Death on NCL's Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade Cruise Ship Katakolon GreeceAccording to a news account in Greece, a 25 year old Filipino crew member aboard the Norwegian Jade died when the cruise ship was in Katakolo, Greece.

In addition to the skimpy information contained in the newspaper, we learned that the incident occurred early this morning when cruise passengers were preparing to disembark for sightseeing ashore (including visiting the ruins of Olympia).

A mooring line snapped while the crew member was standing on a mooring deck platform (at the level of deck 7). The crew member was violently struck by the recoiling rope. He was knocked overboard and into the water at the port.  According to the news account, divers took several hours to retrieve the dead man's body in the murky water. 

The crew member was not fitted with either a harness or a life vest and he was not wearing a hard hat. (Some people say that his hard hat was subsequently found floating in the water).

This afternoon, the Norwegian Jade (previously named the Pride of Hawaii) continued on to its next port of call in Piraeus.  The Jade is flagged in the Bahamas.  It appears that the ship sailed without a representative of the Bahamas Maritime Authority conducting an inspection of the rope or analyzing the NCL Norwegian Jadeaccident and taking statements from the crew and witnesses.  The ship is now continuing to sail to Pireus this evening.   

Cruise lines like NCL have worked hard to strip crew members of their rights.  Crew members from the Philippines, in particular, are limited under the Philippines Overseas Employment Agreement (POEA) to very small death benefits even in cases like this where the cruise line failed to enforce basic safety procedures.  

You can read our article about the POEA here. NCL took the lead in enforcing unfair arbitration clauses which deprive seafarers of their rights under maritime law.

Without significant financial consequence to the cruise line in cases like this, there is no incentive to improve safety of the ship's hard working crew. 

If you have information about this fatality, please leave a comment below.     

Photo credits: Norwegian Jade - janiahola.fi; web cam - NCL; scene of accident - ekathimerini.com

NCL Norwegian Jade Death Greece

Join the discussion of this case on our Facebook page.

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
http://www.cruiselawnews.com/admin/trackback/296226
Comments (21) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Ed Enos - March 8, 2013 6:52 PM

If he was standing on the "mooring deck platform", on deck 7, this means he was standing on the small platform that folds out over the water. This is typical of most all cruise ships and is normally used by the deck officer who is managing the mooring operation, so he can 'see' what is happening on the pier, from the ship. It is also common for the bosun to stand there, near the mate, or by himself at times. The bosun on most of these ships is typically another Filipino seaman. During a "morning" arrival routine mooring operation, it is easy to understand how this accident happened. The seaman was probably standing on the platform as a line was being hauled in under tension by mooring winches. I personally know these winches have a 100 ton line pull strength, as her sister ship, the NORWEGIAN STAR operated in Hawaii 2 1/2 years and I witnessed one of their winches pull a bollard out of the dock during a routine mooring operation. Or the alternative scenario is the line was already made fast (or was being held) and the ship was moving forward or aft and then the line parted under tension. Some questions:
1. Where was the officer who normally stands on the same platform? Did he step away momentarily? Or was he brushed aside by same parting line with no injury?
2. NCL ships have hundreds of cameras, including mooring deck. There should be some interesting video and VDR tapes to listen to. That is, if they will allow access. (don't hold your breath).
3. Cruise ship Captains frequently believe that their mooring lines can "stop" their ships when they get near their final position for docking and gangway placement. I have witnessed far too often the security officer at the gangway announcing the "ship is in position" as we are moving forward or aft and then the Captain commanding "Hold the spring lines" in an effort to stop the ship. Too much reliance on too little strength, given the size of ship. A foolish and stupid thing to do (again, too many do this too often).

The only picture I see here is taken near the bow. Thus I assume, it was a forward mooring line. The spring lines on most ships are the ones that are most likely to part under tension, given the scenario I explained above. Thus, if the ship were moving forward, nearing it's final "in position" spot, and the Captain commanded, "hold your springs", I can easily see this happening. The line may have begun to start popping and the mate stepped back off the platform, before the Filipino seaman did.

I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often, given what I have witnessed hundreds of times before.

ethel cardew - March 8, 2013 7:07 PM

Sad news indeed This is one of my former ships. I find it hard to believe that he was allowed to continue working as stated in the article. We as crew members on the NCL ships had very very tight safety training and even turning up without a hi viz jacket on deck for drill would get us in trouble.

Not disputing the contents of the article but as someone who has first hand knowledge of it on 10 of their ships I am just going to offer my opinion and observations.

thoughts and prayers go out to the crew his family at home as well. having experienced the death of a crew member its a very difficult time for those close to him

greg luster - March 9, 2013 3:21 AM

for everybody's information, there is no Filipino bosun on any Norwegian Cruise Line ship, most of the people who have that position in NCL are Europeans and one more thing the 3rd officer or 2nd officer is the one usually assigned in forward mooring, the bosun is in the aft. NCL is cutting all the maintenance budget because they just purchased a couple and new bigger ships. mooring lines are old and full of splices. thorough investigation should be delivered on this one.

