Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From NCL's Norwegian Breakaway

A local news station in North Carolina reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a a 71 year-old passenger from a cruise ship off the North Carolina coast on Saturday morning.

The passenger was in need of emergency medical care. She was aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, about 50 miles east of Cape Hatteras when the NCL requested assistance.

A Coast Guard helicopter and a Hercules airplane flew from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to assist in the rescue. The helicopter took the sick passenger to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. 

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Carnival Dream

NBC reports that this weekend, a Coast Guard helicopter crew medevaced a 48-year-old passenger from the Carnival Dream cruise ship near Louisiana. 

The woman was reportedly suffering from kidney problems and was unconscious with high blood sugar levels.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew from New Orleans for the rescue. 

The helicopter crew safely hoisted the passenger and flew her to Ochsner Baptist Medical Center for medical treatment..

She is reportedly now in stable condition in a New Orleans hospital.
 

Miami-Dade Cruise Medevac at Port of Miami Caught on Video

CBS Miami Channel 4 reports tonight that a cruise passenger aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship was medevaced over the weekend after he choked on a piece of meat. At one point, emergency dispatchers reported that he was not breathing.

The water was too rough to make a vessel-to-vessel transfer. A Miami-Dade helicopter hoisted the young man and flew him to Jackson Memorial Hospital. 

 

 

Cruise Passenger Missing From Sun Princess Again

A cruise passengers is missing from a Princess cruise ship heading towards Sydney today. The ship in question, the Sun Princess, is completing a 13-day cruise to New Zealand.

There is no explanation how or when the passenger went overboard.

Unfortunately, it again appears that this Princess cruise ship does not have am automatic man overboard system as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.

Sun PrincessLast year there was an overboard passenger from the Sun Princess. I wrote this article last October: Princess Cruises: Why No CCTV or Man Overboard Systems on the Sun Princess?    

Princess Cruises released the following statement: 

"Princess Cruises confirms that an 84-year-old male passenger was reported missing early today onboard Sun Princess, which was on the way to Sydney completing a 13-day New Zealand cruise.

A thorough search of Sun Princess was conducted but the passenger could not be located.

The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra was contacted and Sun Princess turned around and retraced its path off the coast of New South Wales.

Sun Princess was scheduled to arrive in Sydney this morning.

She will continue its search efforts until released by the RCC.

Sun Princess’ arrival in Sydney will be delayed and the next cruise will be impacted." 

You can see a video of the story here.

 

Photo Credit: Daily Telegraph

Ebola on the High Seas: Should Cruise Passengers Worry About Becoming Infected?

I have received a dozen inquiries in the last few days about the chances of contracting Ebola during a cruise. My thought is that the chance is slim that anyone is going to go on a cruise and return home infected with the virus.  But there are some issues that concern me.

For U.S. Travelers, Chances of Infection Are Slim at this Time

From what I have learned, it's very difficult to contract the the virus. A cruise passenger would first have to come into close personal contact with an infected person. The infection could come from contact with the infected victim's bodily fluids (blood, saliva, vomit, feces, urine, or semen) or through contaminated needles. This would first require travel to the affected countries in West Africa (Liberia, Cruise Ship EbolaSierra Leone, and Guinea) and then intimate contact with an Ebola victim.

So far, the only victim in the U.S. is Thomas Duncan who traveled to Dallas from Liberia and since died. There is a chance that the persons who he came into contact with could develop the disease, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is carefully monitoring the health of all persons who possibly could have come into contact with Mr. Duncan.  

Cruise lines are prudently avoiding ports in West Africa. Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Fred Olsen are dropping West African ports in Ghana, Gambia and Senegal. Princess Cruises is considering rerouting its 30-day "West Africa Adventure," according to the L.A. Times. 

Royal Caribbean does not call on any ports in West Africa, although ironically Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia to avoid taxes and regulations.

Bloomberg says that the Ebola scare has lowered cruise stocks. Carnival's stock price fell 5.5 percent, NCL was down 2.8 percent, and Royal Caribbean fell 5.9 percent even though it doesn't sail near the affected (infected) area.

To my knowledge, there are no cruise lines which routinely hire from Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. In fact, I have never met or even heard of crew members from these countries. I anticipate that if there are any crew members from these countries, they will not be be re-hired when they return home on vacation. Miami-based cruise lines enacted such hiring freezes on crew members from affected areas during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in the past.

