October 19, 2016

43-Year-Old Man Medevaced Off Norwegian Gem Near Bermuda

Elizabeth City Coast Guard Medevacs Man off Norwegian Gem.jpgThe Coast Guard is reporting it medevaced a 43-year-old man Tuesday off the Norwegian Gem cruise ship 225 miles southwest of Bermuda. Air Station Elizabeth City watchstanders were notified at approximately 12:45 p.m. that a 76-year-old male passenger was reportedly suffering appendicitis . A C-130 airplane rescue crew and MH-60 helicopter rescue crew were dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City arriving on scene at approximately 12:09 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the man and his wife and transported them to Bermuda where local emergency personnel were awaiting to transfer him to a local hospital.


Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Ship Passenger Near Bermuda, U.S. Coast Guard News, October 19, 2016.

October 14, 2016

24 Year-Old Jet Skier Killed in Crash Off Captiva Island

Man Killed in Jet Ski Crash Captiva Island.jpgA 24-year-old man identified as Hector Santiago was killed on Monday night when the Jet Ski he was riding crashed into a piling, ripping off the handlebars and throwing him into the water. Rescue personnel searched for the man for 30 minutes before he was located. Unfortunately, by then, efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The crash occurred near South Seas Island Resort; Florida Fish and Wildlife officers could not confirm whether Mr. Santiago and his girlfriend, whom he was vacationing with, were guests at the resort but did confirm that the Jet Ski was rented.

No information is yet known on where the man rented the Jet Ski from or at what time but pursuant to Florida law, a person may not operate a personal watercraft at any time between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-hour before sunrise. Based on the time the accident took place, it appears that the Jet Ski was rented in violation of Florida law.

Investigation into this accident is ongoing and we will continue to update this story as we learn more information. We extend our sympathies to Mr. Santiago's family and loved ones.

Victim Identified in Captiva Jet Skiing Accident, nbc-2, October 11, 2016.
1 Dead After Jet Ski Crash off Captiva, wink news, October 10, 2016.

October 10, 2016

Key West Diver Run Over by Charter Fishing Boat

A diver was severally injured when a charter fishing boat ran him over. The incident occurred off the White Street Fishing Pier in Key West last Saturday, October 8th. Witnesses stated that the injured diver, along with another man, were displaying the legally mandated divers-down flags when the charter boat struck him at a high rate of speed. It appears that a propeller from the boat nearly severed diver's left foot. The captain of the fishing boat retrieved the injured diver from the water and reported the incident to law enforcement. The captain was directed to return to shore where Key West Fire Rescue responded. The injured diver was taken to an area hospital. There have been no reports on the victim's condition at the time of this post.

Florida's Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office investigate such incidents. Florida law requires all divers without boats display a red divers-down symbol with a horizontal white strip that is a minimum of 12 inches by 12 inches which could take the form of a flag of buoy. Florida law also requires boat operators make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of 300 feet of a divers-down flag or buoy on open waters.

In the civil law context, a boat operator who violates a safety statute, like Florida's diver statutes, is presumed at fault and liable for the victim's damages. The boat operator can only rebut this presumption by showing that the safety statute violation could not have been a cause of the accident. It is not likely that the boat operator can overcome this presumption as if a distance of 300 feet was maintained, the diver would not have been run over.

Below is a video report by The Blue Paper.

October 10, 2016

Toddler Nearly Drowns Aboard Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor Pool Near Drowning.jpgA 2-year-old boy has been hospitalized after nearly drowning aboard the Carnival Splendor. According to reports, Saturday around 3:00 p.m. while the ship was docked at Port Miami, the toddler's mother lost sight of him briefly and minutes later found him in one of the ship's pools. A passenger aboard the ship who is a paramedic rendered assistance and the child was taken to the ship's infirmary. The toddler was then transferred by local emergency personnel to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The toddler was reportedly conscious and stable at the time of his transfer to the hospital. We sincerely wish the young child a speedy recovery and send our best to his family.

Just three months ago, we reported on the tragic death of an 8 year-old-boy aboard Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. Still, cruise lines continue to refuse to provide lifeguards on their ships claiming they comply with all safety requirements by posting visible signs alerting passengers to the fact that a lifeguard is not on duty and that children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Carnival carries approximately 700,000 children a year aboard its ships. While failing to provide lifeguards to protect children, it advertises and promotes, unlimited all-inclusive beverage packages with its Cheers! Program. No doubt, parents must supervise their children but cruise lines should be required to protect the safety of their passengers by implementing simple safety measures such as lifeguards.

