Today an article in the Miami Herald discussed a recent study released by the Cruise Lines Industry Association, which highlighted the effects of the cruise line industry on Florida, home to the three busiest ports in the country: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Cape Canaveral. Florida received over one-third in direct cruise ship industry spending of the 21 billion dollars spent nationwide in 2014, amounting to about 8 billion dollars. This is an 8.4 percent increase from the dollar value of direct spending in 2013. According to the article, direct spending encompasses spending by the passenger, crew and the actual cruise line, which includes $7.02 billion in wages, $17.04 billion on food, beverage and other cruise line spending, and about $4 billion spent by the passengers and crew.
The article also discussed the worldwide increase in passengers over the past decade and anticipated that number to increase to 23 million by the end of this year. This influx is based on a variety factors including new ports, new destinations, new cruise products, new onboard activities and new ships.
Along with these innovative new factors including new onboard activities, there has been an increase in the number of accidents. Many of the activities are designed for land-based use, not a moving cruise ship plying the high seas. Our firm has seen a significant increase in accidents involving these shipboard activities, some very serious.
I have been to Congress to discuss safety and security issues on cruise ships. While I was in Washington D.C., a Florida senator was very vocal at the hearings, defending the cruise ship industry, and pointing out what this article states, which is the significant benefits from the cruise ship industry that Florida receives. Needless to say, it is difficult to get congress to enact laws that the cruise line oppose.
However, this does not mean the cruise ship industry should be allowed to self-police and avoid United States regulations that will make cruising safer for all, as I also discussed in Washington D.C. Safety first should be the motto.
Our firm, which is based in Miami, continues to act as safety advocates for those harmed at sea. We are available for a free consultation if you or a loved on has been harmed at sea.