But I'm Uncertain About the Future

There are some factors, though, that make me nervous about the future.

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that as many as 1,400.000 people could be infected with Ebola by January 2015.  
  • The virus will get worse in the West African countries.
  • Experts predict the virus to appear in Europe within the month.
  • There are reports that Ebola can survive on surfaces for anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the type of surface, the temperature, and the amount of light. 
  • According to the CDC, the average time for symptoms of Ebola to appear is 8-10 days. 
  • Many travelers don't disclose illnesses either before or during their cruises because they don't want to be barred from the ship or confined to their cabin.   
  • Some employees don't report to the ship infirmary because they don't want to lose their tips.

My concern is that the outbreak will continue and expand. It has already reached Spain. Jacquie Kubin writes in her article Ebola: Lessons Learned from SARS, the Flu, and HIV / AIDS that there is a 75% probability that the virus will reach France by the end of October and a 50% chance that Ebola will migrate to the U.K.

If the virus reaches Europe so quickly, future cruise travelers and employees could become infected. If those infected are booked on cruises, it is foreseeable that an infected person will fail to disclose the early symptoms of Ebola (intentionally or simply because they doesn't know they have been infected) when they appear at the airport or terminal and then embark the aircraft or cruise ship.

We already know from noro virus cases, many cruise passengers are ill when they come to the cruise ship. Unfortunately, they sometimes lie to get on the ship, and they won't stay in their cabins even when they are infectious.

We also know from past experiences that some crew members report to work when they are ill, including food handlers. This is documented in the CDC literature.  

Cruise ships are not prepared to handle a situation with an infected Ebola victim aboard. Any crew Cruise Ship Ebolamembers called upon to clean up the vomit and diarrhea and other bodily fluids of a sick passenger would likely become infected. An infected chef or waiter shedding Ebola would be a disaster and could potentially infect hundreds of passengers.  

We have seen that cruise ships can easily be plagued by outbreaks of diseases which include not only gastrointestinal diseases, noro virus and e-coli, but measles & rubella, Legionnaires Disease, SARS and other infectious diseases.

Unlike noro virus which lasts a few days, Ebola is potentially deadly. The victim needs immediate and specialized treatment that a cruise ship can't provide. An Ebola outbreak on a cruise ship could result in deaths as well as a public relations disaster.

Stay Tuned and Hope for the Best

There currently is no vaccine for Ebola. Clinical trials are just starting.

For the next many months, cruise lines will consider West Africa to be a no-man's land. Until the disease is eradicated, the cruise lines must avoid the ports there. Cruise ships will continue sailing wide of West Africa until the coast is clear. Hopefully the virus will not spread to Europe and find its way onto cruise ships. 

October 17 2014 Update: Texas Hospital Worker Who Handled Ebola Samples is on the Carnival Magic

October 18 2014 Update: Cruise Industry is Completely Unprepared for Ebola Outbreak

 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Read circular letter (No. 3484) about Ebola published by the International Maritime Organization.

Photo Credits: Top - Daily Times; Botton - CDC via AP

Carnival Passenger Falls to His Death on the Ecstasy

A twenty year old cruise passenger from North Carolina fell from a mast on the Carnival Ecstasy this morning, according to several local television stations. 

Channel 10 (video credit) says the passenger fell as the cruise ship was underway returning to the Port of Miami. Channel 6 says that the ship was docked as Terminal E at the port.  

The area was reportedly restricted.

There is no indication whether alcohol was a factor. 

The fall was equivalent to falling two stories, approximately 20 to 30 feet..

The man was taken to a trauma unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died.

Carnival released the following statement:

"Earlier this morning as the Carnival Ecstasy was approaching PortMiami, a 20-year-old male guest entered a restricted area and climbed up onto the ship’s forward mast. He subsequently fell and landed on the deck. He was initially treated by the ship’s medical team and later transferred to a local trauma center in Miami. Unfortunately, he has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time."

September 30 2014 Update: USA TODAY reports that the young man "had been on an awards cruise for Macomb, Mich-based Student Painters, the company's owner, Steve Acorn, said Tuesday. A group of five or six climbed up on the platform as the Carnival Ecstasy returned to port at the end of a three-day cruise. "They had seen a group up there the night before and thought it would be a good idea to go there at about 5 a.m. to see the sun rise over Miami," he said. No drinking was involved. "They were up there talking ... and the radar system went on," Acorn said. "Based on where you were standing, it caught Kendall and threw him down."

