Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents/Incidents

Crime on cruise ships is not a new phenomenon, regrettably. Many voyages were ruined by unexplained deaths, overboard passengers, sexual assault, battery, and theft suffered by passengers on the world’s most popular cruise lines. Committing a crime while on vacation seems utterly irrational, but it happens. Cruise lines owe passengers a duty of care to protect their passengers from harm. Therefore, cruise lines may be held accountable to you if you are the victim of a crime while onboard. Florida cruise ship attorneys will provide you with zealous representation if you are the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship.

Until very recently, crime statistics for crimes that occur on a cruise ship were inconsistently reported.  While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains crime statistics, cruise lines compiled their own statistics. These compilations rarely, if ever, agreed with one another. Often, the FBI would report individual numbers while the cruise lines would report something wildly different. The public did not have access to the crime statistics, which compounded matters. Obviously, cruise lines have a vested interest in under reporting the numbers of crimes allegedly happening during their voyages.

Now, with the assistance from the United States Department of Transportation, the public has ready access to crime statistics for a crime allegedly committed on board a cruising vessel.  Critically, recently enacted legislation not only compels cruise line to cooperate with reporting of offenses, but FBI agents are also assigned to investigate crimes the reportedly happen during a voyage. The FBI will establish a communication system that enables victims to contact the FBI for assistance while onboard the vessel.

A cruise to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia turned tragic earlier this year when a 79-year old grandmother died in her stateroom. The woman’s death has sparked a controversy as to where the blame lies for her demise. The family of the deceased grandmother contends that the cruise line P & O is to blame for a gastroenteritis infection as the potential cause of death. The woman’s family alleges that she contracted the illness on board. However, he cruise line has defended the allegation by claiming that the woman was sick before boarding the vessel.

According to news reports, the now deceased grandmother embarked on a ten-day journey with her daughter and grandson. This voyage was the 79-year old’s seventh cruise in the last ten years. The elderly woman’s family reported her to be in good health, good spirits and looking forward to the trip with great anticipation because the cruise line upgraded her stateroom.  The woman fell ill soon after the tour began and she sought help from the ship’s doctors. Reportedly, the medical staff informed her that she probably brought the illness on board with her. The cruise line adamantly denied she contracted the illness from an outbreak on board. Notwithstanding, the grandmother’s daughter, and grandson also took sick during the journey. The daughter and grandson did not share a stateroom with their relative. Coroners will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

P & O cruise line defended its position. P & O claimed that the authorities in Australia stated that the woman died of natural causes while on board. The cruise line stated that it had no information about an outbreak of an infection on board.  Queensland authorities second that claim. They said that gastroenteritis is not a disease about which a cruise line must warn its passengers. Despite the ship’s claim, additional news reports indicate that several other passengers took sick during the voyage, including one individual who required an emergency medical evacuation.  Family members of the deceased told an Australian news agency that many other passengers could not wait to get off of the ship because of the illness. If you became ill or was injured while on a cruise ship, our Florida cruise ship injury attorneys can investigate whether or not there is any legal responsibility to warrant pursuing a personal injury claim.

Cruise Lines and Terror Attacks: Can Cruise Ships Be Liable?

In early October, the Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa was the first cruise ship to sail into Tunis, Tunisia since terror attacks ravaged the area in 2015. Last year, 59 tourists were brutally killed by terrorists as they visited the area. Twenty-one tourists who were traveling with MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises were attacked at the Bardos museum in March. After the passengers got off of the buses used by the excursion companies that were contracted by the cruise lines, terrorists opened fire. Many survivors and family members of those killed alleged that the cruise lines did not provide adequate security for their passengers and in fact offered no information about terrorist activity in the area. Florida cruise ship accident attorneys can hold cruise lines liable when their failure to provide reasonable security measures causes passengers harm.

