October 2, 2015

Coast Guard Rescues 80-Year-Old Woman Sailing aboard Carnival Pride

medevac_rescue_ 80_year_old_woman_aboard_Carnival_Pride.jpgThis past Saturday, the United States Coast Guard ("USCG") rescued an 80-year-old woman sailing aboard the Carnival Pride. The USCG, Sector North Carolina, received an emergency call that the woman was experiencing health complications. The USCG helicopter arrived at approximately 3:15 p.m. The helicopter crew was able to hoist the woman from the cruise ship onto the helicopter, where she was then flown to Carteret General Urgent Care in Morehead City, NC. According to the latest media reports, the woman remains in stable condition. No further information has been released regarding the unspecified health complications the woman suffered while sailing aboard the Carnival Pride.

WNCT (http://wnct.com/2015/09/27/coast-guard-rescues-80-year-old-woman/)

PHOTO CREDIT: WITN.com (http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/329675501.html)

September 23, 2015

Fatal Boating Collision off Watch Hill Light, RI

Krupinski Peggy K Death.jpgThe U.S. Coast Guard has reported that a 60-foot Princess yacht collided with a 25-foot commercial fisherman's vessel, southwest of Watch Hill Lighthouse. The collision occurred early Tuesday morning at approximately 10:00 a.m. The collision caused the fisherman's vessel to capsize, and the 81-year-old fisherman aboard the vessel sadly died.

Authorities have not yet released the identity of the deceased fisherman. However, the WesterlySun.com has reported that the fisherman's friends at Walker's Dock have identified him as Walter Krupinski, a commercial rod-and-reel fisherman who apparently sold his catch at Stonington Town Dock. The identity of the yacht operator has also not been released, but the operator was reportedly not injured. The Coast Guard escorted the yacht away from the collision scene.

An investigation is underway but sea conditions were rough at the time of the collision. The investigation will be conducted by Westerly police and officers from the State Department of Environmental Management's law enforcement division. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. Krupinski.




New Haven Register

September 22, 2015

Operator Who Left the Scene of a Biscayne Bay Boating Accident Wanted by Law Enforcement

FWC Biscyane Bay Accident.jpgThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking for a boater who left the scene of an accident last Sunday after his boat injured a man in Miami's Biscayne Bay. According to law enforcement, the victim was helping the other person push their boat off and was badly cut by the propeller. The boat operator then left the scene. The victim was brought by fireboat to Sea Isle Marina and then transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The boat is described as white, 20 feet long with a different color Bimini top.

Federal law requires that a boater involved in an accident to remain at the scene and render necessary assistance to each injured person to save that person from danger caused by the marine casualty, so far as the individual in charge can do so without serious danger to his vessel, himself or individuals on board.

If you have any information about the identity of the boat operator, please contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's 24 hour hot-line at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

September 22, 2015

Woman Evacuated Off Carnival Cruise Ship

Sick Carnival Passenger.jpgThe Coast Guard released video footage of its medical evacuation of a 24-year-woman off the Carnival Imagination cruise ship. The passenger ocean liner was off the coast of Point Loma, California when the Coast Guard received a call that the woman was showing signs of an acute appendicitis. San Diego sector's flight surgeon recommended that she be medically evacuated by one of the Coast Guard's MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and taken to an area hospital for emergency treatment. The woman was hoisted into the helicopter approximately 50 miles from the California coast and transferred to awaiting EMS. She was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital. Her condition is unknown. There is no word as to whether the woman was a passenger or member of the ship's crew. The Carnival Imagination makes weekly sailings to Mexico from Los Angeles.

September 21, 2015

One Dies Four Injured in Florida Intracoastal Waterway Boating Accident

Pompano Beach Boat Accident.jpgSeveral news agencies are reporting a fatal boating accident which occurred last Saturday night in the Pompano Beach, Florida Intracoastal Waterway. Though no eye witnesses have yet to be identified, at least one person heard the accident. Tracia Latino stated that she was watching television at her home when she heard a crash which sounded like thunder. Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is investigating the incident, said two boats, one carrying five people and the other carrying two collided around 8:21 p.m. Authorities were notified that one person went missing after the crash. The Coast Guard halted all boat traffic for several hours in order to conduct a search for the missing boater. After a long search by several agencies throughout the night, the body of the missing man was recovered Sunday afternoon. Law enforcement later identified the man as William Alfred Ineson, Jr.

