CBP Officers Apprehend Cruise Ship Deserter

May 12, 2023

In a recent enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a crew member who deserted the cruise ship Viking Octantis was apprehended. The crew member disembarked the vessel at the port of Detroit on May 1, 2023, for a shore visit but failed to return, without authorization from CBP or the knowledge of the cruise line.

The CBP issued a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) Alert, identifying the crew member as Ramkaji Pakhrin, a 32-year-old Nepalese national employed in the Laundry department. CBP successfully located and apprehended the individual, who was subsequently processed for removal proceedings and repatriated to Nepal.

In response to this incident, the recruiting agency "Employment Creation Services Pvt. Ltd Nepal" shared a social media post, with photo of the BOLO, urging Nepali nationals to refrain from engaging in any unlawful activities that could lead to travel bans for themselves and their families. 

The same BOLO was also posted aboard the ship as a reminder to the crew to abstain from participating in such illegal activities. 

Crew Center has previously published articles highlighting the consequences of crew members jumping ship and the impact it can have on the remaining crew.

In certain cases, when a crew member jumps ship, the company or CBP may implement temporary restrictions on shore leave in U.S. ports for the remaining crew members. These measures were enforced in November 2019 at the ports of New York (Brooklyn and Manhattan) and New Jersey (Cape Liberty) following seven instances of crew members jumping ship in one month.

During the restrictions, only crew members who had completed five contracts were permitted to go ashore. Similar restrictions were placed on 300 crew members of the cruise ship Oceania Riviera at the port of Boston, Massachusetts, on November 8, 2019. Additionally, the crew of Saga Cruises' ship Spirit of Discovery were denied shore leave in New York in December 2019.

Currently, there is no information available regarding whether Viking will implement any specific shore restrictions for crew members at U.S. seaports.