'I believe he is alive': Cruise passenger who went overboard a week ago is a master diver, father says

The father of a 20-year-old man who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Bahamas believes he is still alive - despite the coast guard calling off the search. 

"Levion Parker fell or jumped into the sea from a Royal Caribbean cruise in the early hours of 4 April, off the Bahamas.

His father Francel Parker said, contrary to some media reports, it wasn't a suicide - and that the family believes he is still alive.

The Parker family, from North Port in Florida, were travelling on the Liberty of the Seas when Levion Parker went overboard 57 miles off Great Inagua, the southernmost island in the Bahamas.

Francel Parker told local North Port newspaper The Daily Sun his son was a master diver working on a commercial fishing boat.

He said he threw six life rings off the boat in an effort to save him.

Some media outlets have reported the father and son were arguing before the incident, but Francel Parker denied this was the case.

He said his son had been drinking alcohol but suggested that was out of the ordinary, telling The Daily Sun: "We don't drink."

He added: "As soon as he went off the side, I prayed over him. I was confident the prayers I said over my son were heard.

"I believe he is alive."

Read more from Sky News:
Property tycoon sentenced to death in Vietnam
Woman, 27, found stabbed to death in Westminster home named

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson said in a statement: "The ship's crew immediately launched a search and rescue effort alongside the US Coast Guard."

The coast guard then took over the search, which was called off at the weekend.

"Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to the guest's family during this difficult time," the spokesperson added.

The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.