Passengers Terrorized: Norwegian Breakaway Sails through "Bomb Cyclone"

Norwegian Breakaway This week, a number of passengers contacted our office after returning from the harrowing end of their ill fated cruise aboard NCL's Norwegian Breakaway

News accounts indicate that on January 2, 2018, the Breakaway stopped at its private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Videos available online show the weather, initially calm and pleasant, turning rough as the passengers used tenders to return to the cruise ship. This was a foreshadowing of things to come. 

By this date, and as early as December 31, 2017, weather forecasters were unanimously predicting that a huge storm would form off the U.S.'s southeast coast and head north later in the week.

But Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) stuck with its itinerary and subjected the passengers to several days of extreme winds and waves as the hurricane-strength storm pounded the cruise ship on January 3rd and 4th. Water leaked into the ship as passengers complained on social media of panic and seasickness with several dozens of frightended passengers sleeping in the ship's atrium. CBS quoted one passenger as saying that "there were people crying, everyone was throwing up. It was a nightmare. It was so tilted I was shaking."

Many passengers complained about a lack of communication from the captain.  

NCL downplayed the incident which infuriated many of the traumatized passengers.

In one of several statements released by NCL after the Breakaway returned to port in New York, NCL claimed that the cruise ship "encountered stronger than forecasted weather conditions."  

The cruise line's conduct and lack of transparency are similar to the conduct of Royal Caribbean after the Anthem of the Seas cruised into a major storm which, like the Grayson "bomb cyclone," was well forecast in advance. The captain of the Anthem claimed that the storm was not accurately forecast, which led Al Roker, the popular television weatherman on the Today Show, to state "Royal Caribbean's claim that this was not predicted is bullfeathers."

Cruise lines ordinarily have a duty of only "reasonable care" under the circumstances. But in instances of rough weather, cruise lines have a much higher duty of care to the passengers. Some characterize this duty as the "highest duty of care" of the passengers when the ship is expected to encounter rough weather.

Our firm previously represented traumatized passengers on the Anthem of the Seas which Royal Caribbean recklessly sailed through a violent storm in 2016. You can see a video of my interview with a New Jersey television station here.  

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January 10, 2018 Update: Passengers Consider Lawsuit After Norwegian Cruise Line Sails Through Winter Storm Grayson (Video).  

Image credit: CBS News 

NCL Norwegian Breakaway Storm

Bomb Scare on the Caribbean Princess in Grand Bahamas Shipyard

Bomb Scare Caribbean PrincessThis morning, a person aboard the Caribbean Princess notified me that there is a bomb scare aboard the cruise ship, which is at the Grand Bahama shipyard. The worker stated:

"I am currently on board the Caribbean Princess in the Grand Bahama Shipyard where today a bomb threat was called in to the shipyard. The ship performed a complete check and at 10 am the captain gave the abandon ship order. The ship has been evacuated and all contractors and crew were mustered outside the shipyard. We are awaiting further instructions.

Have a good day because my day and thousands others are having a bad day.

We were mustered away from the shipyard and were told no pictures."

The Caribbean Princess is in dry dock for general maintenance. Many thousands of contractors and crew members are now re-locating to Port Lucaya.  

The worker also stated:

"Of course the Bahamian taxis are making a fortune off off this event. It's funny to see crew members in uniform strolling around . . .

I can report that very few police were present and one ambulance. No bomb squad or dogs were visible.

A lot of work has now been delayed due to this and a lot of frustration is in the air . . . "

The Carnival Pride and Carnival Ecstasy are in port in Freeport today, as well as the Anna Maersk which is at the container port across from the shipyard.  There is no indication whether these ships were the subject of this bomb threat.

The question which immediately comes to my mind is whether the Bahamian police are competent to handle the response to a major security threat like this?

There have been bomb threats against cruise ships in the past, and they are usually determined to be pranks. A drunken Carnival passenger who made a bomb threat on the Carnival Sensation was arrested several years ago after a cruise to the Bahamas which was later determined to be a hoax. The Discovery cruise ship received a bogus bomb threat as the ship was en route to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale after sailing to the Bahamas. A bomb was reportedly planted on the Liberty of the Seas several years ago as well, although nothing was found by law enforcement officers. A bomb scare forced the evacuation of the cruise terminal at the port of Miami.  Passengers and crew members had to flee a ferry in Marseilles, France last year after a bomb scare.