Mo - March 9, 2013 5:21 AM

Ed,

My husband is on the ship now. He says the line was only to have 80 ton tension on it and they pulled it to 100. Very sad news, the ship mourns the loss of it's crew member. The atmoshere is very somber.

Donald buckley - March 9, 2013 10:34 AM

I am a former NCL crew member and I have worked onboard the Norwegian Jade. I know that ship and her crew, and I am very sorry for this loss. As a crew member that has worked for 3 different cruise lines, I can tell you first hand that the safety standards at Norwegian are the highest that I can imagine possible. I'm so dreadfully sad for the loss of this crew member as are all of the crew onboard that ship. When a fellow crew member is lost, it is like one or your own family passing. We each feel it deeply in our hearts even if we didn't know this person well. I would not be surprised if even now the crew is taking a collection to support this crew members family and when I find out I will make my donation. All that said, there is a truth to this situation that it is everyone's own personal responsibility to take the proper safety precautions, and my first thought when I read this was brother why weren't you wearing your harness!! It is hard to speculate having not been there if the force from the blow of the rope was enough to mortally wound or if the impact from hitting the water from so far up was the determining factor. I can never know. Even a glancing blow from the rope is likely to have made the crewman lose his footing and go down. In either case I can assure you that there is not a single crew member on that ship from bottom to top that is not feeling this like they just lost one of their own immediate family members and I would respectfully request readers to consider this when consuming this story. My prayers and blessings to the crew members family.

Mike - March 9, 2013 5:02 PM

Crew members has no rights but just the right to work hard while they get richer and richer, ,crew members never get promoted and they work for same position for more then 7 years and you get the frustrations of being far from family! somebody should fight for crew rights!

Jim Walker - March 9, 2013 6:48 PM

Donald:

" . . . safety standards at Norwegian are the highest that I can imagine possible?"

Give me a break.

A federal judge in Miami found that NCL acted criminally in the the explosion of the NCL Norway which burned 8 to death and scalded many more..

People who harp on "personal responsibility" are apologists for corporations which do not exercise "corporate responsibility."

What was your job at NCL?

Mike Colt - March 9, 2013 11:15 PM

Sir, I must say you are fast to jump on NCL despite comment by crew or ex crew stating ncl has a high safety standard.
Yes the Norway was a matter where ncl was faulted. They also pledged to improve.
The 3rd party inspection from the flag country also failed in its boiler inspection.
I was an OSHA compliance officer for 12 years. This country cannot exactly brag about how grear our own corporations do with safety.. Over 4, 000 Americans die a year in workplace events.

Rose Shelton - March 10, 2013 8:01 AM

This is a very sad incident. Prayers and condolences to the crew members family. Stop the finger pointing and get to the facts.

edwin - March 10, 2013 10:07 AM

this is really very sad incident. I am also a deck boy from ncl. condolences to the crew members family.

Armand Mario - March 10, 2013 6:11 PM

safety standards at Norwegian are the highest that I can imagine possible?"
The Safety Officer on NCL are not Bridge or Marine Officers .
I saw very professional Safety on other cruise lines not NCL .
They are some old call safety officers from UK most of them .

Emily - March 12, 2013 10:20 AM

This is no longer an issue of whether the crew who died was wearing a life jacket, harness and a hard hat or not. Lets say, he wore all of these...You think he will be spared of his life when strucked by a snapped mooring line???? And yes, crews specially those in the lower positions were not being given recognitions and credits... instead it is being given to their superiors. Their ideas and efforts were used but they were not even mentioned. I should know, i was a former crew of NCL.

nedelko corria - March 12, 2013 10:34 AM

Jim they were recently awarded the maritime ssfety award of the year so much for that ja ja as a former crew member I can attest that they are incompetent when it comes to safety, 3 years ago the oia safety officer jumpt off the 4th deck while the ship was sailing in kona can you belive that they are big on safety allright lol

Jay - March 15, 2013 4:57 PM

I too am a former crew member that has worked for more than a couple of cruise lines over the past 10 years - just like Don Buckley above (we worked together at NCL). As Greg Luster points out: the Bosun is not 'always' Filipino - not sure I remember any Bosun of that nationality on the dozens of ships where I worked. As an American, I can attest to the fact that workplace safety on a ship is exactly what each person makes it - - and it's no different than work environments here at home. This is very tragic and chances are I lived and worked with the deceased crew member. It's always sad when you lose a friend or coworker. I also know people who died in a work environment here in Colorado. Americans need to stop blowing things out of proportion and sensationalizing everything; we're a litigious society and people make too much of these situations. Just honor the memory of the deceased man and pray for his family. Stop blaming cruise lines and foreign nationals. Tens of thousands of people are on cruise ship on any given day, and the percentages are on the side of a perfectly safe and sanitary environment - probably safer than driving in any city in the US and cleaner than a restaurant toilet!!

