Recently in Cruise Ship Passenger Injury Law Category

January 28, 2015

Sick Child Rescued from Carnival Cruise Ship

Houston area news outlets are reporting that the Coast Guard rescued a sick 8-month-old baby girl from the Carnival Triumph Monday. Sources say the emergency call went out because the small passenger was experiencing seizures and had difficulty breathing. A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was dispatched from Air Station Houston to medevac the child, the child's mother and ship's nurse to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The cruise ship was approximately 40 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas when the rescue occurred. Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Grow stated "It was very rewarding to be able to start a search-and-rescue career helping out a mother and her 8-month-old who really needed us at the time."

The child's condition has not yet been released. Below is footage of the rescue at sea.

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January 26, 2015

New Cruise Line Sexual Assault and Rape Reporting Law Champions Openness

New Cruise Saftey Law.jpgA new federal law passed earlier this month that requires the Department of Transportation to report crimes allegedly committed onboard a cruise ship. The new law is quite a departure from its predecessor, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (hereinafter "Act"), which only made incident data available if the alleged crime was "no longer under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Opponents of the law maintain it is not necessary, arguing that the major cruise lines began providing crime data on their respective websites in 2013. However, it is important to note that the data provided on these websites cannot be relied on as a representative figure insofar as the total number of crimes that occur aboard cruise vessels. Specifically, the major cruise lines only report incidents that meet the requirements of the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act, which limit reporting to incidents involving "homicide, suspicious death, a missing United States national, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury ... firing or tampering with the vessel, or theft of money or property in excess of $10,000." Thus, if a crew member stole something from a passenger not in excess of $10,000, then the cruise lines were not required to publicly disclose it. The above may be characterized as an illustration of the lobby efforts by the Cruise Lines to modify the Act in a way that only certain crimes require disclosure.

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January 23, 2015

New Law Forces Cruise Lines to Conduct Lifesaving Drills Sooner

Cruise Life Saving Law.jpgCruise lines operating international passenger voyages are now required to conduct muster / lifeboat drills before or shortly after the voyage begins. The Convention of the Safety of Life at Sea (commonly known as SOLAS) requires such drills so that passengers are made aware of their muster station location and instructed on the proper use of life preservers. Instruction on the procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency is also provided.

The prior regulation required cruise ships to hold a lifesaving drill within twenty-four hours from the embarkation of the voyage. SOLAS was amended in reaction to the Costa Concordia disaster where thirty-two died as a result of the captain's negligence and poor lifesaving planning. One of the biggest lessons learned from this tragedy is that the passengers did not know where to go when the ship started to sink. This confusion perhaps caused loss of life. Having the muster drill before, or shortly after, the voyage begins will arm passengers with the requisite knowledge of what to do and were to go should an emergency arise while at sea.

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January 22, 2015

Americans Traveling on Foreign Cruises Reap Benefit from Athens Convention Overhaul

Athens Convention Damages.jpgMost American are unaware that international law caps damages for passengers who are hurt or die on cruises that leave from, call on and return to foreign ports. Adopted in 1974, the Athens Convention was intended to consolidate two earlier conventions addressing passenger injuries and luggage losses. Nearly every American cruise line adopts the Athens Convention for their wholly foreign cruises. For example, the below language is found in Royal Caribbean's ticket contract:

ON CRUISES WHICH NEITHER EMBARK, DISEMBARK NOR CALL AT ANY PORT IN THE UNITED STATES, CARRIER SHALL BE ENTITLED TO ANY AND ALL LIABILITY LIMITATIONS, IMMUNITIES AND RIGHTS APPLICABLE TO IT UNDER THE "ATHENS CONVENTION...

Carnival, Princess, NCL and Holland America have similar ticket provisions.

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January 6, 2015

Boy Who Nearly Drowned Aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Left in Critical Condition

A 4-year-boy nearly drowned in a wave pool aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Oasis of the Seas is in critical condition at a Broward hospital. The cruise ship was less than two hours into its voyage when the boy wandered into the wave pool located on one of the top decks. The child was under water for an estimated five to ten minutes before being rescued by a passenger. Once he was taken out of the water, the ship's medical team resuscitated the boy. The ship returned to Port Everglades where firefighters and paramedics were standing by to provide emergency additional medical care while transporting the child to an area hospital.

