Carnival Cruise Ship Crashes While Docking in Baltimore Pier Due to Captain Error

MIAMI, Florida–The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released their findings regarding the horrible parking job by the captain of the passenger cruise ship Carnival Pride on May 8, 2016, when the cruise ship collided into the pier and an elevated passenger walkway in Baltimore, Maryland. The crash resulted in more than two million dollars in damages.  The Carnival Pride was returning from a 7-day trip to the Bahamas and Florida when this happened.

baltimore-300x225Although we were thankful to report that there were no personal injuries resulting from the collision with the pier, it did raise eyebrows and questions as to why the cruise ship did collide with the pier, with the expert navigation staff onboard and of course the most sophisticated navigation equipment.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the incident, and  released its accident report yesterday.  According to the report, Carnival Pride’s staff captain, was maneuvering the boat at too fast a speed and at too steep of an angle. The captain then took control, but at the point, it was too late to prevent the ship’s bow from striking the pier. The report found that the probable cause of the Carnival Pride’s allision with the pier was due to the captain’s oversight and the staff captain’s error, as the cruise ship was traveling at an excessive rate of speed at the time and at an angle that was too steep.  We have all experienced parallel parking where we either bang into another car or scratch our wheels, but here we are talking about a mega cruise ship and over $2,000,000 worth of damages.  It is alarming to know that the captain was faulted for not properly supervising, and that the cruise ship was found to be operating at an excessive rate of speed.

We have heard of other incidents with cruise ships where we find it hard to believe the incident occurred with the navigational expertise onboard these billion-dollar cruise ships.  For example, we all know about the Costa Concordia disaster, where despite staffing the ship with supposedly well qualified officers and equipping the ship with state of the art navigational equipment, the Costa Concordia ran into a rock formation. resulting in the capsizing of the Costa Concordia.  We recall the horrific and terrifying pictures of the ship laying on its side.  Thousands of passengers had to be evacuated.  The incident resulted in several deaths, many personal injuries, and of course all passengers suffered emotional distress because of this terrifying incident. That incident happened very close to the shore in Italy, in an area that was well-marked, and there was simply no explanation as to why the cruise ship was where it was at the time, and why the captain was not aware of the rocks it struck, resulting in the tragedy. We also reported on a crash this past December that also happened in Maryland. The passenger cruise ship Spirit of Baltimore crashed into two  boats and the floating pier at Henderson’s Wharf Resort Marina when the captain fell asleep at the wheel.   These incidents sadly highlight the fact that we cannot always rely on the expertise of the captain and crew, as well as the sophisticated navigational equipment to ensure we are safe at sea.

Again, the cruise ship industry always touts how safe any industry it is.  But as time has passed, and more and more ships have been put into service, more incidents have been brought to the public knowledge by victims of incidents on cruise ships, including sexual assaults and disappearances. As a direct result of lawsuits brought against the cruise ship industry by maritime attorneys, we are now well aware of the many potential dangers and risks aboard cruise ships.  While cruising is considered relatively safe and a great way to spend a family vacation, we must continue to push for legislation applying to the cruise ship industry, and increase regulation of this industry that tries to hide behind the foreign incorporation of their companies, despite their base of operations being here in the United States.  Several of the cruise ship companies are convicted felons and that they have admitted to illegally polluting our waters, and then trying to cover up such by falsifying records.  Therefore, we must be careful not to accept everything that the cruise ship industry tells us about how safe the industry is.