Does Royal Caribbean Destroy Evidence of Passenger Accidents?

Yesterday, I boarded Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas cruise ship at the Port of Miami for what maritime lawyers call a "vessel inspection."  I boarded the cruise ship with my co-counsel on the case, Jonathan Aronson, and a top engineering expert.  

Our client, a passenger, had been seriously injured when she fell on a wet deck around the FlowRider water attraction on the cruise ship.  Shortly before we boarded the ship for the inspection, Royal Caribbean finally provided us, only after a Court order was entered, with one video clip taken from an aft / starboard CCTV - Cruise Ship - Surveillance Cameraclosed circuit television (CCTV) camera. But it didn't show what happened to our client.  The cruise line claimed that there were no videos of our client's "alleged" accident as they put it.  

When we boarded the cruise ship yesterday, we immediately realized that the camera of the video they provided us was not pointed at the accident scene and, in any event, the video was taken over three hours after our client's accident occurred.  We also realized that there were a dozen video cameras and CCTV cameras pointing to the FlowRider and the surrounding decks, including the area where our client's accident occurred.  None of these videos have been produced.  

Cruise lines control the scene of the accident and access to witnesses.  Passengers who are injured on cruise ships should not inspect cooperation from the cruise line.  Our client promptly reported her accident and was taken from the scene because she was seriously injured.  If the cruise line's security officers wanted to document what happened, they would have looked at the dozen cameras and quickly determined which cameras captured the accident and preserved the video. 

Instead, we now have a game of hide and seek.  Cruise lines have a reputation of keeping evidence only when it tends to help the ship's legal interests and destroying evidence which supports the passenger's claim.  

Passengers who are injured on cruise ships need to document the location of CCTV cameras (they are usually numbered) and request that the cruise ship retain the evidence.

Otherwise they may find that after they make a claim, there is no evidence left and the cruise line will deny that the accident even occcurred.

        

CCTV - Cruise Ship - Cameras - Surveillance - Destructionof Evidence?

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
cctvmarsec - September 27, 2010 1:36 AM

As much as I respect your articles, I sometimes think that your comments regarding CCTV on cruise ships are not accurate. Unless of course you are referring to a specific cruise line in each case. Each cruise line has a different policy regarding their use of CCTV. So please avoid blanket statements.

Jim Walker - September 27, 2010 6:17 AM

Thanks for your comment.

Which statements are inaccurate?

My article was written with Royal Caribbean in mind.

Although there are some similarities between all of the cruise lines regarding CCTV, some companies do a better job of preserving images of accidents. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, retains digital images of the accident, the circumstances after the accident, the arrival of the medical staff at the scene, and transporting the injured passenger through the ship, into and out of the elevators, and to the ship infirmary.

Even when the images of an accident are preserved, the challenge is always getting the cruise line to turn copies over voluntarily after a lawsuit has been filed.

rogue - September 27, 2010 5:05 PM

While I understand that the video would be great to have, there must be dozens, if not hundreds who witnessed this accident. Their testimony alone should be of such weight to not worry about the missing video.

Anton - September 29, 2010 4:02 AM

Oh,oh as a rcl crew menber how many crew got fired
because of cctv ?
They never miss the crew!
Oh, oh for sure we can produce better videos than
passengers and soon we are ready for hollywood
movie :-)

Mike - July 2, 2011 10:59 AM

Interesting reading.

I am not sure how much you know about CCTV systems, to be honest?

a digital system with 100's of cameras can not save movies for 100's of years when the servers would be full.

CCTV system are also ment for the safety of the ships, if I am not wrong. So if you want clear pictures you maybe have to call in CSI Miami to upgrade the systems of the ships and impliment a couple of 100 extra servers to make the resolution higher.

Another very interesting thing is that even though this is kind an "American Site" there seem to be only US citizens tripping and falling and loosing control of themselves and getting injured.

How is it possible that the people from the rest of the world seem to be able to stand straight while the Americans falling to the left, right and center all the time?

You who seem to be a resonable clever person maybe also should look into the cruise lines, and the amount of passengers from different nationalities cruising and then see the procentage of people injuring themselves.

When reading through what you have written under different forums here Mr Walker, it certainly seem like Americans have major problems staning on their feet, and I assume that there can not be any genetical issues with them, but maybe I am wrong?

Jim Walker - July 3, 2011 5:10 PM

Thanks for your comment, Mike.

How is the weather in Chile?

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