Recently in Cruise Ship Passenger Injury Law Category

May 23, 2016

Girl Sexually Assaulted by Crew of a Florida Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise

Brock Christain Hammerstrom.jpgA second arrest was made in recent days involving the alleged sexual assault of a minor during a Destin, Florida dolphin sightseeing cruise. Statements made to the police reveal that the underage girl was served wine on the cruise by two crewmembers without being asked for identification. At the end of the cruise, the girl stayed behind to talk to the crewmembers. She was taken below deck where one crewmember admitted to having intercourse with her. The suspect stated the girl told them she was twenty-four. It is unclear at this time as to whether the other crewmember had sex with the minor. Brock Christian Hammerstrom (pictured to the left) is one of the two crewmembers accused of the sexual assault.

Under maritime law, a cruise operator is strictly liable for any sexual assault perpetrated by one of its crewmembers against a passenger or guest. This means that even though the ship owner is unaware that the crewmember may commit a sex crime, it will still be legally responsible in a civil court for the damages the victim suffered from the assault. Such damages may include past and future medical / psychological treatment as well as pain and suffering.

The landmark case discussing a ship owner's liability for the intentional torts of its crewmember is Doe v. Celebrity Cruises. In that case, a cruise ship waiter recommended a night club to female passengers when the ship docked in Hamilton, Bermuda. The crewmember met the girls at the club and mingled with them until the club closed. The victim became intoxicated from being overserved alcohol at the club. The crewmember, under the guise of escorting her back to the ship, took her to a nearby park and sexually assaulted her. The court found that since the crewmember worked for the shipowner his assault on the passenger, even after hours, was attributable to the cruise line.

Our Florida Board Certified Maritime Lawyers have handled multiple cruise sexual assault cases. We are here to assist you in providing legal counsel as to your rights. Should you have any questions concerning your legal rights feel free to call us toll free at (800) 499-0551.

May 16, 2016

Woman Goes Overboard from Galveston, Texas Based Carnival Cruise

Samantha Broberg Carnival Liberty.jpgThirty-three year old passenger, Samantha Broberg, was reported missing by friends on the Galveston, Texas based Carnival Liberty Friday morning. Upon being notified that Ms. Broberg, a mother of four, was missing, Carnival performed a ship wide sweep and review of CCTV footage. The cruise ship's CCTV system captured video footage of a female passenger falling overboard at approximately 2 a.m. It is reported that approximately 10 hours later, Carnival notified the Coast Guard that Ms. Broberg went overboard. The Coast Guard began a search but on Sunday night, after a 20 hour operation covering over 4,300 square miles, the Coast Guard announced that the search operation was suspended. The Carnival Liberty was approximately 195 miles from Galveston, Texas when Ms. Broberg went overboard. The ship was sailing on a four-day Mexican cruise.

The Federal Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires cruise lines to integrate technology that can be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard. It is uncertain why it appears that Carnival took 10 hours to confirm Ms. Broberg went overboard. Notwithstanding the Federal law requiring cruise ships to have technology which will alert and confirm that a person went overboard, cruise ships also have a duty to perform a search and rescue operation, and to notify the U.S. Coast Guard in a timely fashion once it is discovered that someone has fallen overboard. Such search and rescue procedures are required for all overboard occurrences, whether involving a passenger or crew member.

Passengers and crew falling overboard from a Carnival ship departing Galveston is nothing new. In March of 2015, a male passenger's body was recovered after falling overboard from the Galveston based Carnival Triumph. In February of 2012, a Carnival crew member slipped and fell from a Galveston based cruise and was later rescued. In September of 2011, a man went overboard from the Carnival Conquest. The full circumstances surrounding how and why Ms. Broberg ended up overboard are still under investigation. It is not uncommon for cruise lines to issue press releases stating that passengers went overboard intentionally. In numerous instances, however, the excess service of alcohol is linked to a passenger's disappearance. The service of alcohol is a major profit center for the cruise lines. We will continue to monitor this incident and report of any additional information learned.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

May 9, 2016

Carnival Cruise Ship Crashes Into Passenger Gangway

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The Carnival Pride after deporting from Baltimore

A Carnival cruise ship has crashed into a passenger gangway in Baltimore, Maryland, while attempting to dock after a 7 day Bahamas cruise. Media are reporting that the gangway was knocked over by the ship onto 3 parked cars. Luckily, no one was in any of the vehicles and no one was injured. The ship, the Carnival Pride, only sustained minor damage to the bow and is expected to depart on its next cruise as scheduled.

