While most cruise vacations tend to be fun and care-free, there are times in which cruise ships and the ports of call they call on harbor more than just entertainment. Given their size, modern cruise ships passengers are often as vulnerable to criminal activity on board as they are in any mayor metropolitan area, and once on shore at a port of call, theft, sexual assault and even murder happen with more frequency than the average travelers might think.
St. Lucia police arrested one of four suspects who are being accused of the armed robbery of cruise ship passengers last week. According to authorities, four masked men armed with homemade weapons, including shotguns and pistols, held passengers from the Celebrity Cruises’ vessel Eclipse at gun point while the ship was docked in St. Lucia last Friday. The cruise passengers had been touring a botanical garden in the town of Soufriere when the suspects made their move. Luckily, no one was injured in the robbery. The gunmen were able to make an easy escape through the botanical garden’s foliage borders.
Police have issued a statement saying that one of the suspects has been apprehended and will be charged soon for his role in the cruise passenger robbery. The suspect allegedly confessed to taking part in the robbery in a written statement. When he was detained by St. Lucia police, he had $105 in U.S. currency in his possession, which investigators believe was money stolen from the cruise travelers.
Two other possible suspects have been questioned, but no other persons have been arrested for the crime.
A total of 55 passengers and two crew members were robbed at gunpoint on Friday and all are still at sea on the last leg of a 14-night Caribbean cruise that left from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on April 6. The ship is due back Saturday.
Investigators explained the cruise ship passengers were robbed of money, jewelry, cameras and cell phones. but this isn’t the first time cruise travelers have been targeted.
This is not the first time cruise passengers are robbed in a Caribbean Island while on a land excursion during a cruise. Just last year, five men from St. Kitts pled guilty to a robbery that took place in November 2010, where 17 cruise passengers were held up while en route to the popular tourist destination of Brimstone Hill Fortress. Although the suspects were apprehended, St. Kitts authorities stated the nation was working on ways to reduce crime and protect all cruise visitors and residents, and the disclosure of the cruise passenger crime was not the best way to improve the nation’s image as a safe tourist hot spot.
The incident made international news, rattling the cruise industry to the point that two cruise lines suspended visits to St. Kitts. However, after the arrests were made, the temporary embargo was lifted.
If you or someone you know has been hurt while on a cruise or during a visit to a port of call on a cruise itinerary, the cruise line may be able to be found to have breached its duty of reasonable care under the circumstances for the incident and the victims may be eligible to receive compensation for their pain and suffering with the help of a cruise passenger lawyer.
Photo Credit: Cruise passengers robbed at gunpoint – dailymail.co.uk