Articles Tagged with Carnival Cruise Line

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.

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.

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.

dark-waters-1255327Passenger from North Carolina falls on Carnival cruise ship by port of Miami and dies.

It has reported that a twenty year old male passenger on a Carnival cruise ship, the Carnival Ecstasy fell approximately 20 feet, or the equivalent of two decks of the ship, and died.

Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed that a 14-year-old passenger aboard the Carnival Cruise Line passenger cruise ship VICTORY was shot during a shoreside excursion while the teenager was  in Coki Point Beach, St. Thomas. Apparently, Coki Point Beach is a very popular area in St. Thomas.

stthomas-225x300The teenager was with her parents on a safari bus at the time of the shooting. She was caught in a cross fire during a shootout reported to have been taking place between local gang members.

While this tragic incident appears to be a random act of violence, under the maritime law if a cruise line has knowledge of an unsafe area that passengers may travel to during a cruise, there would be a duty to warn the passengers of any such dangers. Therefore, if the cruise line was aware, or should have been aware, of an unsafe area at one of the ports the cruise line takes its passengers to, they would have a duty to warn the passengers of the dangers.

A maritime law case previously held that a cruise line could be responsible for a shooting of a passenger at a port where the cruise line knew or should have known that the area the passengers foreseeably traveled to was an area that was known to have a lot of criminal activity.

Under the maritime law, the cruise ship owes passengers a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances, and that duty would include warning passengers of any dangers known to the cruise line that may risk the safety or lives of the passengers.
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