Yes, it is safe to take a cruise vacation…at least from a statistical point of view. Consider that out of 153 million passengers carried between the years 2002 and 2011, only six died in operational incidents (ship sinking, running aground, etc.).
Yet, the disaster of the “Costa Concordia” early this year has brought to the surface some of our worst nightmares. Images of the film “Titanic” come to mind as we think of passengers trying to reach their designated muster stations climbing deck after deck through listing corridors with flickering lights that threaten to leave desperate souls in the dark.
According to cntraveler.com, recent interviews with passengers at Port Everglades reveal their concerns regarding cruise ship safety. For example, Brittany Wilcox, a first time cruiser from Ohio said: “I’m going to know all my exits. I want to walk the ship right away. As soon as I get on, I want to know how to get off”. Not exactly the kind of enthusiasm that the cruise line industry wants from its passengers…
Are Newer Ships Any Safer?
The preceding is another question that can be answered in the affirmative. However, I would add, no ship builder can account for human error…The “Costa Concordia” was a fairly new ship with all the state of the art navigation systems it’s powerful owners, Carnival Cruise Lines, could pack into it. Yet, we cannot blame the manufacturer of any ship for a captain’s apparent decision to ignore the most basic navigation rules and show off in front of his female companion. Much like the captain of “Titanic” should not have given into the cruise line’s pressure to get to New York faster than any other liner and ignore basic common sense in waters where he knew icebergs were common, the captain of the “Costa Concordia” should not have allowed his romantic interest influence him into steering his vessel as close to the island of Giglio as he did.
Of course, the investigation by Italian authorities continues and all facts are yet unknown but I cannot blame Ms. Wilcox for feeling queasy about cruising. As stated by Angela Meyer, of Riverdale, Georgia, who was another passenger to be at the Port Everglades cruise terminal: “I thought that after the Titanic, something like that (the Costa Concordia disaster) would never happen again.” With the technology available today, I just don’t understand it.”
No One Governing Body
I believe that one of the main problems regarding cruise line safety lies with the fact that the industry does not have one governing body with the power to set and, more importantly, to enforce rules. For example, the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is the document (adhered to by the United States soon after the “Titanic” tragedy) that has governed maritime safety ever since 1914. Yet, not every maritime country has adhered to it and the standards set therein are not enforceable against everyone. Similarly, we have the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations organization that has enacted plenty of rules over the years. However, being a United Nations body, it has no power to enforce any rules.
Moreover, when we add the fact that enforcing the rules falls within the purview of the countries where the ships are registered and that most cruise ships are not registered in the United States, there is very little U.S. lawmakers can do to enforce rules that would make it safer for Americans, the cruise lines’ largest market, to vacation at sea.
Sinking Cruise Ship Not Only Danger
Cruise ship passengers suffer many kinds of accidents during their vacations, both while on the ship and onshore. For example, they may get injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, as well as become injured during cruise supervised activities onboard. Similarly, passengers suffer injuries while involved in any one of the following land based activities:
- Scuba diving or snorkeling
- Jet skiing
- ZIP lining
- Excursions on bicycles, on motorbikes or on 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.
We Can Help
Please note that it is not uncommon for a Cruise line to try to get an injured passenger to accept a refund as compensation for his or her injuries. Injured passengers should not give into the company’s pressure and accept a mere refund in exchange for their injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or if a loved one died while on a cruise vacation, the cruise line may owe you financial compensation and we can help.
It is important for you to remember that these cases are governed by certain conditions established in the tickets. For example, according to most tickets, claimants have only six months to give written notice of the claim to the cruise line and one year from the date of the incident to file suit.
Consequently, you should contact a lawyer with experience handling these matters immediately. Only your prompt legal action will force the cruise company to compensate you for your past and future medical costs (including rehabilitation therapy), your pain and suffering and your lost wages. Also, please note that a Florida lawyer will handle your entire case, including the initial consultation, on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay your attorney anything, unless he o she wins your case.
Throughout the years the Cruise Lines Injury Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have handled many such cases against these cruise lines and can help you obtain the compensation you may deserve.
If you or a close relative suffered an injury while on a cruise, we urge you to contact a law firm with experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today. 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.