Articles Tagged with Carnival Cruise Line

It has been reported that a 3-year-old girl on board a Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship fell from a stateroom balcony to the deck below, suffering injuries which required her to be airlifted to a hospital in Tampa, Florida. The incident took place this past Friday aboard the Carnival Breeze. The ship was on its way back to Galveston, Texas, after cruising to the Bahamas.

carnival-300x186The nature and extent of the injuries were not known at the time, other than it was reported that there was severe bruising to the facial area, and a Coast Guard officer commented that he did not believe the injuries to be more serious injuries than facial fractures, although that remains to be seen. It is also unclear why the 3-year-old fell from the balcony in her stateroom.

It is concerning that only one day earlier a similar incident was reported aboard the Carnival Valor, another Carnival Cruise Line ship, Carnival Valor, where a 30-year-old passenger fell and injured her head requiring evacuation by the United States Coast Guard. The ship was just ten miles from Galveston, Texas, when she was medevacs from the ship. Details from her fall are unknown at this time.

There is a report of yet again another passenger on a cruise ship reported to have gone overboard, and not found. The latest involves a 32-year-old male from Georgia, a passenger on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship, a Carnival Cruise Line ship, who reportedly went overboard in the early morning hours of Friday, April 7, while the vessel was in Bahamian territorial waters after having left Cape Canaveral, Florida.

carnival-liberty-300x225At this time, the reports are that the United States Coast Guard was participating in the search and rescue efforts, as it does involve a United States citizen, and the ship did depart from the United States port. The Bahamian maritime authority will also get involved since the incident did happen in Bahamian waters.

Statistics that are available indicate there have been a number of passengers who have been reported to have gone overboard on a cruise ship this year alone. Just two weeks ago, we reported on another carnival passenger who fell overboard from the Carnival Victory ship.

MIAMI, Florida–There has been another reported incident of a passenger on a cruise ship falling overboard. This past Wednesday, a 23-year-old male passenger from Florida was reported to have fallen from the eighth deck of the Carnival Victory, a Carnival Cruise Line ship, at around 3 a.m. Since the cruise ship was close to the territorial waters of Cuba, Cuban authorities got involved in the rescue efforts, as well as the United States Coast Guard. After thoroughly searching the area for 16 hours, the Coast Guard called off the search for the missing passenger.

carnival-300x186Unfortunately, we have reported about way too many instances of passengers falling overboard during a cruise vacation, specifically on a Carnival cruise ship. Just last month, a 24- year-old male fell off another Carnival ship. According to Ross Klein, almost half of the overboard incidents on cruises have actually occurred on Carnival ships.

Why do passengers continue falling overboard?

MIAMI, Florida–Two spring-breakers quickly saw the fun and thrill of riding a jet ski turn to the terror of almost getting run over by a cruise ship. This past Saturday, two jet skiers were riding on these personal watercrafts right by the mouth of the Port Canaveral harbor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when their jet skis flipped them over into the water. At the same time, the Carnival Magic cruise ship was navigating out of the Port Canaveral Harbor. This meant that the two teenagers, ages 19 and 20, were now in the water, watching the approaching cruise ship come at them.

jetski-300x225Imagine a 130, 000-ton cruise ship coming at you, and imagine the horror of the pilot knowing there was no way to maneuver out of the way of the two girls. There is little ability to quickly maneuver a large passenger cruise ship, which in this case was the cruise ship owned by Carnival Cruise Line. Not only is it hard to quickly maneuver a large cruise ship but it was also hard for the girls to swim out of the way, as a breeze was pushing the woman more into the path of the approaching cruise ship according to the Port Canaveral Harbor Pilot Capt. Doug Brown. Capt. Doug Brown quickly alerted the Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy who was at patrol boat nearby to come help. Luckily the deputy was able to rescue the two girls, as Brown tried to change the ship’s course.

This jet ski incident is unfortunately one of many, as we have reported on many accidents involving these personal watercrafts, including fatalities. Jet skis are dangerous instrumentalities. They are hard to keep under control, as they are very powerful and can go very fast.

