Monthly Archives: August 2016

Proudly Representing Cruise Ship Cases in Miami, Nearby Areas of Florida and Nationwide

  • A Phoenix area doctor was arrested last month while trying to board a cruise ship in Florida.
  • The doctor had been charged with multiple serious counts stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted girl in 2014.
  • The doctor has now been extradited back to Arizona, where he will face the charges against him.

A doctor from the Phoenix area, who had been arrested on charges of child molestation, was caught last month trying to flee the country on a cruise ship in Florida.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Dr. Rafael Mendoza was facing charges stemming from an incident in May 2014 in which he allegedly kissed and inappropriately touched a female victim under the age of 15. He had been indicted on sexual assault charges in June, and was facing charges including child molestation, six counts of aggravated assault, and four counts of sexual contact with a minor.

Dr. Mendoza was arrested in early July while trying to board a cruise ship and leave the country. He has since seen his doctor’s license suspended by the Arizona Medical Board, and he has been extradited back to Arizona.

The fact that Dr. Mendoza almost boarded a cruise ship and left the country should be alarming not only for his alleged victim and her family, but also for all parents whose children may have potentially come into contact with him during his voyage.

Over the years we have stressed on this web site, and on our other blog, just how important is for parents to never let their guard down the while on a cruise vacation. The fact is that the very same people who are found on land, including those who would do you and your children harm, can be found taking cruise vacations.

And as can be seen with the case of Dr. Mendoza, some cruise passengers may not be looking for a vacation at all, but rather may be running from the law.

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  • The Caribbean Fantasy cruise ship was ravaged by fire last week
  • The fire caused the more than 500 passengers and crew to be evacuated at sea.
  • The ship arrived at port in Puerto Rico Saturday, still smoldering from the fire.

A cruise ship that was beset by fire while traveling from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico limped into port Saturday, after having been evacuated of all of its passengers and crew in a daring sea rescue.

The fire ravaged cruise ship, the Caribbean Fantasy, was safely moored in Puerto Rico’s San Juan Harbor on August 20. Days earlier the ship had suffered from a fire which began in the engine room and quickly spread to the rest of the ship. According to one of the mechanics who was in the room at the time the fire started, he and another mechanic battled the blaze for 2 hours before finally being overwhelmed by the fire.

As the fire spread throughout the ship passengers were ordered to evacuate. Coast Guard vessels were joined by other area boats and ships in evacuating the more than 500 passengers and dozens of crew members from the burning ship. Though no one was reported killed in the blaze, hundreds of people were treated for various injuries, and at least eight people were reported to have suffered from broken bones.

As the ship was towed back into port authorities worried that it may release polluting toxins into the sea or air. As of two days ago authorities indicated that the ship was not releasing toxins, but published reports indicate that the ship was still smoldering as it was being pulled into port

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  • A 45-year-old man was found dead in his stateroom aboard the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas on Saturday.
  • The ship was docked in Bermuda at the time, and local authorities do not suspect foul play.
  • Authorities have not released any information relating to the circumstances surrounding the man’s death, and have not indicated if he was traveling alone or with others.

Every year dozens of cruise ship passengers lose their lives while cruising. Some victims die under suspicious circumstances, including when passengers mysteriously disappear, fall overboard without explanation, and turn up dead in their staterooms without leaving any signs of physical distress. Authorities in Bermuda are currently investigating a cruise ship death in Bermuda, in which a middle aged man seems to have suddenly died.

Two days ago, on August 20 at about 1:40pm, a man was reported dead on the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship. The ship was docked at Heritage Wharf Dockyard in Bermuda at the time. The passenger, a 45-year-old man from the United States, was found dead in his stateroom. According to published reports police do not believe foul play was a factor. There have been no reports as to what may have killed the man, such as an accident or a preexisting medical condition.

The report comes as the latest of a string of negative news relating to Royal Caribbean cruise ships recently. Several weeks ago a young boy nearly drowned on the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship, and he later died from his injuries. Weeks later an elderly woman was also pulled from a pool on the Anthem of the Seas ship, and was later flown by helicopter to a local hospital for further treatment.

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  • Cruise ships continue to suffer mechanical issues, despite technological advances.
  • The Viking Sea suffered propeller issues yesterday.
  • The ship’s mechanical issues slowed its trip to Athens and necessitated some passengers to rebook their flights.

