Articles Posted in Recent Cruise Ship Passenger Claims

News outlets have reported that an American passenger aboard Holland America’s cruise ship the Maasdam  died when she fell overboard while attempting to board a tender, which is a small boat used to transport the cruise ship passengers to land, while the ship was sailing in the South Pacific.  The passenger was 70 years old.

blog-cruise-300x203It was reported the passenger was conscious when she was initially recovered from the water, but lost consciousness soon thereafter and never recovered. Holland America would not confirm the cause of the fall, but a case like this involving a death on a cruise ship will prompt a full and complete investigation by authorities, as well as an internal investigation on the part of the cruise ship company. It is interesting to note that when the cruise ship company conducts their internal investigations regarding a serious accident like this, which they must do by both international law and internal policy when an incident occurs, they will not share the results of the investigation with the public nor with the victim or the victim’s family.  Rather they will claim it as their own personal work product and as privileged from disclosure. Continue reading

On October 17, a federal judge in Miami allowed a lawsuit to move forward involving a  22-year-old cruise ship passenger that fell overboard from Independence of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, to his death. The cruise ship company, as per usual, sought to have the case dismissed arguing that the passenger intentionally jumped over the railing and it was not due to his alcohol intake. However, according to the Order denying Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the passenger was overserved alcohol by the cruise ship company, at least 30 ounces of alcohol, and multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that the passenger lost his balance and fell. Continue reading

News outlets have reported that another cruise ship passenger has gone overboard during a cruise ship. This time a female passenger, age 46, reportedly went overboard from the Norwegian Cruise Line ship the Norwegian Star, last weekend. The passenger, a British woman, was found swimming in the waters approximately ten hours after falling overboard.   She was taken to a hospital and treated for exhaustion, but is in stable condition.

cruise-300x198We are pleased to report that this particular incident involving yet another passenger falling overboard from a cruise ship ended with a successful rescue of the passenger. This is not always the case. This particular passenger must’ve been a very good swimmer, and it is quite remarkable to have endured 10 hours in the water before being rescued.

Multiple Man Overboard Incidents Thus Far in 2018

According to one source, 17 people have reportedly gone overboard on cruise ships this year alone.. This continues to be a problem year after year. The problem caught the attention of Congress, who passed legislation requiring cruise ship companies to implement technology for an automatic man overboard systems designed to detect when someone goes overboard a cruise ship so that a prompt search and rescue can be initiated. The sooner a search and rescue effort is started, the more likelihood there is of saving the overboard passenger’s life. This case is yet another example that people can survive a fall from a cruise ship, and that it is possible to rescue a person who has fallen off the cruise ship if prompt detection and rescue efforts are made. Continue reading

People are often left to wonder what would happen if a medical emergency were to happen to them onboard a cruise ship.  Last week, a cruise ship passenger on board a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, which is based here in Miami, Florida, unfortunately had to find out.  A 66-year-old cruise ship passenger on board the Carnival Horizon reportedly suffered a stroke when the ship was approximately 80 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey.   A daring medical evacuation, or medevac, was carried out by the United States Coast Guard by helicopter.

medevac-300x249Even though the cruise ship companies maintain procedures about medical evacuations, more often than not, we hear of  different scenarios where the cruise ship company failed to evacuate a passenger or crew member who was suffering a medical emergency in a timely manner, which resulted in serious harm or even death. This can be due to a variety of reasons. Medical evacuations from a cruise ship can be very expensive, and often times present a challenging endeavor getting a passenger or crew member off the cruise ship.

Yet another cruise ship passenger is reported to have fallen overboard Friday during an Alaskan cruise.This time, the passenger was onboard the MS Westerdam, a  Holland America Line cruise ship.  The passenger is reported to have gone overboard while the cruise ship was passing through the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

alaksa-300x225The passenger was initially determined to be missing at approximately 3:50pm when he did not show up for a scheduled doctor’s appointment onboard the ship. Reports state that the cruise ship company reported the passenger missing to the National Park Service officials at approximately 7:30pm after a ship-wide search. At that point a search effort started involving 15 people, three vessels and an airplane, but the passenger was never found.

