SA Cruise News

MSC Cruises speaks out after South African cruise death

MSC Cruises has spoken out regarding the speculation over the death of a South African crewmember working aboard its Durban-based cruise ship MSC Orchestra.

The cruise line recently released a statement saying that it too is seeking answers regarding the death of Hombisa Nana Mafuduka, a 31-year-old single mother, and is working with authorities to try and find out what happened to her.

Mafuduka, from South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, was working her first contract aboard MSC Orchestra in March when she was found dead on the final night of a cruise from Durban to Mozambique.

MSC Orchestra in port in Durban.

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Mafuduka’s family were reportedly informed that she died after becoming unwell. She had apparently vomited up blood and collapsed after visiting the ship’s clinic.

After the family were given access to the body, they discovered that she had sustained a head injury and had a broken neck. It was then reported that Mafuduka died after a watertight door closed on her.

Her family have insisted that they suspect foul play, and have been putting pressure on MSC Cruises to do more to get to the bottom of what happened to her.

In a statement to News24, MSC Cruises said that they have been providing the family with all necessary support, and have been working closely with the South African police.

“We want clarity on what happened as much as everyone else, including, of course, Hombisa’s own family,” a spokesperson for the cruise line said.

“This has been our stance from day one. We have cooperated, naturally and to this end, to provide the police with all of the necessary information that they seek to aid their investigation,” the statement added.

Hombisa Nana Mafuduka was found dead aboard MSC Orchestra as she cruised back to Durban from Mozambique

The cruise line added that it understands the pain and suspicion felt by the family, but said the rumours and speculation in the public was disheartening.

“It is somewhat disheartening to see incorrect rumour, innuendo and speculation being aired in the public domain about this awful tragedy, and us being directly accused of not being transparent,” the statement said.”We said to the family that we did not understand the reasons for her death and that a full investigation would be conducted by the police.”

Mafuduka’s family have accused MSC Cruises of allowing an autopsy to be conducted without their consent, but MSC Cruises says they were compelled to hand over her body to the police, at which point they had no control over the sequence of subsequent events.

“The state performed the autopsy and then released the body to the family. The results of the autopsy are with the police, and we have helped the family to make contact with the investigating officer,” the cruise line said. “We also helped the family with costs for returning Hombisa’s body to Lusikisiki for the funeral.”

The cruise line also sent representatives to the funeral, where they met with Mafuduka’s family.

“We, as much as her family, want to get to the bottom of this,” said MSC Cruises.

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