More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Bee-toting cruise patrons put ashore

January 7, 2002 Posted: 3:28 PM EST (2028 GMT)

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- A group of would-be passengers took 160 live bees in bottles onto a cruise ship, and security concerns delayed the ship's sailing by three hours. The six passengers were kicked off the vessel.

The bees "were in bottles and they maintained that they were intending to use the bees for medicinal reasons," said Jennifer de la Cruz, a Carnival Cruise Lines spokeswoman.

Some people consider bee stings an alternative therapy for diseases such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.

One of the six has multiple sclerosis, said Terence McElroy, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Carnival officials grew suspicious Sunday when the passengers repeatedly reboarded the Carnival Victory with bees, de la Cruz said.

"We took the six passengers off to err on the side of caution while we further investigated what they were up to," de la Cruz said. The departure was delayed three hours.

The six passengers -- who were not identified -- were removed from the ship, which carried nearly 3,000 other vacationers and was headed to the Caribbean.

Generally, bees cannot be taken from the United States into another country without proper paperwork, McElroy said. He was uncertain whether taking the bees onto the cruise ship violated any U.S. law.

The bees were being studied by representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine whether they had characteristics of Africanized bees, McElroy said.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press