Imagine you’re in your early 20’s, you’re good-looking, athletic, and ready to take the world by the horns. Now imagine that someone comes along and offers you a job above their $200 million dollar yacht. The only catch? You need to travel with them in style for the next few months or so. It sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?
In recent years, bored billionaires have begun building tons of these humongous luxury vessels and crewing them with beautiful young people to keep them company on their worldwide journeys. Unfortunately, not all oceanic adventures have a happy ending…
Sinead McNamara was the type of free-spirited, adventurous soul who would absolutely have taken any opportunity she could in order to see the world. Beautiful both inside and out, Sinead grew up in the New South Wales’ Port Macquarie region and found her niche in life in her 20’s when she began posting pictures to Instagram.
Sinead had dreams of being a model and traveling the world. Instagram offered her the perfect outlet for both of those things. Her frequent posts on her aptly named Instagram account, “Life with no Fear”, garnered her more than 25,000 followers but it was in her native Sydney that she first met the man who would give her the opportunity to see even more of the world than she ever thought possible.
Alberto Bailleres, the 87-year-old Mexican multi-billionaire, first sailed his $200 million dollar yacht, the Mayan Queen IV into Sydney in 2011. It was a frequent stop for him as he made his way through the Pacific. Bailleres first made his money in mining and by 2017 was estimated to be worth $11 billion, making him the 143rd wealthiest individual in the world.
It was on one of these Sydney stops that Sinead McNamara first received the offer to work on his yacht. From mainland Australia, the Mayan Queen IV traveled to Bermuda, Bali and the Whitsunday Islands. After that, it headed to Greece, and this is where Sinead’s final adventure truly begins.
Ms. McNamara joins a growing subset of young people who, enticed by the perceived glamor of the super rich, join them on the high seas. It’s a sector that employs more than 37,000 people globally; many of them young and unattached. Who could blame them though? The spas, on-ship theaters, multi-level swimming pools, and bottomless top-shelf liquor is hard to resist.
Touring the Mediterranean
The Mayan Queen IV was touring the Mediterranean when it pulled up to the Greek island of Kefalonia. Sinead was having the time of her life. She even said as much on her travel-centric Instagram quipping: “Living & working on a boat seeing all that the world has to offer. Yep, I think I have it pretty good.”
Did Sinead McNamara “have it pretty good” or had she been just one more victim of an illusionary lifestyle she had unwittingly found herself a part of? That final post, posted mere days before her eventual death would become a far more ominous statement than either Sinead or any of her fans could have realized.
On Friday, September 31st, another crew member found Sinead unconscious on the back of the Mayan Queen IV. She appeared to be wrapped, tangled in a rope and was completely unresponsive when the crew member tried to rouse her. Sinead was still alive, but they needed to get her to a doctor as quickly as possible.
Airlifted Too Late
The onboard doctor was called in and examined her. Knowing that she needed more intensive care, the doctor had the crew call in a helicopter to take her to a nearby hospital. She was loaded into the aircraft and flown from the yacht. Unfortunately, Sinead McNamara never made it to the hospital. She died mid-flight.
Oddly enough, no one on the yacht seemed to know what happened to Sinead McNamara. Her employer and the Mayan Queen’s owner, Alberto Bailleres wasn’t even on the boat when the incident occurred. He and his family had left the yacht for a few days before Sinead was found. The question remained, who, if anybody, was responsible for her death?
Meeting the Family
While the Grecian police began the investigation, Sinead’s family mourned their loss. Tragically, Sinead’s mother and sister had actually been traveling to Greece on vacation when the news of her death broke onto the Internet. They had been coming to meet her after having been apart for so many months.
As the family mourned, so too did the Internet, who rallied in support and joined in their sorrow and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the family as they make arrangements to send her body home. Sinead’s more than 25,000 Instagram followers made tributes over social media and flooded her account.
It seemed that Sinead inspired many people with her zest for life and adventure. “You lived life with no fear and it’s a blessing to have known you,” wrote one of her good friends. Another added that “Everyone should take a page from Sinead’s book – where she was meant to have a holiday in Bali that turned into a year and a half trip sailing across the world.”
Australian YouTuber Alex Hayes, who has 650,000 followers and was also one of Sinead’s close friends, shared a tribute via Instagram story. “Life is so precious,” he wrote in the tribute. “Gone way too soon. Such a beautiful human being. Will cherish all our memories.” Tributes aside though, the police still didn’t seem to know what happened to Sinead.
Greek authorities have since launched an investigation into Sinead’s final hours on the boat. Their first step was to examine all of the six-story ship’s closed-circuit cameras. This would prove to be a difficult task given the size of the boat, so they instead moved on to questioning the staff in the meantime.
No Longer Held
No one on the boat seemed to know what had happened to Sinead or what led her to be tangled in rope off the back of the boat. The 93-meter yacht was held for a few days during the initial investigation but has since been allowed to leave port. Still, police are trying to determine what could have happened in the past four months to have led up to this tragedy.
There are some questions about the case and Sinead’s position on the ship that is still plaguing the police. The first of these has to do with Sinead’s job aboard the Mayan Queen IV, no one seems clear on what that job was. There are rumors that her position was to be little more than eye candy for the wealthy boat owner, but that seems unlikely.
Cause of Death
The official cause of death released by the coroner is that Sinead McNamara died as a result of hanging. This is an initial finding, however, and results from subsequent tests in the coming months could come up with additional answers. Even if Sinead did die from hanging, who hanged her? Or was this alleged hanging merely an accident?
The only people on board the night of Sinead’s death were the rest of the crew and Sinead herself. No one saw her fall so it’s entirely possible that nothing untoward happened at all, though there was bound to be suspicion. It’s very possible that Sinead slipped and fell, becoming tangled on the way down in a possible, albeit unlikely, boating accident.
The other telling thing about Sinead’s death was a comment she posted three days before her death. The post alluded to her feeling worried, “My head is all over the shop today…take me back to this where my only worry was not cracking my skull open”. Had something happened to cause Sinead to fear for her life? What do you think?