How could a cruise line be responsible for terrorist activity? The answer goes back to a cruise line’s responsibility to act with reasonable care in order to keep passengers safe. After the attacks in Tunisia, government officials alleged that they were foreseeable. In fact, Tunisia fired its head security experts and several high-ranking police officers. If notice of a dangerous condition is imputed on the cruise line, then the cruise line has a legal duty to take reasonable action to avoid the harm. This can be in the form of warning passengers or possibly avoiding areas where the risk of harm to passengers is likely to ocurr.

Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships Increase from Last Year

For a number of years, many have argued that cruise lines should be subjected to more stringent requirements for reporting crimes that happen both on board and in the numerous destinations these ships visit. Cruise ship injury attorneys have argued that cruise lines should make passenger safety a top priority and that they should thoroughly explain the measures they are taking to maintain and improve passenger welfare. Unfortunately, a number of cruise passengers are raped, or sexually assaulted every year. In the past, many of these incidents may not have been reported or are under reported by the cruise lines.  A major factor that plays in to the prevalence of these terrible crimes is because cruise ships provide inadequate safety and security measures on their ships. Some cruise ships do not even have security cameras in common areas making a cruise ship an easy target for predators.

Without a clear understanding of the incidents that occur on board, cruise lines often  attempt to dodge legal liability for failing to remedy unsafe conditions. For example, a crew member commits a rape or sexual assault, the cruise line is strictly liable under federal maritime law. In order to avoid legal liability cruise line operators often send the employee back to their place of origin. If a rape or sexual assault is committed by a passenger, then the victim must establish that the cruise line operator failed to act with reasonable care under the circumstances.

Lifeguards: A Noticeably Absent Safety Measure on Cruise Ships

Earlier this month, a toddler nearly drowned on the Carnival Splendor. The incident occurred while the ship was in port in Miami, and the toddler was hospitalized. What was supposed to be a fun, memorable vacation for this family quickly became a nightmare. Unfortunately, many children have nearly drowned or drowned while on-board cruise ships. Florida cruise ship attorneys are taking on the cruise lines to demand that they improve safety on board. A simple solution to prevent these tragic accidents would be hiring lifeguards to keep an eye on minor guests as they swim.

Carnival, along with other major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines, employs hundreds of crew members and staff to take care of their guests during their voyages. Many of the ships in the fleets of these cruise lines have special attractions for kids in their pools, such as water slides and other activities. Most cruise lines state that parents should closely supervise their children while they are using cruise ship pools. However, cruise lines cannot simply hide behind this request and avoid liability for dangerous conditions on board. In fact, due to the disturbing number of incidents that occur onboard cruise ships, Disney Cruise Line has started posting lifeguards at its pools.

The Zika Virus (“Zika”) has been making headlines for several months now. Though at one time, the virus did not appear to be a major threat, it has now spread to many destinations throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and in various states in the United States. Many have canceled their travel plans to avoid coming in contact with the disease, which is carried by Aedes mosquitoes. Pregnant women are especially at risk should they contract Zika since it has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly. Aside from mosquito bites, it is also believed that Zika may be spread through sexual intercourse. Therefore, travelers including cruise ship passengers who are infected with Zika may spread it to others.  In these instances, a cruise ship injury attorney in Florida may be able to help.

The mosquitoes that spread Zika thrive in warm, humid conditions. Many countries that have reported local transmission of Zika are popular cruise destinations—such as Jamaica, Mexico, and, most recently, the Bahamas and St. Kitts. In addition, Miami, which is a major departure port for many cruise lines, has reported cases of local transmission.

How can a cruise line be held responsible if a passenger contracts Zika? First, cruise lines have a duty to warn their passengers of any dangers that may be present in any ports. This includes the presence of any diseases that may be transmitted to passengers. Once cruise lines have knowledge that a disease, such as Zika, is present at any of its destinations, the cruise line should get in touch with passengers that have booked the cruise to provide information so that the passengers may decide if they wish to travel. Additionally, cruise lines should post this information on their websites so that potential guests may make an informed decision about their vacations.

Cruise Line Liability for Injuries and Severe Weather Conditions

We like to think that for the most part, cruising is safe. However, with any type of transportation, automobile, railroad, plane, or cruise ship—accidents may happen. When the negligence of the cruise ship operator, staff captain lead to injuries, the cruise line may be liable. Experienced cruise ship injury attorneys in Miami, Florida help these victims obtain the maximum compensation available under the law.

Most cruise lines sail all year long even during hurricane season. Our firm has represented cruise ship passengers in situations where severe weather was in the immediate forecast. For instance, during hurricane season, cruise line operators still decide to stay the course and thinking they can out run, or maneuver around some of these storms. Some cruise ship captains have testified that the cruise ship is made to withstand extreme weather conditions. But are cruise ship passengers? Probably not. Cruise line officials should monitor weather conditions to ensure their passengers will be safe during their cruises. If it appears that inclement weather, high seas, or winds may compromise the safety of cruise passengers, the cruise should be rerouted to avoid the storm. Perhaps not even depart from port. If a storm arises after a cruise has embarked, the captain must determine what reasonable steps should be taken.

Leading Cruise Lines Neglect Swimming Pool Safety Despite Tragic Drowning Accidents

When families elect to take advantage of the convenience and luxury of a cruise, the children predictably will spend lots of time in the pool.  Many parents do not worry about the safety of their kids because cruise ships are filled with large staffs that often create an illusion of safety.  What parents might not know is that several major cruise lines elect not to provide lifeguards for the safety of their guests.  The failure to implement this basic safety measure is particularly troubling because the cruise industry has had its share of drowning and near-drowning accidents involving children.  Given that approximately 1.5 million children travel on cruise ships annually, the investment in lifeguards to reduce the risk of drowning accidents seems to be a justified expense.  Nonetheless, our cruise ship lawyers recognize that major cruise lines continue to gamble on the safety of their young guests by ignoring this obvious safety precaution.

Cruise Lines Continue to Place Saving Money Over Passenger Safety

According to the United States Coast Guard, a Carnival cruise ship passenger fell overboard on a the Carnival Ecstasy over Labor Day Weekend.  But if you ask Carnival cruise lines, they have already publicly stated that the passenger was witnessed jumping overboard. If Carnivals version is the truth, then this is poor public relations in my opinion. Regardless, these are certainly very different versions of what happened. The cruise ship passenger has been identified as Rina Patel, of New York. The vessel was located about 15 miles off Grand Bahama Island. Our cruise ship lawyers are monitoring the situation. According to reports, USCG “man overboard procedures” were initiated. However, it is unclear what procedures if any Carnival followed and if they did, when they were initiated.  If the passenger in fact jumped, then there should be evidence to support Carnival’s public statement that the passenger was observed jumping. Yet, the USCG reports and other media outlets suggests negligence. However, what facts the investigation yields and what the CCTV cameras show will shed light on whether this was accidental or not.

As a maritime personal lawyer in Miami, Florida that has litigated many cruise ship cases against many  cruise lines operators including Carnival, it is astonishing that Carnival would come out and publicly state that the passenger jumped or committed suicide before any of the investigation or facts or details are revealed about the investigation.

The Cruise Ship Vessel Safety and Security Act mandates that serious crimes including missing person incidents  are reported immediately to the United States Coast Guard. However, there is no private right of action for failure to violate this important federal statute. So, while the guidelines by CVSSA are straight forward, there is virtually little in the way of a legal remedy in the event these rules promulgated by the US Congress are not followed.

OCEAN BUOY 2A personal injury that occurs on a cruise ship can have a number of causes. A collision with another ship, although relatively rare, is one such cause of personal injury that is rarely discussed. One report of a cruise ship that collided with a ferry has sparked interest among many in the legal community. Many maritime lawyers are expecting some type of legal action to take place against the cruise line, either from passengers or crew members, in relation to the event.

Seeking Legal Help for Cruise Ship Accidents

Cruise ships are supposed to be navigated and directed in a safe and efficient manner in an effort to avoid collisions. This did not happen with the UK-based Cruise and Maritime Voyages. A recent report shows that this cruise ship collided with a ferry. At this time, there are no official reports of injury, but it would not be surprising that a cruise ship collision did result in some type of injury for some of the passengers and crew on board.

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