Articles Tagged with Florida cruise ship accident lawyers

In July of 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (“CVSSA), legislation designed to improve the security and safety of passengers aboard cruise ships carrying more than 250 passengers on a voyage embarking or disembarking from any U.S. ports. Adoption of the CVSSA was spurred by findings by Congress that “passengers on cruise vessels have an inadequate appreciation of their potential vulnerability to crime while on ocean voyages, and…lack the information they need to understand their legal rights or to know whom to contact for help in the immediate aftermath of the crime.” Our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys have been viewing the details of this closely.

In order to achieve its goals, the CVSSA required cruise lines to adopt a number of safety measures, including security peepholes on passenger cabin doors, security cameras, higher guardrails, and the distribution of safety information to passengers.

Despite these requirements, it would appear that, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), the cruise industry is largely ignoring four important requirements of the CVSSA:

Earlier this week, the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian news outlet, reported that the body of a man who had fallen overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas on December 21st had been recovered, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.  The ship was sailing towards Noumea, New Caledonia, approximately 550 kilometers east of Brisbane when the unidentified man went overboard. Our Florida maritime accident lawyers  have been covering this news extensively, and can provide legal advice to anyone that may find themselves in an accident related to time spend on a cruise.

An alarm was raised around 1 AM Queensland time after another passenger witnessed the man fall. According to reports, the ship’s crew threw life preservers and smoke markers into the water, and even launched rescue boats, but, however, they could not locate the man.  New Caledonian Law Enforcement Services will be investigating the death.

This incident is just another in a long line of unfortunate man overboard accidents which have plagued the cruise industry the last couple years. Last year, 30-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.

According to two recent reports ready by our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys from both CNN and the Associated Press, Carnival knew that its now infamous Triumph ship posed a substantial risk of fire due to delays in the maintenance of its diesel engines and fuel lines, but allowed the ship to set sail anyway. More than 4,000 passengers and crew members became stranded aboard the Triumph in February of 2013 after a fire knocked out the ship’s power.  The ship drifted for four days without air conditioning, and only had limited lights, water, food and working toilets, before it was towed to Mobile, Alabama.

According to the AP article, Triumph’s captain, Angelo Los, admitted in a November 22nd, 2013, deposition that he had been notified by Carnival that there had been problems with the ships flexible fuel hoses leaking.  Los stated that he believed Carnival had known about the leaks since March of 2012.  When confronted with a “compliance notice report” dated January 2nd, 2013, that recommended that spray shields be installed on engines’ flexible fuel hoses, Los confesses that the suggested spray guards were only a makeshift measure to deal with leaking fuel lines and had not even been installed on the engine that caught fire.

In response to the allegations that it was aware of the Triumph’s safety issues, Carnival   stated, “The leak in the flexible fuel hose was a completely unexpected accident that took place. What ignited the fuel is unknown.”  Carnival referred to the spray guards as the “best practice to avoid fires.” Carnival also claimed that the compliance notice only referenced fuel lines above the engine room floor, whereas the leak that disabled the Triumph occurred on a fuel hose beneath the engine room floor.

Last month, our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys discussed some of the negative aspects of the ever-increasing size of cruise ships, including the fact that such megaships, by their very nature, have many more areas in which a passenger can become injured.  As mentioned in that post, with more entertainment venues comes a greater risk of injury to passengers, especially when cruises feature options such as on-board surfing and giant waterslides.  Some ships have several gigantic pools that too often go unsupervised by lifeguards.

One of the megaships that features such water entertainment options is the Carnival ship Victory, which is 893 feet long and has a capacity for 3,400 passengers and 1,000 crew members. The Victory has three large pools, all that include whirlpools, and a 214-foot-long waterslide. With such a massive amount of space to be supervised, it is no surprise that tragedy struck the Victory 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.

According to a recent CNN story, 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 to pull the boy out.  A crew member attempted to revive the unconscious boy, but was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead shortly after.

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