Sep 24, 2011 4:12 PM GMT
I suppose the odds are pretty low that you'll disappear on a cruise but then there's this: http://xkcd.com/795/ (I suppose those odds get a lot bigger when you have someone who is already gunning for you)
According to the U.S.-based International Cruise Victims Association, 165 people have gone missing at sea since 1995, with at least 13 this year alone — many of them from vessels popular with British holidaymakers.
Cruise ship holidays are enormously popular. According to the Passenger Shipping Association, 1.7 million cruises will be taken in Britain this year (many will be repeat cruises by the same holidaymakers). 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. And for the family and friends they left behind, that only compounds the heartache. Loved ones such as Ruth Halford and her children, who remain in limbo; bereft, baffled and unable to grieve.
‘John had been really looking forward to the cruise,’ says Mrs Halford.
‘He’d once worked in Libya and was intrigued by North Africa. He was fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture and wanted to see the pyramids.
‘He went alone because we couldn’t afford to go as a family, plus the children had exams coming up. Ships are places where it’s easy to meet people, and John didn’t mind going on his own. The passengers who saw him in the bar say he was not drunk and was in good spirits.
‘He’d packed his suitcase ready to go but his other belongings — his passport, glasses, mobile phone and rucksack — were found in his cabin. But there was no sign of John.
‘John wasn’t depressed — there was no sign at all that he was contemplating suicide. He just wasn’t like that.
‘His suitcase was later returned to us and in it were three necklaces for me, Lucy and Sophie with our names written in hieroglyphics and a similar name bracelet. John was planning on coming home to us.’