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Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury Law

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.

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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

lifeboat falls from fifth deck of Harmony of the Seas.jpgOne crew member was killed and four others were injured-two critically, after a lifeboat became detached and fell from the fifth deck of the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas during a security drill while the ship was docked in Marseille, France. The lifeboat is estimated to have fallen from a height of approximately 32 feet with the five men inside of it. The man killed is reportedly a 42-year-old man from the Philippines.

The Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship at 1,188 feet from bow to stern it is longer than the Eiffel Tower. The ship is cruising the Mediterranean and is expected to continue its sail to Naples, Italy.

Earlier this year, we reported on a similar accident that occurred aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, which resulted in the death of a crew member and injuries to three other crew members.

Viking Freya Allision with Bridge.jpg
A German River Cruise ship traveling from Erlangen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary with 181 passengers and 47 crewmember onboard struck a low bridge killing two officers navigating the ship from the retractable wheelhouse. According to news reports, the Viking Freya, has a retractable wheelhouse that may be lowered for the ship to pass below low bridges. It appears that at the time of the accident, the wheelhouse was not retracted in time and it allided with the bridge in Erlangen. The two officers were in the wheelhouse and died due to the injuries suffered during the allission. The men killed were 49 and 33 years old and were Hungarian. We extend our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones.

Rescue workers evacuated the passengers and crew members and transported them to local hotels. The cruise line is giving passengers the option to continue cruising on a modified itinerary or to return home.

Viking and local authorities continue to investigate to find out what happened.

Crewmember-Overboard-Norwegian-Pearl.jpgIt is being reported that a 25-year-old female crew member went overboard from the Norwegian Pearl on the morning of September 8th and is currently missing. The cruise ship, operated by Miami, Florida based, NCL, was navigating through Lynn Canal off the coast of Southeast Alaska when the crewmember went overboard. The crewmember was reported missing from cabin. The ship’s security staff confirmed the crewmember went overboard upon review of the ship’s CCTV surveillance system.

The cruise ship notified the Coast Guard that the crewmember went overboard. The 17th Coast Guard District command center coordinated a search and rescue mission including helicopter crews, response boat crews and the cutter Liberty. The Alaska State Trooper participated in the search with a fixed-wing aircraft. After looking for the crewmember for 42 hours, covering 340 square miles and using 13 different search patterns, the Coast Guard suspended the search at 4:28 p.m. September 10th. The fate of the crewmember is unknown.

Seal.pngA Georgia woman has filed suit against Norwegian Cruise Lines in the U.S. Southern District of Florida alleging she was raped by a bartender of the cruise line while she was a passenger aboard the M/V Norwegian Sky. According to the Complaint, the bartender singled out the woman and plied her with alcohol and/or spiked her beverage.

The woman claims the bartender took her to into an isolated crew-only storage room on deck 12 and shut the door, moments later the bartender entered the storage room and refused to let the woman out despite her repeated pleas. The last event the woman recalled before coming to on deck 11, was the man pushing her head down toward his penis and telling her to be a “good girl.”

Upon coming to the woman claims she was sore in her private parts. She immediately reported the events to a security officer who rather than taking her directly to the infirmary took her to her room and had her drink water and eat while interviewing her. The complaint alleges that crew officials intentionally disregarded rape kit protocols, interfered with the collection of evidence and/or spoliated evidence from the sexual assault and potentially any substance in the alcoholic beverages she consumed.

Appeals-Court-Denies-American-Crewmember-Access-to-Court.jpgA Federal appellate circuit court in Atlanta has ruled that a United States crewmember must arbitrate his personal injury claim. This case involved a lead trumpeter who worked for a Miami, Florida based cruise line based aboard a cruise ship whose home port is Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. At the time of the injury, the cruise ship sailed two routes. A Western Caribbean route which called on Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico and an Eastern Caribbean route which called on the United States Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and St. Maarten. No matter which route the cruise ship took, it always began and concluded the voyage in Ft. Lauderdale.

The crewmember brought his personal injury claim against his cruise line employer alleging that it failed to provide him with adequate medical care as required under the Federal Jones Act and the maritime employer’s obligation to provide an injured seaman with medical care. The crewmember allowed alleged the cruise ship was unseaworthy. The cruise line asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit and compel arbitration pursuant to the employment contract which required that all disputes, “be referred to and resolved exclusively by mandatory binding arbitration pursuant to the United Nations Conventions [sic] on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.” The trial court dismissed the lawsuit in favor of arbitration and the crewmember appealed.
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Fire.jpgAn America Cruise Ferries cruise ferry combination ship had to evacuate 500 plus passengers due to a fire that started in the ship’s control room and was unable to be put out by ship personnel. According to reports a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught fire. The fire was eventually extinguished but the boat system’s collapsed and the ship was rendered unsafe requiring the evacuation of all passengers and crew members.

Although no fatalities or major injuries were reported, 24 people were hospitalized and many were treated at the scene for heat stroke and dehydration. The Caribbean Fantasy was traveling from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic carrying mostly Dominican passengers. Among the passengers were a 22 member cycling team, a girls’ volleyball team and a boys’ baseball team.

The ship has been safely docked at San Juan’s harbor in Puerto Rico.

Holland American Cruise Line Punitive Damages.jpgA Washington Federal Court has recently allowed an injured crewmember to seek punitive damages against Holland American Cruise Line. In that case, an American crewmember from Massachusetts worked as a cast member on Holland America’s ZAANDAM cruise ship. One day she decided to take a crew-only spin class. Unbeknownst to her, the bike seat was not yet fastened and when she attempted to mount the bike, the seat slid backward and the metal post penetrated her vulva, lacerating her right vagina. The ship’s infirmary staff examined her and decided against suturing the wound. The crewmember discharged with ice, a topical analgesic, pain medication and antiseptic wipes. She continued to experience pain and sought treatment ashore when the cruise ship call on Juneau, Alaska. The crewmember alleged the emergency physician at the Juneau hospital told her that the wound should have been sutured but that it was too late to do so at that point. The crewmember returned to the cruise ship where she twice saw the ship’s doctor to address a golf-ball sized growth that had formed in her vagina. The crewmember alleged that the infirmary staff told her that the growth needed to be drained, but that the head office would not allow that to happen on the cruise ship. Instead, the crewmember claimed she was told that she could bathe her wound in the infirmary’s bath. This did not provide any relief. Still in considerable pain, the crewmember departed the cruise ship in Alaska and returned home to Massachusetts. There, she sought treatment from an obstetrician and gynecologist.
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Florida's Third District Court of Appeals.jpgThe crew member personal injury lawyers of Brais Brais Rusak received a favorable appellate decision against Norwegian Cruise Line and its subsidiary NCL America concerning a seaman’s right to bring a punitive damages claim against the cruise lines for their failure to provide her maintenance and cure benefits.

Background

Our law firm represents a United States credentialed merchant mariner who was the nominal employee of a security services company named American Guard Services. American Guard Services loaned our client to Norwegian Cruise Line’s subsidiary NCL America to provide security guard services aboard the Hawaiian based PRIDE OF AMERICA cruise ship. Shortly after beginning her shift at six o’clock on the morning of May 22, 2011, she, along with three other security guards and a deck cadet, received an order from a ship’s deck officer to lash down lounge chairs that were being blown across an exterior deck due to Force 10 winds. After assisting with lashing down the lounge chairs, our client made her way back to the exit/entrance when the high winds blew her feet out from under her causing the back of her neck and upper back to violently impact the ship’s deck. She was rendered briefly unconscious.