Photo Credit:
Sun Sentinel

September 18, 2015

Two Arrested on the Carnival Pride as Cruise Ship Returned to Baltimore

Port of Baltimore.jpgU.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested two cruise passengers on outstanding warrants as they returned to Baltimore from a Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Pride. Christopher Turner, 45, of Lanham, Maryland was wanted for failing to appear in court on assault charges, while Christopher Main, 28, of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania was wanted for contempt of court and theft. The two passengers were traveling separately. Steve Sapp, a spokesperson for Custom and Border Protection, issued this warning, "If you do know that you have an outstanding arrest warrant, you need to know that we're going to know that you're on that ship." This statement is interesting. If the government knows that a fugitive will be on a certain cruise, why is the government and the cruise lines not working together to arrest the person while he attempts to board the cruise ship at the port on embarkation? It stands to reasons that passengers' safety would be better suited by arresting accused criminals before they embark the cruise ship than allowing them to sail with vacationing families. Both men were turned over to Maryland Transportation Authority Police for adjudication.

Photo Credit: MDBIZNews

September 16, 2015

Injured Woman Taken off Boston Based Cruise Ship

Norwegian Gem Injury.jpgThe United States Coast Guard reports that a crew from its Cape Cod Air Station medevaced an injured woman off the Boston based Norwegian Gem. The cruise ship operated by NCL was traveling from Boston to Nassau in the Bahamas on Sunday morning when watchstanders received a call that a 69-year-old passenger was suffering from possible internal injuries. The injured passenger was hoisted onto a Coast Guard Jayhawk MH-60 helicopters 56 miles off Nantucket Island and taken to Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis. She was then reportedly taken to Cape Cod Hospital for further medical treatment by ambulance. At the time of this posting, the passenger's condition is unknown.

September 13, 2015

Reported Rape aboard Carnival Cruise Ship Liberty

carnival_liberty_alleged_rape.jpgReaders may remember from our Labor Day post that the Carnival Liberty experienced an engine-room fire while the ship was moored at the pier in St. Thomas, USVI. Multiple media outlets are now reporting that a crewmember aboard the same ship has been accused of raping a woman inside one of the ship's cabins. The identity of the crewmember has not yet been released but authorities in Puerto Rico have allegedly detained the crewmember.

There are conflicting reports on whether the woman is a Carnival employee or whether she is a tourist/passenger. Her identity has also not been disclosed although a Carnival spokesperson has stated she is from Australia. The accused crewmember has not been formally charged by local authorities and it remains unknown whether this alleged rape has been reported to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act ("CVSSA") legislation, a legislation that was designed to improve the security and safety aboard cruise ships.

Cruise lines are strictly liable for persons victimized by their crew members. There is generally no defense that the attack occurred without the cruise line being provided with an opportunity to prevent the attack from happening. Under strict liability, it is also generally no defense that the crew member had a clean background check and did not show a propensity for aggression.





PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.newsamericasnow.com/rape-on-caribbean-cruise-five-fast-facts/

September 8, 2015

Fire Erupts aboard Carnival Cruise Ship

carnival-liberty_fire-erupts.jpgOn Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2015, an engine-room fire erupted aboard the Carnival Liberty, a cruise ship carrying over 3,300 passengers and 1,100 crew. Authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, are still investigating the cause of the fire, which remains unknown. Various media reports have stated that the fire ignited in the ship's aft engine room while the ship was moored at the pier in St. Thomas, USVI. It is reported that the ship's crew was able to extinguish the fire with the ship's carbon dioxide and Hi-Fog fire suppression systems. No injuries have been reported as a direct result of the fire.

As of Tuesday morning, the ship had not resumed its scheduled itinerary sailings in the Caribbean to ports in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. The ship left from San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 6, 2015 and was originally scheduled to return to San Juan on September 13th. Carnival released a statement claiming that all hotel services on the ship, including air conditioning, elevators, toilets and galleys, were fully functional. However, experts and authorities are still assessing the nature and extent of the engine-room fire.

This is the second reported fire aboard a cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean. Back in July, a fire erupted aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship while the ship sailed into Jamaica. Reports claimed that one crewmember was injured as a result of the fire.





PHOTO CREDIT: Cruisecritic.com

September 8, 2015

Gator Park Airboat Crash Leaves Several Injured

Everglades Airboat Injury.jpgTwo airboats collided Monday injuring several people. It has been reported that the accident sent at least twenty to area hospitals for treatment. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported. The accident occurred at Gator Park located approximately 25 miles from Miami. Miscommunication between the operators is being blamed for the crash.

