Le Boreal Cruise Ship Fire Survivor Tells of Ordeal

A Canadian cruise ship entertainer is back home after an ordeal aboard a cruise ship which faced a fire which it could not control.

As reported by CBA, a fire broke out on the Le Boreal

"We were all concentrated on the top deck in the front, to get away from the smoke, which was coming from the back in the bottom," he said from his home in Woodstock.

The entertainer was reportedly ordered into a life raft after five hours in the darkness. 

The RAF conducted a major evacuation of a very serious cruise ship fire.



News I Missed: Norwegian Pearl Fire

Norwegian PearlHere at Cruise Law News, we try to stay on top of "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know." Sometimes, for various reasons, we don't hear of significant events, such as cruise ship fires.  

A reader on our Facebook page brought to our attention that we missed reporting about a fire which occurred during a recent cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl.  

Sure enough, there was a fire which was obscurely mentioned in a cruise critic review

The fire occurred on the third night of the cruise (November 5, 20150) around 8 PM.  The Captain announced that there was a fire and they were trying to contain it and not be alarmed at the black smoke coming from the ship's stacks. "We also heard from one of the crew's walkie talkies that they called for a medical team twice. About 2 1/2 hour later, around 10:30 PM we were told we could proceed back to our aft cabin, and were also told the A/C was shut down because of the smoke and would take a while before they could restart it for many of the cabins. Also, there was a very heavy smell of diesel fuel in the hallways and in our Suite."

Fairplay recently published an article about the "continuing string of cruise ship engine room fires" aboard: (1) Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas (October) while sailing to Greece (2) Carnival Liberty (September) while at dock in St Thomas (3) Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas (July) before it arrived in Falmouth, Jamaica (4) P&O’s Oriana (April) after leaving Miami, Florida (5) Fred Olsen’s Boudicca (January) Casablanca, Morocco (6) Oceania Cruises’ Insignia St. Lucia (December). 

Photo Credit: Norwegian Pearl by Visitor7.  Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

U.S. Issues Worldwide Travel Warning Due to Terror Attacks

Cruise Ship SecurityThe U.S. State Department has alerted its citizens of possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. "Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests."

The warning, which technically ended on Tuesday, advises U.S. citizens to exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile incidents including the October 31st bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt, killing 224 people. on a flight from Sharm El-Sheikh to St Petersburg and the recent November 13th attacks in Paris. 

President Obama spoke this afternoon on the terror alert and stated that there is no "specific and credible" threat to the U.S. Even assuming that to be true, there have no doubt been prior terrorist incidents which have affected cruise passengers. Cruise passengers from Costa and MSC cruise ships were massacred in Tunis last earlier this year.  We have predicted how the next terrorist attack against a cruise ship will take place

But what can a cruise passenger do? Not much it seems. There is no right for a refund if there’s a terrorist incident in a country where a cruise passenger is traveling to. Passengers from Viking River Cruises, for example, traveled around Paris in Viking buses after the recent attacks waiting for their cruises because they had no right to cancel their upcoming cruises. it goes without saying that the mere threat of an attack is a not legal basis to cancel a cruise with any reasonable expectation of obtaining a refund. Read Five Myths About Travel Insurance and Terrorism.

Critical Medical Condition of Four Passengers Returns Anthem of the Seas to Port Early

Anthem of the SeasA passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas contacted me yesterday evening stating that:

"On the Anthem of the seas. The ship had to come back a night early . . .  there are 4 critically ill passengers on board . . . Captain not saying anymore then 4 critically ill and pleaded we understand because if this was our family we would want the same."  The captain specifically stated that  the passengers were in "critical" medical condition. 

The passenger subsequently stated that two and possibly three of the passengers had died. There was no information whether the passengers had been injured or were sick. 

@PTZtv indicated that the cruise ship returned to the harbor in New York early last night for "medical emergencies."

Please leave a comment on our Facebook page if you have information.