Have a thought? Please join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Injured Passenger from Grandeur of the Seas

The U.S. Coast Guard was summonsed to a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Friday night after a 58 year old woman was severely injured in a fall.

News accounts say that the Coast Guard responded to the Grandeur of the Seas.

The Coast Guard launched a rescue boat from a station in southern Maryland on the the Chesapeake Bay.

The 58 year old passenger and her husband were transported to the Point Lookout Marina and then airlifted to a trauma unit in Baltimore.

Photo credit: Wikipedia / J. Glover creative commons 3.0

Grandeur of the Seas

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger from Carnival Miracle

Yesterday we mentioned that the U.S. Coast Guard flew 400 miles out to sea from Honolulu to drop blood supplies to the Carnival Miracle to help the ship medical team treat a passenger with internal bleeding.

But the passenger's medical condition continued to worsen, and the Coast Guard returned to the Carnival cruise ship with a helicopter to medevac the sick man.

The Miracle was approximately 80 miles north of Oahu at the time of the rescue. The crew hoisted the man from the cruise ship around 9 p.m. Tuesday and took him for emergency medical treatment.

Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard via Star Advertiser 

 

Florida Remains Cruise Ship Lawsuit Capital of the World

According to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), more cruise passengers have sailed in Florida and around the world than ever before.

Last year, the number of passengers taking cruises on North American cruise lines increased approximately nearly 4 percent to 17,600,000.

6,150,000 passengers sailed from Florida, an increase of 1.3 percent to 6.15 million from the prior year. Miami saw more than 2 million cruise passengers boarding ships, and Fort Lauderdale saw Crew Ship Capital of the World more than 1,800,000 passengers.

Florida also remains the lawsuit capital of the world against cruise lines. 

Most cruise lines insist that lawsuits involving injuries to cruise passengers must be filed in Florida. Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Silversea Cruises require in their "forum selection clauses" that passengers file suit in this state of they are injured or a victim of a crime during the cruise.

It doesn't matter where the cruise departed from (a different state or even country), the passenger tickets of these cruise lines state that their guests must pursue their cases here in Florida.

Several years ago, the Miami Herald published an article "Lawyers Turn Cruise Lawsuits Into Industry." The article stated that between 2001 and 2006, over 2,100 lawsuits were filed against the Miami based cruise lines - Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.

The article begins: 

"How many lawyers does it take to sue a cruise line?

Only one, or one too many if you're the cruise line.

The $25 billion-a-year cruising industry has faced more lawsuits than it cares to count over the past few decades -- some 2,100 in South Florida alone since 2001.

Many are filed by a small group of lawyers -- about 15 locally -- who specialize in representing injured cruise passengers and crew members and make up a thriving cottage industry in South Florida."

The article mentioned that I was one of the "big three" leading adversaries of cruise lines.

Cruise Ship Capital of the WorldI have not seen an analysis of lawsuits recently, but we know that the number of people cruising since 2006 has increased substantially.

The cruise ships have gotten bigger and bigger and the fleets have grown substantially.

There has also been an unprecedented number of cruise ship disasters which have plagued the cruise industry as of late. 

Every single day we receive a telephone call, or an email, or a Facebook inquiry, or a comment to this blog about a serious cruise ship injury.

In the last few days, we filed:

  • a lawsuit when a child from Mexico was seriously injured on the Flow Rider;
  • an arbitration claim on behalf of an Indian crew member (waiter) with a serious back injury who was denied appropriate medical care;
  • a lawsuit by a Canadian passenger whose finger was amputated by a cabin door which slammed shut due to a wind current from an open balcony door; and
  • an arbitration claim filed on behalf of a crew member who was denied medical treatment from the cruise line for advanced Hodgkin's Disease.      

Yes, most people have a fun time on a cruise vacation. But many passenger and crew members become seriously injured or denied appropriate medical treatment during cruises, particularly crew members from around the world.   

