James Ewan, 73 – Missing Unknown, Celebrity Century Passenger, November 1, 2006, Time of Death is unknown.
The crew member raised the alarm two hours after the ship left port in Madeira, after a cabin steward noted the cabin occupied by 73-year-old James Ewan from Burntisland, Scotland did not appear to have been occupied that day.
Public announcements were made asking the passenger to identify himself to crew but when there was no response a detailed search of the liner’s public areas and cabins began.
When security records showed the Ewan had not left the ship using his card, they decided it was time to notify the captain. Ship’s records show that Ewan, childless widower, was traveling alone and did not disembark the ship. It is presumed he went overboard. He was last sighted on Tuesday October 31,
The captain ordered an immediate search of the ship at that point in time, and ultimately turned the vessel around to retrace their voyage to search for Ewan..
Celebrity has notified the British Embassy authorities, Portuguese maritime police, Bahamian maritime authorities, and the FBI, and is cooperating fully with all authorities. The cruise line has notified his family as well, that they are unable to locate him. Celebrity Century was on a 17 night transatlantic cruise from Barcelona, Spain to Miami, Florida which began October 27.
Mr Ewan’s cousin, Neil Ewan, 62, also from Burntisland, said the missing man was not, as far he was aware, on medication and did not suffer from depression or any medical condition. He added: “I’m very worried. This is completely out of character for James. He hasn’t been sick or depressed – he’s a very upbeat person. “He likes his cruises – when it gets cold he heads off to the sun. “I last saw him just over a week ago in Burntisland. The ship continued on its journey to Miami after spending several hours on Thursday night searching for Mr Ewan. Celebrity Cruise Lines is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Inc.
Information from a friend of James Ewan indicates this case is a suicide.
Cabin stewards discovered Ewan”s cabin hadn’t been used and found his personal belongings neatly laid out, including friend John Cooper’s name and phone number on a slip of paper.
John Cooper says, “He scrapped his old Granada car two days before leaving, which was odd because he couldn’t do without it. And when we went into his flat, there was a list on the table of all the money he owed people with the word ‘paid’ next to them.
I’m the executor of his will and the fact my details were sitting on top of his wallet in his cabin rings alarm bells. It’s like he’s tied everything up and not left anything outstanding.”
Police collected DNA samples from Ewan’s home. Ewan, who lost his wife Betty 20 years ago, didn’t have any children.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 11, 2006
A woman called his cousin Neil Ewan, 62, saying a man matching Ewan’s description was seen disoriented in Spain, trying to hail a taxi cab to get back to his cruise ship.