It's surprising how little insight we have received on this story, as one other blogger notes

Photo Credit: Dickelbers Creative Commons 3.0 via Wikipedia



Indonesian Ferry Sinks, No Casualties

Vessel finder reported yesterday that all passengers and crew members were accounted for after the Wihan Sejahtera cruise ferry sank in Lamong Bay, Surabaya in Indonesia on Monday.

NBC News reports that passengers and crew made a dramatic escape from the capsizing ferry in Indonesia. "With the ferry listing dangerously, people can be seen climbing down the side of the ship — some even appear to be rappelling — before jumping into the water . . ." 

The Indonesian-flagged RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) ferry, built in 1985, sank shortly after it departed the Port of Tanjung Perak, Surabaya.

Photo Credit: ANTARA FOTO / Reuters via NBC News.

Wihan Sejahtera



Le Boréal Fire and Evacuation More Serious than Disclosed

Le Boreal The engine room fire which erupted aboard Ponant’s luxury cruise ship, Le LeBoréal, near the Falkland Islands on Wednesday night was far more serious than initially reported by the cruise line. 

U.K. newspapers report that the crew was unable to extinguish the major fire forcing the passengers and crew to evacuate the cruise ship into rafts as well as to be medevaced aboard helicopters. The Telegraph newspaper shows dramatic film of British helicopter crews winching people from the Le Boréal

The Telegraph says that all 347 passengers and crew were rescued from the stricken ship which had lost power and was in danger of grounding on East Falkland on Wednesday. "Two Royal Air Force Sea King helicopters and two other support helicopters winched passengers and crew members the deck of the cruise ship and from two life rafts in the water."

The Telegraph further states that the "Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Clyde was also dispatched to the scene to ensure two further lifeboats with more than 200 evacuees were brought to safety."

The Commander of British Forces in the South Atlantic Islands characterized the emergency evacuation as "an extremely complex and hazardous rescue operation in difficult conditions."

Yesterday, the cruise operator Ponant said simply that the passengers and crew were evacuated only as a "precaution."

Photo Credit: U.K. Ministry of Defence via gCaptain

Fire on Ponant's Le Boréal, Passengers and Crew Evacuated

A number of news sources are reporting that a fire broke last night on Ponant’s luxury cruise ship, Le Boréal, as the ship was sailing north of the Falkland Islands. The vessel was heading from Grave Cove to South Georgia when the alarm sounded shortly after 2:00 A.M. last night.

347 passengers and crew were on the ship. All persons were safely evacuated. 

A number of sources are saying that 90 of the 347 passengers were air-lifted to safety from life-rafts and the rest were transferred to the L'Austral. The company said that the passenger and crew were evacuated as a "precaution" although the life saving measures seem to be far from routine.  

The rest of the cruise was canceled and the passengers will be flown home once they arrive in the capital of the Falklands.

Photo Credit: Pjotr Mahhonin creative Commons 3.0 via Wikipedia

Le Boreal Cruise Ship


Bahamas Reaches Record Murder Rate, as Chief of Tourism Police Says "Downtown Nassau Safe For Tourists"

The Bahamas just reached 128 murders for the year, a new record for the country. By way of comparison, in 2014, there were 328 murders in New York City with a population of 8,500,000 or roughly 3.85 per 100,000 population. The Bahamas is on the way to 150 murders in 2015, which with a population of 360,000 population, is about 42 per 100,000. Most of these crime occur in Nassau (New Providence).

But you would never know it listening to the Bahamian tourism officials.

The Bahamas Weekly has an interesting article today titled "Downtown Nassau Safe For Tourists, Nassau Bahamassays Top Cop." It quotes Chief Superintendent of the Tourism Policing Unit Leamond Deleveaux saying: “The downtown area is a very safe place. You can’t get it any safer.” Mr. Deleveaux also says: 

"We don’t have any reports about crimes against tourists."

“I know of no major incidents reported to the police. I am amazed that people say there are crimes against tourists in New Providence. This is myth and not factual.”

In truth, there have been many many assaults, robberies, thefts and muggings of U.S. tourists and residents written about by the newspapers in Nassau. 