 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page

Read: Cruise Ship Accident and Injury Law - Miami Florida - Forum Selection Clauses

Photo Credits:  Jim Walker

Measles On Alaska-Bound Cruise Ship

According to Alaska Business Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Anchorage Quarantine Station notified the Alaska Section of Epidemiology on September 11, 2014 of a "suspected measles (rubeola) case associated with the cruise industry."

The press release stated that "an adult crew member had recent contact with a confirmed measles case abroad, and subsequently developed classic clinical symptoms of measles on September 9 while onboard a ship in Alaska waters."

The patient apparently flew on international and domestic flights as well as cruise travel while infectious. The release says that "all cruise passengers will be informed of possible exposure directly Cruise Ship Measleswhile on board the ship."

The release downplays the chances of the crew member infecting someone who might have disembarked in Alaska. But there remains the possibility that the infected crew member may have infected passengers or other crew members (to the extent that they were not vaccinated) who could get off the ship either in Vancouver or Seattle, assuming this was a cruise which originated in these cities.   

The governmental agencies did not mention the name of the cruise ship, but claims that all cruise passenger who possibly could have been infected "will be" notified.

The report raises troubling issues.

Why would the governmental agencies keep the name of the cruise ship secret, except to avoid embarrassment to the cruise line? 

Have the cruise passengers (and crew) in fact been informed? 

If not, when will the passengers (and crew) be notified?

I'm asking the readers of Cruise Law News the following questions:

Has anyone been notified of the risk of being infected during a cruise to Alaska?

Does anyone know what cruise ships were in Alaskan waters on September 9th?

Measles outbreaks on a cruise are very serious. We reported on such an outbreak earlier this year - Measles Outbreak On Costa Pacifica Cruise Ship.

Have a thought?  Please leave a comment or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

September 16 2014 Update:  We received the following comments on our Facebook page:

"I just returned from a cruise to Alaska I was on the cruise ship the Pearl we were notified on Saturday that we may have been exposed to the measles.

"We were notified - the crew member was removed from the ship while we were at sea." 

NCL Cruise Measles

Graphic (top): www.gmanetwork.com

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Carnival Inspiration

The United States Coast Guard News reports that a Coast Guard  helicopter from San Diego performed a medical evacuation of 34 year old a passenger who was suffering from appendicitis aboard a cruise ship 35 miles southwest of San Diego on Sunday. 

The Carnival Inspiration contacted the Coast Guard early Sunday morning and requested a medevac for the passenger. 

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flew to the cruise ship, hoisted the passenger aboard, and transported him to San Diego for  emergency medical treatment. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Carnival Inspiration

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Matthew Baker Creative Commons 3.0

Carnival Reimburses Couple for Cruise After Kicking Them Off For Husband's "Minor Alzheimer Moment"

WTSP 10 in Tampa reports on a cruise where Carnival disembarked a couple in Cozumel from the Legend after the husband had a "minor Alzheimer's episode, leaving his stateroom alone at 4 a.m. for a cup of coffee."

Carnival personnel claim that they found the husband disoriented and the ship doctor declared him to be a danger to himself, so the ship disembarked the couple off the ship at the next port.   

But when the news station contacted Carnival, the cruise line "quickly admitted the situation was Carnival Legendmishandled" and reimbursed the cost of the cruise and the airfare home. 

Carnival claims that it initially provided a future credit for the unused days of the couple's cruise. However, given the "specialized circumstances" in this case, Carnival said that it was proceeding with a full refund for the unused days of the cruise as well as reimbursement for their flights home. 

The strange thing about the story is that neither the cruise line nor the passengers explained what the "specialized circumstances" were.

Cruise lines are legally entitled to remove a passenger from a cruise ship if the captain or ship physician determine that they present a risk to their own well-being or that of any other passenger or crew member. 

We have reported on cases similar to this before. It sounds like Carnival handled the situation better than Celebrity Cruises did when it kicked an elderly couple off the Millennium and abandoned them after the wife exhibited signs of dementia. 

Watch the video here.

Have a thought?  Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Robertsrules Creative commons 3.0

Guernsey Coast Guard Medevacs Severely Ill Passenger from the MSC Opera

BBC News reports that a "severely ill" passenger had to be evacuated from a MSC cruise ship. 

The MSC Opera was anchored off Guernsey. According to the BBC, the Guernsey Coast Guard described the patient's illness as severe. 

Guernsey is an island near Normandy in the English Channel between France and England. 

