Entries in Cruise Ship (39)


Three Americans Missing from Cruise Ship Found by Jamaican Police

File photo. Victor Sokolowicz/Bloomberg News(OCHO RIOS, Jamaica) -- Three Americans who failed to return to their Carnival Cruise ship after a stopover in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Thursday, were found safe and unharmed this afternoon at a villa in Discovery Bay -- approximately 40 minutes west, on Jamaica's northern coast.

The three passengers, whom the cruise line earlier identified as members of the same family, went missing after disembarking the Carnival Freedom for a day-long port call in Ocho Rios, the cruise line said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

Jamaican authorities had classified the disappearance as a missing persons case, saying it was odd that the family took all of their belongings off of the ship before vanishing. The family has no known ties to anyone in Jamaica.

It was not immediately clear why the family left the ship and never returned. They are in the custody of Jamaican police and will be questioned about their mysterious departure. Police have not yet said whether charges will be brought against the three passengers.

The ship left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last Sunday for a six-day cruise. It is scheduled to return on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Costa Concordia's Black Box Broke for 'Umpteenth' Time Before Crash

Laura Lezza/Getty Images(ROME) -- Four days before the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank off Italy's west coast, killing 32 people, emails from the liner's technical director reveal that the vessel had a faulty black box data recorder, according to new documents leaked to an Italian newspaper this week.

In correspondence before the ship capsized on Jan. 13, Pierfrancesco Ferro, a technical director for Costa Cruises, reportedly told a repair company that the black box had broken down for the "umpteenth" time.

"The situation is becoming unbearable," he said via email in reports from an ongoing investigation by Italian authorities.

According to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, the emails showed that the black box was scheduled to be fixed on Jan. 14, when the cruise ship had docked at Savona.

The recorder was never repaired or replaced, even though the owners of Costa Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corp., insisted to Italian authorities that the recorder had been working when the ship hit rocks and then capsized off the shore of Giglio.

The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,234 passengers and crew when it struck rocks about 450 feet from the shore during the night.  A 160-foot gash was torn into the hull, causing the ship to capsize.  Efforts are still underway to right the ship, which is expected to be a total loss.

In documents, investigators said that not having the working recorder was making their probe into the accident more difficult.  Media reports say they are relying on information from a computer system that crashed during the accident.

The documents obtained by the newspaper also indicated that the ship's watertight safety doors, which were designed to prevent flooding, had been left open.

Even though Costa Cruises maintained that was not true, officers on board reportedly said leaving the doors ajar was standard practice to make it easier for employees to come and go.

The report also suggests that the crew was using unauthorized, outdated maps that were found in the bridge of the ship.

Since Jan. 13, the blame has been placed on Francesco Schettino, the ship's captain, who is still under house arrest facing manslaughter charges for allegedly causing the ship to run aground near Giglio and for abandoning ship.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Costa Concordia Salvage Plan Is Largest in History

ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- Work to remove the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship from the coast of Italy is set to start within days.

The American Titan Salvage will lead the $300 million removal project by first building an underwater platform and righting the ship with cranes and air-filled balloons before towing it away.

Titan Salvage Spokesperson Captain Rich Habib calls the removal project unprecedented.

"It's the largest re-float in history, but we think it's entirely possible and we think we're going to be successful," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Princess Cruises to Investigate Why Captain Ignored Distress Call

Steve Mason/Photodisc/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- Princess Cruises is conducting an internal investigation after the captain of one of their ships reportedly ignored a passenger's report of a distress signal and continued on course, rather than coming to the rescue of a stranded Panamanian fishing vessel.

Two of the fishing boat's three crew members later died of dehydration -- just one day after the encounter with the cruise ship.

On Feb. 24, 2012, Adrian "Santi" Vasquez, 18, set out on a fishing trip with two friends, Oropeces Betancourt, 16, and Fernando Osario, 16.  The trip turned deadly when the trio discovered that the outboard motor on their small fishing vessel "The Fifty Cent" would not start, leaving them stranded in the middle of the ocean.  The three Panamanian fishermen drifted at sea for over two weeks, hungry, hot and dehydrated, before they spotted the Star Princess cruise ship and started desperately signaling for a rescue.

