Two American passengers on a luxury cruise line have gone missing in Jamaica. The pair, 33-year-old Hayden Gerson and 32-year-old Alisha Frank, were last seen as they disembarked the cruise ship at Falmouth Pier in Trelawny on Tuesday. The police say that the pair may have been headed to Montego Bay for shopping and sunbathing when they disappeared.
The New York Daily News reports that a couple from San Diego, California, went missing after disembarking a cruise ship in Jamaica. The two Americans, 33-year-old Hayden Gerson and 32-year-old Alisha Frank, left the ship as usual at the Falmouth Pier located on the northwest portion of the island. The couple, according to authorities, may have been making their way from the pier to Montego Bay, a popular tourist shopping and beach destination on the island. However, the couple did not return at the ship’s scheduled departure time, and no contact has been made with the pair since they disembarked. Therefore, the cruise line filed a missing person report for the two Americans, and officials say they are looking into the disappearance.
Although police do not currently know the whereabouts of Gerson or Frank, Cruise Law News writer Jim Walker says that Jamaica is a favorite place for Americans to “get lost” after disembarking a cruise line. Walker notes that while nothing sinister can be ruled out, it is not entirely uncommon for a passenger to disembark a cruise and intentionally overstay their “legal status” as a visitor. Walker points to three other cases involving six passengers in which the individuals left the cruise ship intentionally with the intent of staying in Jamaica for an extended vacation.
“Jamaica seems to be a favorite place for cruise passengers to ‘get lost’ and later show up after what appears to be an extended vacation.”
However, Walker notes that it is illegal for a cruise passenger to disembark the cruise ship with the intent of staying. It was noted that it is against both U.S. and Jamaican law to fail to return to a cruise ship in the middle of the cruise without prior authorization.
The cruise line and Jamaican authorities have released images of the two missing American passengers and are asking anyone with information about the couple’s whereabouts to contact authorities.
— Dre1alliance (@Dre1alliance) April 28, 2016
Police note that the search for Frank and Gerson is going to be even more difficult since Frank made a pledge to turn her phone off and avoid social media while on the vacation. According to a Facebook post made by Frank prior to her departure, the woman was “taking a break from social media” for a week.
With no social media postings, the police say they won’t be able to use photographs uploaded during the vacation to track the couple’s steps. However, the couple reportedly had expressed before disembarking the ship that they were planning to go to Montego Bay for the day at port. While crimes against tourists in Jamaica are reported frequently, it is noted that pickpocketing and petty theft are most common.
Although petty crimes are most common, World Nomads notes that murder is on the rise in Jamaica, and that the small island nation has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the entire world.
“Unfortunately, violent crime including murder is steadily on the rise in Jamaica. In fact, Jamaica has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. These dangerous and deadly crimes are not isolated to locals – several tourists have lost their lives there in recent years so you should be especially careful to avoid risky areas and use common sense when visiting.”
[Image via Instagram]