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Once again an Aussie mass punch-up interrupts a cruise

February 19, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

For the second time in a week, a cruise ship in Australia has made an unscheduled detour so police could make arrests after a wild brawl broke out – and incredible online footage of the fight shows punching, crying, kicking and screaming, with security men putting in the boot.

It was a different ship this time. Carnival Legend stopped at Eden in the far south of New South Wales on Friday so police from Marine Command Unit and the Operations Support Group could board the vessel, after a mass brawl broke out in the early hours of Friday morning.

Carnival Legend on an earlier visit to Sydney

Police removed a large group of passengers. Footage of the melee suggests some of the crew were keen to stop passengers filming the violence. Footage also appears to show a security man repeatedly kicking a passenger on the ground.

The footage has gone viral, with the Daily Express in the UK calling it “Cruise FROM HELL”. Adding an especially bizarre touch, the Melbourne Age said that the violence “may have been sparked by a dispute over a thong”.

Channel Nine News said all those taken off the ship were members of one family and more than 20 were arrested. Passengers spoke of fighting between two groups, of threats and intimidation that had continued for days. Media reports say passengers disembarked in Melbourne demanding a refund for a their spoiled holiday.

News reports yesterday quoted witnesses saying a family group aboard had “picked on Aussies”. Daily Mail Australia said members of “a big Italian family” were involved.  Carnival Cruise Line was said to have offered guests a 25% future cruise credit as a “goodwill gesture” but 9News said some passengers had rejected it.

Just a week ago, another major cruise ship, P&O’s Pacific Explorer, had to return to Sydney so police could remove seven people said to have been involved in a fight aboard. In that case, a woman allegedly whacked a man over the head with an empty wine bottle during a brawl that erupted after an argument over a toilet line queue. See: Police remove seven from cruise ship after brawl erupts

In the Carnival Legend case, the local Eden Magnet news outlet reported how police vehicles and dozens of officers converged on the wharf at Snug Cove near Eden at about 10am and a squad then set off to board the vessel.

Injuries to a passenger in photo posted on social media

“As many as 30 people” were believed to have been injured in the fight, the Magnet said. In the early afternoon, a police boat returned to the wharf and 23 passengers were loaded into a waiting bus.

NSW Police later issued a statement:

Police are investigating an alleged fight onboard a cruise ship while it was about 220km off Jervis Bay.

Police have been told a fight involving several men took place on board the ship after an argument about 12.45am today (Friday 16 February 2018).

Security intervened and detained the men before notifying the Marine Area Command.

About 1.30pm today, six men and three teenage boys were removed from the ship at Twofold Bay, Eden. A further 14 passengers, including women and children, also left the ship.

The group were transported to Canberra where other travel arrangements were made.

Marine Area Command investigators have commenced investigations into the incident. Anyone with information is being urged to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

Passengers told media in Melbourne trouble had been brewing for days, centring on an extended family group of about 27 people who boarded in Melbourne.

“We have been told to watch our backs by this group,” a female passenger named Kelly told radio station 3AW.

“They fought in front of my children in the pool … five of them surrounded my husband.

“We’re scared to go anywhere alone in the ship.”

Eden Magnet reported that Melbourne radio presenter Neil Mitchell of 3AW spoke live on air to several passengers aboard Carnival Legend. One of them said he had been locked in his room to await police arrival.

Carnival Cruise Line vice president and general manager Australia, Jennifer Vandekreeke, issued the following statement on Saturday:

Carnival Legend has returned to her new homeport in Melbourne this morning having completed a 10-day South Pacific cruise. 

We sincerely apologise to our guests who were impacted by the disruptive behaviour of the group removed from the ship by the NSW Police in Eden yesterday. Our Care Team is supporting those guests who have been affected. 

We want to reassure all embarking guests today, and in the future, that the safety and security of our guests and crew is our number one priority.  This is reflected in our zero tolerance policy to excessive behaviour onboard. 

With regards to the guests who were involved in the incident, we are fully cooperating with the NSW police. 

We are also conducting a full investigation and will take appropriate corrective action as necessary.

Written by Peter Needham

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