The Port of Miami welcomed the Disney Wonder on Dec. 23 for the first time. The ship will now call Miami its home port, offering dream vacations to families who want to sail the seven seas with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with other famous Disney characters. Disney re-positioned the vessel in Miami, following decreased interests in the Mexican Riviera itineraries, and brought the Wonder to the most popular cruise port in the world to begin taking guests across the Caribbean. But while the Wonder embarked on its first itinerary out of Miami later that day, not everyone had a reason to rejoice. For one family, the Disney Wonder is just a reminder of a tragic cruise ship disappearance that took place last year.
Mike and Ann Coriam, of Chester, England, lost their daughter, Rebecca, at the time 24 years old, last year. Rebecca was a youth counselor who was responsible for taking care of children onboard the Wonder. She did not appear at the cruise ship’s child facility for work one day, but because Disney flags its vessels in the Bahamas probably to avoid paying United States income taxes and dealing with U.S. labor laws, the responsibility for investigating Rebecca’s disappearance fell on one police officer in Nassau, even though the vessel was on a Mexican Riviera itinerary.
Any maritime lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. can tell you that finding a missing passenger with the help of American authorities is difficult enough, but police in the Bahamas are nowhere near as equipped to handle such a detailed investigation. The officer prepared a report of his “investigation,” long after Rebecca’s disappearance, but refuses to provide a copy to the Coriam family. Since the matter has been left to Nassau authorities, Disney is keeping out of it.
The Coriams are nothing short of frustrated because of the lack of attention being given to the case, and published an article about the incident in their local newspaper, titled, “We Want the Truth.”
“It will be two years in March since Rebecca’s disappearance and we are still no closer to knowing what happened to her on that ship,” said Mike. “All we want is to know what happened to Rebecca so that we can have some closure, as it is the not knowing that is the most difficult thing to deal with.”
After filing an appeal for information on the case, the family is hopeful that they can learn a little more about what really happened to their daughter. Unfortunately, these types of tragedies take place more often than anyone can imagine. As new, happy families embark on their own cruises aboard the Disney Wonder or any other cruise vessel, they are only thinking of the fun they will have, never entertaining the idea that a similar fate could await them. Hopefully Rebecca’s family will soon have insight into the terrible accident and what led to their daughter’s cruise ship disappearance. Probably the only and best way for the family to find out what happened is to hire a cruise line attorney to file a lawsuit to determine what actually happened. More often than not the information obtained is not too helpful. The International Cruise Victims Association was started by reason of the mysterious disappearance of the founder’s daughter.
What a lawsuit in his case provided was important information which the cruise line kept hidden from him; it of course, did not bring back his daughter. Each loss of person at sea is a tragedy not just for the victim but for the victim’s family as well. We wish each of these families the blessing of peace.
Rebecca Coriam – .liverpooldailypost.co.uk
Disney Wonder – cruisecompete.com