Although cruise ship "crashes" are a rare event, Carnival has experienced a number of various types of accidents in recent years. In 1995 the Carnival Celebration was adrift in the Bahamas for two days after losing power to an electrical fire. The Carnival Ecstasy caught fire in 1998 but was luckily still near the port of Miami and the fire was doused by rescue fire boats. The Carnival Tropicale was left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico in 1999 due to an engine room fire, leaving passengers no option but to wait out a tropical storm that occurred after the ship became disabled. A fire that broke out in the generator room left the Carnival Splendor disabled off the Western Coast of Mexico in 2010 until it was eventually towed to port in San Diego.

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November 6, 2015

A 35-year-old passenger has gone overboard from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Oasis of the Seas

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A search by the Coast Guard is underway after a 35-year-old male passenger from Brazil fell into the ocean. It appears the man lost his grip while hanging from a davit used to raise and lower the cruise ship's lifeboat. The incident occurred at approximately 1:00 a.m. Friday morning when the ship was some 80 nautical miles northeast of Mayaguana, Bahamas.

According to the Coast Guard, it has received multiple reports of the man falling or jumping, but it has been unable to confirm whether he actually fell or jumped. Royal Caribbean released a written statement claiming that the man "was spotted by Oasis of the Seas crew members intentionally going over the side of the ship." A video posted by CBSMiami shows the man holding onto the davit and several people trying to help him before he loses his grip and falls into the ocean. It does not show whether the man jumped or fell into the lifeboat.

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October 30, 2015

60-year-old crew member arrested for molesting 15-year-old girl aboard Costa Diadema

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LA SPEZIA, Primocanale, an Italian news station, has reported that a cleaner working aboard the Costa Diadema sexually molested a 15-year-old-girl on October 23, 2015. The crew member's name was not released by the Italian news station. However, he was identified as a 50-year-old man from Honduras. According to the Italian news station, the minor girl was traveling aboard the Costa Diadema with her aunt and uncle. On the day of the assault, she apparently returned alone to her cabin after dinner. Once inside the cabin, the crew member somehow entered her cabin and allegedly began touching and kissing the girl. She was thankfully able to escape and reported the assault to her aunt and uncle. The Costa Diadema was in port at the La Spezia terminal when the assault occurred. The crew member was arrested after Costa notified the police of the assault.

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October 21, 2015

56-Year-Old Cruise Passenger dies after falling during a Zip-Line Excursion in Puerto Rico

Police have just released information on the October 15, 2015 death of a cruise ship passenger during a shore excursion in Puerto Rico. The passenger, identified by police as Marsha Boekeloo, was a 56-year-old woman from New Mexico. According to police, she fell 20 feet from a zip-line at the Hacienda Campo Rico, located east of Puerto Rico's capital city, San Juan. Media reports state that immediately after falling, Boekeloo complained of chest pain and was unable to move her legs. She tragically passed away hours later at a hospital.

The zip-line tour was run by a San Juan based tour company named Ecoquest Adventures & Tours. According to the company's owner, the park where the zip-line tour was conducted was certified by the Association for Challenge Course Technology ("ACCT"), based out of Illinois. The tour company owner has also been quoted saying that all tour guides are trained in first aid, rescue and risk management and that the park is regularly inspected by the tour guides. The ACCT's executive director James Borishade has said that the company's membership with the ACCT actually expired last year. According to Borishade, adventure parks such as Ecoquest, should have yearly third-party inspections. Unfortunately, there is no agency or body to monitor and ensure that yearly inspections are in fact done. It remains unknown what caused Boekeloo to fall and whether the park had undergone a previous third-party inspection. The name of the cruise ship aboard which Boekeloo was traveling also remains unknown.

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October 8, 2015

30-Year-Old Female Passenger aboard Norwegian Breakaway is Medevaced by U.S. Coast Guard

Coast_Guard_Medevac_NCL_Breakaway.jpgThe United States Coast Guard ("USCG") medevaced a 30-year-old woman sailing aboard the Norwegian Breakaway earlier this week. The USCG reported that the medevac took place approximately 165 miles east of Virginia Beach. The woman was reported to have been suffering abdominal pain.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/us/alaska-plane-crash/
http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/plane-missing-in-alaska-with-nine-on-board/

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