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.

MIAMI, Florida–This past Monday, a 24-year-old male reportedly fell overboard from the 11th deck of the Carnival Elation cruise ship. The cruise ship returned to its port in Jacksonville yesterday without the missing passenger. It used to be shocking for people to hear that a passenger was reported to have fallen overboard on a cruise ship. Then came the case of George Smith, a man who went overboard during his honeymoon cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas. George Smith was a young handsome man who had just married his young beautiful wife, Jennifer Hagel, in a storybook wedding in Connecticut. They then headed off to their honeymoon on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and George Smith never returned. During the cruise he was reported missing, and after searching for him, blood was discovered on the canopy below his balcony, where it is believed he struck after falling off his  cabin’s balcony before landing in the water.

bahamascruise-300x225The case received national attention, which prompted congressional hearings addressing cruise ship safety and security. The case generated so much interest and focus that it even became the subject of books and movies. His body was never found. Most experts believe he was the victim of foul play, possibly murder. However, an FBI investigation never resulted in the prosecution of anyone for any crime. The parents spent years searching for answers, and unfortunately, many questions remain today, 10 years later.

In this recent case where a young cruise ship passenger fell  from the 11th deck of a Carnival cruise ship, the facts reported again illustrate that the cruise ship industry is not employing man overboard systems, nor monitoring their surveillance cameras, so that if a passenger does fall overboard, immediate action can be taken. According to reports, the 24-year-old passenger was last seen by his wife at around 2:45 AM, and she then reported him missing at 8:30 AM when the ship reached Nassau, Bahamas. The procedures followed by Carnival then took place, where the surveillance cameras were reviewed back in time, and it was discovered the passenger actually went overboard at 2:45 AM. The Coast Guard was notified at around 11 a.m., which is when the search began. Therefore, any search and rescue efforts took place over eight hours after the passenger went overboard!

MIAMI, Florida–In alarming news, Princess Cruise Lines, owned by Carnival Corporation, plead guilty to seven felony charges arising as a result of illegal dumping of oil into the ocean. This is not the first time a cruise line has been found guilty of illegally dumping oil into the ocean and covering it up. In fact, Carnival, was previously guilty of dumping oil into the ocean and covering it up. A huge fine was assessed back in the late 1990s against Carnival. Other cruise ship companies, including Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, have also been guilty of oil dumping and cover up. These major cruise lines have felony convictions, so they should be referred to as felons, with the associated cloud over their credibility that is justified from being a felon.

enchantment-of-the-seas-panama-thumb-450x321-14364-300x214An engineer involved in the operation for Princess Cruises resulting in another huge fine of $40 million dollars, summed up the motivation behind violating international laws and covering up the violations: “It cost too much to properly dispose of oil waste.” Apparently, the cruise line puts profits ahead of the environment, disregarding international laws and covering up their actions, while polluting the waterways. Can we trust these convicted felons when they tell the public their cruise ships are safe when in fact there are in fact a number of reported sexual assaults and disappearances happening on cruise ships?

During Congressional Hearings addressing cruise ship safety and security, I was requested to come to Washington D.C. to testify. I was questioned about safety and security issues on board the cruise ships and what particular laws govern the cruise ship companies. I was surprised that Congress had very little knowledge as to how the cruise ship industry was being regulated, and  that the Congressional committee was not aware that there were no mandatory reporting requirements for the cruise ship companies when a crime happens on board their cruise ship. As a result of these hearings, there has been increased safety legislation and regulation of the cruise ship industry.

MIAMI, Florida–While there are many unique safety hazards presented from operating a floating city on the high seas, the most recent one we have heard about involve deceit at onshore stores recommended by the cruise line. As cruise ship companies have increased in size over the years, so has the addition of many more shipboard activities, meaning more additional safety risks. In addition, the cruise ship companies have attracted more people on their cruises by advertising the exotic ports the ship travels to, where different types of dangers may be lurking.

money-300x225This means that there are many different safety concerns with respect to both on board activities as well as onshore activities at the different ports the cruise ships travel to that those planning on taking a cruise should be aware of.