Photo Credit: Guernsey Harbours via BBC Jersey

MSC Opera

Nassau, Bahamas Crime Watch: Time For Another State Department Warning?

Latore Mackey, the press secretary to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, was shot in the neck and killed early Monday morning.

Mr. Mackey's death was the fifth in less than 36 hours according to the Tribune newspaper in Nassau. 

Violent crime in out of control in Nassau. 

Young gun-totting men are on the rampage. The Tribune reports that four men, 18, 20, 22 and 24 Nassau Bahamas Crimeyears old, were arrested for the murder. 

In March, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau last issued a crime warning, advising U.S. citizens residing in and traveling to the Bahamas to be aware of their surroundings and remain on "heightened alert" to avoid being a victim of crime. The warning referred to a number of armed robberies which occurred in the last two weeks.

That was the third critical crime warning for the Bahamas since December 2013.

The most recent warning stated, in part:

"Armed robbery and violent crime remain major threats facing both U.S. citizens and residents of the Bahamas, including in areas frequented by tourists on New Providence and Grand Bahamas Islands. In the past year, a number of U.S. citizens have fallen victim to armed robbery."

The vast majority of the armed crimes are by local citizens against local citizens in the Bahamas. But these crimes are rarely solved and that's especially true when the victims are tourists.

I remain of the opinion that the tourism dependent islands are "one gunshot away" from the cruise lines concluding that it too dangerous to unload boatloads of cruise passengers in Nassau. Many cruise passenger tell me that they stay on the ship when the cruise calls on Nassau.

I don't blame them. 

When government employees are gunned down while driving on Market Street, it's time for the U.S. State Department to issue another warning to tourists traveling to Nassau.  

Have a thought? Please leave a message below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Image Credit: The Tribune

Caribbean Princess Passenger Overboard, Rescued

Cruise expert professor Ross Klein reports, based on passenger accounts, that a passenger went overboard from the Caribbean Princess and was rescued on August 2, 2014.

Here are the two separate accounts told to Professor Klein:

"I was on a cruise on August 2, 2014 on the Caribbean Princess out of Fort Lauderdale. A 24 year old male passenger went overboard around 10 pm. We were stopped for about an hour. They did find him alive in the water. I think he jumped from the 8th deck. They took him to medical after rescue. Some passengers said he was a "special person" but I don't know if that is true. There was a group from a Caribbean Princess group home on board. That's really all I know."

"The man overboard happened around 7:50 PM - the "Man Overboard - Crew to your muster stations" announcement was made with just a little sunlight left, but by the time we stopped and turned around, and the rescue boat took off it was dark. The man was rescued relatively quickly (10-15 minutes). Either people threw him life jackets or he jumped with one. We also heard rumors of mental health, and we can confirm there was a group on board but we don't know if he was part of that group. We also heard he was put off at the next port (St Thomas) but cannot confirm. There appeared to be another rescue boat that helped with the search, possibly from another ship?"

This is the third passenger overboard in two months that was not mentioned in the press or discussed on social media. 

A 70 year old passenger went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas on August 7, 2014. There were no rescue attempts by the ship and no announcements by the crew.

A passenger in his 20's jumped from the Splendor of the Seas on June 13, 2014. Fortunately, the cruise ship personnel rescued him.

Regarding this most recent overboard, we have reached out to Princess for a comment.  We will publish whatever Princess has to say if it responds.  

 

Have a thought about this or any of the recent cruise overboards?  Leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

Photo Credit: loimere / Flickr

Person Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas?

Cruise Law News has been told that a person allegedly went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas as the cruise ship was returning from Bermuda to Baltimore earlier this week. 

The incident reportedly occurred around 3:00 AM late Wednesday night / early Thursday morning, August 7th.

According to a person on the cruise ship who wishes to remain anonymous, a state room attendant found a note when he entered the cabin on Thursday. The ship was searched, the CCTV Grandeur of the Seas cameras reviewed, and the overboard was eventually discovered.

The passenger was reportedly a U.S. citizen, 70 years old and traveling alone. The missing person alert was raised 12 hours or so after the overboard (from the CCTV review).

The cruise ship continued on to Baltimore. It didn't go back. There appears to be no search.