The U.S. State Department has currently placed the Bahamas under a critical crime warning and cites armed robbery as a major criminal threat facing U.S. citizens in The Bahamas. "The U.S. Embassy has received multiple reports of tourists robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint in tourist locations in the downtown areas of Nassau, to include the cruise ship docks and the Cable Beach commerce areas; several of these incidents occurred during daylight hours. Burglaries, larcenies and “snatch-and-grab” crimes happen in Nassau and U.S. citizens have been victims of these crimes. The U.S. Embassy has received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, in diverse areas such as in casinos, outside hotels, or on cruise ships." 

Earlier this year, we pointed out that Nassau has been the focus of 7 crime warnings by the U.S. and Canada dating back to January 2014 with several sexual assaults on U.S. citizens, including minors, reportedly committed by jet ski operators on Paradise Island.

Mr. Deleveaux needs to be reminded of the murder of American sailor Kyle Bruner in Nassau. His murderers, who shot him just feet away from the Paradise Island Bridge in Nassau, were convicted last week.   

I last wrote about chief superintendent Deleveaux last December in my article Bloody Nassau about a particularly dangerous weekend when seven Bahamians were shot and three were killed. He claimed that tourists in Nassau are virtually immune from crime. He told the Guardian newspaper in Nassau "to be honest with you, crime against tourists are almost non-existent despite what you hear or is printed in the media."

Photo Credit: TampAGS, for AGS Media Creative Commons Wikipedia

Passenger Missing from the MSC Opera

The Port Authority of Genoa is engaged in the research of a 75 year old woman who disappeared last night from the MSC Opera arriving from Civitavecchia to the port of Genoa.

An Italian newspaper says that the passenger was not aboard the MSC cruise ship when it arrived in Genoa.  

Searches are under currently way with three patrol boats and two helicopters deployed. 

This latest overboard occurred on the same night when a 43 year old passenger went overboard from the Star Breeze in Italian waters but she was rescued when the cruise ship turned around.  

Photo Credit: MSC Opera Kefalonitis94 CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons / Wikipedia

MSC Opera

Woman Overboard from Cruise Ship, Rescued

Star BreezeAccording to Professor Ross Klein's Cruisejunkie, the Italian newspaper Il Tirreno reports that a 43 year old U.S. woman went overboard when the Star Breeze cruise ship was between Civitivecchia and Portoferraio. She was traveling with her boyfriend and a group of friends.

The translated account says that it is unknown how the passenger went overboard. One translation suggests that she has an argument before she went into the water,  The Master of the cruise ship mentioned that the woman consumed alcohol before she went overboard. The cruise ship had just left the island of Giglio. As soon as learning that a passenger went overboard, the captain of the Star Breeze triggered the man overboard procedures and reversed course, warning the maritime authorities of what was happening.

The passenger was found in the water after approximately an hour. 

The Star Breeze previously operated as the Seabourne Spirit and entered the Windstar Cruises fleet this year. 


Photo Credit: David Orlovic Creative Commons 3..0 via Wikipedia 

"Cruise Ship Crime: Hard to Prosecute, Convict"

Jim Walker Cruise LawyerCrime Watch Daily is a new program which focuses on stories of crime in the daily life of average Americans. 

It just published it's first show regarding crime on cruise ships.

Today it aired Cruise Ship Crime: Hard to Prosecute, Convict about the difficulties prosecuting crimes on the high seas.

Laurie Dishman, a friend and former client, talks about being sexually assaulted during a Royal Caribbean cruise.  Former Disney Cruise security officer Dawn Taplin talks about being told by her supervisors not to call U.S. authorities when a Disney crew member molested an 11 year old girl while the Disney Dream was still docked in a Florida port. The Disney cruise ship then sailed on to the Bahamas where it flew it's crew member back home to escape prosecution.  

Photo: Crime Watch Daily



Passenger Overboard from Oasis of the Seas

A video posted by a passenger on YouTube shows a man holding on to the support bracket of a lifeboat when his hands apparently slip and he falls overboard from the Oasis of the Seas last night around 1:00 A.M.  

