Earlier this past weekend, Ketut Pujayasa, a 28 year old Holland America Line crew member, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale after confessing to assaulting and attempting to murder a passenger in her stateroom aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam.
According to a report filed by the local FBI field office, Pujayasa attempted to murder the unidentified 28 year old female passenger after she reportedly insulted his family. According to the report, Pujayasa was delivering breakfast to the passenger’s stateroom and knocked on the stateroom door three times. After the third knock, Pujayasa claims a female voice responded with an expletive phrase targeted towards his mother.
Following the verbal insultation, Pujayasa claims he proceeded to search for the passenger later in the day to exact revenge on the passenger. Later in the evening, Pujayasa entered the women’s cabin with a master key card and hid on the stateroom’s private balcony. Once the passenger had returned to her stateroom and moved into the bed, Pujayasa entered the stateroom from the balcony and began his assault. The report states the confrontation soon moved outside of the stateroom onto the private balcony, where Pujayasa attempted to throw the woman overboard. The confrontation soon moved back into the stateroom, where knocking on the stateroom door prompted Pujayasa to flee the stateroom by jumping from balcony to balcony.
The women quickly escaped into the stateroom corridor, where she was aided by another passenger. Pujayasa reportedly returned to his crew cabin and asked his roommate to notify the ship’s emergency personnel that he had killed a passenger. (At the time, Pujayasa did not know the passenger was alive.)
As the ship changed course to evacuate the female passenger from the ship, she was treated and stabilized in the Nieuw Amsterdam’s medical center. After being disembarked in Roatan, Honduras, the passenger was flown to a hospital in Florida. Holland America Line flew in the victim’s family so that they may be with her during her recovery.
As soon as authorities were notified of the attack on board, the Nieuw Amsterdam’s security team sealed the crime scene and detained Pujayasa. In addition, the ship’s command notified US authorities of the attack. Upon arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Pujayasa was turned over to the FBI and detained in a local prison. A full investigation of the attack has already been initiated by the FBI.
A statement from Holland America Line to Cruise Currents reads:
“We are terribly saddened by the senseless assault that took place on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam this past Friday, Feb. 14. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family during this difficult time.
While no words can adequately express our shock at this event, this has shaken the entire Holland America family to our very core. We continue to work closely with authorities to understand how this incident occurred and what additional actions we can take to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
Holland America Line performs careful screening of all our employees. We require police clearance from the country of origin for nearly all crewmembers before they can work onboard our ships, as was done for the former crewmember involved here. In addition, all crewmembers undergo rigorous visa requirements for the routes they will be sailing. For example, virtually all of our crewmembers must obtain a visa from the U.S. Embassy and are vetted by the U.S. Government prior to issuance of a visa; foreign national crewmembers arrive at international airports within the U.S. and must undergo U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) vetting against all watch lists; and all crew are subject to a full crew vetting by CBP every 90 days and subject to the same vetting as outlined above.
This individual was hired in 2012 following a careful screening that included a clean criminal history check. He had no performance issues and came with good references.
“At Holland America Line, the safety of our guests is our highest priority, and we are shocked and deeply saddened by this incident,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “To our knowledge, no incident like this has occurred in our company’s 140-year history.””