REBECCA CORIAM: WHO IS BEHIND THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE, THE SEA OR …? By Ajikrishnan S. from CSI College for Legal Studies
Quite often, we tend to attach a veil of mystery to both sea and human death. This is so because seas are pregnant with places and objects, which are unreachable and mysterious. Likewise, swelling of science or technology also could not devour the mystery behind human death or the reasons for it or even life after death.
However, the aim of this short piece is not to deliberate upon that mysterious world. But, to briefly discuss the suspicious disappearance of Rebecca Coriam, from the cruise ship Disney Wonder, which has completed six decades in this year.
Who is Rebecca Coriam?
Rebecca Coriam, a British national born in 1987 in Chester, England was a crew-member on the cruise ship Disney Wonder.[i] Disney Wonderis one of the four cruise ships presently in use by the Disney Company cruise line.[ii] It was in June 2010 she attended the interview for Disney Crew members and was hired, trained and appointed later on the Disney cruise liner.[iii]
Disappearance and Follow-up Action
Rebecca disappeared from the said ship on the morning of 22nd March 2011 off the Pacific coast of Mexico. She was 24 years old then. The security cameras on the ship recorded her conversing on one of the ship’s internal phones’.[iv] She was seen being emotional. This was her last act recorded on the ship. Since the ship was registered in Bahamas, it was the Bahamian authorities that were entitled to investigate the matter. The Royal Bahamas Police Force put this in motion. The U.S. Coast Guard and Mexican Navy also searched on the path covered by the Disney cruise liner including the international waters. But, nothing substantial was revealed.[v] The investigation is still going on regarding the matter.
During this time, the happening of this incident was being discussed in the Parliament of Britain, in the House of Commons. It was pointed out that the investigation carried out was unsatisfactory and the Bahamian authorities do not have requisite expertise or mechanisms to investigate such a matter. Also, the need for stringent laws to look into such incidents was emphasized upon by the agencies of the nationals’ country.
What Parents Say
The parents of Rebecca Coriam say that their daughter called them one night before the incident took place and told them she would call the next day. But, she did not call as promised. What they received instead was a call from one of Disney Wonder’s official informing them that their daughter had disappeared from the ship.[vi] As to the investigation, which is going on, they say that they have not received the copy of the final investigation report nor have they been getting any satisfactory information from the investigating authorities in spite of repeated requests.[vii] The parents deny the theory of suicide and also doubt the version of Disney.
Why is it Mystery-ridden?
It is not for the first time that an incident involving the disappearance of a person from a cruise ship has occurred. There have been a number of incidents, which have happened earlier to this for which the causes remains unknown.[viii] The International Cruise Victims Association has been formed to represent the victims of such incidents. This will speak volumes about the growing number of such incidents.[ix] There are news reports, which are yet to be officiallyconfirmed, indicating that Rebecca might have been sexually assaulted or murdered.[x] Rebecca’s parents also doubt that she might have been thrown overboard.[xi] They stated that Rebecca’s behavior on the phone was completely normal and did not suggest any signs of suicide. They hold the Disney officials responsible on account of their non-cooperation during the inquiry of the incident.
It shall be a futile exercise to concoct probable stories of the incident. But, it does point to the inadequacies of the legal and enforcement mechanisms, ineffective role of International Maritime Organization or such other international organizations, want of commitment by companies to inquire into these kind of incidents, insecurity experienced by persons travelling in cruise ships. On these lines, a British Parliamentarian stated that very few people know that they are so poorly protected when they board a cruise ship.