Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Honduras: Update--Norwegian Cruise Line Stops Port O' Calls at Roatán After Crew Member Murdered

According to and AFP, the Norwegian Cruise Line announced on Tuesday (April 8) that it is canceling port stops in Roatán after Gavan Yaycob, 27, a crew member from the Philippines, was shot and killed while ashore on the Honduran Caribbean resort island of Roatán.

The shooting occurred on April 6.

Mr. Yaycob worked aboard The Norwegian Pearl.

The victim was murdered in connection with an attempted robbery.
The Norwegian cruise-ship line made the announcement on its Facebook Page: The cancellation effects both The Norwegian Pearl and The Norwegian Jewel.

The leadership of the Norwegian line have said they are canceling the stops out of “an abundance of caution for our guests and crew.”

COMMENT: Considering that Honduras is the most violent country in the world today, all destinations in the country for tourism should be immediately stopped.

Interestingly, the below link discusses the rape and attempted murder of a cruise-ship passenger by a crew member in Roatán: 

Of 28 North Americans murdered in Honduras since 2008, none of the assailants in those 28 homicides have been brought to justice: 

Having spent the majority of my 35-year career assessing international acts of terrorism and violent crime, it is apparent that all cruise-ship lines are in imminent need of evaluating criminal violence and acts of terrorism on a DAILY basis, given the foreseeable risks their crews and passengers face on a daily basis.

The fact that the world is increasingly becoming perilous and unpredictable mandates that all tour operators on land, sea and air do a much better job in assessing security threats on an ongoing basis.

If not, they will be perceived as negligent and ignoring foreseeable calamities that will result in wrongful injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

It’s not yet clear what action other cruise lines are taking. John Heald with competing Carnival Cruise Line posted on his Facebook Page on Tuesday (April 8): 

"As a result of a number of reports of armed robberies and other street crimes against tourists in and around the municipality of Santos Guardiolo, which is on the east end of Roatán, as well as in Palm Beach in the northeastern section of Roatán, we are now providing informational letters to all guests on cruises visiting Roatán." 

A note to Carnival Cruise Line: What if cruise-ship line passengers do not have a Facebook account?

The letters advise guests of incidences of crime on Roatán and offer practical advice and safety tips while visiting the island, as well as tourist destinations in general.

Authorities in Roatán have announced an increase in the number of police patrols in areas typically frequented by travelers. 

Carnival Cruise Lines ships visiting Roatan dock at the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center which is a dedicated cruise ship facility managed by Carnival Corporation. Mahogany Bay features direct beachfront access, duty free shopping and dining venues situated among 18 acres of landscaped grounds. 

For guests who want to explore beyond the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, we are strongly encouraging them to book a shore excursion sold through the ship or to utilize Mahogany Bay Cruise Center taxis which are subject to an inspection program for fair pricing and safety practices.

Since December 2013, the US Department of State has been warning visitors about violence in Honduras. In January of 2014 a US family traveling on the Carnival Conquest were robbed at gunpoint during their stop on the island.

Why, I might ask, did Carnival not stop calls on Roatán then, after a US family and their children had been terrorized? 

Moreover,  the life of Gavan Yaycob might well have been spared, as all crime victim fatalities have family that loved them. 

Just because cruise-ship lines make calls on Honduras does not mean that it is SAFE to go ashore.  

To underline rising violent crime in Roatán, please see the below link from THE SEATTLE TIMES: 

The US Department of State continues to warn US citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains "CRITICAL," its HIGHEST threat level.

Since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world. 

The vast majority of serious crimes in Honduras include those against foreigners.

Worse, members of the Honduran National Police are known to engage in criminal activity, including murder and car theft. The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly investigate and prosecute cases, and police often lack vehicles or fuel to respond to calls for assistance. 

For those who must travel to Honduras on essential business, I urge the following:  

1.  Stay only at an "all-inclusive" resorts if available;

2. NEVER, EVER resist an armed robbery in Honduras. Armed Robbery is a frequent occurrence, particularly for those who don't follow my advice. Honduran criminals will shoot you with no compunction. Once you're dead, there are no "come-backs";

3. Never walk at NIGHT anywhere in the country;

4. Never carry more than $100 in cash; 

5. Avoid wearing logos and apparel that identifies your country of origin; and

6. Don't carry a "smart-phone" worth $500-1,000. It is not worth dying over. Order an expensive "unlocked, quad-band mobile" like I did.