A CRUISE ship barman was sacked after passengers claimed he tricked them into telling him their phone passcode after it went missing.
Paul Tierney, 54, mislaid his iPhone 7 Plus on the first morning of a week-long, £2,600 Mediterranean cruise with his wife Janet.
They believe that when crew member Suar Andika later got his hands on it, he must have known it belonged to them because the screensaver was their photo.
But it was locked, until Andika pulled them up on stage to play a game of Mr and Mrs – a popular quiz where people answer questions about their other half.
The barman allegedly asked Janet if she knew Paul’s pin code to his phone – which she blurted out by accident.
When they got home and Paul synced his new phone with his iCloud he was furious to discover photos and videos of Suar and his colleagues.
MSC Cruises said he had been dismissed after they escorted him off the ship – and sent back the phone to Paul, with £300 and £500 worth of vouchers, he claims.
Father-of-three Paul, from Kirby, Liverpool, said: “When we saw the photos for the first time I was more than shocked”, said Paul.
“This holiday will never be remembered for anything other reason than this horrible experience.
“Janet was in total shock. Neither of us could believe what we were seeing.”
“It would have been better if we had never seen the photos and videos and the phone had just been lost.
“It made us feel sick.
“He seemed like a nice guy to us and was very charming. But he’s a despicable person. It’s disgusting what he did.”
Paul and caterer Janet booked the £2,600 cruise with the Mediterranean Shipping Company last year.
The pair, who have three children, have been on around 15 cruises and this latest voyage set sail from Brindisi, Italy, on June 1.
The package deal booked with Cruise Nation included seven nights at sea with stop offs in Italy, Croatia and Greece.
But on the first morning on board the ship, Paul realised he couldn’t find his iPhone 7 Plus.
The couple retraced their steps, searched the ship and asked staff if the phone had been handed in as lost property, without any luck, so he cancelled the sim card.
Janet said: “Paul was convinced he brought it onto the ship with him. But it could have slipped out of his pocket anywhere.
“But we thought if it’s gone then it’s gone and we just assumed it had been lost.”
Three days later, on the fourth day of the cruise, Paul and Janet decided to spend the evening in their favourite onboard wine bar.
They were asked to take part in a Mr and Mrs style game show by a barman, who convinced the playful couple to get up on stage and give it a go, they claim.
The host – later identified on videos wearing a badge bearing the name Suar Andika – asked Paul and Janet three questions each.
The winner of the game is the couple who correctly answers the most questions.
One of the questions the game show host asked Janet was ‘what is the passcode number to Paul’s phone?’, she claims.
Janet says she innocently blurted out the phone’s password on stage without thinking.
Janet said: “I didn’t really think at the time but Paul said to me afterwards that if anyone on board has the phone then you’ve given the password away.
“He must have started using the phone soon after.
“The person in the photos is the same barman. We couldn’t believe it.”
The couple went on to enjoy the rest of their holiday none the wiser and returned home on June 9.
But Paul and Janet were “gobsmacked” five days later, when Paul set up his new iPhone – bought off eBay – and synced his iCloud account.
They found more than a dozen photos and videos of the barman from the Mr and Mrs Quiz.
It’s not known how the barman got the phone, and if he simply found it on board.
Paul said: “I was more than shocked. I couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We just thought ‘oh my god’.
“He must have known all along it was our phone. The screensaver was of the two of us.
“What he did was unbelievable and not acceptable in anyway, shape or form.
“He invaded our private lives and we are sickened by it. The videos and photos are just awful.”
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has since apologised to Paul and Janet and say they have taken the allegations “very seriously”.
Paul’s iPhone was recovered and sent back to him in the post. He said MSC also paid for his £300 replacement phone purchased on eBay.
In emails to Janet, an MSC customer services worker said after a “swift and proactive investigation” took place, the phone was retrieved from the individual.
The crew member in question was “escorted off the ship”, sacked and “will never work for MSC again”, the company said.
The email said: “We are pleased to inform you that after a swift and proactive investigation, your mobile phone has been promptly retrieved.
“MSC Cruises takes these allegations very seriously and expects that all its personnel and crew members strictly comply with the Company Code of Conduct that does not tolerate any behaviour or action in violation of MSC Cruises moral and professional values.
“The crew member will therefore undergo disciplinary action and the ship top management will apply the said code to assess the crew member position.
“We are deeply sorry for the unfortunate event occurred and trust MSC Cruise prompt reaction would be appreciated.”
A second email read: “I can assure you that the member of crew in question has been identified and been escorted off the ship.
“The member of staff has been dismissed from the company immediately and will never work for MSC again.”
MSC offered the couple £500 worth of vouchers to spend with the company, but Paul and Janet rejected the goodwill offer, they said.
It is not known if the worker admitted stealing the phone himself or if he claimed to have got it from someone else in good faith.
An MSC spokesman said: “Disciplinary action was taken against a male crew member who was in possession of a stolen iPhone, and he was immediately dismissed.
“MSC Cruises takes the safety and security of our passengers and crew extremely seriously.”
A student who had her phone stolen on a night out was brazenly asked by the thief for her passwords.
Beth Freestone received a message five months later on Facebook asking for the login.
Tourists in Benidorm have been warned to be vigilant after a pickpocket gang were caught with 70 stolen mobiles.
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