The recent problems with the Carnival Triumph are coming to an end. A fire in the ship’s engine room left the ship drifting, without power, water or flushing toilets for five days. Conditions deteriorated to the point that both guests and cruise ship workers had to use plastic bags to dispose of body waste and they walked through excrements when toilets clogged and overflowed. Food lines were up to three hours long and passengers at the front of the lines hoarded food causing worry for those at the back of the line. A lack of air conditioning saw people sleeping on decks and in hallways. A cruiser’s nightmare comes true.
The cruise line said it would give each passenger $500, a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, as well as a credit for another cruise, though many passengers indicated they would never cruise again, and definitely not with Carnival.
But what of the cruise ship workers? What do they get? The crew would have had to continue working through this disaster. They would have had to do all that could be done to ensure the safety and comfort, within those confines, of the guests. Is anyone looking out for their health and wellness after exposure to those unsanitary conditions?
The Triumph disaster isn’t the first to happen on a cruise ship and likely won’t be the last. Following the sinking of the Costa Concordia in Italy last year, all cruise ships tightened up their safety practices and put their workers, and guests, through safety drills. But despite those actions, accidents still occur on cruise ships. So just how safe is cruising for guests and workers?
Fire is the biggest concern onboard but there are other concerns such as flooding, loss of electricity, man overboard, medical emergencies, pollution, and damage to the ship. And in all those emergencies, the passenger comes first but in most cases, the passenger isn’t even aware of what is going on and this is usually for their own good to avoid panic. Workers get training to deal with dangers on the water and in the event of real emergencies many know exactly what to do. But some don’t. In an emergency, cruise ship workers do their best to assist guests but when fear and panic set in, it could easily become an “every man for himself,” situation which is dangerous but a realistic reaction under the circumstances.
There is a lot to think about when considering cruising. Is it safer than flying? Sure. But the impact of an accident at sea affects so many more lives when you consider that the average cruise ship accommodates more than 3000 guest sand 800 – 1000 workers. Additionally, the frequency at which cruise ship accidents seem to be happening is alarming. The dangers are real. The cruise ship industry doesn’t seem to be doing enough prevention. And cure, is a too little too late.
The maritime lawyers at Rivkind and Margulies handle all types of maritime cases Involving injury or death.