Cruise Line Crimes

$23 Million of Cocaine Seized During Largest Cruise Drug Bust in Sydney, Australia


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Cruise ship # 2 XLWhen you set out on your cruise, we’re willing to bet that your mind is focused on the sun, the sea, and endless days of relaxation. At least, that’s what we would probably be thinking about. Since you spend the rest of the year worrying about work and family matters, you owe it to yourself to take a few days to put all of that behind you and simply enjoy your vacation.

Whether you are traveling with friends or family, you’ll want to have a trip that leaves you feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to get back to the daily grind. That may mean lounging poolside, or going out to explore! And if you’ve chosen to go on a cruise vacation, then you’ll probably have the chance to do a little bit of both.

Cruises really are the best of both worlds, offering passengers the chance to both relax and find adventure, if they so choose. However, when the ‘real world’ comes into your vacation time, it can be a shocking reminder that life keeps spinning, even in your down time! A recent story out of Australia reminds us of this.

High Risk on the High Seas

On August 29th, 2016, three cruise passengers were charged with smuggling $23 million worth of cocaine aboard their cruise ship, the Sea Princess. Part of the Princess Cruise Lines fleet, the ship had departed from the British port city of Southampton, making stops in several South American ports before arriving in Sydney, Australia.

The three passengers involved, Andre Tamine, Isabelle Lagace, and Melina Roberce, are believed to have smuggled the drugs while stopping at the other ports.  In total, there were 95 kilograms of cocaine stashed in the passengers’ cabins.

This drug bust is the largest to take place on a cruise ship in Australia, which is a popular cruise destination. But how were they found out? It was all thanks to a combined effort of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Canada Border Services Agency, and the New Zealand Customs Service. These teams worked together to identify “high-risk” passengers aboard the ship, which, due to the number of ports at which it had stopped, was already considered a “high-risk” vessel.

At this time, it is believed that the trio was part of an organized group, bringing large quantities of cocaine into Australia. The maximum punishment for this crime is life in prison.

We are relieved to know that so many international law enforcement teams worked together to identify and arrest the passengers in question. While many accidents and injuries can occur on cruises, they are far less likely when preventative measures and appropriate investigations are taken, as they were in this case.

Your Safety Comes First

Although drug busts aboard cruise ships happen more frequently than you might expect, you should rest assured that your safety is the first priority, not only of your cruise line, but of your country’s law enforcement and investigative teams.

There is no way to know what other passengers are bringing back aboard the ship. However, it is comforting to remember that there are people working to ensure your safety, even while you are abroad.

We understand the level of trust that is placed in the hands of cruise operators and are grateful that Princess Cruise Lines fully cooperated with the investigation aboard their ship.

However, should you ever experience an event aboard your cruise that does not work out as planned, you may require the assistance of a maritime lawyer. If that’s the case, know that we are here to help. We are proficient in dealing with lawsuits against Princess Cruises, as well as many other cruise companies. With our experience and finesse, your case will be in good hands, and you can get back to living your life.

So don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’d be glad to listen to your story and see what we can do for you.

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