Cruise Passenger May Face Legal Action After Jumping Overboard

Advisory: audio contains strong language

By The Maritime Executive 01-18-2019 03:29:15

Nick Naydev, a 27-year-old passenger from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Symphony of the Seas, has been banned from the line's fleet for life after jumping off his 11th-deck balcony into the sea. The stunt was captured on video and posted to Instagram on January 11, and it has received over 200,000 views. 

"This was stupid and reckless behavior, and he and his companions have been banned from ever sailing with us again," said Royal Caribbean in a statement to media. "We are exploring legal action."

Naydev estimated the height of the drop at about 100 feet, but he emerged largely unharmed, except for several days of difficulty walking. The Symphony was moored at Nassau, and Naydev was quickly pulled from the water by a passing boat.

Once Naydev was safely ashore, the ship's security staff told him that he would have to find his own way home. They removed his friends from the vessel as well. 

"I did not think this through before I jumped. My idea was this would be a good laugh for my friends and I would just swim back to shore and continue my vacation and never thought this would be this serious," he said in a social media post. "Local police . . . were called in to pick us up from the ship, but fortunately the police thought the whole situation was amusing and did not proceed to file any legal actions."

On the same day that Naydev posted the video, a teenage passenger from the Royal Caribbean vessel Harmony of the Seas died after falling from the ship onto the pier at Labadee, Haiti. The victim, 16-year-old Laurent Mercer, fell while attempting to climb between two balconies; he did not have his room card, and he was trying to get in via the adjoining cabin, according to the local medical examiner. 

According to researcher Ross Klein of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, about 314 people have gone over the side in cruise / ferry man-overboard incidents since 2000, based on published reports for major operators. The rescue rate averaged about 17 percent.