Sick Aussie dad kicked off cruise for breaking one rule
THE daughter of a Perth man says her sick father was left to find his own way home from Bali, after he was kicked off a P&O cruise ship for flicking a cigarette overboard.
Mark O'Keefe, 57, and wife Debra had embarked on the ten-day cruise from Freemantle to Bali on June 6.
His daughter Courtney O'Keefetold WAtoday her father was severely reprimanded after a P&O security guard saw him flicking a cigarette overboard.
"He had maybe two drags because the weather was horrendous - he butted it out, and without thinking, he flicked it," she said.
He apologised and was told if he returned to his cabin he would face no consequences. However, the next day Ms O'Keefe's mother called her in a panic after Mr O'Keefe was removed from the ship.
"The captain said 'you're off' - no letting my dad apologise, no option of cutting him off at the bar, no giving him a fine. Nothing."
He was transported to an island and then flown to Denpasar, where he was left to find his own way home from Bali, according to Ms O'Keefe.
"My dad is 58 in a few weeks - he's ex-army, SAS, with cancer and cholesterol problems - and my mum handles all his medication," she told WAtoday.
Her mother was unable to leave with him, as they had saved their money for the trip to Bali and couldn't afford two tickets home.
Ms O'Keefe later took to Facebook to complain about her father's treatment by the cruise line.
A spokesman for P&O told WAtoday he could not comment on this specific incident due to privacy concerns, but said it would not be surprising for a passenger to be removed for flicking a cigarette overboard.
Passengers were given an "explicit warning" not to dispose cigarettes over the side of the ship, he said.
"A lighted cigarette can be drawn into the ship posing a serious risk to the ship and the safety of passengers and crew."
He said procedures were in place to look after passengers who have disembarked, but Ms O'Keefe said this was not the case.
She said her mother had refused to leave her room until the cruise docked on Sunday.