Royal Caribbean urged to act after another crew member commits suicide

By Linsey McNeill
24/11/2022
Home » Royal Caribbean urged to act after another crew member commits suicide

Royal Caribbean has been criticised for failing to employ mental health professionals onboard ships after a galley steward allegedly committed suicide on Wonder of the Seas.

The unnamed Brazilian man died shortly after the ship set sail for the Caribbean from Port Canaveral in Florida on 13 November.

Website Crew Center said the man ‘apparently died of suicide and left a note before his death along with a video on social media’.

His death came shortly after he was denied permission to sign off and return home to deal with some personal issues, according to Crew Center.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said: “We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of a crew member on board Wonder of the Seas.”Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with their family and friends. We are providing assistance and support to the crew on board at this time. Out of respect, we will not provide any further details.”

However, maritime lawyer James Walker said the death was ‘another sad reminder that mental health professionals are needed on board in order to provide direct support 24/7 for crew members and talk with each one about their concerns, challenges and fears’.

Mr Walker, who was quoted in an article in Newsweek, wrote on his Cruise Law News blog: “The mental health and well-being of the crew needs to be the main focus among the shipboard management as well.”

He said that ‘at least 25’ staff members had gone overboard from Royal Caribbean and its sister Celebrity’s ships in the past 13 years, adding: “Most of these cases were never investigated by the flag state, which, it seems, could not care less.

“The majority of the Royal Caribbean crew members disappeared mysteriously and appeared to have ended their lives intentionally.”

There were a total of 623 deaths on all cruise ship between 2000 and 2019—11% percent of them crew, according to Newsweek, which quoted an article from the International Journal of Travel Medicine and Global Health.

Suicide and murder made up about 29% of the crew deaths, the study found.

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