In two different situations on two different cruise ship companies, Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line, two passengers were told to go to a particular jewelry store at one of the ports, giving them false sense of confidence in the shop and the products being sold. Before going onshore, the passengers were given shopping lectures and a map identifying the stores the cruise ship company highly recommended to be the best deals and highest quality. The cruise ship passengers assumed, like any passenger would, that the cruise lines wanted to protect their interests and went to the recommended stores.

Despite growing awareness of cruise ship incidents, including sexual assaults, fires, disappearances, and a host of other problems, an article in the Miami Herald indicates that the cruise ship industry here in Florida is booming.big-ship-300x225 The article reports how major cruise lines are bringing the biggest cruise ships in history to the ports in both Port Everglades, Florida and Miami, Florida. This includes Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista, Holland America’s ms Koningsdam,and Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer.

This brings us to the question of whether these mega cruise ships are better than the average-size cruise ships. Is bigger really better? The larger cruise ships will provide a lot more variety as to entertainment, restaurants, and other activities, as well as increased profits to the cruise lines. However, how safe are these huge cruise ships out in the high seas with thousands of passengers and thousands of crew members? What happens in the case of a fire or other disaster where an evacuation must take place? I do not believe anyone has forgotten the images of the Costa Concordia lying on its side in Italy after striking rocks, causing it to capsize. The evacuation process after this happened was a mess. There were many deaths and injuries, with the incident being compared to the Titanic. Although what happened on the Costa Concordia was a rare incident, it does highlight the issue of how safe these new humongous cruise ships really are.

Over the years, with an increasing population on board cruises, we have seen an increasing number of passengers going overboard, as well as an increasing number of sexual assaults and other crimes. This does not include an increase in accidents on board the ships. Do we have sufficient laws and regulations to ensure the safety of all the passengers and crew members that will be traveling on these huge cruise ships? The amount of alcohol consumption taking place on cruises and the mix of nationalities of both the crew and passengers on board the ships are just a few of the many factors that present very challenging safety concerns to the cruise line industry and regulators. In addition, the cruise ship companies enjoy incorporation in a foreign country as well as flying a “flag of convenience,” which means registering their ships in other countries. This allow them to escape certain laws and regulations of the United States, as well as avoid United States tax laws.

dark-waters-1255327Samantha Broberg, a thirty-three-year-old passenger, fell from the deck of a Carnival Liberty cruise ship into the Gulf of Mexico around 2 a.m. Friday morning, May 13. However, it has been reported that she was not reported missing until Friday around noon. Had there been technology on the ship that could be “used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fall overboard,” as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, effective over four years ago in January 2012, this tragic incident may have had a happy ending. Instead the passenger went undetected for over ten hours before a search even began. The search did not end well with the Coast Guard suspending the search around 8:15 p.m. on Sunday. Additionally, video footage in fact captured Samantha Broberg falling over board. This raises another question, which must be addressed by authorities, why is there no requirement for the cruise line to constantly monitor the surveillance video cameras? The cruise lines admit that is not done, instead searching through footage after the long delay from the time the passenger went overboard, losing precious time and making the search and rescue effort almost a sure failure.

My firm has handled many cases involving passengers going overboard on a cruise ship, including the well-publicized case of George Smith, who went overboard during his honeymoon cruise on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Line cruise ship. His disappearance was suspected to be as a result of foul play, but an FBI investigation never resulted in any prosecution for any crime, and the case was closed by the FBI. I had the privilege of representing the Smith family, who was frustrated in their attempts to gain information from the cruise line about the incident. The family was relentless in pursuing the FBI, the cruise line, and Congress to solve the mystery, and to implement changes in the cruise ship industry.

The George Smith case resulted in congressional hearings. I had the privilege of being an invited speaker before Congress to answer questions on maritime safety and security as a maritime expert. The hearings led to more investigations and finally the implementation of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, implemented into law by President Obama when he signed the legislation on July 27, 2010.

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