Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Caribbean: Second Passenger Disappears from Royal Caribbean Cruise-Ship in Days

According to The Associated Press, police in the Cayman Islands said Wednesday (January 1) said that they suspect a 65-year-old Canadian cruise ship passenger who recently vanished, may have fallen off the boat as search crews scoured waters around the British Caribbean territory.

Police said they believe the passenger may have fallen around dawn Tuesday (December 31) about thirteen miles northwest of Grand Cayman. Police said they interviewed staff and witnesses aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise-ship and were still investigating the disappearance.

COMMENT: The man's wife had reported him missing Tuesday morning as the Independence of the Seas prepared to dock at George Town Harbor. Tracy Quan, a spokeswoman for Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises, said Wednesday (January 1) the investigation was turned over to local authorities before the cruise ship departed and resumed its route. 

The missing man's wife disembarked in Grand Cayman at which point the couple turned in about 0100 hours on Tuesday, but that the husband was gone when she woke up six hours later. It is unknown whether he accidentally fell off the ship, jumped or met with foul play.

Authorities said they searched the 15-deck, 1,112-foot-long craft and reviewed closed-circuit camera footage before the ship departed. The ship is on a six-night cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday and has ports of call in Jamaica and Haiti. It can accommodate 4,375 guests and more than 1,300 crew members.

The victim is the second Canadian passenger that has gone missing from a Royal Caribbean ship in recent days. On Saturday (January 4), Tien Phuoc Nguyen, 26, jumped from the "Adventures of the Seas" near a tiny Puerto Rican island on the last night of a week-long Caribbean cruise with his family. The US Coast Guard ended its search for him Monday.

According to Dr. Ross Klein, some 23 cruise-ship passengers fell overboard in 2012 and the same number in 2011.  See Dr. Klein's website:

Dr. Klein, who has testified before Congress on numerous occasions on cruise-related issues and is the author of four books, including "Cruise Ship Blues: The Underside of the Cruise Ship Industry," keeps track of all issues aboard cruise ships.

According to Klein, the number of cruise-ship passengers who have fallen overboard has nearly doubled since the early years following the Turn of the Century.

According to Klein’s statistics, nearly half of all overboard incidents since 2000, or 94 out of 200, have occurred on Carnival ships, including Costa, Cunard, P&O, Princess and Holland America. 

Royal Caribbean-owned ships have accounted for the next largest number, with 39 incidents over the last 13 years.

The Man Overboard List on, notes that male cruisers are much more likely to go overboard than female passengers and that the average age of passengers who go overboard is 41. 

Passengers are most likely to go overboard on the last night of their cruise, and many are found to be either drunk, climbing on the railings or jumping between balconies.

I continue to advocate that the larger that cruise-ships become, population density aboard vessels can easily contribute to either "being forgotten" or doing something "dumb or stupid." Even drinking to the excess, coupled with drug use, can result in passengers falling overboard.