"It was a really big, white ship.  I was waving a red t-shirt, and Fernando was waving a bright orange life jacket over his head.  For a minute it looked like they were going to turn to come for us, but then they just went on their way," Vasquez, the crew's sole survivor, said in an interview with

Meanwhile on the deck of the Star Princess, Judy Meredith of Bend, Ore., and Jeff Gilligan were bird watching with Jim Dowdall of Dublin, Ireland, when they spotted the Fifty Cent far off the ships starboard side.

Equipped for bird watching, the group was armed with high power binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras fitted with telephoto lenses -- all of which gave them a good view of the fishing boat in the distance.

"I saw a young man in the front of the boat waving his shirt up and down.  Big motions, up over his head and down to the floor, waving it vigorously.  Frantically I would say," Meredith told ABC's Good Morning America.  "That signal told me that they were in trouble.  They were trying everything they could to get our attention."

Meredith said that they told someone at a desk they wanted to call the bridge and be sure they checked on the boat.  She said that the man at the desk made a call, then came back out and looked through their spotting scopes at the boat, then went back inside.

"Nothing happened," she told GMA.  "The ship didn't slow down.  It didn't seem to change course.  And so I went back in and asked what the captain was going to do. And he said he didn't know."

Not pacified by the encounter, Meredith returned to her room where she wrote down the ships coordinates and sent an email to U.S Coast Guard in hopes that they would take action.

The Coast Guard did not find the Fifty Cent, however, and the boat floated aimlessly for another two weeks, during which both Bentancourt and Osario died of dehydration.  On March 24, Vasquez, the sole remaining fisherman was rescued at sea by an Ecuadoran fishing boat.  He was found 650 miles off shore, having thrown the bodies of his two friends overboard.

"It's really frustrating that those young men were at sea two more weeks and two of them died!  Two of them died because the ship didn't turn around," Meredith said.

Princess Cruises confirmed in an email that they have launched an internal investigation into the matter, writing "We're aware of the allegations that Star Princess supposedly passed by a boat in distress that was carrying three Panamanian fishermen on March 10, 2012.  At this time we cannot verify the facts as reported, and we are currently conducting an internal investigation on the matter."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Gadhafi's Son Wanted Man-Eating Sharks on His Cruise Ship

JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hannibal Gadhafi, the 36-year-old son of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, would have ruled the seas in a custom-made luxury liner, had his dictator father not been deposed and killed.

The Daily Mail reports Hannibal had been building a ship that would have been decked out with extras -- like a tank filled with man-eating sharks. The ship reportedly cost nearly $500 million and was still unfinished when Gadhafi was ousted and his clan forced to flee. Gadhafi ended up fleeing to Algeria.  

The opulent ship he would have dubbed Phoenicia has since been completed -- minus the shark tank -- and has been purchased by a Korean cruise line company.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can Costa Cruise Lines Survive Two Calamities?

Stringer/AFP/Getty Images(PORT VICTORIA, Seychelles) -- Who says lightning can't strike twice? It has jolted Costa Cruise Lines two times in the past six weeks. The first time was off the coast of Italy in January and then again this week in remote waters off the coast of Africa.

Eleanor and Gordon Bradwell of Athens, Ga., thought they were going on 30-day dream cruise through the Indian Ocean and the Middle East aboard the Costa Allegra.

Instead, they ended up enduring a three-day ordeal, stranded at sea after fire destroyed the ship's generator.

The Bradwells and more than 1,000 other passengers and crew were hostages of the sweltering tropical heat on a ship with no power, no air-conditioning, no working toilets and no kitchens.

"It could have been so much worse," said Gordon Bradwell. "It could have been a disaster of biblical proportions, if that fire had gotten out of control. We were a long way from help. Then who knows what the results could have been."

The Bradwells were at lunch on Monday when they heard seven short beeps and a long beep: the signal to abandon ship.

"There was a good bit of chaos and confusion," said Gordon as he described the moments that followed. "They began to lower the boats, and at that point we thought we were probably going to go into the boats."

