Thursday, September 29, 2011
Like a plot from a book of fiction, between 1995 and 2011, 165 cruise ship passengers have vanished — many of them from vessels popular with British vacationers.
Take the case of John Halford. A passenger onboard cruise ship Thomson Spirit. It was the last day of a week-long Egyptian cruise. The Thomson Spirit was due to dock at Sharm-el-Sheikh the following morning.
Mr Halford, 63, texted his wife Ruth, who was at home in Britain, to say he would see her at the airport the next day, then went to dinner. At about 12.30 am, he was seen by other passengers drinking cocktails in an upper-deck bar. Then, he vanished.
Mrs. Halford, who has three children, Lucy, 20, Sophie, 18, and Connor, 17, learned of her husband’s disappearance as she was getting ready to drive to the airport to collect him.
Unfortunately, his case is far from unique. Over the past few years, there have been an alarming number of unexplained and unsolved disappearances on board cruise liners.
Cruise ship holidays are enormously popular. According to the Passenger Shipping Association, 1.7 million cruises will be taken in Britain this year alone. But what is happening to all these passengers who simply vanish while at sea, never to be seen again?
Are they the victims of a sinister crime wave? Have they had a mishap at sea and fallen overboard, or perhaps chosen to take their own lives?
The sad fact is that, in many cases, no one knows.
The parents of 24-year-old Rebecca Coriam, who went missing from a Disney cruise liner in March this year, can empathize.
Miss Coriam, who was working on the ship as a youth activities coordinator vanished from the Disney Wonder on a passage from Mexico to Los Angeles. A single policeman in the Bahamas, where the ship is registered, is investigating her disappearance.
Or the case of a 62-year-old German, identified only as Sabine L, who vanished from Cunard’s prestige liner, the QE2, in 2007, as it sailed off Madeira.
Sabine and her husband Ludwig boarded the ship at Southampton on December 17, 2006, for a two-week cruise to the Canaries and Madeira.
One night, the pair went to bed at about midnight in room 5167. The next morning, when Ludwig awoke, his wife was not in the cabin. She was never seen again.
Most of these people disappeared on black nights, far out at sea. Precisely what befell them is a mystery that looks unlikely ever to be solved.
SOURCE: DailyMail UK