While crime is relatively rare on a cruise, it does happen given the millions of passengers and crew that set sail each year. And while major crime statistics — including homicide, kidnapping, and sexual assault — are reported to the public each quarter by the FBI, smaller (but no less serious) crimes can occur too.
Case in point, the Bureau is now seeking information from possible victims of a hidden camera found on a recent cruise aboard Harmony of the Seas.
The alleged incident took place on Harmony of the Seas during a 7-day sailing that departed Miami on April 29. According to a case filing from FBI agent John Auchter, a man placed a hidden camera in a bathroom on April 30 while the ship was at sea.
That bathroom was a public restroom near the popular Flowrider surfing simulator at the back of the ship.
According to the complaint, the camera was “secreted in a section of the wall above the door which had been removed for repairs.”
There, it allegedly recorded dozens of people until the next evening when it was found.
“At about 7:00 p.m. on May 1, 2023, another passenger noticed the hidden camera
and reported it to the Harmony’s crew. Harmony security personnel searched the bathroom and found and seized the hidden camera,” the complaint stated.
When security removed the camera, they noticed it had a micro SD card with “several hours” of video. The first videos show the defendant “hiding the camera and adjusting the angle of the camera so it focuses on the area of the toilet.” Then the man is seen taking out his phone and “appears to have connected the phone to the hidden camera using wi-fi.”
A review of the contents of the recorded video “depict more than 150 individuals, including
what appears to be at least 40 minors. Individuals are seen coming into the bathroom to either use the toilet or to change into or out of swimsuits.”
When security interviewed the man, he allegedly admitted to placing the camera in the bathroom. He also said he knew it had been found when he noticed it was now gone when he went looking for it on May 1.
As a result, the defendant has been charged with “video voyeurism” and “attempted possession of child exploitation material” in Puerto Rico District Court.
Now the FBI is looking to identify potential victims of this crime. This includes passengers aboard Harmony of the Seas who may have used that specific restroom between April 30 and May 1, 2023.
The agency has set up an online form for passengers to fill out here and encourages those who were possibly on camera to complete the form. As well, any questions can be directed to Harmonycruisevictims@fbi.gov.