Sources and Photo source:

Child Almost Drowns of Carnival Cruise Ship
, Cruise Hive, October 9, 2016.

Photo by Carnival

October 7, 2016

Second Passenger Medevaced Off Carnival Triumph Within 10 Days

Coast-Guard-Rescue-Helicopter.jpgThe Coast Guard is reporting that it has medevaced an 84-year-old passenger from the Carnival Triumph cruise ship on Wednesday October 5th. The cruise ship sent a request to Coast Guard Sector New Orleans to medevac a passenger suffering heart attack-like symptoms.

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, who hoisted the passenger while the ship was approximately 100 miles south of Southwest pass. The aircrew transported the passenger to Air Station New Orleans where a waiting ambulance took him to West Jefferson Medical Center. The man's condition is unknown at this time.

Built in 1999, the Carnival Triumph can carry 3,143 passengers. The cruise ship is currently sailing scheduled routes from New Orleans. This makes the second time within 10 days the Coast Guard was called to medevac a passenger from the Carnival Triumph. The other case involved a 60-year-old female passenger.

Photo Credit: Coast Guard News

October 4, 2016

Hurricane Mathew Forces Cruise Ships to Alter Itineraries

Hurricane Matthew.jpg
Hurricane Matthew is causing multiple cruise ships including the Carnival Sensation, Carnival Splendor and Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas to alter their itineraries as the storm travels Cuba and the Bahamas. Several cruise ships will avoid travel to the Bahamas and will instead head to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico.

According to reports, the storm made landfall in Haiti early this morning carrying winds of 145 mph causing devastating damage to the island. Hurricane Matthew is expected to pass over eastern Cuba and portions of the Bahamas later today then heading toward the US, dropping down to a category 3 with 120 mph winds.

The United States Coast Guard Captain for South Florida Ports has set port condition whiskey for Port Miami, Miami River Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach, Port of Ft. Pierce and all other South Florida terminals and facilities due to the storm's expected track near southwest Florida.

Vessels bound for South Florida unable to depart prior to Hurricane Matthew making landfall are being advised to seek an alternate destination. Additionally, vessels desiring to remain in port have to obtain permission and submit a safe-mooring plan in writing.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Hurricane Matthew Forces Cruise Ships to Alter Course, USA Today, October 3, 2016.

Hurricane Matthew Hits Haiti, CNN, October 4, 2016.

Mariners Urged to Prepare Now for Hurricane Matthew; Coast Guard Sets Port Condition Whiskey for South Florida, U.S. Coast Guard, October 3, 2016.

Photograph made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

September 30, 2016

Passenger Medevaced from Celebrity Infinity Off the Oregon Coast

MH-65-Rescue-Helicopter.jpgThe Coast Guard is reporting that it medically evacuated a 76-year-old man on Thursday September 29th off the Celebrity cruise ship Infinity approximately 30 miles southwest of Brookings, Oregon. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders were notified at approximately 1:10 p.m. that a 76-year-old male passenger was reportedly suffering from internal bleeding. Due to the severity of his condition, a Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended that the man be taken off the cruise ship and to a shore side hospital for treatment. A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter rescue crew was dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay and arrived on scene at approximately 2:45 p.m. The helicopter landed on the cruise ship to board the man along with a ship's nurse. They were transported to an awaiting emergency medical services personnel at St. John's Hospital in Eureka, California.

September 27, 2016

Injured Carinval Cruise Passenger Medevaced off Louisiana Coast

StaVenice_Logo.jpgThe Coast Guard is reporting that it medevaced a 60-year-old woman passenger from the Carnival Triumph cruise ship. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a call at 8:43 pm on Monday, September 26th, from the Carnival Triumph requesting a medevac of one of its passengers who was injured during the cruise. The request was related to Coast Guard Station Venice who dispatched a 45-foot response boat which met the cruise ship approximately seven miles off the Venice, Louisiana coast at 9:39 p.m. The injured passenger and her husband were transported to emergency medical services at the Venice Coast Guard Station. The couple were then transported by ambulance to Ochsner Medical Center in Kenner. The passenger is listed in stable condition. It is unknown at this time what caused the injury. The Carnival Triumph is currently sailing a Western Caribbean itinerary from New Orleans.