The video (warning, graphic content, available on Sun-Sentinel) taken by another passenger from a higher balcony cabin records a confusing set of circumstances taking place as the man tries to hold onto the side of the lifeboat, apparently loses his grip, and falls into the water. 

"He's there! He's there! Stop! Get the lifeboat! Get the life ring! Throw it over!" yells the woman videotaping the terrible ordeal after he plunges into the water.

ABC News quotes Royal Caribbean saying that the incident occurred "17 miles east of Turks and Caicos Islands (when) a 35 year old male guest from Brazil went overboard. He was spotted by Oasis of the Seas crew members intentionally going over the side of the ship.” 


Seattle Jury Awards $21,000,000 Verdict Against HAL

Yesterday, a jury in Seattle awarded $21,000,000 to a cruise passenger hit in the head by an automatic glass door on Holland America's MS Amsterdam in 2011.

KIRO Channel 7 reports that the passenger suffered a traumatic brain injury which included debilitating headaches, problems with his balance and fatigue.

His lawyers at the Friedman Rubin Law Firm showed the jury that sliding doors injured 30 others across Holland America's fleet of cruise ships in the three year period before the accident. 

Holland America Line said in a statement that it is "committed to the safety and security" of passengers, and that it will appeal the verdict. 



New Critical Crime Warning for Honduras

Roatan HondurasAlthough crime in the country of Honduras has declined in the past two years, the U.S. Department of State continues to warn that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains "critically high,"

The State Department website warns that:

"Crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country. The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly respond to, investigate, and prosecute cases. As a result, criminals operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras."

The State Department says that the country's murder rate has decreased to 66 per 100,000 in 2014, down from its peak of 86.5 per 100,000 in 2011.  The murder rate so far this year is less than last year, although it is far more than the murder rate in the U.S. which is around 4.5 per 100,000. 

The warning for Roatan says that crime there and in the Bay Islands is lower than the Honduras mainland. There were efforts last year to improve tourism security.  However, "as on the mainland, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur, and rates are still high by international standards."  

"If you are traveling on a cruise ship, you should take safety precautions, avoid unfamiliar areas, and take care to book only with reputable tour companies during your stopover in Honduras."

The State Department indicates that "the vast majority of cruise line passengers in Honduras experience no problems, but incidents of armed robbery and carjacking have been reported.

We have written many article about crime in Roatan after the murder of a NCL crew member in 2014 as well as the robbery of cruise passengers and murder of local citizens.

The last critical crime warning for Honduras was issued in May 2015.

Photo Credit: Westbrowncanada Creative 3.0 Wikipedia

Jurisdictional Hurdles Hinder Filipino Crew Member Raped on Cruise Ship

A 23 year old female Filipino crew member, who alleges that she was raped onboard a NYK cruise ship, filed a claim against the cruise line in Tokyo, Japan,

According to the Manila Bulletin, the Free Legal Assistance for Seafarers said that crew member filed a civil suit after Filipino law enforcement agencies failed to assist her file criminal charges as the alleged rape was committed on high seas.

The victim alleges that she was sexually assaulted while onboard MS Asuka II (the old Crystal Harmony), which was sailing from Saipan to Australia. The crew member alleged that four other Filipino Asuka II - Crystal Harmonyseafarers convinced her to drink with them. The newspaper says that she woke up the next morning naked with one of the men. She immediately reported that she had been assaulted but the men denied raping her.

When she disembarked in Sydney, Australia, she reported the incident to the Australian Customs and Border Protection, which forwarded her report to INTERPOL.

When the crew member returned to Manila she reported the alleged crime but was turned away, according to the Manila Bulletin.  She went to a local criminal investigation bureau which could not assist her because the alleged crime took place on the high seas. Her attorneys are now considering  filing criminal charges against the four Filipinos in Australia because the cruise ship was heading to Australia when the alleged crime occurred.

This case is one of many cases where female crew members are unable to pursue assailants at sea due to a lack of concern of the cruise lines and jurisdictional hurdles blocking prosecutions of crimes on the high seas. 

Photo Credit: D.Seeruttun Creative Commons 3.0 Wikipedia 

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