If this information is accurate, it appears that the incident may have involved a suicide. However, it also illustrates that the cruise line has still not installed automatic man overboard systems as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. The cruise safety law requires such technology regardless of whether the passenger or crew member intentionally jumped, accidentally went overboard, or was thrown into the ocean. 

There are lots of questions which remain unanswered. Did the captain of the cruise ship make any announcements?  Why didn't the ship turn around much earlier and conduct a search? Did the cruise ship notify the U.S. Coast Guard?

We have written about people going overboard from the Grandeur before.  

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein have documented 235 people (in addition to this one) going overboard from cruise ships since 2000. 

Are there passenger or crew members who have additional information to share?

Please leave a comment below or join, the discussion on our Facebook page.

August 10 2014 Update: This is the second overboard passenger from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the last two months who was not reported in the press or discussed in social media. Three weeks ago, we reported on a passenger who went overboard from the Splendor of the Seas. Fortunately the cruise line personnel quickly rescued him. You can read about that incident here

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Citking

Overboard Passenger Rescued from the Splendour of the Seas?

I have received inquiries from passengers about a man overboard from Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas last month. The incident seems to involve a passenger who jumped into the water early one morning. He was promptly rescued.  Most people are asking why hasn't there been any news account of the incident? 

One passenger provided the following account, and asked "is RCCL keeping this under wraps? The Captain and crew should be congratulated."

Splendour of the Seas"He was a 20ish American male passenger on ship with his parents and a brother. He apparently tried to start a fire in the early morning and security was called. He was extremely inebriated. When security arrived he ran and jumped overboard. This happened around 4:30 a.m. on the 13th of June. Around 4:45 or so Oscar, Oscar, Oscar was called out by security who saw him jump, and the Captain turned the ship immediately.

I was awoken at 5:00 a.m. from the loud sound of the stateroom as the ship was sharply turning. The walls of our room "groaned" loudly. As I got up and walked to my veranda, I realized we were listing badly toward the sea. As I got outside, I smelled smoke. Then we spotted someone (we were on the 8th deck) below us throwing out a flare. There were 3 flares in the water by now - thus the smell of smoke. We then heard "help" hollered out 6 times just off our side of the ship.

Then a life boat came about around the front and went directly to him. We were very close to this but could not actually see them lift him out. It was black out. However, they announced "we have him, he's alive, will be going to Medical." We heard a very few folks clapping from above us.

We heard he went to Medical and stayed there until we disembarked on Saturday the 14th in Venice. As we came into port, the pier was on our side of the ship. We saw Policia drive up and 3 uniform men got out and boarded our ship.

This was RCCL Splendour of the Seas "7-Night Greek Isles & Turkey" cruise from June 7-14, 2014."

Were you a passenger or crew member aboard the cruise ship when this incident occurred?  Do you have any information, photograph or video to share? Please leave a comment below and let us hear from you,

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Exequiel Pérez Millán

Mega Ship Disasters, Risky Shore Excursions & Other Ways to Become Seriously Injured (or Worse) on a Cruise Ship

Thomas Dickerson Cruise Passenger RightsAnyone and everyone who practices maritime law involving cruise ships knows Judge Thomas Dickerson. 

For years he has written the definitive collection of law cases involving what can go wrong on cruise ships and during international vacations.

My alma mater Tulane School of Law just published one of his amazing articles entitled The Cruise Passenger’s Rights and Remedies 2014: The COSTA CONCORDIA Disaster: One Year Later, Many More Incidents Both on Board Megaships and During Risky Shore Excursions

Our blog is often criticized by cruise fans who claim that we are focusing (unfairly) on all of the bad things that happen on cruise ships on the high seas. Actually, we are just touching upon the tip of the iceberg.

After reading Judge Dickerson's law review article you can begin to understand the extent of what can go wrong on what should be a fun, relaxing family vacation.  

You can also appreciate how the cruise industry has severely limited your rights.  

Passenger Overboard From MSC Divina

Univision reports that a passenger has gone overboard from the MSC Divina cruise ship.

In an article entitled "cae al mar un mexicano que viajaba en crucero mundialista," the network says that a passenger fell 50 meters from deck 15 into the water.  

The MSC cruise ship was sailing with around 3,500 Mexican citizens to various locations in Brazil for the World Cup. A Mexican newspaper, Tribun Digital de Quintano Roo, says that the cruise ship was transporting Mexican passengers between the three cities where Mexico plays in the first phase of the World (Natal, Fortaleza and Recife). 

