A man has been removed from a cruise ship and left to pay his own way home for throwing a cigarette overboard.
Mark O’Keefe, aged 57 and his wife Debra, both from Perth, Australia, were passengers on board a P&O cruise ship which left on June 6 from Fremantle, Western Australia on a 10 day cruise to Bali.
He went on deck to smoke a cigarette but because the weather was very bad, he only took two puffs, extinguished the cigarette and then without thinking he threw it overboard. However he was spotted by a security officer and he apologized, was told to return to his cabin, and that it was the end of the matter.
However, that is not what happened as a letter was sent to his cabin ordering him to attend a meeting with the captain who told him he would be taken off the cruise ship. According to O’Keefe’s daughter he was taken off the ship on an island and then took a small aircraft to Denpasar in Bali, from where he had to find his own way back to Perth
Unfortunately, O’Keefe is suffering from cancer and his wife administered all of the medication he took on a daily basis. But they did not have sufficient funds for her to leave with him and so she remained on the cruise.
P&O would not comment on the incident apart from stating that one of the highest priorities on a cruise ship was fire safety, and that passengers were warned about the dangers of throwing cigarettes over the side of the ship. In addition, the website states that although there are smoking areas on board a ship, there are penalties for those who throw cigarettes overboard which include confinement or being put ashore.
However, O’Keefe’s daughter maintains that P&O should not have left her father to return alone, given his state of health. The cruise line says that they do have procedures in place to assist those guests who are told to leave, and these include making travel arrangements for them. However, the O’Keefes maintain this did not happen in this case, and are alleging that P&O customer service are now refusing to speak to them.