The Nassau Guardian reported that a body was found from the waters off the Western New Province on June 7, 2011. This follows a short time after a passenger from a Carnival Cruise Line’s ship was reported missing. The passenger, Nathaniel Wells, had rented a jet-ski on Paradise Island. Wells along with friends, rented jet-skis and agreed that they would meet up again on shore after the rental time had expired. However, Wells never showed up. The newspaper article says that there are conflicting reports regarding whether the jet-ski was returned to the vendor who rented it or whether it was simply found on the beach.
The investigation is continuing into what occurred. However, the dangers of jet-ski rentals in this area are well documented. This tragic incident again spotlights the dangers in shoreside activities and excursions cruise ship passengers participate in on a regular basis in ports that the cruise ships take them to. It emphasizes again that the cruise ship companies need to be responsible for investigating these various ports of calls to determine all of the potential dangers to their passengers, and then take actions to warn all of the passengers about these known dangers, as well as take steps to guard against them where possible. We are hearing of many incidents where passengers suffer serious accidents, including death, as a result of participation in shoreside activities that the cruise line knew, or should have known posed dangers to the participants. This includes passengers who travel into areas that have high crime rates, which is unknown to the passengers, but known to the cruise lines.
The cruise lines continue not to want to emphasize the various dangers when taking a cruise because it takes away from the image the cruise lines have worked so hard to maintain, which is that a cruise ship vacation is a fun loving, care free vacation with no dangers. While it is true a cruise is a great vacation for the family, and can be very safe, there are many potential dangerous situations associated with taking a cruise which we feel the cruise lines should be required to warn about, and take reasonable steps to protect the passengers from these dangers.
I previously testified in Congress about the need for the cruise ship companies to be more open with the public about dangerous conditions and problems onboard a cruise ship. I testified in Congress regarding issues relating to reporting of serious crimes aboard ships, as well as safety issues aboard cruise ships. The Congressional Hearings I testified at eventually led to the passage of the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act that was signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2010.
My firm continues to be advocates for safety at sea, and to help victims of accidents and crimes at sea.