Bad weather reports and communications cited in cargo ship sinking

As Florida cruise ship attorneys, we review the causes of a cruise ship or maritime accident. The National Transportation Safety investigated the death of 33 crew members in the 2015 sinking of a cargo ship in the most fatal maritime accident of its kind in 50 years. It preliminary findings revealed long-standing causes of these tragedies. The NTSB called for improved maritime communications and weather forecasting.

El Faro sails into hurricane

How to Avoiding Serious Injury During Water-Based Activities

During the summer months, many people in the Miami area enjoy recreational water activities like boating, jet skis, water skiing, and wake boarding. While these kinds of activities are undoubtedly enjoyable and often exciting, they also expose participants to a serious risk of injury. Below are some ways to minimize your risk of injury while engaging in water-based recreation. In the event that you are hurt while playing in the water this summer, it is important that you discuss your legal options with a Miami maritime accident lawyer as soon as you can.

  • Ensure that you have all proper safety equipment for your activity. Lifejackets or personal flotation devices should be worn on boats, and inflatable toys are not a substitute for a these lifesaving devices. Children should be outfitted with life vests, helmets, or other safety equipment that is properly fitted to their size.

Traveling on a cruise ship may be the idyllic vacation. However, passengers should walk on the gangway with open eyes. Ships may sail away from society but also carry its problems such as negligence, medical emergencies and crime. These vessels also have their own unique cruise ship accidents like passengers falling overboard.

Falling overboard and Passenger Illness


Passengers disappear from cruise ships. Reports show that 116 passengers were reported missing from cruises from 2011 through 2015. Ships are not immune from sickness. The relative proximity and close space may increase the spreading of flu and other contagious illnesses. Furthermore, physicians are less regulated because they may be licensed in any country or state.

Cruise lines have shipboard accidents unique to the high seas but also experience some of the same problems as hotels and parks on land. Cruise ships, like hotels, did not assign lifeguards to shipboard swimming pools and instead emphasized parental supervision. Some tragedies have occurred. If simple safety measures were in place, then more likely than not many of these tragedies could have been avoided.

Multiple Ship Drowning Incidents: What is the Cruise Line Industry Doing About it?

An 8-year-old boy drowned in a pool on Royal Caribbean’s International Anthem of the Seas last summer. In 2015, a family filed a lawsuit against that line and demanded lifeguards after a 4-year-old almost drowned in a wave pool on its Oasis of the Sea. Two years ago, a 6-year-old almost drowned on Independence of the Seas and suffered a brain injury.

Cruise line sued for Mother’s Day overboard death

 A get-away vacation cruise with girlfriends that was on the victim’s bucket list turned into an unthinkable tragedy for the family of a Carnival Cruise Line passenger. In one of the most serious cruise ship accidents, she fell off the ship and drowned in the Gulf of Mexico in May 2016. The Coast Guard ultimately shared the tragic news with her husband on Mother’s Day weekend and he had the unspeakable job of telling their four children. The family hired a cruise ship injury law firm and the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit which was filed in federal court, includes allegations that are seen in other personal injury cases analogous to owners and operators of resorts  provide reasonable safety measures for their patrons. In this particular case, the duty of care that is owed is a a duty cruise ship passengers.

The victim was obviously and seriously intoxicated on the evening of the accident and the crew continued serving her alcohol, according to the lawsuit. Shipboard video revealed that she later went on deck, stepped on a chair, climbed on the railing and sat with her back on the water. She then fell backward and into the water at 2:04 a.m. The plaintiff’s attorney said that the ship did not issue an alert, stop, slow down, turn or launch a lifeboat. The fall was videotaped with infrared cameras but was not viewed until later and the ship’s captain did not notify the U.S. Coast Guard for 15 hours after the fall was viewed. Friends told her husband that she was missing the next morning while the crew went to her cabin and posted her picture for other passengers.

Cruise ships can offer an idyllic atmosphere and experience for passengers. However, poor shipboard safety and training may turn a dream vacation into the most unwanted nightmare for passengers and their families. The harm from these maritime accidents may be compounded by the antiquated laws that govern cruise ship accidents and fatalities.

An Alabama couple was killed in a cruise ship on the Amazon last April after a fire broke out in their cabin. The deaths may have been prevented if the ship was equipped with its advertised safety devices and the crew was properly trained, according to a Peruvian Navy report.

The fire was attributed to short-circuit in a power strip provided by the ship and connected to a CPAP machine used by the male victim. The flames were confined to their cabin. However, the poor construction and tragedy compounded the fire’s impacted.

For many modern cruise ships, their pool (or pools, in some cases) are one of their main attractions. These pools and pool areas often offer entertainment, multiple bars, and activities for vacationers of all ages to enjoy. Unfortunately, they also expose people in and around the pool to a significant risk of involvement in a cruise ship accident.

When these incidents are the result of the negligence of cruise ship staff or defective pool equipment, victims can often recover compensation from the cruise line.  Here are some of the types of hazardous conditions that could potentially entitle people to file a claim.

Inadequate Pool Maintenance

Last year, passengers on a Carnival Cruise ship were horrified as their vessel crashed into a pier at a harbor in Baltimore. After returning from a weeklong trip to Florida and the Bahamas, the cruise ship approached the pier while traveling too fast, and was unable to avoid a collision. Luckily, no one was injured, but the incident raised questions about cruise ship safety. After a lengthy investigation into the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board has finally released its report on the episode.

Incident like these are not uncommon. If you were injured on a Carnival Cruise ship or any other type of cruise ship, our South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys can help.

Investigators Blame Ship Captains for Cruise Ship Accident

Last week, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard made the decision to call off the search for a man who fell overboard while sailing on a Carnival Cruise ship. Security cameras on board the ship recorded 24-year-old Kevin Wellons falling from the 11th deck of the ship while the vessel was sailing near Abaco, Bahamas. The cameras did not record how or why the Warner Robins, Georgia man fell from the Carnival Elation, and only caught his descent into the water.

Wellons fell overboard at about 2:45 a.m. on the morning of February 13, 2017. Wellons’ wife reported him missing to the ship’s authorities after she awoke around 8 a.m. By 11 a.m., the ship had deployed rescue boats, helicopters, and had notified the Coast Guard, but had no luck locating Wellons. The search was called off a week after the accident with Wellons presumed dead.

The Coast Guard states that they do not suspect foul play involved in Wellons’ death, and his presumed drowning was likely an accident. Further investigation will show if the cruise line was negligent in failing to prevent Wellons’ death. If you or a loved one was injured or suffered an accident while on a cruise ship, the Florida cruise ship accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., can help.

While vacationers hope for sunny skies when embarking on a cruise, hot weather can cause numerous hazards for passengers onboard a ship. Recently, one South Florida couple alleged that Norwegian Cruise Lines (Norwegian) failed to account for the dangers posed by the sun and failed to adequately warn its passengers of the dangers posed by the heat, causing a serious injury. If you were similarly injured on a cruise ship, our experienced Miami cruise ship attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries.

Did Cruise Line Fail to Warn Passengers?

In July of 2016, Arturo O. Ynigo and his wife, Marison Martinez Ynigo, were sailing on a Norwegian ship when Mr. Ynigo decided to go swimming. After getting out of the pool, he soon discovered that the deck in the pool area was extremely hot. By the time he was able to put on his footwear, Mr. Ynigo’s feet had been badly injured. Mr. Ynigo sought medical treatment, and was diagnosed with second-degree burns on the bottom of his feet. The Ynigos claim that they were not warned that the deck near the pool area was hot enough to cause such an injury.

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