The Baltimore Sun reports on the death of a 71 year old passenger from Reisterstown, Maryland , Carol Olson, during a snorkeling excursion in the Bahamas. Ms. Olson was a passenger on Carnival's Pride cruise ship and booked the excursion from the cruise line.
Other passengers described having problems with the current. The excursion was described as poorly managed with no one from the excursion boat in the water assisting the snorkelers.
The Baltimore Sun has an informative article which summarizes the dangers of cruise excursion and the pitfalls which Americans face if they lose a loved one during a cruise or an excursion sold by the cruise line. The article is entitled "Cruise Passengers Describe Fatal Snorkel Tour."
Carnival's PR spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz refused to provide any information to the Baltimore Sun, but released a statement stating in part:
"This was an extremely unusual and tragic situation and we … have suspended the tour and will be taking a close look at the details surrounding what transpired."
The problem is that Carnival will never reveal the results of their investigation to the public or even Ms. Olson's family.
The situation is governed by the Death On The High Seas Act, which we have discussed in prior articles. Most passengers do not realize that the recoverable compensation for retired passengers involving maritime deaths outside U.S. waters is limited to funeral / burial expenses. Carnival collects approximately 12 billion dollars a year in cruise and excursion sales and pays no Federal income tax. But it is protected from responsibility because of DOHSA. Without financial accountability, there is no incentive for companies like Carnival to invest into making certain that their passengers are reasonably safe during excursions like this.
Photograph WBAL TV Baltimore