Articles Tagged with cruise ship attorneys

Lifeguards: A Noticeably Absent Safety Measure on Cruise Ships

Earlier this month, a toddler nearly drowned on the Carnival Splendor. The incident occurred while the ship was in port in Miami, and the toddler was hospitalized. What was supposed to be a fun, memorable vacation for this family quickly became a nightmare. Unfortunately, many children have nearly drowned or drowned while on-board cruise ships. Florida cruise ship attorneys are taking on the cruise lines to demand that they improve safety on board. A simple solution to prevent these tragic accidents would be hiring lifeguards to keep an eye on minor guests as they swim.

Carnival, along with other major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines, employs hundreds of crew members and staff to take care of their guests during their voyages. Many of the ships in the fleets of these cruise lines have special attractions for kids in their pools, such as water slides and other activities. Most cruise lines state that parents should closely supervise their children while they are using cruise ship pools. However, cruise lines cannot simply hide behind this request and avoid liability for dangerous conditions on board. In fact, due to the disturbing number of incidents that occur onboard cruise ships, Disney Cruise Line has started posting lifeguards at its pools.

While the exact details of the accident are still under investigation, what is clear is that a crew member died in a Carnival Ecstasy elevator while passengers caught glimpses of the gruesome scene. The ship was in the last legs of a Caribbean cruise departing from Miami when Florida residents Matt Davis and his wife were walking toward the elevator and noticed it was malfunctioning, only partly open and dripping with a copious amount of blood. When they alerted the cruise ship’s staff, they were told to leave the scene and enter the restaurant.

Miami-Dade police are currently investigating the freak accident that killed electrician Jose Sandoval Opazo, 66, of Liguria, Italy. Carnival Cruise Line has been reluctant to provide many details regarding the incident but do extend their support to the victim and his family. Witnesses of the accident say that crew members told them that Opazo was working either inside or behind the elevator when the elevator came down. If you were injured or lost a loved one aboard a cruise ship consider contacting a Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorney.

Carnival Cruise Line has been fraught with controversy surrounding various catastrophic accidents in recent years. In 2012 the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. The cause of the accident was the hubris of the ship’s captain who intentionally steered the ship too close to shore. In 2013 the Carnival Triumph caught fire, which knocked out the ship’s power, leaving the cruise stranded for four days without working toilets.

Our Florida Cruise Ship Attorneys have dedicated their decades of experience to representing cruise ship passengers that are injured by the acts or omissions of the cruise ship industry and its employees. This past Tuesday, the New York Times published a short editorial discussing the questionable actions of South Korean ferry captain, Lee Jun-seok, in abandoning the ship while it sank with hundreds of passengers still aboard. The South Korean ferry, Sewol, turned on its side and sank last Wednesday, leaving two-thirds of the 476 passengers dead or missing. So far as we know, none of those aboard included American citizens.

Captain Lee and two-thirds of ferry’s crew survived, many of whom, including Lee himself, jumped ship shortly after it began to go down. According to reports, only one of the ferry’s 47 lifeboats was deployed, and the order to abandon ship wasn’t broadcast until 30 minutes after the ferry began to sink. One crew member claimed that an immediate evacuation was not conducted the ferry’s officers were attempting to stabilize the vessel. To date, Lee and six crew members of the Sewol have also been arrested, with others under investigation. South Korean law allows for an individual convicted of abandoning passengers at a time of crisis to be punished by life in prison.

The tragedy of the Sewol casts the spotlight back on the cruise industry, especially given the similarity of the allegations against Lee to those asserted against the captain of the Carnival cruise ship Costa Concordia in 2012. In one of the worst cruise disasters in history, the Costa Concordia crashed into the rocks off the coast of Giglio Island, Italy, resulting in the deaths of 32 individuals and injuries to dozens of others.

Over the weekend Royal Caribbean’s was struck another blow when two of its ships, the Adventure of the Seas and the Navigator of the Seas, had problems returning to port. The Adventure of the Seas lost propulsion Saturday night after the cruise ship leaked oil and barely made it to San Juan on Sunday. Navigator of the Seas was unable to make port on time due to an oil spill caused by a collision between a ship and a barge. Although the ships were delayed for different reasons, the handling of the incidents by Royal Caribbean is causing the company huge headaches.

It would appear that neither passengers arriving to board the Adventure of the Seas in San Juan, nor those entering Houston to embark on the Navigator of the Seas were advised of the ship’s delays. One of the most common complaints about cruise industry is the cruise lines are woefully unprepared to deal with emergency situations onboard their ships. Further, when problems arise, passengers are kept in the dark as to the nature, extent, and possible duration of any complications. It would appear that Royal Caribbean remains among the ranks of those cruise lines that has failed to develop sufficient procedures to effectively communicate with its customers, both onboard and on ground.

Royal Caribbean’s recent woes are yet another in a seemingly never-ending string of cruise mishaps, made worse by cruise liners continued policy of denial and concealment of such issues. As our cruise ship accident attorneys recently discussed on this blog, although some cruise liners are now volunteering statistics regarding the safety of their vessels, those companies are unscrupulously artificially deflating crime numbers and diluting crime statistics through several underhanded tactics.

Yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) commenced a forum in Washington D.C. to address a number of issues related to the cruise ship industry. The meeting will be attended by NTSB representatives, Coast Guard officials, representatives of the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”), and members of the Cruise Line International Association (“CLIA”), the organizer of the meeting. Our Florida cruise ship and maritime accident attorneys have been monitoring the forum for any developments.

According to a NTSB spokesman, the agency regularly holds forums addressing safety issues, but is the first in which the cruise industry has been the focus. The spokesman commented, “Because the cruise ship industry is worldwide, and has sort of a diverse oversight structure that’s international in scope, we felt that maybe we could add something to the conversation by bringing everyone together.

Although topics to be addressed at the meeting include regulation of the industry accident investigations ship design and fire protection and emergency response, the International Cruise Victims (“ICV”) a prominent non-profit organization advocating for cruise safety, was not permitted to send representatives to the forum.

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