Bobby Keech - March 22, 2013 3:49 PM

Was on board the Jade during this as a passenger and was saddened to hear of this tragedy. Safe working conditions should be universal and my heart goes out to the family and crew. They all do such a great job making a cruise such a great experience.

Cris - April 2, 2013 10:05 AM

As one of the wives of the seafarers,I am so concern with their welfare.Its not easy to work abroad and leave their family just to make better future.All kinds of sacrifices are there just to realize their dreams for their love ones.
To help and protect the crew members,the agency must give more attention to their safety.Before they start their duties,inspection must be done to ensure they are wearing their protective gadgets/gears.the heads must do their roles well.they are responsible of their men.

Jo Krantz - April 15, 2013 12:20 PM

I was also on board the Jade as a passenger at the time of the accident and NCL crew were instructed not to talk about it. It was referred to as an "incident" but one crew member told us "it never should have happened". The photo, by the way, was not taken where the accident occurred but where the authorities were organizing the search for him. It was kept very hush-hush on board and no information was provided to passengers, even though we all heard the two urgent distress calls over the P.A. system. Not even a moment of silence was requested, which was very distressing.

Jacques - April 17, 2013 12:55 PM

We were also passengers on this trip. We were among the first people to get off the ship and were waiting to get on the bus when we heard the rope snap. My wife caught a glimpse of something black fly off the platform which means that he was probably not wearing a life jacket. The rope that snapped was the one starts near the platform and goes towards the back of the ship. At the point, there was a stop in the passengers leaving the ship for 20-30 minutes. Another passenger was told that the officer was sucked into the bow thrusters and that it took about 4 hours to get him out. Sad to have this happen.

John - May 27, 2013 11:29 PM

I was a passenger waiting to get off the ship when this happened. I was first in line and just before getting off the ship, it had to be repositioned for the gangway to lone up. As the ship moved forward, the distress call came over the pa system. Seemed like a series of errors that led to this

Francis - June 3, 2013 6:54 PM

My opinion follows, provided for informational purposes:

I am so sorry to hear of this incident. I have been saying this for awhile: the workers there are not well cared for, and the Filipino workers and those from other nations have almost no rights nor recourse! It is a very tenuous situation for them! This is a sad example, and my heart goes out to them.

I was working on an NCL ship, and they knew about hazardous conditions there that later lead to a serious injury for me- I still suffer from it-and they did NOTHING to rectify the situation beforehand. In fact, the captain himself laughed when I told him how dangerous his own manager of that area had said it was- he treated it as a joke. Yup- the CAPTAIN! Thier doctors misdiagnosed me three... yes three.. times! Afterward, they've refused to pay any of my medical bills, despite promises to the contrary.

NCL has been the lowest, least responsible, least considerate bunch of manipulators I've ever seen. Absolutely disgraceful. Yes--very clever of them to have you sign arbitration agreements once you arrive on ship!

I have no faith in this company. Shameful before, during, and after.

Albert - June 4, 2013 1:28 AM

Well Jay, I object to your absurd stance on this--you msut really be a cruise line pawn.
>
Yea- except there are LAWS at home! Hellllooo! Why do you think they fly under the flag of the Bahamas?! So they can bypass American labor Laws, and hide behind arbitration agreements! Ships are a more hazardous environment, with virtually no laws to protect workers! Also at home, you can LEAVE and get proper care and a second opinion! You can go to a properly equipped hospital! I felt completely trapped with a bunch of incompetent "doctors" when I was injured working on a NCL ship. They misdiagnosed me several times! My life was put in jeopardy because of thier incompetence!

>
OUT OF PROPORTION?! What's out of proportion is the cruise industry's ability to skirt and rewrite laws, and to avoid culpability. This is exactly an example of the OPPOSITE- this is a time when American law is applicable, and would keep the industry in check, but it is cleverly avoided by the lines. You have it backward!

Really, I was injured working on a ship, and they are they worst of the worst. I've had to fight for every dime--stil haven't even been reimbursed for my medicals. Don't believe the industry's lies or plants--or good ol' Jay--beware the cruise industry! Should you get hurt on a vessel, even if 100% the fault of the line, you could very well be permanently injured physically and financially. NCL is shameful!

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.







Remember personal info?
Send To A Friend Use this form to send this entry to a friend via email.