Goes over the side one day into cruise that already started in Japan.

On Monday, the MSC Bellissima started its latest Japanese voyage, departing the port of Yokohama in the evening and sailing west through the night. The ship, operated by Switzerland’s MSC Cruises, docked in Kobe at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon the following day, and was scheduled to leave for its next stop late that night.

Shortly before 10 p.m., though, the Kobe Prefectural police received a call from a witness informing them that someone had fallen from the ship into the sea. A search and rescue team was dispatched, and after arriving on the scene they found the man the witness had seen, who appears to be a French man around 50 years old.

Now, if you’re shocked that a reputable cruise operator cam run such a dangerous ship that passengers are falling off of it even while it’s docked at a modern port with calm waters, it should be pointed out that this wasn’t an accident that occurred while the man wasn’t using the vessel’s facilities in ways they were designed for. As a matter of fact, the man had been purposefully trying to leave the ship…by climbing down a rope so that he could sneak into the country illegally.

As you can see from the above photos of the MSC Bellissima, it’s by no means a little boat. Regardless of what point the man started his descent from, it’s a long way down.

It’s unclear if dropping into the water first and then making his was to shore had been the man’s plan all along or if he’d accidentally fallen from the rope. Though he suffered some scrapes on his hands, he came away from the incident with no major injuries and is reportedly in stable condition.

It’s a baffling series of events for many reasons, not the least of which is that, with the MSC Bellissima starting this cruise from the port of Yokohama, the man ostensibly had to already have entered the country in order to board the ship in the first place, so it would seem that he’d be in possession of a valid passport that would allow entry into Japan under more conventional means. It wasn’t like the night he went down the rope was his last chance to reach Japanese soil either. After leaving Kobe, the ship’s next port of call is Kochi City, and though that’s followed by a stop at Jeju Island in Korea, after that the cruise returns to Japan to dock at Kagoshima City before coming back to Yokohama at the end of the cruise, so it would seem he had at least three more chances to get off the boat in Japan without resorting to stuntman-style tactics.

On the other hand, it could be that the man lacked a proper passport or knew he’d be denied entry into Japan for other reasons, but that just raises the question of why someone in such a position would board a cruise knowing they’d have to sneak back into the county, and apparently was so antsy about the situation that they made the attempt the very next day.

You can bet that those are things that the local immigration authorities, whom the man has been turned over to, will be looking into during their investigation and questioning.

Source: Kobe Shimbun Next (1, 2), Cruisemapper
Top image: Wikipedia/MoralesKapitan
Insert images: Wikipedia/Hashar
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