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Too Big To Sail? A Look at the Safety of Massive Cruise Ships

Over the decades, cruise ships have increased tremendously in size, weight, and passenger capacity. In 1985, the biggest cruise ship was the 46,000 ton Carnival Holiday. In early 2000’s, the largest ship, the Queen Mary 2, was three times as large. Today, two 225,000 ton ships rule the high seas. Cruise ships continue to get bigger and more popular, but some safety experts are expressing concerns over this continual expansion of ship size.

Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers find that cruise ships operate with little oversight or enforcement and, according to James Hall, a safety management consultant and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB) the industry has been very fortunate up until now.

Recent events have highlighted the potential perils of mammoth cruise ships. Thirty two people were killed when the Costa Concordia, owned by the Carnival Corporation, capsized off the coast of Italy. The accident revealed several flaws in emergency procedures and lapses in safety. More recently, a fire aboard the Carnival Triumph, left passengers stranded without power for four days until the ship was finally towed to shore. Yet another blaze on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas forced the ship to dock in the Bahamas. The stern was left blackened by smoke.

Though most of these recent cruise line accidents have not resulted in casualties, the string of incidents and fires has raised heightened concerns about the ability of these massive ships to handle large scale evacuations and emergencies. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia has introduced legislation to strengthen oversight over cruise lines’ safety procedures.

Cruise lines have responded back that with the increase in the size of the ships has come more safety equipment. Carnival, for instance, adopted new safety features for the detection and suppression of fires after the fire aboard the Carnival Splendor three years ago.

Safety experts urge that the larger the ship, the larger the challenges. Big vessels can become quickly disabled by fires, which take out the complex systems of a ship. Oversight over cruise operators is at times lax, as demonstrated by the “Splendor” fire, during which the sprinklers had for some reason been disabled and no engine room fire drills had been conducted for over six months.

Conducting evacuations with thousands of passengers aboard a ship proves both challenging and dangerous. Following the Costa Concordia disaster, the crew and captain failed to sound the general evacuation alarm for an hour after the rocks had already breached the hull. By the time evacuations begin, some lifeboats could not be lowered as the ship had started to list. Further, in an effort to accommodate so many people, ships have begun utilizing massive lifeboats, carrying up to 370 people. However, safety rules state lifeboats should not hold more than 150 individuals.
As cruise ships continue to grow and the industry continues to thrive, it appears that more oversight will be needed to ensure these massive ships safely carry passengers across the wide expanse of ocean.

IMPORTANT TIP: In each and every case our office handles we make it a practice to go over each and every complaint our client has from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet. We do this because patients fail to tell their physician all of their complaints, thinking that what they are feeling is not related to the injuries received in their case. We are not doctors but we explain to the client to let the doctor know because he/she may feel that there is a relation. For example, a person complaining of lower back pain may not tell their doctor that they are having tingling or numbness in their leg. By telling the doctor this, they can examine the patient and determine the cause of the complaint.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers with Decades of Experience

If you or a loved one is injured on a cruise ship, whether through an accident, due to an illness, or assault, contact the preeminent law office of Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have fought for the recovery cruise ship accident victims and their families. Our commitment to zealous representation has earned an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400, or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.

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