Disappeared Without A Trace On A Cruise Ship
The truth behind the idyllic façade
Drunkenness, drugs, sexual assault are everyday matters, and over 30 passengers have mysteriously disappeared from cruise ships in four years. The United States Congress is sounding the alarm.
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Bones were recently found on Merry Island in Canada. The police suspected that they were the remains of Merrian Carver (40), who disappeared from the cruise ship “Mercury” on its way to Alaska in August 2004.
So the police contacted her father, Kendall Carver in Phoenix, Arizona in the hope that DNA tests would be able to give them the answer.
Merrian, the mother of one child, had left on the cruise without contacting her family. The second day the cabin attendant noticed that no one had used the bed, and reported this to her boss. He promised to tend to the matter. “Just forget it, and do your job,” he told the attendant.
Through the whole cruise the attendant therefore continued to place the customary chocolates on the pillow of the untouched bed. But no one saw Merrian again.
When the passengers went ashore in Vancouver, her possessions were packed away. No one notified the police or her family. Not until the retired businessman Kendall Carver reported her missing did the police learn of the disappearance. Carver has spent tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers and private investigators in his attempt to find out what happened.
Kendall Carver has gotten the US Congress investigate the cruise business after his daughter Merrian (pictured above) disappeared without a trace.
“It took the cruise ship company three days to conclude that Merrian had been on the cruise. By then 26 days had passed since her disappearance,” says Carver. “They confirmed that she hadn’t slept in her cabin after the first night, but hinted that this was not unusual. She could have spent the night in another cabin and gone ashore in Vancouver without having to document it, they said.
The company claimed that films from the surveillance cameras were erased after 12 days. That was a lie; they were erased after 30. But before that was known, it was too late. The trail was cold. Merrian’s case emphasizes what cruise passengers thousands of miles away from home ought to realize: At sea there are no police.
No one missed Merrian. Merrian Carver (40) was a passenger on the cruise ship “Mercury” on the way to Alaska. No one reported that she disappeared after only one day.
Kendall Carver has formed the group International Cruise Victims together with others who have lost loved ones on a cruise. One of them is Son Michael Pham, the son of Hue Pham and Hue Tran.
In May 2005 they took a cruise with “Carnival Destiny” which sailed between Barbados and Aruba in the Caribbean.
Not much is known about the disappearance on “Destiny” on May 12th.
The search on board yielded no result, and no traces of them have ever been found. Did they commit suicide? Hardly. Both were in good heath, and they were looking forward to a long-planned cruise back to Vietnam to see their relatives again. They were two American citizens at the happiest time in their lives, but they disappeared without a trace or any witness, declares Son Michael Pham.
24 cruise passengers disappeared between 2003 and 2006 (not including suicides and accidents due to drunkenness). Since then ten more passengers and two crew members have been reported missing. This has gotten the US Congress to investigate cruise ship security – to find out if they suppress or under-report disappearances. “A cruise ship is a small town,” says Congressman Christopher Shays. “Traveling on a cruise can be the way to commit the perfect crime.”
It is extremely difficult to solve a murder without a body, and the chances of finding a passenger tossed into the sea are minuscule. The security officers don’t always seal off the crime scene, take suspects into custody, or interrogate witnesses as they are supposed to.
From 2003 to 2005 no fewer than 178 such ship-board attacks were reported by ships owned by the 15 companies that account for 85 % of the world’s cruises. The FBI thinks the number is even higher. Royal Caribbean alone, which has 25 % of the passengers, registered over 100 complaints about sexual assaults during the same period.
Mystery: Hue Pham and Hue Tran disappeared on “Carnival Destiny” between Barbados and Aruba in the Caribbean. Suicide seems unlikely.
Just how amateurishly tragedies at sea can be handled is shown by the death of Dianne Brimble (42), a mother of three from Brisbane. She had saved for two years for the cruise on the Australian ship “Pacific Sky.” But the first evening of her vacation in 2002 she lay naked, drugged, and dead on the floor of a cabin – ignored and scorned by her attackers.
A toxicology report revealed that Brimble, who rarely even took aspirin, had gotten an overdose of the party drug GBJ or “liquid ecstasy” – often described as a “date-rape drug.” Before the ship arrived in harbor, the attackers had cleaned the cabin. Continued on Page 2.
Sex-murder: On the Australian “Pacific Sky” Dianne Brimble got a fatal dose of the party drug GBH or “liquid ecstasy.” No one has yet been accused of her death.
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