"They were very disorganized," said Eleanor, "Totally disorganized, unprofessional in the way they handled it."

The fire was extinguished, no one was injured and everyone could stay on the ship.

But it was much worse six weeks ago when another Costa Cruise Lines ship, the much bigger Costa Concordia, ran aground and toppled over off the Italy's Tuscan coast.

More than 4,000 passengers and crew had to abandon ship in the middle of the night. Thirty-two people died in that incident.

When the Bradwells boarded the Costa Allegra in Mauritius last week, they knew it was part of the same cruise line as the ill-fated Costa Concordia. Eleanor Bradwell said she simply assumed the Concordia disaster was an aberration. "After the Concordia you think this won't happen again."

It did. The Bradwells, both around their 70s, spent three nights sleeping on deck chairs under the stars. Their cabin was uninhabitable, fluctuating between 100 degrees and 110 degrees. The toilets couldn't be flushed, leaving the odor of sewage hanging in the dense humid air.

After enduring all that, I asked Eleanor Bradwell if she would go on a cruise again.

"Well, we would cruise but I will not cruise with Costa. Ever," she said.

A lot of people seem to be saying that these days. After the Jan. 13 wreck of the Concordia, Costa's bookings dropped an estimated 30 percent.

Now the company faces a public relations nightmare, its brand associated with two high-profile mishaps at sea.

Its official name is Costa Crociere, an Italian company based in Genoa. But Costa is wholly owned by the British-American giant Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise ship operator. (Full disclosure: The parent company of ABC News, the Walt Disney Co., also operates a cruise line.)

Since Carnival bought Costa in 2000, the company's fleet has multiplied from five to 14 ships. In 2010, it carried 2.15 million passengers while sales increased 12 percent to $3.8 billion. Costa is Carnival's largest subsidiary.

Now that future of that valuable brand is in peril.

"I think they're going to have to work very hard to survive," cruise industry analyst and writer Bill Miller told ABC News. "It's going to be difficult because people associate them with two highly publicized mishaps. They may even have to consider rebranding themselves, getting a new name."

Costa is bracing for more bad publicity as the inquiry into the Concordia disaster gets under way in Italy this weekend.

Two Italian newspapers, La Stampa and Il Messagero, are publishing lurid details of alleged drug use, drinking and sexual harassment aboard the Costa Concordia.

"I saw with my own eyes officers taking cocaine—to prove it you would only have had to test them," a nurse identified only as Valentina B reportedly told investigators in pre-trial evidence obtained by the newspapers.

Valentina B says she worked on three Costa cruise ships, "each one worse than the other."

Another woman identified as Mary G is quoted in the documents as saying, "I worked on the Costa Concordia in 2010 for two months. Often the officers and other crew members were drunk. Often we'd say to ourselves, 'If there's an emergency, who is going to save the ship?'"

Mary G also claimed to have been "molested" by a crew member who was high on drugs.

"We operate strict safety and surveillance measures concerning drugs possession onboard our ships," Costa said in a statement. "The possession or trade of narcotics onboard is prohibited. Crew members who possess or use drugs or engage in drug trafficking are submitted to disciplinary provisions and disembarked. Onboard there are checks and preventive actions to discourage such behaviors."

While all of this is damaging to Costa's reputation, not all industry watchers think the brand will disappear.

With two of Costa's 14 ships out of commission, the company has two new ships ready to launch.

It just finished rebuilding its 1600-passenger NeoRomantica, which is set to sail on its first voyage in the Mediterranean. The company says the cruise is sold out.

And Costa does seem to have learned from the disaster of the Concordia.

While the Bradwells were critical of the way the crew aboard the Costa Allegra behaved in the first hours, they have nothing but praise for Costa's response to the disabled ship.

The Bradwells said after the first few hours of chaos aboard the Costa Allegra this week, the crew and the cruise line worked hard to ease the discomfort for passengers as living conditions deteriorated. Costa used helicopters to bring in food, flashlights and bottled water.

"They did what they could do," Eleanor said. "They did the best they could do under the circumstances."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Disabled Costa Allegra Arrives in Seychelles Island

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images(VICTORIA, Seychelles) -- After spending four days without power, the more than 1,000 passengers and crew members aboard the Costa Allegra are finally back on land.