September 26, 2016

Biscayne Bay Boating Accident Sends One Person to the Hospital

Biscayne-Bay-Boat-Accident.pngA boating accident in south Biscayne Bay sends one boater to the hospital. It is being reported that at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, September 26th, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews were called to a boating accident scene where one person was significantly injured. The incident happened in Biscayne Bay National Park near Elliot Key to the east and approximately 5 miles from Turkey Point to the west. On scene, Fire Rescue assessed the injured person as a trauma alert and called for a medical evacuation air team. Fire Rescue assisted with hoisting the victim onto a helicopter. The boater was taken to a local trauma center and is currently listed in critical condition. Though the accident involved only one boat, it is unknown if the vessel struck an object or ran aground. A local salvage company towed the vessel back to Black Point Marina. Other passengers were taken off by other boats in the area before Fire Rescue arrived. None of the other passengers were hurt. This accident occurred within in 12 hours of the boating fatality of Florida Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue

September 26, 2016

Crew Member Air Lifted from Ruby Princess Cruise Ship

Ruby Princess Crew Member Medevac.jpgA 47-year-old crew member of the Ruby Princess cruise ship was airlifted during the early hours of Saturday morning by the U.S. Coast Guard after reports that he was having symptoms of a heart attack.

The cruise ship was located approximately 9 miles southwest of Point Loma, San Diego at the time of the report. The crew member was hoisted to the helicopter at around 2:00 a.m. and was taken to San Diego San Diego where EMS was awaiting to take him to UCSD Health- Hillcrest Hospital. The man's condition is unknown at this time but we wish him a speedy recovery.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Coast Guard Medevacs 47-Year-Old Man from Cruise Ship 9 Miles Southwest of Point Loma, American Mariners, September 24, 2016.

Crew Member Airlifted From Princess Cruise Ship, Cruise Hive, September 25, 2016.

Ruthdaniel3444 (creative commons)

September 25, 2016

Florida Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Along with Two Others Dies in Boating Accident

Jose-Fernandez-Boat-Accident.jpgFlorida Marlins' pitcher Jose Fernandez is one of three people who died Sunday morning in a boating accident off Miami Beach. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to a report of a 32-foot boat that crashed into the north jetty of the Government Cut inlet. Fire Rescue Chief, Todd Garofalo, stated that an "initial search [found] three victims - two on top of the water, one underneath the boat..." The identities of the other victims have not been released. Details on how the boat ended up on the jetty and who was the operator are unknown at this time. Government Cut is the main waterway connecting the Port of Miami to the Atlantic Ocean.

Fernandez, 24, was born in Cuba and emigrated to the United States with his family in 2008 after three prior unsuccessful defection attempts. At just 15 years of age, he was jailed for defection. According to news sources, Fernandez saved his mother from drowning on the journey to Mexico after leaving Cuba. Fernandez and his family settled in Tampa where he attended Alonso High School. He was a 2011 first-round draft pick of the Marlins and was selected to play in the National League All-Star game in his rookie season. Last week, Fernandez announced he and his girlfriend, Maria Arias were expecting a child. During today's news conference the Marlins announced the couple was expecting a baby girl. We are saddened by the tragic loss of a stellar player and human being and offer our condolences to his family and the families of the two victims involved in this accident.

***UPDATE - Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m.***

New details are emerging from this tragedy. It is being reported that the boat involved in the accident is a 32-foot SeaVee owned by one of Fernandez's friends. A Coast Guard patrol boat from Station Miami Beach spotted the overturned vessel on Government Cut's north jetty at 3:15 a.m. High speed is expected to be a contributing factor in the accident. SeaVee center console boats can reach top speeds of 55 to 65 miles per hour according to the manufacturer. The law requires all vessels be operated at a safe speed so that it can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. Lights from Miami Beach could also have been a factor in the operator's inability to see the jetty. LED cockpit lights may have also played a role in decreasing the operator's ability to observe the jetty. It is unknown if the vessel was equipped with radar, but if it was, the law requires the use of that radar to its fullest extent to determine the risk of collision.

