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Threat of Liability Following Costa Concordia Shipwreck Yields Improved Safety Standards

When a violent attack by a crew member or the negligence of a cruise line operator contributes to serious injury to passengers, cruise line patrons can experience intense pain, emotional hardships, permanent disability, and significant financial hardships.  Although every cruise ship accident that results in a serious injury or the death of a passenger or crew member is tragic, these horrific accidents at sea can often prompt new regulations and stricter safety standards.  When cruise lines feel the financial impact of their negligent conduct or failure to act, they have a greater incentive to prevent future illnesses, injuries and loss of life.

The luxury liner the Costa Concordia made international headlines after running aground in 2012.  The tragedy claimed the lives of 32 people among the passengers and crew.  The cruise industry was spurred to take proactive steps to prevent similar tragedies in the future in the wake of negative publicity and substantial liability.  Industry officials formed the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which immediately emerged as the largest trade organization in North America.

When the Costa Concordia ran aground, the force of the impact was so loud that passengers heard the noise.  After a temporary power outage caused by water flooding the engine room, the ship’s captain ordered an evacuation because the cruise liner had begun to list.  The story was widely reported by international media sources because the ship was the largest ever to be abandoned.  Following the cruise ship disaster, the captain was arrested on charges of manslaughter for causing the wreck, failing to be the last to leave the ship, and evading his duty to assist passengers.  He subsequently faced additional charges for failing to provide information to maritime authorities about the scope of the crash and for abandoning incapacitated passengers.

In the aftermath of this fatal cruise ship crash, 9 cruise industry trade associations, including the CLIA agreed to coordinate efforts under an umbrella organization to standardize safety regulations and protocols.  Some rules that were expected to be adopted based on the facts of the Costa Concordia shipwreck included the following:

Lifeboat Drills: Lifeboat drills must be conducted at least every six months.

Recording Passenger Data: Cruise lines must preserve records of passenger nationality, which must be made readily available to rescue workers.

Life Jacket Access: Ships must have more life jackets than the number of passengers.

Instructions in Emergencies: Cruise operators are required to provide passengers with twelve pieces of information as part of emergency instructions.

Timing of Muster Drills: These drills have to be conducted before the ship departs at the beginning of a cruise.

Limiting Bridge Access: Access to the bridge is limited to individuals necessary to the ship’s operation at times when an increased focus on navigation is needed, such as amidst heavy traffic or near port.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Cruise Shipwreck Victims and Their Families

These are just a few examples of improved safety standards that emerged following the Costa Concordia tragedy.  If you have been injured or you have lost a family member during a cruise accident, our Miami Cruise Line Injury Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano tenaciously pursue the fullest compensation for our clients.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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