Articles Tagged with safety

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch of UK Government (MAIB) recently published a report about the drowning of a 29-year-old female passenger in a swimming pool on board Sapphire Princess in the East China Sea. The victim was found floating face down in a swimming pool on board the Sapphire Princess. Despite rescue and resuscitation attempts by passengers and crew, the victim did not survive. In their report, MAIB concluded that the mere usage of a notice board expressing that lifeguards were not on duty and persons using the pools should do so at their own risk was inadequate and failed to sufficiently raise awareness among the passengers about the risks of unsupervised swimming. Our team of Miami cruise ship accident lawyers were saddened to hear about this awful incident when it occurred, but we are not surprised by the MAIB’s findings.

Serious safety issues were also noted by the MAIB team during their investigation, and officials specifically noted that:

  • With no dedicated pool attendants it was left to pool users and bystanders to recognize an emergency and raise an alarm.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) self-adopted a “Bill of Rights” in May of 2013 in order to allegedly fulfill the commitments of care and comfort to all their onboard passengers on luxury cruises throughout the world. Our team of experienced Miami maritime lawyers were hopeful, yet skeptical, of such a self-regulating scheme in the cruise industry. Named the International Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights, cruise ship passengers were provided with numerous “rights” including:

  • The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities, and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  • The right to a full refund for a trip that is cancelled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.

Carnival Cruise Line has ordered “mega cruise ships” that will hold about 7,000 passengers each, making them essentially floating cities. Obviously, this means bigger profits for Carnival, as bigger ships will mean more passengers and more ticket sales. But is bigger going to mean better and safer? Probably not. Our team of experienced Miami maritime injury attorneys have handled serious cruise ship injury cases and, in many instances, the focus for the cruise line is to pack as many people on board, regardless of potential safety hazards.

Some maritime experts are getting worried about the security issues associated with putting so many people on a ship at the same time and going for extended voyages at sea. This can pose problems for smaller ports which do not have the infrastructure to handle potentially thousands of people at the same time, especially when it comes to providing emergency services. In fact, mega cruises can practically double a small port’s population in a matter of minutes by dumping an entire “city” full of passengers and creating havoc. In addition, the bigger cruise ships will, by having more number of people on board, increase the danger of outbreak of diseases like the norovirus (which recently occurred on two Royal Caribbean cruise ships in 2015). These mega ships are likely going to be magnets for criminals and thieves looking to steal purses, wallets, and other valuables.

A legislative proposal by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey named the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2015 (CPPA) will make it mandatory for cruise liners to have built-in state-of-the-art security technologies such as man-overboard detection systems and other relevant security systems. The proposed law would also provide for security measures for passengers who have been victims of crimes at sea. The CPPA is just a proposal at this point working its way through Congress. This means, as of now, the level of security on a cruise ship is dependent upon the discretion of the cruise line.

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