***UPDATE - Sept. 26, 2:30pm***

Miami residents Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, have been identified as the other to victims of yesterday's boating tragedy. Macias' family has set up a GoFundMe page for his funeral expenses, describing him as an "amazing son, brother, grandson, boyfriend, cousin, friend." Rivero's family also set up a GoFundMe page for his funeral expenses, describing him as a "beautiful angel" who was "full of life, full of love, and full of happiness. Rivero and Macias both graduated from Miami's Braddock Senior High School in 2009.

We will continue to provide updates as more information is learned.

Photo Credit: ESPN.com

September 22, 2016

Florida Boater Drowns in the Nassau River

Nassau-River-Drowning.jpgIt is being reported from Fernandina Beach, Florida that a boater has drowned near the Goffinsville Park and Ramp in the Nassau River while launching an aluminum fishing boat. The man, identified as 55-year-old, Anthony Rankin, from Yulee, Florida. Lt. Tony Wright of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated that Mr. Rankin and another man were launching a fishing boat near 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The victim stayed in the boat while the other man parked the motor vehicle and trailer. A witness on the scene reported that Mr. Rankin "gave too much throttle" causing him to go overboard. Mr. Rankin attempted to hold onto the circling boat while in the water before letting go and attempting to swim to shore. While swimming to shore it is reported that Mr. Rankin "struggled and went under the water." Bystanders pulled Mr. Rankin from the water and preformed CPR until medics arrived. He was taken to Baptist Medical Center Nassau where he died.

Photo Credit: News Leader

September 19, 2016

Second Crewmembers Dies in Norwegian Breakaway Lifeboat Drill Accident

Norwegian-Breakaway-Falling-Death.jpgA second crewmember has died from the July 20th incident wherein a lifeboat fell from the NCL operated Norwegian Breakaway while docked at Kings Wharf, Bermuda. As previously reported by The Maritime Law Blog, four crewmembers fell into the water when a lifeboat they were manning during a drill broke from its tether. Four of the crewmembers were taken to an area hospital were Diogenes Carpio died from his injuries. One of there other crewmembers, Ben Buenaventura, who was a waiter aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, was medevaced to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami wherein he was admitted into the intensive care unit. It was reported that Mr. Buenaventura suffered a traumatic brain injury along with fractured legs, hip and right arm. After spending over a month in intensive care, Mr. Buenaventura succumbed to his injuries.

NCL is not the only cruise line that had a fatal lifeboat drill in recent months. On September 13th, a seaman died when a lifeboat fell from Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas while calling on Marseilles, France.

Photo Credit: The Royal Gazette

September 19, 2016

Woman Passenger Medevaced from Carnival Dream Cruise Ship

Coast-Guard-Medevac-Cruise-Passenger.jpgThe United States Coast Guard medevaced a 71-year-old female passenger from the Carnival Dream after she started have difficulty breathing. The medical emergency was reported the morning of September 18 when the cruise ship was near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The ship notified the Coast Guard that the passenger was showing signs of respiratory distress. The Coast Guard decided to dispatch a helicopter crew from its New Orleans air station to air-lift the passenger. The helicopter intercepted the cruise ship where the passenger and the ship's doctor was taken to West Jefferson Medical Center. The passenger is listed in stable condition.

September 16, 2016

Federal Court Allows Injury Claim to Proceed Against a Key West WaveRunner Tour Company

Personal-Watercraft-Liablity.jpgWe often write about personal watercraft rental and tour companies liability. Unlike most other rental businesses, the Florida legislator and Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have imposed certain regulations requiring these companies to provide specific instruction to their customers before allowing them on the water. Penalties for violating such statutes including a finding that any pre-injury release and wavier of liability signed by the renter to be null and void and a finding that the rental company is presumably at fault for the accident. Recently, a Federal Court was asked to rule as a matter of law whether a personal watercraft rental and tour company's alleged statutory violations rendered its pre-injury release and waiver of liability unenforceable and whether the company was to be presumed at fault for the accident resulting in two of its customers to be air-lifted to the hospital.

The Accident

A mother and daughter paid for a Yamaha WaveRunner tour around Key West conducted by Sunset Waverunner Tours, Inc. Shortly after leaving the starting point, the daughter, with her mother in the passenger seat, drove the WaveRunner into a mangrove forest. The two suffered significant personal njuries and were medevaced to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Continue reading "Federal Court Allows Injury Claim to Proceed Against a Key West WaveRunner Tour Company" »