My name is Jim Walker. I am a maritime lawyer in Miami who represents the family of MSC crew member Vishnu Vardhan Cheelam who was employed as a cleaner on the MSC Seascape. In mid November, Vishnu went overboard from the MSC cruise ship near Puerto Rico as the ship sailed from Miami on a Caribbean cruise.
Vishnu had spoken to his family shortly before he disappeared at sea. He was in good spirits and was looking forward to returning to India where his family was building a new home. He was close to his his mother, Laxmi, and sisters, Divya and Rani. He was the "man of the family," having lost his father when he was a small child, and financially supported his mother.
After learning that their son and brother was lost overboard over two weeks ago, Vishu's mother and sisters have not received any information from MSC Cruises.
The cruise line refuses to provide the family with a copy of his employment contract and collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or return his personal effects from his cabin. MSC has not paid his outstanding wages and $1,500 in cash was taken from Vishnu's cabin. MSC also refuses to provide the family with a copy of CCTV images of Vishnu or provide statements from eye witnesses explaining why this long-term ship employee went overboard.
Vishnu's family is emotionally devasted by Vishnu's disappearance not to mention the shoddy way that MSC has responded to this tragedy. The construction of the family home has stopped while the family faces an uncertain future. They have been provided with no answers to what happened to their beloved family member, no wages or work benefits and not even the dignity of receiving Vishnu's modest personal effects from his cabin on the cruise ship.
I am involved in this case and petition strictly on a pro bono basis. 100% of the funds collected will go directly to the Cheelam family in their time of need. Thank you for your consideration and support of this family.