Typically when such incidents occur, the tour boat company files a special proceeding in Federal Court called a petition for exoneration or limitation of liability. This legal maneuver is designed to give the company a distinct litigation advantage over the injured people seeking compensation. First, this proceeding requires the injured parties to bring their claims in Federal Court without the benefit of a jury. Second, it attempts to convince a federal judge to exonerate the company of any wrongdoing or limit the liability to the post-accident value of the airboats involved. Often times, the value of the boats are far less than the value of the personal injury claims.

Should Gator Park file a limitation of liability action, all is not lost. There are ways around the limitation caps in certain situations. If you were injured on an airboat and would like to learn more about your legal rights, feel free to contact our Florida Board Certified Maritime Lawyer. We have litigated several limitation of liability cases and lectured on the topic at legal seminars.

August 19, 2015

Passenger's Hip Injury Causes Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas to Return to Port

Liberty of the Seas Accient Attorney.bmpBermuda's Department of Marine and Ports reports that the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Liberty of the Seas was forced to return to port just hours after departing last Saturday due to a passenger injury. The Liberty of the Seas contacted the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre around 9:00 pm informing it that the cruise ship was returning to the Island because a 74-year-old female passenger sustained a hip injury and hospital treatment was necessary. The injured woman, along with a medical professional from the ship, was transported to an awaiting ambulance by a pilot boat. After the passenger was landed, the ship's medical professional returned to the Liberty of the Seas and the cruise ship continued its voyage to St. Maarten.

August 17, 2015

Teenage Boy is reported to have been sexually assaulted by a Stateroom Steward working aboard the Carnival Valor

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office arrested a Carnival Cruise Lines Stateroom Steward on Saturday, August 15, 2015 when the vessel arrived at Port Canaveral, Florida. According to various media reports, a 46-year-old Honduran national named Yovany Sauzo-Batiz sexually assaulted a teenage boy under the age of 16 while the boy was in a public shower area aboard the vessel. Reports claim that Sauzo-Batiz first made efforts to engage the boy in conversation while the boy was at the vessel's sauna. The boy then tried to get away from Sauzo-Batiz and walked to the shower area but Sauzo-Batiz followed and allegedly assaulted him.

Shortly after the assault is reported to have occurred, the boy's father, with the assistance of other fellow passengers, detained Sauzo-Batiz until ship security arrived on scene. Carnival Cruise Lines reported the sexual assault before the vessel arrived at Port Canaveral. As a result, Brevard County Deputies were waiting at the port and were able to apprehend and arrest Sauzo-Batiz.

Sauzo-Batiz has been charged with sexual battery of a person under 16 and lewd and lascivious molestation. He was arraigned this past Sunday where his bond was raised from $95,000 to $135,000, as Sauzo-Batiz, according to the State, is a flight risk. Sauzo-Batiz was ordered to turn over his passport and to refrain from having any contact with the boy or the boy's family. As of Sunday, August 16, 2015, Sauzo-Batiz remained at the Brevard County Jail.

A Carnival Cruise Lines spokesperson has stated that "All crewmembers undergo background checks and are provided the appropriate seaman's visa." It is unknown whether the appropriate background check was undertaken in the case of Sauzo-Batiz. It is also unknown whether any third parties may have witnessed the alleged assault.

In July 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act ("CVSSA") legislation, legislation that was designed to improve the security and safety of passengers aboard cruise ships such as the Carnival Valor. Under the CVSSA, cruise lines are required to report all sexual assaults, rapes, and other violent crimes to the appropriate authorities. This includes the filing of reports of all rapes and sexual assaults with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Despite the above legislation and to the detriment of unsuspecting passengers, passenger assaults on cruise ships continue. The FBI is also investigating this incident, and Carnival Cruise Lines has said that it provided "full support" to the victim and is cooperating with law enforcement.






PHOTO CREDIT: News 13 http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2015/8/15/carnival_cruise_work.html

August 7, 2015

Passenger Medevaced from Carnival Miracle off San Diego

Coast Guard Rescue Cruise Passenger.jpgThe Coast Guard reports that it medevaced a 35-year-old female passenger off the Carnival cruise ship Miracle last Friday. This ship was several miles off the coast of San Diego when the rescue occurred. Media reports indicate that the woman was experiencing sever abdominal pain. The pain was so great that the ship contacted the Coast Guard for assistance. the Coast Guard flight surgeon on duty recommended that the passenger be medevaced. The woman was hoisted off the cruise ship and flown to a San Diego area hospital to receive additional care. Her condition is currently unknown.

