Crew members on Vancouver-docked cruise ship arrested for drugs
A Princess Cruise departure from downtown Vancouver was delayed for hours this week after police allegedly found several crew members with an undisclosed quantity of drugs, CTV News has learned.
The Island Princess was set to leave for Alaska when Canada Border Services Agency officers and members of the Vancouver Police Department's Canine Unit boarded the vessel and performed a search on Wednesday.
Authorities have been tight-lipped with the details, but Princess Cruises confirmed Thursday that three employees were taken into police custody during the incident.
"Three crew members, returning to ship after being ashore, were found with narcotics and they were arrested," Brian O'Connor, vice-president of public relations, said in an email. "The delayed departure will not disrupt the itinerary."
None of the cruise ship's guests were involved, according to O'Connor.
It's unclear what type or quantity of drugs officers found. The VPD directed questions on the investigation to the CBSA, which declined to offer any further information.
Despite repeated requests for details on the nature of the investigation and what charges could be pending, the agency would only confirm that officers did conduct a search at the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place Wednesday.
"The CBSA routinely conducts vessel searches – it is a regular part of officer duties," communication officer Kristine Wu told CTV News.
Princess Cruises said it has a zero tolerance policy for drugs, and suggested the employees in question will be losing their jobs.
"Once the local authorities provide us with their final report on the arrests they made the crew members contract of employment will be terminated," O'Connor said.
Cruise ships are a big boon to the Vancouver tourism industry, and the 2017 season is expected to be busier than last year's. There are 237 ships scheduled to stop in the city, delivering roughly 840,000 passengers, most of them American citizens.
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority estimates each vessel that docks brings in $2.8 million to the local economy.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos