A cruise ship worker who went missing last month has been found, safe, in West Bay, Cayman Islands. According to reports, 34-year-old Yusmaidys Ortiz Perez was reported missing from work on the MSC Opera on March 27th. However, tHHhe Opera departed Cayman three days earlier on the 24th without immediately making the missing persons report! Fortunately, officers investigating the case found Perez in good health on the island. At this time, there is no further information.
In the wake of this event, we are glad to know that this crewmember was found. However, we are left with a number of questions surrounding the incident. Our first question is why it took nearly four days for the cruise to report Perez as a missing person? It does not take that long to discover that an employee has gone missing as all crew cards are electronically logged in and out when crew embark and disembark in ports of call. Had this crewmember been in danger, four days is a very long amount of time to pass before initiating an investigation. If the situation had been different, this amount of time could have made it very difficult to track her.
This story illustrates two important concepts: First, cruise lines are not quick to act in the instance of emergencies. “We have seen many instances where the cruise lines do not immediately initiate investigations into persons missing aboard their ships,” says Jason Margulies who has handled many legal cases involving missing person reports. “Sometimes, it is a passenger who was drugged, dragged into a cabin, and is being raped,” he adds. Second, this instance is another example of the harsh realities of working as a crewmember for a cruise line – the crew are often treated as disposable by their employers because there is a limitless supply of prospective crewmembers from developing countries with high unemployment rates and low wages.
Unreliable Cruise Crime Reporting is Dangerous for All
Additionally, this case sheds light on another concern occurring in the cruise industry regarding the accuracy of reporting of crimes and incidents. It is fairly common knowledge that cruise crime reports are inconsistent and often inaccurate due to the cruise’s desire to maintain a good reputation. However, when a life is potentially at stake, this behavior on the part of the cruise line is unacceptable.
There is no excuse for a four day gap between when a crewmember disappears and when her disappearance is reported. If the current systems in place do not allow for a cruise to realize when an employee or guest, for that matter, has potentially abandoned or otherwise unexpectedly departed the ship, that is a great cause for concern.
This is not the first time that an individual has gone missing without being properly reported. While overboard cases are very obvious, other types of cruise disappearances are less so. And while we are grateful to know that Perez was not in any danger and did not incur any harm, we realize that this kind of ending does not always happen.
Let Us Handle Your Cruise Case
As maritime lawyers, we know that disappearance at sea is a very real problem. With our combined 100 years of experience in maritime law, we have seen every kind of case imaginable. This means that, no matter the size or scope of your case, when you work with us, you will be taken care of, from start to finish.
Given the complexities of maritime law, our team fully understands that challenges that you are up against. Fortunately, we also know the necessary steps to achieve the resolution that you deserve. So if you have questions about your legal situation and are seeking advice you can trust, do not hesitate to contact us.