Cruise Passengers Go Missing In British Virgin Islands

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On March 10, 2024, crew members onboard Norwegian Sky sounded the alarm when three passengers didn’t come back after a day in Tortola. With no sign of the missing cruisers, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the Department of Immigration is seeking help from the public to locate them. 

Three Cruisers Disappear In Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Cruise ships are generally considered one of the safest forms of travel, and incidents of passengers or crew members going missing or falling overboard are rare. According to Maritime Injury Guide, only around 400 people have gone missing from cruise ships in the past two decades, which is quite low. 

However, three passengers who were sailing on Norwegian Sky went missing during a port call to Tortola on March 10, 2024. Their absence was noticed when they didn’t return to the ship at the end of the day. 

The missing passengers include two women and one man, named Jean Carlo Ospina Cano, Pamela Mesa Escobar, and Yesica Yojana Marin Ramirez. All three missing persons are citizens of Colombia, but it’s unclear how they are related or if they are traveling together. 

As of the time of publication, it’s also unknown if the three passengers missed the cruise ship on purpose or if something happened to them. Local authorities are asking anyone who may know their whereabouts to contact the Department of Immigration.

Missing Cruise Passengers
Missing Cruise Passengers

Generally, the British Virgin Islands are considered to be safe, especially during the daytime. According to the UK government, levels of crime are low, but there have been some incidents. This sentiment is echoed by the Government of Canada, who say the risk level of traveling to the British Virgin Islands is low. 

Norwegian Sky Moves On Without Missing Passengers 

When the missing guests didn’t return at the all aboard time, which was 2:15 p.m. local time, Norwegian Sky was forced to leave them behind – and it is actually quite common for cruise ships to leave tardy passengers behind

It’s typically the responsibility of the cruisers to make sure they return on time. Unless guests are taking part in an excursion booked through the cruise line, which cruise lines will wait for, most cruise lines will only wait about 15 minutes before leaving without delayed guests – and even then it’s at the discretion of the captain.

It may sound cruel, but cruise lines have a responsibility to the passengers who do return on time to continue on with the itinerary as planned. Additionally, the longer a ship stays in port, the more fees the cruise line incurs.

Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship
Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: EQRoy)

In the case of Norwegian Sky, the 2,004-passenger ship needed to return to La Romana in the Dominican Republic, from where the Sun-class ship has been operating a series of cruises sailing to the Caribbean, Curacao, Aruba, and Barbados. 

Read Also: Social Media Helps Locate Missing Cruise Ship Passenger

The missing Colombian Nationals were onboard a 14-night sailing that also visited destinations like Catalina Island, Dominican Republic; Aruba, Netherlands Antilles; Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia Island; St. Johns, Antigua; St. Kitts and Nevis; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten; among others. The trio was meant to disembark with the rest of the passengers when the cruise concluded in La Romana on the following day, March 11, 2024. 

While the search continues locally, the 77,104-gross ton vessel has begun another, slightly shorter, Caribbean voyage, which also started on March 11. This 9-night sailing won’t call on Tortola, but will return to other destinations like Catalina Island, Dominican Republic; Aruba, Barbados, and St. Lucia. 

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