100_0677Though they do not often make the news, crimes on cruise ships do happen. Sometimes said crimes are serious and life-altering, such as sexual assault. Sexual assaults are, unfortunately, not uncommon aboard cruise ships. Recently, 25-year-old Karen Seechurn pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering the cruise ship cabin of a sleeping passenger and sexually assaulting her. In brief, Seechurn entered the victim’s cabin, groped her and threatened to burn the ship down if she told anyone of the incident. The cruise ship was reported as the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas.

Again, sexual assaults aboard cruise ships are not uncommon. In 2014, alone, three of the leading cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian reported 18 cases of sexual assaults and 27 cases of rape against cruise ship passengers.    

Please note that cruise ships do not have law enforcement officials onboard. Yet, you are not without security personnel. Cruise ships employ other forms of security personnel who are typically trained to maintain the safety on cruise ships and to protect evidence of a crime. If you a rape victim of such an offense, it is critical that you report the incident to the FBI as soon as you reasonably can. Ask your cruise line to allow you to contact the FBI. Cruise lines are required to allow passengers to speak to the FBI upon request. Once reported, the FBI will investigate the incident. Of course, the cruise line will want to give the FBI their side of the story. Once your cruise ship has ported, you should visit the nearest rape treatment center.       

Over the Juy 4th weekend, it was reported that multiple passengers were seriously injured on the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. The most serious incidents includes a report that an 8 year old child drowned in the ship pool. In addition, several other passengers reported orthopedic injuries and possibly broken bones due to slip, trip and fall hazards on the Anthem as well. One passenger has already contacted the cruise ship injury lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA to discuss potential clams she may have against this cruise line for their negligence. Under federal maritime law, cruise line operators are required to provide reasonable care under the circumstances. What reasonable care means however, depends on the facts of each case and can vary depending on a number of factors that need to be carefully analyzed by a law firm that specializes in maritime law.

The latest drowning incident highlights the long need for cruise ships to employ lifeguards in their pools facilities. Legal and safety advocates state that the cruise lines are not legally required to employ lifeguards. However, given the increase number of drowning incidents in recent years, cruise line operators have been pressed to utilize lifeguards just as any other water, or recreation facility to make these attractions more safe. In this case, the 8 year old boy had to be medevaced from the ship. He was eventually taken back to Staten Island. His current medical condition is unknown.  The investigation into the drowning incident and other unfortunate accidents and injuries that occurred on the latest Anthem of the Seas will be evaluated over the next several months. Gerson and Schwartz lawyers have over 45 years experience representing accident and injury victims on both land and sea. Our lawyers are ready and willing to assist you with a potential legal claim against all of the major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America and others.  For more information on how we can help, contact the cruise ship accident attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA, for more information. All cases are handled under a contingent fee.

cruise ship poolAre you contemplating embarking on a cruise ship vacation? Be aware that accidents on cruise ships seem to happen with regularity. Often times the accident may be life threatening or even fatal. A common type of accident on cruise ships is drowning. Even though this is a common tragedy, cruise ships fail to hire lifeguards to monitor cruise ship swimming areas. As a matter of fact, the only cruise line that hires lifeguards is the Disney Cruise line.       

Just recently, a 4-year-old child almost drowned in a cruise ship wave pool. He was a passenger of the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. The cruise ship had just departed from Port Everglades, when unbeknownst to his mother, the boy entered the wave pool. The young child was then “swept away.” It was reported that he was below water for over six minutes. Another passenger spotted the drowning child. This accident prompted the ship to return to Port Everglades. The young child, in critical condition, was rushed to a nearby hospital. This accident prompted additional demands for lifeguards on all cruise ships. This demand is echoed by Andrew Coggins, a cruise industry expert. Mr. Coggins maintains that all cruise lines should have lifeguards and all cruise lines should require children wear flotation vests when near the pools.

If you or your loved one were injured on a cruise ship, it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA have the experience and skill need to aggressively take on your case. Contact our attorneys today at 305-371-6000 or via email at info@gslawusa.com to schedule a FREE consultation.    

police tapePerhaps contrary to popular belief, criminal acts run rampant on cruise ships.  This in large part is due to the extreme lack of security personnel.  For instance, and unfortunately, cruises do not have law enforcement officers on board.  However, cruise lines do employ their own security personnel.  These security personnel are trained to maintain the safety on cruise ships and to protect evidence of a crime.  Even with these special security figures, crime remains commonplace on cruises.

Recently, on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas cruise ship, Jason Lawson, 32 years of age, was charged for an attack on a 13-year-old boy.  Lawson’s 13-year-old daughter also attended the cruise ship and was offered a keychain for her virginity by said 13-year-old boy.  Lawson is accused of assisting Arturno Martinez Jr., 30, assault the young boy.  In short, Lawson now faces battery, false imprisonment and additional charges from this incident.  The other attacker, Martinez, was charged with child abuse, assault, battery and false imprisonment of a child.  At the time of this incident, Lawson forced the 13-year-old boy to apologize to his daughter.  Minutes later, the 13-year-old girl’s uncle, Martinez, cornered the young boy in the cruise ship’s library and began to beat him.  At the same time, Lawson watched and blocked the boy’s escape.      

If you or a loved one are a victim of a crime, it is imperative you hire an experienced attorney.  The Miami crime victim lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA provide high quality legal representation.  For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online to set up a FREE initial consultation.