April 1, 2017 Update: The popular Crew-Center website has additional information and photographs and video of crew members and contrators leaving the ship, congregating at the shipyard and leaving the shipyard. 

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Image credit: Marine Traffic

77 Passengers and Crew Members Flee Ferry in Marseilles After Bomb Scare

Jean Nicoli Ferry ExplosionNewspapers in Europe are reporting that seventy-seven passengers and crew members were evacuated from a ferry and pier at the port of Joliette, in Marseilles, France after "after loud noises were heard below deck.'

The ferry was identified as the Jean Nicoli which was scheduled to leave for Sardinia this morning.  

Mail Online says that France deployed "heavily armed soldiers and police to its ports in fear of ISIS jihadis boarding ferries." The enhanced port security follows the ISIS inspired truck attack on Bastille Day in Nice, France which killed 84 people and the killing of a priest in a Normandy church.

But there seems to be uncertainty regarding what caused the explosion and where it occurred. 

While the UK based newspapers initially speculated that the explosion might have been caused by a terrorist organization, the media in France concluded that the explosion came from a bomb from the Second World War. The French newspaper Le Figaro suggested that the explosion was allegedly caused by a bomb left from World War II.

Mail Online's article was originally titled "Marseilles ferry passengers and crew flee after "explosion" heard amid fears of ISIS attack."  The newspaper changed it to "Panic as 77 passengers and crew evacuated from a ferry in Marseilles after WWI ammunition "explodes" in the seabed."

It remains unclear whether the bomb was intentionally or accidentally exploded.

The bomb reportedly did not cause any damage to the ferry or injuries to the passengers or crew.

Photo Credit: Atlantico - "Marseilles: an explosion near the Seaport causes the evacuation of a ferry."

Bomb Scare Forces Evacuation of Cruise Terminal at Port of Miami

CBS Channel 4 reported today that a check of a suspicious package at the Port of Miami resulted in the evacuation of a cruise ship terminal.  The evacuation was ordered after a police dog alerted to the package.

Miami police ordered the evacuation of Terminal C, which was in use Friday by NCL's Norwegian Sky cruise ship.  CBS reported that the evacuation covered only cruise and port employees working in the terminal because cruise passengers arriving Friday had yet to be allowed inside to board Friday’s cruise. 

The Miami-Dade bomb squad and HazMat crews were was called to check the package.   A port official eventually said the package turned was harmless.

The CBS video explains the event below. 


Bomb Scare Aboard Discovery Cruise Ship

The Tribune newspaper in the Bahamas is reporting that a pleasure cruise  on board the Discovery cruise ship turned into terror and aggravation for hundreds of passengers when a bomb threat stopped the ship at night en route to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale.  The incident began when Miami Dade Police Department received a 911 call around 9 PM that a man was aboard the ship with a gun and a bomb.   

Discovery Cruise Ship Bomb ScareThe Discovery cruise ship ship left Grand Bahama with approximately 900 passengers around 5 PM.  The five-hour cruise back to Port Everglades usually arrives around 10.30 PM.

US Coast Guard and bomb squad technicians and bomb dogs boarded the cruise ship approximately 18 miles off the coast of Florida.  The search was unproductive and the cruise ship returned to port around 4:00 AM.  Law enforcement officers from Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, and the Broward County Sheriff Office Bomb Squad personnel and bomb detection dogs boarded the cruise ship.

The newspaper indicates that passengers were restricted to their cabins and in certain areas of the ship while the search was conducted.  The newspaper also quotes a passenger stating that "everyone was very scared and some persons were even upset because of the long delay and late arrival into Fort Lauderdale." 

The last bomb scare was last year when the Carnival Sensation cruise ship's arrival back in Port Canaveral today was delayed. You can read the article: Bomb Hoax Gets Drunken Carnival Cruise Passenger Arrested.   Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas also had a bomb threat last year - Are Cruise Ships Equipped To Handle Bomb Threats On The High Seas?

If you were a passenger aboard the Discovery, please leave a comment about the experience below.