Children wandering into cruise ship pools occurs regularly. The reasons why these accidents occur are largely because cruise lines are not strictly regulated and have decided not to follow logical protocols in regard to pool safety. Cruise lines do not have to follow many pool safety regulations that land-based resorts are required to follow. For example, land based hotels and spas must have fencing around the pool child proof gates. Cruise lines, on the other hand, are not required to have barriers to access cruise ship pools. This leaves the attractiveness of a pool wide open for a child who is separated from his or her parents to enter. Cruise lines could adopt the land based safety standards; however, they do not.

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December 15, 2014

What to Do When You have a Cruise Ship Slip and Fall Accident

Cruise Slip and Fall Accident.jpgCruise ship slip and fall injuries occur with regularity. These accidents occur so often that cruise lines have investigation procedures in place designed to gather evidence and information in a way to help them should they be sued.

The process starts at the ship's medical facility. It is very common for a passenger to be given a statement form at the medical facility to fill out. Within the statement form is usually a question asking "What could you have done to prevent the accident." This whole purpose of this question is to get the injured passenger to admit he or she was at fault. If the passenger indicates that he or she could have done something to prevent the accident, the cruise line's lawyers will use that statement against the passenger. The cruise line's efforts to gain evidence to support their defenses do not end there.

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November 30, 2014

Rescue Mission Ends for Missing Princess Cruise Passenger

Sun Princess Cruise Ship.jpgAustralian authorities call off a search for an elderly man who fell off and went missing from the Princess cruise ship Sun Princess. CCTV footage retained by the cruise line shows an 84-year-old passenger falling of the liner into the water on the night of November 24th. Princess stated the cruise ship turned around to look for the missing passenger after the man could not be found on board. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority stated survival was very slim given the man's age and weather conditions. This is not the first time in recent memory that a passenger fell off the Sun Princess. In October last year another elderly man went missing from the deck of the ship while it was off the northern Australian coast.

November 16, 2014

Cruises Passenger Medical Malpractice Victims Receive New Rights

Cruise Medical Malractice.jpgIt is no secret that cruise lines are for-profit businesses. Companies such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, Celebrity, Disney and Princess constantly look for ways to add revenue and limit costs in order to increase their bottom lines. Some areas where cruise lines make money from their passengers are obvious. Casinos, bars, ticket sales for excursions are all well-known profit centers. One location aboard the ships where cruise lines make money that is less obvious to those who are not industry insiders are the ships' medical facilities.

Cruise lines dedicate space aboard their ships for medical facilities. They stock those facilities with drugs, bandages, x-ray machines and hire doctors to treat ill or injured passengers. Passengers who use these medical services are charged on their shipboard accounts and must pay those charges before leaving the ships. What is not known by many is that if the ship doctors are negligent in their care, cruise lines disavow liability. In essence, the cruise lines found a loophole in the law to make money but not be assessed with liability should their doctors commit medical malpractice. This loophole is found in the 1988 case of Barbetta v. S/S Bermuda Star decided by the Fifth Federal Circuit wherein it was determined that since cruise lines have no obligation to provide onboard doctors for their passengers they should not be liable for the negligence of those doctors.

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October 20, 2014

Cruise Ticket's Hidden Provisions Can Be Costly

Miami Cruise Ticket Provision.jpgCruising is wildly popular. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people cruise from the several ports that line the United States coast. Often times, people have a good time on their vacations without incident. However, sometimes, vacations can go horribly wrong. Our law firm receives multiple calls each week from passengers who unfortunately were injured or from family members whose loved one tragically died while cruising. From our conversations, we have found that nearly all passengers have little or know knowledge about the provisions found within their cruise ticket.

The cruise ticket is a contract between the passenger and the cruise line that sets forth the obligation of both parties. As such, it is VERY IMPORTANT to save and read your ticket if you think you may want to sue a cruise line for its wrongdoing. Cruise lines for years have hired very capable attorneys to insert contract provisions into the tickets designed to limit liability and your recovery. Three important provisions are the six month or 180 day written notice provision, the 1 year suit time provision and the federal court provision. Failure to comply with these terms can be very costly.

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August 27, 2014

Cruise Tender Injuries and the Law

Cruise Tender Injury Lawyer.jpgOur law firm is receiving an increasing number of inquires about cruise passengers injuries occurring on tenders. Generally, when a cruise liner is too large to dock at a pier, it requires tenders to shuttle passengers back and forth from the ship. With ships increasing in size each year, tendering is becoming more and more prevalent. There are two basic ways passengers are tendered. One option is to lower the cruise ship's life boats and use them as the tenders. The other option available to cruise lines is to contract with local tendering services which use small boats to shuttle the passengers.

