something tells me Jim Walker has already commented on it – probably in the woman’s favor."

Well, I haven’t commented on this sorry state of affairs yet, but here are my thoughts:  

This happened on a P&O cruise ship. When it comes to sexual harassment and crimes against women, P&O Cruises has a nasty history.

Dianne Brimble -Cruise Ship Crime - Sexual Assault When I started this blog several years ago, one of the first articles I wrote was about a P&O cruise passenger, Dianne Brimble.  A gang of eight slipped her a date rape drug. Ms. Brimble ended up raped and dead, naked on the floor of a cabin occupied by the men who joked afterwards that she had the breath of a dog and they thought about throwing her overboard.  

P&O responded to the horrific incident in a manner that i would describe as somewhere between callous and outrageous. Eventually P&O promised to mend its way and clean up its over-the-top fraternity party attitude where women and booze are just part of the cruise fun.

But did it really clean up its act?

P&O quickly pimped out their female passengers, with a sexist "Seamen Wanted" promotional postcard, depicting a deck full of women wearing bikinis, accompanied by a tag line "More girls, more sun, more fun. There’s nothing else a guy needs to know."

No wonder that P&O Cruises experienced sexual assaults in the years following this disastrous ad campaign.

So when I read about Mr. Motter giggling about women’s underwear and the foolish P&O crew PO Cruises Sexual Harassment member’s not-so-funny comments about "cougar" women, I can’t help to think what a sad state of affairs remains on the P&O cruise ships for this nonsense to be going on. A P&O crew member groping and kissing an image of a cruise passenger’s breasts?

Mr. Healey needs to be sacked ASAP.  He needs to be made an example of sexism run wild.   

And that goes for CruiseMates’ editor, Mr.Motter.  He needs to be canned too.   

Dianne Brimble’s family deserves nothing less. 

Update: 

After posting this article, I received a number of emails blasting me for wriiting about this cruise employee.  It seems there is a facebook page called "Save Rory" trying to keep him employed.  I could not find the facebook page but ran across this photo of Rory on facebook.

Seems like he posted a photo of himself, a cardboard cut-out of Jennister Anniston in the urinals. Funny? I don’t think so, but let’s see what P&O thinks.  The cruise line defense lawyers may want to instruct Rory to take his facebook page down during the pendency of the lawsuit . . .      

PO Cruises Sexual Harassment Lawsuit 

In May we reported on exploitative labor practices by Carnival subsidiary P&O Cruises.

In Profits Over People: Carnival’s Exploitation of Crew Members is Standard Industry Practice, we explained how P&O  decided to pay its crewmembers a basic salary of 75 pence an hour (approximately $1.20 an hour / $400 a month). The company phased out cash-tips-directly-to-the-crew and replaced the tips with "automatic gratuities" billed to the passengers’ accounts.  But rather than forward the gratuities to the crew, the cruise line threatened to withhold the money if it is not satisfied with a crewmember’s work performances. 

Arcadia - Cruise Ship Wage - Tips Dispute - Waiters TerminatedToday the Guardian newspaper in London published an article which brings us to date regarding the pay dispute. In P&O Cruise Ship Arcadia Hits Troubled Waters Over Ousting of Indian Crew, reporter Gwyn Topham reports that 150 waiters from India decided to make a little protest over the low wages and withholding of tips.

While the Arcadia was in port in Seattle a month ago, for about 90 minutes the waiters engaged in a "good-humoured" demonstration dockside about the low wages. The cruise ship’s British captain communicated with the cruise lines’ head office in Southampton and relayed the crew’s concerns. The waiters returned to the ship, worked late into the night, and were assured there would be no reprisals by management.  

But as the Guardian explains, P&O’s parent company, Carnival, did not find any humor in the situation: "This protest could not, directors decided, be tolerated – no matter what assurances the captain had given the crew."

Carnival sent letters to the restaurant staff who participated in the 90 minutes protest, admonishing them for their "industrial action" and stating "this behaviour is not something Carnival UK is prepared to tolerate."  Not only did Carnival prohibit them from returning to work on the Arcadia but banished them from working on any Carnival cruise ship world-wide.

In addition, Carnival instructed the hiring agency, Fleet Maritime Service International, which is registered in Bermuda to avoid taxes and labor regulations, to prohibit the waiters from ever working for Fleet Marine as well. The Guardian explains that "the Fleet payroll office is in the tax haven of Guernsey. Yet the letter is signed by an Edward Jones, the chief financial officer of Carnival UK."

Indian Crew Members - Arcadia - Low Wages and No TipsFleet Maritime is the largest employer of cruise ship personnel in India, and Carnival runs half of the world cruise market.  So Carnival essentially "black balled" 150 cruise waiters from one-half of the world’s cruise ships.

Indian cruise ship employees, like virtually all crew members, are not members of a union and work entirely at the mercy of the cruise company. Carnival has an eye out for any type of collective protests by the crew.  This is union-busting circa early 1900’s.  As this case illustrates, Carnival will not hesitate to retaliate against their employees for speaking out about unfair labor practices.  According to the cruise executives, If Carnival doesn’t punish these upstarts, other crew members may protest too.  

Lots of Indian men and women go to sea believing that if they work hard on cruise ships, they can make a good living for their family back home.  But the truth is something less than those dreams. It’s really long hours, hard work, low pay and no benefits.  The newspaper quotes a spokesperson for a British seafarer’s union: "It’s a shabby, unacceptable practice to exploit cheap foreign labour  . . . "

Cocaine Drug Bust - Aurora Cruise Ship Newspapers in Australia are reporting that a British cruise passenger aboard the P & O Aurora cruise ship was arrested for trying to smuggle 30 kilos of cocaine into Australia.  

The British citizen is 59 years old and was busted by Australian customs officers last Friday at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney.  The customs officers used a sniffer dog.  The accounts indicate that the passenger was hiding several packages inside a wet suit which he was wearing under his clothes.  Another 25 packages of coke were concealed in three suitcases in his cabin.

Those of you who read Cruise Law News will remember that we reported on another major drug bust on the Aurora cruise ship when U.S. officials arrested an Australian man and two New Zealanders after it docked in San Francisco on January 25th.  The three passengers were smuggling 13 kilos of cocaine.

That means that In the course of one month, passengers were busted for smuggling 43 kilos (around 95 lbs) on this one ship.  The coke which must be worth up to $10,000,000 on the street.

Drug smuggling is a major problem on cruise ships.  Last year a leading maritime source, Lloyd’s List, reported on the problem of drug smuggling on cruise ships.  In an article entitled "Drug Crimes Linked to Cruiseships Soar 52%," Lloyd’s List stated: 

Cruise Ship Cocaine"UK based Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) told Lloyd’s List there had also been a sharp increase in drug smuggling on cruise ships, which prompted it to issue a specific alert to cruise lines. SOCA said that despite its alert, cruise operators are down playing the problem and continue to rely on existing security measures to deal with the problem.  The upsurge appears to be linked to professional drug gangs increasingly targeting cruise vessels.  According to the law enforcement agencies, drug gangs have turned to cruise ships because drug enforcement agencies have worked hard to stifle smuggling routes using yachts, fishing boats, cargo vessels and aircraft.  The gangs now see cruise ships as alternative vehicles for carrying drugs."