Man Climbs Off MSC Cruises Ship to Enter Country Illegally

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On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, a man was caught climbing down a rope from MSC Bellissima in what appears to be an attempt to enter Japan illegally during the ship’s current 7-night roundtrip sailing.

The strange part of the situation is that the vessel is sailing roundtrip from Yokohama, Japan, and therefore, the man must already possess proper documentation to have legally entered the country to board the ship.

According to Japan Today, the incident happened at roughly 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, while the ship was docked in Kobe. A witness at first contacted authorities with an alert about a passenger falling from the ship into the sea, and rescue personnel were dispatched.

Ship Deck Crew
Ship Deck Crew (Photo Credit: yanchi1984)

The man, reported as roughly 50 years old and appearing to be French, was quickly located and it was discovered that he had not fallen, but had rather been attempting to climb down from the ship purposefully.

The situation is confusing because as the ship was still docked, the man could have left via the gangway. It is unknown whether he was planning to climb all the way off the ship and slipped, falling into the water, or if he had planned to fall into the water intentionally.

The man was not seriously injured, other than some scrapes on his hands. It is unknown why he attempted such stunt-like behavior, or whether or not alcohol may have been a factor impacting his actions. He is currently in the custody of local Japanese immigration authorities, who are conducting a full investigation.

MSC Bellissima is offering several Asian itineraries from Yokohama, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Tokyo, Japan, depending on sailing date. On her current sailing, the ship departed Yokohama on Monday, April 29, and has visits to Kobe (April 30), Kochi City (May 1), Jeju Island, Korea (May 3), and Kagoshima (May 4) before arriving back in Yokohama on Monday, May 6.

Read Also: Two Cruise Passengers Reported Missing in the British Virgin Islands – Was It Deliberate?

The fact that the ship is visiting several ports in Japan makes the man’s behavior even more bizarre, as he would have had multiple opportunities to depart the ship and “miss” returning on time throughout the cruise. While doing so might have caused a missing person alert, it would likely not have led to more serious charges as could be levied now.

Another Incident From the Same Ship

This incident is eerily similar to another situation that occurred from MSC Bellissima just over a month ago. That situation also involved a foreign national jumping overboard while the ship was docked, attempting to enter the country illegally.

That earlier incident occurred on Thursday, February 1, while the ship was docked in Noha, Japan. The man who jumped overboard into the water was identified as a Turkish national. The man swam ashore but was quickly arrested for immigration violations.

MSC Bellissima Cruise Ship
MSC Bellissima Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Princess_Anmitsu)

Neither the earlier cruise nor MSC Bellissima‘s current sailing were impacted with any itinerary changes or other delays due to these unusual incidents.

The 171,598-gross-ton, Meraviglia-class ship can welcome 4,500 guests aboard for each sailing at double occupancy, and up to 5,655 travelers when fully booked with all berths filled. She is also home to roughly 1,600 international crew members.

MSC Bellissima offers diverse Asian itineraries from various homeports. She is notable as the first international cruise line to begin homeport operations from mainland China after the pandemic, having set sail from Shanghai for the first time just six weeks ago.

The ship will be offering sailings from the Chinese homeports of Shanghai, Keelung, and Shenzhen throughout the summer months of 2024, before returning to other Asian homeports later in the year.

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