Sexual assaults often occur during cruise ship voyages. Just recently, the Royal Bahamas Police Force took a United States citizen into police custody in connection with an alleged sexual assault incident. Both the suspect and the victim were passengers of a cruise ship. This incident was reported shortly after 9:00 a.m. when the female victim informed Bahamian police that she was sexually assaulted. The suspect was arrested and taken into police custody. Given that these crimes are not rare, it is important that victims have certain rights and protections on board cruise ships for when they are, or may have been, victimized. This article will touch on the victim rights expounded in the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010.

If you or a loved one is a victim of a crime at sea, it is important that an experienced maritime lawyer is retained for the case. Cruise ship companies have their own lawyers who work for them following an incident and so should you. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.

Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010

OCEAN BUOY 2Recently, Brock Christian Hammerstein, 25 years of age, was one of two individuals accused of sexually assaulting a minor on a Dolphin cruise. Once said cruise ship ported, the victim visited a local hospital to report that she was sexually battered. At the time of the assault, the victim and her family were visiting Destin, Florida, and went on one of the Sunset Cruises. While on the cruise, an employee, 22 years of age, served her wine without first requesting her identification.  On the completion of the cruise, said employee invited her back onto the boat. The employee and Hammerstein then took her to the ship’s lower level where they allegedly sexually battered her.  The two men maintain that the victim said she was 24 years of age and that she consented to the sex.     

If you or a loved one is a victim of a crime, it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney. The Miami crime victim lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here for you. We are available at 1-877-475-2905 and/or at info@gslawusa.com.

Sexual Assault on Cruise Ships

100_0677While a cruise ship voyage can be a dream vacation, accidents and crime may occur. Just recently, Gary Stevenson, 27 years of age, admitted he stabbed a cruise ship worker, Katy Bourke, three times because she refused to have sex with him. Mr. Stevenson, a hard drinker, essentially snapped and fatally attacked her. Before the stabbings, Stevenson punched her repeatedly in the face and put his hands around her throat. After killing her, Stevenson then cut his wrists in a fake suicide attempt. Officers discovered Bourke’s naked body next to her bed near a large kitchen-knife. The officers were notified by Katy’s friends when she failed to show up for work.  

If you or a loved one is a victim of a crime at sea, it is important that an experienced maritime lawyer is retained for your case. Cruise ship companies have their own lawyers who work for them following an incident and so should you. The Miami cruise ship lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.

The Basics of Murder

DSCN0824Two employees on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship were recently arrested after being accused of using sandals to smuggle drugs into Florida. They were bringing drugs into Port Canaveral. One of the two employees was a courier for at least one drug trafficking organization. Police officers began following the employee as he left Port Canaveral and they saw him and another employee smuggling cocaine with the use of sandals. Junior Ellison, 31 years of age, was arrested aboard the cruise ship as he was walking away with the cocaine. It was found that the sandals were purchased from Wal-Mart. It was also later found that each time Ellison left the ship he took a shuttle to a Merritt Island Wal-Mart. Authorities discovered that Ellison would obtain sandals filled with cocaine in St. Maarten and then wear them off the ship.  Ellison would make his trip to Wal-Mart, purchase a new pair of sandals, and then place the cocaine-filled sandals in the Wal-Mart bag to deliver to someone else.         

Many people are victimized when a person, or people, commits the crime of drug trafficking.  Perhaps your money was stolen by a person intending to use it to purchase drugs or paraphernalia. If you are a victim of a crime, it is imperative that you hire an attorney. The experienced Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here for you!

Drug Distribution in Florida

DSCF0068Are you contemplating a cruise ship vacation? If so, please be wise and keep your valuables at home (if possible). Theft crimes on cruise ships are not uncommon. Not only do these theft crimes take place at United States ports and at sea, theft crimes also take place while ported on foreign lands. For instance, just last month, in March 2016, while making a stop in Belize, six cruise ship passengers and one tour guide were robbed at gunpoint. The robbery occurred while the passengers enjoyed an excursion at the Altun Ha Maya ruins site. Local police detained a few people in the area as suspects.

If you were a victim of a theft crime while abroad, it is imperative that you retain an experienced attorney for your case. Contact the Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA. At Gerson and Schwartz, PA we provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.

The Basics of Robbery

bacteriaCases of gastrointestinal illness (“GI”) have grown to become a serious problem for various cruise lines. The cases are growing in number. Today, there are several cruise lines that are specifically required to report the total number of GI illness cases. These cruise lines are participating in the Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”).  

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) there was a severe gastrointestinal outbreak on the Ocean Princess cruise ship of the Princess Cruises cruise line. From this apparent outbreak, 63 out of 603 passengers (or 10.45%) became ill while on the cruise. Seven crewmembers also became ill. This notable outbreak occurred during the cruise ship’s February 13th through March 7th, 2016 voyage. Among all those sickened, the predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea. In response to this outbreak, the cruise ship’s crewmembers, those not sick, increased their cleaning and disinfection procedures, collected stool samples from the sickened passengers and crewmembers for testing and made daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases. The CDS Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”) is currently monitoring the outbreak and the ship’s response procedures.  

Have you or a loved one suffered from an illness while on a cruise ship?  If it is found that the cruise ship was at fault for your illness, you may be entitled to compensation.  To best protect your interests, it is imperative that you retain an experienced attorney.  The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help. At Gerson and Schwartz, PA we provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.   

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