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New Safety Rules For Cruise Ships

The world’s largest non-profit organization for cruise lines, Cruise Lines International Association, has announced that it is setting new safety standards for the battered cruise line industry in the wake of the “Costa Concordia” disaster.

More Adult Life Jackets

The first new rule is that from now on each ship will be required to carry more adult life jackets. The safety of passengers is supposed to be a primary concern for a cruise ship. However, when a ship is sinking, pandemonium typically ensues. People run from the cabins and forget their life jackets. Similarly, many people won’t be close to their cabins when the alarm sounds. These passengers will have a difficult time making it to their cabins and then back to their muster stations. As a matter of fact, survivors of the “Costa Concordia” disaster claim that is exactly what happened to them. They went to their cabins to fetch their life jackets and found themselves having to crawl back up through dark corridors to safety. Therefore, it makes sense to have extra jackets close to the most populated areas of the ship.

No More Visitors to the Bridge

Some news reports talk about the captain of the “Costa Concordia” having a woman with him on the bridge at the time of the accident. He has been charged with: manslaughter, causing the shipwreck by carrying out a dangerous maneuver intended to impress his female companion, abandoning the ship before all the passengers and crew were evacuated and failing to report the accident. Consequently, the industry has adopted a new policy that should “minimize unnecessary disruptions and distractions” on the bridge, by limiting access to those with “operational functions during any period of restricted maneuvering or when increased vigilance is required.”

No More Detours

Another allegation made against the captain of the “Costa Concordia” was that he deviated from the ship’s intended course and passed too close to the island of Giglio, making the ship hit a rock and capsize. In his defense, Captain Francesco Schettino has stated that the rocks were not indicated in the charts and that he was ordered by cruise line managers to sail close to Giglio. Therefore, the cruise line industry has adopted a rule that requires a complete planning of every ship’s route from departure to arrival. This new requirement has existed for years as guidance, but the new rule makes it a mandatory minimum from now on. The rule also requires that all bridge officers and crew be briefed well before the planned route is implemented.

Sinking Ship Not Only Danger

Of course a sinking ship is not the only danger faced by cruise ship passengers. Passengers get injured when they slip on a wet floor or trip on a damaged carpet and fall. All kinds of accidents happen during cruise vacations, both on and off the ship. For example, passengers suffer injuries while involved in any one of the following land based activities:

  1. Surfing
  2. Scuba diving or snorkeling
  3. Parasailing
  4. Boating
  5. Jet skiing
  6. Hiking
  7. ZIP lining
  8. Excursions on bicycles, on motorbikes or on 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.

The Cruise Line Won’t Help

When disasters like this happen, don’t expect much from the Cruise Line…. At best, they will likely try to low-ball you and your family with an offer for a future “discounted” cruise. In the case of an injured passenger, they may offer a full refund in compensation for his or her injuries. Don’t allow the cruise line to take advantage of your situation and pressure you into accepting a refund as compensation right away. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or death while on a cruise vacation, you may be entitled to financial compensation by the cruise line.

Even if your injuries do not seem serious at first, but you continue to have pain or discomfort you should wait until you have seen a doctor and talked to an attorney specializing in this kind of cases before deciding on a course of action. If you hesitate to talk to an attorney because of costs, please note that a Florida lawyer will not charge you for the initial consultation and will work your case on a contingency fee agreement, which means that he or she will not charge you at all, unless they win your case.

Therefore, if you or a close relative suffered an injury while on a cruise, we urge to contact a law firm with experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Please note that cruise ship accident cases are usually governed by the conditions established in the tickets, which usually provide for a six month period prior to filing suit where injured passengers must give written notice of the claim to the company (among other requirements) and limit their ability to sue to one year from the date of the accident.

The Lawyers of Greenberg and Stone Can Help

Throughout the years, the Cruise Lines Injury Attorneys of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have handled many such cases against these cruise lines and can help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to. Please note that our practice has been extended with a new satellite office in Aventura to better serve clients that reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania & Dania Beach, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles and Miami Gardens. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today.

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