The website, Cruise Critic, reports that a waiter, onboard a Carnival Cruise Line’s cruise ship, attacked a maitre d’ in the main dining room during dinner. It is also reported on the website that the injured maitre d’ is referred to as “The Singing Maitre D’.”
We have reported often about assaults on passengers on cruise ships in an effort to create a better public awareness to passengers on cruise ships that criminal activity, including assaults, do happen onboard cruise ships. Assaults by one crewmember on another also do occur onboard cruise ships, and crewmembers are often times the victims of criminal activity aboard a cruise ship. Cruise ship workers have typically been protected by maritime laws that give them the right to sue their employer for negligence, as well as sue the cruise ship company under a doctrine called unseaworthiness. Crewmembers are also entitled to the remedy of maintenance and cure, which provides them with medical care for any illnesses or injuries they suffer, as well as maintenance money in order to live while they receive their medical care.
The issue as to whether a crewmember can recover against the cruise ship company for an assault by another crewmember is more complicated in the arena involving the maritime laws applicable to crewmembers than it would be if a passenger was assaulted by a crewmember. While the maritime law has held the cruise ship company strictly liable for intentional torts committed by a crewmember on a passenger, in order for a crewmember to recover against the cruise ship company for an assault committed by another crewmember, the crewmember would have to prove that the attacker had some type of violent propensity which was known or should have been known to the cruise ship company, or prove that the attack was so violent in nature as to demonstrate that the attacker was so deranged or violent that his mere presence onboard the ship rendered the vessel unseaworthy. The doctrine of unseaworthiness is only applicable to crewmembers.
How serious this incident is – is not discussed on the Cruise Critic website. The article does state that the cruise line did not provide information regarding the cause of the incident, or yet received back a comment from Carnival Cruise Line.
Our firm continues to be safety advocates for both crewmembers and passengers harmed at sea.