Articles Tagged with cruise ship attorneys in Florida

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.

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.

police tapePerhaps contrary to popular belief, criminal acts run rampant on cruise ships.  This in large part is due to the extreme lack of security personnel.  For instance, and unfortunately, cruises do not have law enforcement officers on board.  However, cruise lines do employ their own security personnel.  These security personnel are trained to maintain the safety on cruise ships and to protect evidence of a crime.  Even with these special security figures, crime remains commonplace on cruises.

Recently, on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas cruise ship, Jason Lawson, 32 years of age, was charged for an attack on a 13-year-old boy.  Lawson’s 13-year-old daughter also attended the cruise ship and was offered a keychain for her virginity by said 13-year-old boy.  Lawson is accused of assisting Arturno Martinez Jr., 30, assault the young boy.  In short, Lawson now faces battery, false imprisonment and additional charges from this incident.  The other attacker, Martinez, was charged with child abuse, assault, battery and false imprisonment of a child.  At the time of this incident, Lawson forced the 13-year-old boy to apologize to his daughter.  Minutes later, the 13-year-old girl’s uncle, Martinez, cornered the young boy in the cruise ship’s library and began to beat him.  At the same time, Lawson watched and blocked the boy’s escape.      

If you or a loved one are a victim of a crime, it is imperative you hire an experienced attorney.  The Miami crime victim lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA provide high quality legal representation.  For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online to set up a FREE initial consultation.

Over the last year, this blog has discussed on several occasions one of the most prominent problems faced by the cruise industry, onboard outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness. Each year, there are dozens of such outbreaks, including those suffered by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Grandeur of the Seas in April, in which 111 of 2122 (5.23%) passengers and 6 of 790 (0.76%) crew; Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas in January, in which  630 of 3,071 (20.5%) passengers and 54 of 1,166 (4.6%) crew; and the Norwegian Gem in November, in which 111 passengers and 3 crew members (4.55% of the total number of people onboard) reported being ill with symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea. Our maritime attorneys are monitoring this information closely.

Blowing Nose
According to a recent publication by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) the leading cause of norovirus, a common cause of gastrointestinal illness, is infected food handlers who work while sick and don’t regularly wash their hands. Despite this finding, and common knowledge that cruise ships are essentially floating restaurants, the report inexplicably concluded that one is far more likely to contract the norovirus in a restaurant than on a cruise ship.

The CDC report estimates that 20 million people get sick from norovirus each year, mostly from coming in close contact with infected individuals or by eating contaminated food. The report concluded that cruise ships account for only one percent of reported norovirus cases, while the other 99 percent of cases occur on land. Although this claim appears, on its face, to favor the cruise ship industry, it is likely misleading.

On a number of occasions, our Florida maritime attorneys have commented on the negative aspects of the ever-increasing size of cruise ships, specifically, that these giant vessels have so many more areas in which passengers can get hurt. With more entertainment areas comes the greater risk of harm to passengers, especially when cruises feature options such as on-board surfing and giant waterslides. Many ships now boast several gigantic pools, which are unsupervised by lifeguards or other crew members.

Cruise Ship
Late last year, one of the problems associated with these large, and numerous pools was brought to light when 6-year-old Qwentyn Hunter of Winter Garden, Florida, drowned in one of the pools aboard the ship where no life guards were on duty. Hunter was spotted underwater in a mid-ship pool by passengers as the ship was completing the final leg of a four-day journey.

A ship DJ saw Hunter struggling in the water and another passenger guest then jumped into the pool and pulled the boy out.  A crew member attempted to revive the unconscious boy, but was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead shortly after. According to one passenger’s account, there were a number of adult passengers in the pool area, but no lifeguards.

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