News outlets have reported this week that a young Israeli couple on their honeymoon aboard the Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, decided to try zip-lining during one of the ship’s port visits in Roatán, Honduras. What was intended to be the beginning of a long happy life together turned into tragedy as the result of apparent negligence on behalf of the cruise ship.

zipline-300x225While ziplining over a treetop canopy on July 5, 27-year-old Shif Fanken got stuck and stopped halfway down the cable when her husband, 24-year-old Egael Tishman, was released by staff members down the zip-line, resulting in a collision. The couple was rushed to the hospital where the husband died from his injuries. The wife is currently recovering in a hospital in Florida. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. At this time, the safety history and track record of the operator is unknown, nor do we know what knowledge the cruise ship company had previously gathered about the operator prior to the incident.

Our case, L.A., a minor, by and through his mother, natural Guardian and next friend, T.A., vs. Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD., is getting national attention regarding the U.S. District Court  for the Southern District of Florida’s order denying Royal Caribbean’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. The case involves a 13-year-old boy who was on board the Independence of the Seas, a  Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship, with his mother and brother.

Our client, along with a group of friends, was peacefully sitting and talking in a public library under the watchful eye of surveillance cameras. His mother and older brother believed the 13-year-old to be safe, as he was instructed to only converse with his group of friends and to remain in the public space. The family had read about the cruise ship company’s great safety and security record and felt safe under the hundreds of surveillance cameras throughout the ship. Like most passengers, she never thought that her child would be at risk for a sexual assault aboard the cruise ship.

Miami-based cruise ship attorney Brett Rivkind, who has been handling maritime cases for over 35 years, has three lawsuits pending involving multi-million dollar claims on behalf of cruise ship passengers, illuminating areas of potential danger for passengers.

br-pic-300x224The first case involves the sexual assault of a minor committed by adult passengers at approximately 2 a.m. in a public area of a cruise ship. The lawsuit alleges that the passengers were over-served alcohol to the point they were heavily intoxicated. The cruise ship employees permitted this and did not monitor their consumption nor their whereabouts after they left the bar.  The case, L.A. vs. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.,  alleges that sexual assaults are known to occur onboard cruise ships, often involving minors, yet passengers are not warned about these dangers. Passengers who are over-served alcohol become a danger to themselves as well as to others.

This past Sunday, another fire onboard a passenger ship occurred, this one off the coast of Port Richey, which is just north of Tampa, Florida. The fire broke about a half a mile from shore on a shuttle boat operated by Tropical Breeze Casino, causing all of the 50 passengers and crew members to jump overboard and swim to shore.  There were over a dozen passengers who were reported to have been injured and a 42-year-old woman who was killed.

fire1-300x225The 60-foot shuttle boat was on its way to the Tropical Breeze Casino Boat (a company also known as SunCruz at one time) when the captain noticed smoke. After noticing the smoke, the captain turned the boat back to shore.  On his way back, the boat started having engine problems, which had been reported even before the accident in question.  The captain then ordered all 50 people on board to abandon the ship and swim to shore. There was no time to even hand out life jackets. The water, which was 59-degrees at the time, combined with the Gulf breeze actually created a risk of hypothermia for the passengers, some of whom were found face down in the water and would have died had the rescue efforts not been so prompt.

I have written many times about the dangers associated with shore side excursions. The cruise ship companies continue to promote and sell excursions in foreign countries not governed by the same safety standards as the United States while sharing in the profit and then relying on the foreign company to operate the excursion.

tourboat-300x222Passengers are encouraged to purchase the shore side excursions directly from the cruise line under the false pretense that they have been vetted for safety and security.  Historically there have been many accidents as a result of dangers associated with foreign excursions and the poor safety history of the excursion companies endorsed by the cruise line.