Earlier this week, the cruise ship industry suffered yet another disturbing incident when MSC Cruises’ Magnifica ship, transporting 2,469 passengers and 976 crew members, allided with a pier in Piräus, Greece. Alliding is a term often used in nautical contexts to describe an impact with a stationary object. The Magnifica suffered minor damage to its hull, although there were no immediate reports of injuries to the passengers or crew. According to reports, the ship was blown into the pier by strong winds while it was being berthed.
Although the initial reports indicate that the cause of the incident was inclement weather, further investigation might reveal that there’s more to the story. Unfortunately, as this blog has discussed recently, the cruise ship industry is not always forthcoming with negative information regarding its safety record. In fact, docking and berthing incidents are more common than expected with a number of serious accidents having occurred in recent years.
Perhaps the most memorable, and tragic, of these incidents was the sinking of the Carnival cruise ship Costa Concordia, which crashed into the rocks off the coast of Giglio Island, Italy, resulting in the deaths of thirty two individuals and injuries to dozens of others. Carnival and ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, took heavy criticism for the botched evacuation efforts, which suffered from significant delays, allegations of bribery, and the captain’s early abandonment of the ship.
Earlier this year another Carnival ship, the Triumph, broke loose from its moorings while docked at the Mobile Alabama Cruise Terminal. The ship was ultimately resecured without injury to any of the several hundred crew aboard. Last year, a Saga Cruises crew member fell more than seventy feet into the water during a lifeboat drill while the ship was docked in Southampton, United Kingdom.
Despite enhanced protective measures and policies designed to ensure passenger safety, cruising can be a risky activity. As demonstrated by the tribulations of the Magnifica, Costa Concordia, and Triumph, cruise ship accidents are becoming more and more common and don’t only occur while at sea. The increasing risk of cruising has rendered the need for experienced legal counsel for those injured in such accidents more important than ever.
Cruise ship accidents must be handled differently than ordinary personal injury cases, because they often arise under a different type of law, such maritime, admiralty, or contract law, and are subject to much shorter statutes of limitations to pursue a claim, sometimes as short as one year. Further, cruise companies often utilize various tactics to delay litigation, resulting in the degradation of evidence and, in certain cases, loss of the right to compensation.
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 has been representing the victims of cruise ship accident for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.