The cruise ship arrived in the Seychelles island of Mahe Thursday morning.

The luxury liner went adrift in the Indian Ocean on Monday after a fire broke out in its engine room.  No one was injured, but the blaze knocked out power to the ship, leaving 636 passengers and 413 crew members stranded in pirate-infested waters.

Those on board faced sweltering heat as the Costa Allegra was slowly towed to shore by a French fishing vessel and two tugboats.  Left without air conditioning, many opted to sleep outside on the ship's decks.

As passengers disembarked on Thursday, many looked forward to going to their hotel and taking a shower.

Monday's incident aboard the Allegra was the second emergency situation this year for Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines.  In January, 25 people were killed after the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.  Seven others are still missing and presumed dead.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom of Allegra Crew Member Had Son on Concordia

LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A woman whose daughter worked on Costa Cruise Lines’ stricken Allegra also had a son survive the Costa Concordia wreck earlier this month. It’s all “an unlucky coincidence,” she said Tuesday.

“These things in life happen,” Jayne Thomas of England told the BBC. “It’s just a situation in life that you have to deal with. They’ve gone on luxury cruise liners.  They could have gone on an airplane and there could have been a disaster.”

Her daughter Rebecca Thomas, 19, is a dancer on board the Allegra, which became adrift Monday in the Indian Ocean after a fire in the engine room rendered the ship powerless. It’s now being towed — along with its more than 1,000 passengers and crew — and is expected to reach the Seychelles on Thursday.

Her son James Thomas, 23, was a dancer on the Concordia in January that hit rocks off the Italian island of Giglio and capsized. Twenty-five people were killed in that wreck and 11 are still missing and presumed dead.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stranded Cruise Ship Costa Allegra Being Towed to Seychelles Island

LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images(PORT LOUIS, Mauritius) -- The luxury cruise liner that went adrift in the Indian Ocean on Monday after a fire broke out on board is now being towed to an island in the Seychelles.

With the help of a French merchant ship, the Costa Allegra is expected to arrive in Mahe Thursday morning.

Earlier, it was reported that the cruise ship would be towed to Desroches, but Costa Cruises changed the location because it "does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests’ disembarkation."

The company added that the accomodations on Desroches are insufficient for the 636 passengers and 413 crew members on board.

The Costa Allegra was left stranded in pirate-infested waters on Monday after a blaze broke out in its engine room, knocking out power on the ship.  Costa Cruises released a statement saying that no one was injured and that the fire had been quickly extinguished.

This is the second emergency situation this year for the Italian cruise line, which is owned by Carnival Cruises.  In January, 32 people were killed when the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.  Seven people are still missing and presumed dead.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cruise Ship Adrift in Pirate-Infested Indian Ocean

LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images(NAIROBI) -- More than a thousand people are awaiting rescue on the Costa Allegra cruise ship after a fire broke out on board, causing the luxury liner to lose power.

The ship is adrift in the Indian Ocean more than 200 miles from the Seychelles island nation off mainland Africa, an area that is infested by pirates.

This is the second emergency situation this year for Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruises. In January, 32 people were killed when the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio. Seven people are still missing and presumed dead.

The Italian cruise line released a statement saying no one was injured, and the blaze that broke out in the engine room in the ship's aft was quickly extinguished. A spokesman for the Italian coast guard said the Seychelles Navy is sending rescue vessels-- including tugboats-- and a plane that has spotted the Allegra's location.

"The passengers and crew are in safe condition," said Commander Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard. "They are not necessarily comfortable because the ship only has emergency power on board, but they are safe."

"The winds right now are blowing at about 25 knots but we are not worried because it is a big ship, so the weather is not a concern," Nicastro said.

Eight U.S. citizens are aboard the ship that left Madagascar on Saturday and was supposed to reach the Seychelles on Tuesday. The Allegra is carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew members on a nearly month-long cruise with numerous stops at island nations off the east coast of Africa along the way to Savona, Italy.

Costa Cruises says crews are inspecting the engine room hoping to restart the equipment necessary for the ship to become operational.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio