As of September, it appears the eruption of Kīlauea is slowing down. The National Park Service stated there was no significant incandescence visible overnight on Sept. 25th. No collapses within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater had been observed for over 10 days, and the lava flows had not expanded since Aug. 9th. The sulfur dioxide emissions rates had significantly decreased in multiple areas. This is good news for residents and visitors. However, since May 3rd, when the volcano began erupting anew, numerous people have been injured.

On July 16th, Lava Ocean Tours was operating a tour boat near the volcano when the boat was struck by molten lava. The U.S. Coast Guard’s policy is to not let vessels come any closer than 300 meters (984 feet) from the volcano’s lava has run into the sea. However, Lava Ocean Tours as operating with a special permit to go as close as 50 meters (164 feet) from the lava.

If your or a loved one were injured while on a tour boat, cruise ship, or other vessel, do not hesitate to contact an experienced cruise ship lawyer in Miami. At Gerson & Schwartz P.A., we are highly experienced in handling claims related to cruise ships and other vessels. You can reach us at (877) 475-2905.

A passenger on the Seven Seas Mariner was reported overboard early morning on July 10. The 73-year-old man and his wife were on a 11-day Alaska cruise, which began in Vancouver. The vessel was on its way to Victoria, British Columbia, and just north of Neah Bay and Cape Flattery in Washington when cruise ship employers were made aware of the overboard passenger. Why the elderly man went overboard is yet unknown, though the cruise ship informed the Coast Guard that there is video of the man falling or jumping from an eight-deck balcony at 4:15 a.m. The passenger’s wife reported waking up around 4:30 a.m. to a breeze coming from the open balcony door, and at the time, there was no sign of her husband.

The ship contacted the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Command Center around 4:30 a.m. to report the passenger missing. The coast sent out two search helicopters and three rescue boats. They located the man the afternoon of June 10th, and he was unresponsive. He was flown to an Emergency Medical Service crew on shore and them to the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.  If your loved one recently went overboard a cruise ship, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney. Our cruise ship accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. offer free consultations. Call us at (877) 475-2905.

The Seven Seas Mariner

Each year, many individuals, couples, and families choose to take cruises. Some sale around to Alaska, the Mediterrean, or from Miami to Mexico. They all expect to have a fun vacation, free from accidents or illness. However, plans can go awry. Cruise ships must store and prepare immense amounts of food to feed thousands of people. If sanitation practices are not adhered to, food and water can become contaminated. So too can other cruise ship facilities. This can lead to an outbreak on the ship. In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported five cruise ships experienced illness outbreaks. One was called by E. coli, another by norovirus and Campylobacter. The cause of three other outbreaks are unknown.

If you or a loved one became seriously ill on a cruise ship and you believe it was because of contaminated food or poor sanitation practices, call an experienced Miami cruise ship attorney from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (877) 475-2905.

2018 Cruise Ship Outbreaks

On May 23, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it suspended the search for Brian Lamonds, 50, who went overboard a Carnival Paradise cruise ship approximately 85 miles west of Fort Myers, Florida. The cruise ship was traveling from Tampa to Key West, and was close to its destination when the Coast Guard was notified of Lamonds’ disappearance. The Coast Guard received a call at about 10 a.m. on May 22 regarding a missing passenger. Rescue crews including a Hercules aircraft, a Jayhawk helicopter, an Ocean Sentry aircraft crew, and the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo. Their search encompassed 3,059 miles.

It is unclear when Lamonds went missing from the ship and when Carnival Cruise employees on the ship were made aware of the potentially overboard passenger. There are many questions regarding whether Carnival Cruise delayed notifying the Coast Guard and whether the ship was equipped with modern safety features, such as a man overboard (MOB) system.

If you were injured on a cruise ship or lost a loved one recently, you should speak with a Florida cruise ship attorney from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. We are a full-service injury law firm with years of experience handling cruise ship cases. Contact us at (877) 475-2905 to schedule a free consultation and learn about your legal options following a cruise ship accident.

Various sources are reporting that a Georgia family has announced its plans to sue Carnival Cruise Line. The suit is hallway-on-a-cruise-ship-1553281-225x300based on a particularly unusual situation whereby a teen that the family alleges was drunk entered their then 10-year-old child’s room and laid in bed with him during a 2016 Bahamas cruise.

The family stated that they were on the Carnival Victory ship sailing out of Port Canaveral on June 6, 2016. They sailed with their son and his cousin, and booked a room across the hall from the parents for the two children.

On the day of the incident, the parents claimed that they closed the door to the children’s room, so that they could nap, and went back to their room across the hall. Sometime later, as the father went to check on the children, he claims that he found an intoxicated 18-year-old lying in bed next to his son. The father stated that he grabbed the teen and alerted security, who then contacted the parents of the teen.

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church-art-1195906-300x241A Florida court recently heard an appeal in a cruise ship personal injury case. However, rather than the more common personal injury case brought by a passenger, this case was being brought by a gentleman who was working under contract to conduct art auctions on cruise ships. A Serbian national and resident, the plaintiff brought the suit against the company he was working for, alleging that he injured his back while working. He initially filed the suit with the Miami-Dade circuit court, but the court dismissed the case pursuant to a mandatory forum selection clause.

Relevant to the case at hand, the forum selection clause stated that all legal proceedings, brought by either party, relating to the contract were to be brought in the Turks and Caicos Islands, except that the defendant company could sue in other forums if it was in pursuit of obtaining an injunction as related to the confidentiality and non-compete provisions of the contract.

On appeal, the court found the mandatory forum selection clause passed the legal test as being valid and enforceable because it did not believe that the forum was unjust and unreasonable so as to constitute no forum at all. Specifically, the court found that because the Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Territory and are thus a part of the British common law system, therefore any necessary appeals would come to the highest courts of the United Kingdom. The court stated its opinion that these courts were certainly capable of reviewing the relevant evidence and determining the applicability of relevant law. Thus, it did not find that the courts constituted “no forum at all.”

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The Celebrity Solstice ship has reportedly been dealing with a series of Norovirus outbreaks, according to reports dos-screen-virus-warning-1243783-300x225and a recent passenger’s statement. The passenger stated that he and his wife had been informed of the prior outbreak of the gastrointestinal virus after their ship left the Sydney port for Auckland. The passenger claims that it was not until the ship left Melbourne that the captain announced to passengers that an earlier cruise had an outbreak of the Norovirus, and informed guests to take extra sanitary precautions such as extensive hand washing and using hand sanitizer.

In a statement, Celebrity Cruises reportedly confirmed cases of the illness in passengers and crew, and claimed that it had sent a text message about the outbreak in informing passengers that it would need additional time to clean the ship.

Norovirus can be transmitted through infected food or water, by personal contact, or with contact with a surface that has been contaminated.

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cruise-ship-1403462-300x191According to the Miami Dade Police Department and various news sources, earlier this month an eight year old girl fell two stories from an interior deck on the Carnival Glory cruise ship while the boat was docked at PortMiami. Sources reported that the child, from the Bahamas, was on the ship cruising with her family.

The little girl had reportedly been waiting to disembark with her family, and was standing near a railing with her little brother when she fell. The girl was then taken to the ship’s medical center before being transferred to a hospital where she died.

A spokesperson for Carnival stated that the fall appeared to be an accident, and that the railing where the girl was standing was believed to have been 47 inches high. It is unclear from the statement whether the railing failed, the girl somehow fell over or through the railing, or something else happened that pushed the child over the ledge. In any event, it is an unfortunate tragedy.

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The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reached a rather controversial opinion last month in the case of Pizzino v. NCL (Bah.) Ltd., 2017 U.S. App. (2017), where it essentially endorsed the position that even if a cruise line employee creates a hazardous condition resulting in an accident, the plaintiff must prove actual or constructive notice in order to receive compensation for resultant injuries.

In the case, an employee of the cruise ship was engaging in his duties that required him to mop the area within a caution-wet-floor-sign-1-1444538-300x225coffee bar area. He transported two buckets, one filled with a water and bleach solution, and another with clean water (presumably to cleanse the area following the bleach). On the evening of the incident, although the employee testified that he did not spill the water nor see it spilled, the plaintiff’s husband testified that the surveillance footage of the area seemed to indicate that one of the buckets tilted and collided with the employee’s knee, perhaps spilling the water. There was no evidence mentioned in the appeal that anyone else may have spilled water.

Shortly after the employee had retrieved the buckets of water, the plaintiff slipped and fell forward sustaining several injuries including broken wrists. Though she did not see any water prior to her fall, after the incident she noticed that there were four to six inch puddles of water on the floor. There was no wet floor sign present at the scene.

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Passengers who book cruises for pleasure sometimes reach an unwanted destination. Our  Miami cruise ship injury attorneys review numerous cases where lines do not meet the standard of care they owe to their passengers or adequately meet the challenges of unexpected mechanical problems or weather.

We recently learned about an intended  pleasure cruise in Great Britain where 400 passengers battled seasickness for six hours while the craft confronted horrendous weather conditions. According to reports, the sick passengers engaged in a near mutiny as the craft underwent tilting and tipping in rough seas.

Pleasure cruise faces choppy seas

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