When thinking about the way the world has developed in recent years, cruise passengers would be forgiven if they mistakenly thought that cruise ships had likely advanced past the possibility of suffering frequent mechanical malfunctions. On the contrary, cruise ships the world over routinely suffer from engine and other mechanical issues, and in recent times it seems that stories of cruise ship malfunctions are popping up weekly. The most recent ship to suffer from reported mechanical issues was a Viking Cruises ship.

According to published reports the Viking Sea suffered a malfunction of one of its propellers yesterday, as it was preparing to set sail for Athens. Though the propeller issue did not prevent the ship from leaving port at Valletta, it was sailing at a slower speed than usual, and will reach Athens later than expected. The cruise line says that, as a precaution, it going to rebook flights for those who had early departures out of Athens. The company says that it expects to repair the propeller over the weekend.

The interesting thing about the Viking Sea’s propeller issues is that the ship is not one of the older cruise vessels, which may be expected to suffer more break-downs than newer ships. The ship entered into service in March, making its unexpected mechanical problems all the more telling. But the Viking Sea is just one of many cruise ships which have suffered from such issues lately. Two weeks ago we blogged about a Thompson ship which lost propulsion while in port in Malta. That ship required a tug to get back into its moorings.

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  • Gina Clark from Brandon, FL was on a cruise last week when a crew member told her he wanted to rape her.
  • When Clark complained, the man’s manager brought him back to her, where he admitted to his conduct as Clark’s friend taped the conversation.
  • The cruise line says the perpetrator has been fired.

If you have been reading this blog for the past several weeks and months, you have probably noticed that, almost every time we talk about cruise ship sexual assault and rape, we often also mention the fact that the majority of such incidences are committed by cruise ship employees. A recent report about a Bahamas cruise ship passenger, and one of the workers on the ship on which she cruised, shows just how bold some crew members can be with their sexual assaults.

According to published reports Gina Clark was aboard the Bahamas Paradise Cruise for a three-day bachelorette party when she was grabbed by a ship crew member as he told her that he wanted to rape her. She says that on Friday the crew member came to her cabin door and knocked. When she opened the door he allegedly grabbed her and told her he wanted to rape her, and even went as far as to clarify – “you know, when a man forcefully makes a woman have sex?”

Incredibly, when Clark reported the incident to cruise ship management, a senior staff member reportedly returned with the offending crew member, who then told Clark that he was just kidding while admitting to what he had said. The conversation was recorded by Clark’s friend, and the audio has now been picked up by a local news station and broadcast across the country.

Though there was initially no action taken against the perpetrator, after a call to the cruise line from Tampa new station 10News WTSP, the company’s vice president, Glenn Ryerson, reportedly called Clark and said that they perpetrator had been fired and sent back to his South American home.

The incident is raising awareness of cruise ship rape and sexual assault, which happens at rate which would likely shock many cruise ship passengers.  

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  • Samantha Broberg went missing from the Carnival Liberty in May, 2016.
  • She apparently fell from the ship, but many believe a blood stain was found near her disappearance site.
  • Carnival states it does not suspect foul play and the FBI is investigating.

On May 13, 2016 Samantha Broberg, wife of top thoroughbred horse trainer Karl Broberg, went missing from the Carnival Liberty cruise ship while sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. The cruise line states that it reviewed the security footage of the incident and concluded that the 33-year-old stay at home mother apparently climbed up onto a railing of the ship and fell backward into the sea. But rumors that a knife had been found near the scene of her disappearance prompted the FBI to become involved in the investigation.

A photo of the area where Broberg fell overboard, which has widely circulated on the internet, shows an apparent blood stain on the wooden cruise ship flooring at the site. But despite the evidence, and the lack of a good explanation as to why there would be a redish brown stain at the site if Broberg had not been hurt before going overboard, Carnival continues to insist that it does not suspect that the victim had been the victim of violence or foul play. In fact, the cruise line says that the photo shows a spill on the deck, not blood.

After Broberg’s disappearance Carnival notified the FBI, per standard procedure. The FBI has refused to comment on the case, and in a statement Special Agent Shauna Dunlap indicated that answers could be released when the investigation is completed.

Cruise ship disappearances occur over a dozen times per year, and passengers who fall from cruise ships are usually never found at all. Under the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, cruise companies were required to install so-called “man overboard” technology which would help detect and pinpoint those who had fallen from the ships. But cruise companies have reportedly been slow to implement the technology.

 

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