The Cruise Line's Legal Responsibility to Passengers

A Cruise line has the non-delegable legal obligation to provide their passengers safe ingress and egress, under adequate supervision, to and from the ship. This legal duty remains the same no matter if the cruise line decides to use its own life boats or contract with local boat companies to provide tender services. As such, if a passenger is injured due to the unsafe operation of a tender, that passenger has a legal claim for negligence against the cruise line even though the tender was not operated by the cruise line. Given the legal duty to provide passengers safe ingress and egress to and from the ship, United States law precludes a cruise line from exculpating or limiting its liability for injures arising from negligent tendering.

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June 5, 2014

Slippery Decks on the Carnival Paradise

Carnival Paradise Slippery Deck.jpgOur law firm receives many calls from vacationers who were injured after slipping and falling aboard the Carnival Paradise. Currently home ported in Tampa, Florida, the Carnival Paradise is a 17-year-old cruise ship - a veritable dinosaur in this day-in-age where cruise lines pump out new ships each year. The exterior decks are mostly made of wood. It seems water tends to pool in certain areas after rain or washing causing the unsuspecting passenger to hydroplane when walking across the deck. This often times results in slip and fall injuries.

The two most common injuries we see from Carnival Paradise passengers are torn menisci and broken wrists. A meniscus is a piece of cartilage that protects and cushions the knee joint surface as well as the upper ends of the femur and tibia. This cartilage is torn when the knee is hyper or hypo extended which occurs with regularity when someone is falling down after their feet fly from underneath them. Fractured wrists many times occur when the passenger extends their arms to break their fall.



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June 1, 2014

Two Arrested for Raping Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger

Galveston Cruise Rape.jpgJamaican news outlets are reporting two men were arrested for raping a fellow passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas. The rape is reportedly to have occurred approximately 50 miles outside Jamaican waters on Thursday morning (5/29) while the cruise ship was approaching Falmouth. The men (both Americans) were supposedly partying with the victim the night before. The Navigator of the Seas conducts weekly voyages to the western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas.

Rapes and sexual assaults unfortunately occur with regularity aboard cruise ships. Our law firm is routinely contacted by cruise rape and sexual assault victims. Our attorneys are currently representing a victim of sexual assault which occurred in a ladies room aboard the Carnival cruise ship Magic which also leaves from Galveston.

May 31, 2014

Boy Found on Bottom of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Pool Fights for Life

Royal Caribbean Drowning.jpgA six-year-old boy was discovered unconscious at the bottom of one of the Royal Caribbean owned cruise ship Independence of the Sea on May 27th. When the boy was found his heat had already stopped. The shipboard doctor (a non-Royal Caribbean employee) was able to restart his heart beating through CPR. The drowning victim was then airlifted by the French navy and is currently treating at a hospital in Brest. The incident happened while the cruise ship was passing northern France near the city of Breton. At the time of the incident the Independence of the Seas was on a six-night Western Europe voyage leaving from Southampton, England.

Pools are considered attractive nuisances for children and child drownings are becoming more and more common on cruise ships. The reason for these tragic events is there are no kiddy fences or life guards. Often times children just wonder in the pools and drown without anyone bring aware. This problem is known industry wide. However, only Disney Cruise Lines currently has life guards assigned to all ship pools and spas. It appears unconscionable for a billion dollar cruise line such as Royal Caribbean to not hire life guards to protect their passengers. Hopefully the bulk of the cruise lines will change their policies and spend the extra money to employ life guards to protect the children aboard their ships.

May 22, 2014

Miami Fire Rescue Evacuate Injured Passenger from the Majesty of the Seas

First responders from Miami's Fire Rescue evacuated an injured passenger from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Majesty of the Seas Monday evening. The cruise line's Director of Communications Cynthia Martine stated the passenger is a 32-year-old Swedish man who sustained a head injury. He was and was initially treated by the on board medical facility but required additional care. The ship stayed close to shore to facilitate the at-sea rescue before traveling to Key West. There is no word on the passenger's medical condition at this time. The Majesty of the Seas conducts regular voyages to Nassau and the Royal Caribbean private island Coco Cay.
WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

May 22, 2014

Passenger Medevaced from the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

Bahamas Celebration Passenger.jpgThe Coast Guard reports a 56-year-old passenger was medically evacuated from the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship this week after experiencing severe pain. The passenger was transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach. His condition is currently unknown. The Bahamas Celebration conducts cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to the Bahamas.