South Carolina Man Disappears After Falling Overboard From Celebration Cruise Line Ship

Late last month, South Florida news outlet CBS Miami reported that the U.S. Coast Guard launched a search for a 30-year old man who reportedly jumped over the railing of Celebration Cruise Line’s Bahamas Celebration. James Miller of Charleston, South Carolina, was reported overboard shortly after 2 a.m. on April 27, as the ship headed back to its home port in West Palm Beach. According to ship officials, the vessel turned around when Miller was discovered missing, but the ensuing search was unsuccessful. Our cruise ship accident attorneys are monitoring this story closely.

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On April 28, Fox 4, reported that one couple who was aboard the Bahamas Celebration when Miller went overboard were shocked at how unprepared officials seemed during the search and rescue mission. One of the couple commented that it didn’t seem like the crew put enough effort into the rescue, and the incident had the couple hesitant to ever bring their 10-year-old son with them on a cruise.

In response to the incident, Celebration Cruise Line issued the following statement:

The Bahamas Celebration is appropriately equipped and in compliance with all Coast Guard and International regulations. The ship passed its annual Coast Guard inspection which took place at the beginning of April. Celebration’s response to the situation was immediate and appropriate by crew members. These are just the facts. I’ll let the Coast Guard officer provide any qualitative assessment of the ship’s performance in this matter.

Not the First Incident

This incident is just another in a long line of unfortunate man overboard accidents which have plagued the cruise industry the last couple years. In December, a man fell overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the as the ship was sailing towards Noumea, New Caledonia. Although the ship’s crew threw life preservers and smoke markers into the water and launched rescue boats, they could not locate the man, whose body was later recovered.

Last year, thirty-year-old South Floridian Sarah Kirby fell overboard from the Carnival Destiny as it sailed from Miami to Jamaica.  Kirby fell 100 feet to the water, striking a lifeboat on the way down.  Kirby then spent the next two hours floating in the ocean at night, injured and struggling to stay afloat.  Kirby’s story ended much more fortunately than many others.

In 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which requires cruise lines to equip their vessels with systems designed to automatically capture images of persons going overboard or to notify the crew if a person falls overboard.  The law is intended to spur immediate rescue action when a passenger goes overboard, however, few cruise lines have implemented any technology that complies with the law.

Man overboard accidents are becoming more and more common, rendering the need for experienced legal counsel for the victims and victims’ families injured or killed in such accidents increasingly important.  According to one estimate, since 2000, there have been more than 200 man overboard cases around the world, despite the fact that only a fraction of such numbers have actually been reported by cruise lines.

Speak with a Miami Attorney Today

The Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts and have been representing the victims of cruise ship crimes for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship, contact the Florida maritime attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.

Photo Credit: nosha via Compfight cc

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