Another article appeared regarding a passenger disappearing during a cruise aboard a cruise ship, and the mystery remaining unsolved. This passenger, John Halford, was aboard the passenger ship named the Thomson Spirit for a week long Egyptian cruise. He was reported last seen about 12:30 a.m. in the morning by other passengers drinking cocktails on an upper deck bar, and then simply vanished, never to be seen again. He left his wife along with three children. To say the least, his wife was shocked when she was on the way to the airport and received the phone call that her husband was missing from the ship. She had no explanation. She and the children were shocked.
In the article, International Cruise Victims Association was cited for statistics stating that 165 people have gone missing at sea since 1995, with at least 13 occurring this year alone. Because this involved another British citizen, the U.K. is focusing more on the cruise ship industry and these disappearances, and there is movement for additional legislation that would better protect passengers from the U.K. travelling aboard cruise ships. The United States passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, in July 27, 2010, following numerous Congressional Hearings which addressed crimes and disappearances aboard cruise ships. There are movements for increased legislation going on right now in the U.K., and the International Cruise Victims Association is very active in assisting with the proposals for increased safety legislation for the cruise ship industry.
In the article, a Passenger Shipping Association is cited for the figure of 1.7 million cruises taken in Britain this year alone.
The question asked is what is happening to the passengers that disappear aboard a cruise ship? Is it a result of foul play; is it simply an accident or someone falls overboard? Is it a suicide? The Halford family at this time have no clue. There has been no answer to the mystery of what happened to their husband and father.
Passengers who observed Mr. Halford stated that he did not appear to be drunk when they saw him. Many times incidents that occur on cruise ships are related to the excessive amount of drinking. Often times, the cruise ship company claims suicide was the result of the disappearance even when there is a lack of evidence to support such an assertion. Of course, by asserting a disappearance is related to a suicide, the cruise ship company can avoid bad publicity. The fact remains that it is very difficult to solve a disappearance onboard a cruise ship because many times the disappearance is not learned of until many hours later, and sometimes days later, and most of the time a body is never located. One has to rely on surveillance cameras and any witnesses for clues. Often times, the cruise ship staff is responsible for the investigation, and concerns about potential liability in a civil lawsuit arise making the investigation tainted.
How bad is the problem regarding disappearance of cruise ship passengers? It is hard to say because the cruise line companies have never faced mandatory reporting requirements. However, if the number cited by the International Cruise Victims Association is accurate, it is obviously a concern that must be addressed.
Our firm has handled several cases involving passengers who have gone overboard during a cruise, including the case involving George Smith who went overboard during his honeymoon cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line vessel the Brilliance of the Seas.
The George Smith case remains unsolved despite an F.B.I. investigation, and the involvement of the famous forensic investigator, Dr. Henry Lee. I will post some interesting videos involving Dr. Henry Lee’s investigation on my website.
Again, the disappearance involving Mr. Halford likely will be yet another one of these unsolved mysteries involving a cruise ship passenger disappearing during a pleasure cruise.
Our firm continues to be safety advocates for both passengers and crewmembers harmed at sea.