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Articles Posted in Maritime Wrongful Death

British Passenger Killed in Bus Crash Azure ship.jpgA British passenger traveling on board the P&O Cruises ship Azura was killed last Wednesday as a result of a collision involving a bus operated by a shore excursion provider in the island of Dominica. Nine other passengers of the twelve passengers traveling on the bus were also injured as a result of the accident. They were treated at local hospitals and most have been discharged since. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

The Azura ship set sail from Southampton on October 28, 2016 with more than 3,000 passengers on board.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Jose-Fernandez-boat-accident.jpgIt has been a month since Florida Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez and his friends Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias lost their lives in a tragic boating accident in Miami Beach. Shortly after the tragedy, law enforcement reported the boat involved in the crash with the north jetty of Government Cut did not belong to Fernandez. It was later confirmed that Fernandez did, in fact, own the vessel. It has been also confirmed that hours before the accident, Fernandez was drinking at American Social, a Miami area restaurant and bar. A toxicology report recently released indicates that Fernandez had a blood alcohol level of 0.147 which is nearly twice Florida’s legal boating limit of 0.08. The same toxicology report concluded that he also cocaine in his system. Though Fernandez was legally intoxicated, it is now being suggested that he was not operating the boat at the time of the accident. This theory is based upon a witness telling law enforcement that he was on the phone with Fernandez near the time the boat struck the jetty.

Who is Responsible

Though this the accident occurred on a private boat mere yards from shore, a civil case concerning who is labile will be governed by maritime law. Maritime law is an amalgamation of decisional law dating back to ancient Greece supplemented, at times, by non-conflicting state law. From the facts known to date, there are four potential sources of liability: the boat owner, the boat operator, the alcohol server and the government.
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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.

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.***

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

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.

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.

Carnival-Ecstasy-Passenger-Overboard.JPGThe Coast Guard tweeted this morning that crews are searching for a 32-year-old woman who reportedly fell of the Carnival Cruise ship Ecstasy 27 miles Southwest of Freeport, Bahamas. The woman is said to have fallen off the ship’s Verandah deck around 2:30 AM Wednesday, September 07, 2016. The search and rescue operation is made up of a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane and the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet. The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber was also diverted to assist in the search and rescue. The ship was leaving Nassau and heading towards Charleston, South Carolina, where it was scheduled to arrive on Thursday. In addition to Coast Guard assets searching for the missing women, maritime law also requires the cruise ship to conduct a search and rescue operation until revealed.

Sources: U.S. Coast Guard Newsroom

Photo Credit: www.keyflux.com

slide3.jpgA cruise ship passenger traveling onboard the Carnival Splendor died last Wednesday due to a Jet Ski accident at Cockleshell Bay in Sports, the 40-year-old man from Texas rented a Jet Ski and while jet skiing had some difficulty falling from the personal watercraft into the water. Friends assisted him to shore and Emergency Medical Services transferred him to Joseph N. France General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. We extend our deepest sympathies to his loved ones. Local agencies are investigating this incident.

Cruise lines often offer various watersports as shore excursions. While many cruise ship passengers believe that excursions offered by the cruise lines on their websites are operated by the cruise lines themselves that is rarely the case. Cruise lines reject all responsibility for the negligence of independent contractors despite the control asserted over these companies and the large profits earned by the cruise lines from shore excursions.

We have successfully represented cruise ship passengers for injuries sustained while participating in shore excursions asserting various theories of liability against the cruise lines including negligence for failure to warn of dangerous or defective conditions and negligent selection and/or retention of shore excursion operators. For more information, please visit our Cruise Ship Passenger Shore Excursion Injury & Accident Page on our Website or Contact Us.