July 17, 2015

Child Drowns in Pool at Walt Disney World's Art of Animation Resort

On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, a child apparently vacationing at Disney's Art of Animation Resort, drowned at one of the resort's three pools. Media outlets have provided conflicting information pertaining to the child's age - some media outlets have reported this was a 3-year-old toddler, while others have reported this was a 7-year-old boy. The boy's identify has not been released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, but reports state the boy (or toddler) was found underwater. It is unknown how deep the water was at the location where the toddler was found. He was tragically pronounced dead at a local hospital, sometime after 8:00 p.m.

Information surrounding the drowning is limited. However, a representative for Disney has stated that, at the time of the drowning, there were lifeguards on duty. The number of lifeguards on duty is also unknown, but the Inquisitr reports that lifeguards are not on duty at all pools all night.

Just over one month ago, a 4-year-old girl vacationing at a different Orlando Resort nearly drowned at the resort's pool. She was thankfully saved by a Good Samaritan. For more on this near-drowning, please see our article titled "Near-Drowning of 4-year-old girl reported at Orland, FL Resort", http://www.maritimelawblog.net/2015/05/near-drowning-of-4-year-old-gi.html, (Published on May 22, 2015).

Drownings and near-drownings are occurring more frequently. These tragic events raise the serious question of whether sufficient safety measures are being implemented by resorts and pool operators. Safety must always be first. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family of the boy who drowned at Disney's World of Art Animation Resort.






PHOTO CREDIT: Local 10 News http://www.local10.com/news/3yearold-drowns-at-walt-disney-world-hotel-pool/34177000

June 28, 2015

Eight Holland American Line Cruise Passengers Tragically Die While on an Alaskan Shore Excursion Sight-Seeing Tour

Alaska_Plane_Crash_Kills_9.jpgEight Holland American Line cruise ship passengers tragically died on Thursday, June 25, 2015 when a DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter float plane crashed, some 25 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska. The crash occurred at approximately 2:00 p.m., at about 800 feet above a lake in the Misty Fjords area. Onboard the sightseeing flight at the time of the crash were the eight cruise passengers plus the pilot. Despite some investigation by authorities, the cause of the horrible crash into a cliff has not yet been identified. Alaska State Troopers, however, have identified the victims as: Hal Cheney, 71 and Mary Doucette, 59, both of Lodi, California; Glenda Cambiaso, 31 and Hugo Cambiaso, 65, both of North Potomac, Maryland; June Kranenburg, 73 and Leonard Kranenburg, 63, both of Medford, Oregon; Margie Apodaca, 63 and Raymond Apodaca, 70, both of Sparks, Nevada; and the pilot, Bryan Krill, 64, of Hope, Idaho.

All eight passengers were sailing on the MS Westerdam, a Holland American cruise ship that departed Seattle, Washington on Saturday, June 20, 2015 for a seven-day round-trip cruise. News outlets have reported that the sightseeing airplane ride was a shore excursion sold through the cruise line Holland American Line. The actual float plane is owned by a company named Promech Air, self-identified as the largest "air taxi" operating in southeast Alaska for 30 years. According to the Alaska Dispatch News, just two years ago in 2013, another Promech Air float plane crashed on Prince of Wales Island, injuring four people. It is unknown whether Holland American Line was aware of this prior incident.

Generally, shore excursions sold through a cruise line contain exculpatory clauses that purport to relieve a cruise line and/or a shoreside excursion company from any liability resulting from an accident or injury that may occur during a shoreside excursion. While narrow and unambiguous exculpatory clauses have been enforced by certain courts in favor of cruise lines and shore excursion operators, cruise lines may still be held responsible for the negligent selection of a shore excursion company. We will continue to follow the investigation into this devastating crash, including whether Holland American Line was aware of Promech Air's prior incident but nevertheless continued to offer and sell the company's tours to its cruise ship passengers.

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the families of the crash victims.



PHOTO CREDIT: http://skift.com/2015/06/26/8-holland-america-cruise-passengers-killed-in-alaska-tour-plane-crash/