MSC Divina The cruise ship stopped to search for the overboard passenger without success.  

The Consulate of Mexico in Rio de Janeiro confirmed that "a Mexican citizen who was aboard MSC Divina cruise ship fell into the sea after the ship sailed from the city of Fortaleza in northern Brazil, heading to port of Recife."

The report further states that it is unknown if the Mexican citizen was traveling alone, with family or with friends. 

The report says that the passenger was intoxicated. 

According to cruise ship expert Dr. Ross Klein, 232 people have gone overboard since 2000.

If you have information to share, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

June 19 2014 Update: The missing passenger has been identifies as Jorge Alberto Lopez Amores

 

Photo Image: Tribun Digital de Quintano Roo 

Another Crime Report Rocks Nassau

The Latin America Monitor published an article about the high crime rate in the Bahamas entitled "Business Environment Analysis - Rising Murder Rate Poses Risk To Tourism Sector - JUNE 2014." the publication reports, in part:

". . . rising murder rates in the Bahamas, including some recent killings of foreign tourists, could weigh on the islands' business environment. If the trend continues unabated, or if there were to be particularly high profile incidents that gained coverage in foreign press, the attractiveness of the Bahamas as a tourist destination could deteriorate, threatening the islands' medium-term growth outlook.

The Bahamas has seen a rise in murder rates in recent years and several high profile killings of foreign tourists in recent months, trends that present downside risks to the country's medium-term growth prospects due to its heavy reliance on the tourism industry as a driver of economic activity. The Nassau Guardian reported early this year that the total number of murders in the Bahamas increased to 120 in 2013 from 111 in 2012, an increase in the murder rate from 29.8 to 34.1 per Crime Nassau Bahamas100,000. Additionally, there have been well-publicised armed robberies and murders of both UK and US citizens in recent months.

Compounding this rise in homicides is that the Bahamas has seen its murder rate increase relative to other Caribbean islands. Whereas the Bahamas reported the fifth highest murder rate in 2010 amongst the countries reviewed by the Nassau Guardian, it has since risen to third highest, behind only Jamaica, where the murder rate was 44.1 per 100,000 in 2013, and St. Kitts and Nevis, which reported a murder rate of 45.5 per 100,000."

The Tribune newspaper in the Bahamas discusses this report in its article "Crime Warning Is Latest Blow."  The newspaper says: "A SECOND report in a month by an international agency has warned that 'rising murder rates,' specifically recent killings of tourists, in The Bahamas could affect the country’s business environment."

We went on record a long time ago with our opinion that the murder of a cruise passenger could result in the cruise lines avoiding Nassau: "Bahamas One Gunshot Away From Cruise Line Exit."

 

Image:  The Tribune

U.S. Report on Crime in Nassau Worries Atlantis Resort

The owners of the Atlantis mega-resort in Nassau are worried about the U.S. report on the high rate of crime there, according to the Nassau Guardian

The U.S. report from Department of State states that armed robbery and sexual assault are all on the increase in Nassau and these crimes are affecting tourists and cruise passengers, including around the hotels, resorts and casinos. 

Over the years, Atlantis has experienced significant problems with crime. Tourists have been robbed at Atlantis Resort Bahamasgunpoint and the resort's own employees have attempted to rob the casino. You can read about the crime here:

Official: Security foils robbery at Bahamas resort

Tourists robbed outside Atlantis

Last September, the Nassau Tribune reported that Atlantis was “very concerned” about a crime warning issued to cruise passengers by Carnival cruise line.  Atlantis seemed afraid that the cruise line might scare off the resort's potential customers by warning its passengers of the crime problems ashore before the passengers disembark.

You can read our article: Atlantis Discourages Carnival from Warning Cruise Passengers of Crime in Nassau.

Nassau needs to get a grip on crime and its effect on tourists and cruise passengers.

Atlantis has to reassure its lenders that the situation is under control as it tries to refinances its debt. But the cat is out of the bag. Few rational people can dispute that the island has a problem. The cruise lines are seeing fewer and fewer people actually get off the cruise ships.  

It's a house built of cards. They could all fall down. Atlantis, the cruise lines, and the Bahamas tourism people are all hoping, and praying, that a tourist doesn't get shot. 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / WPPilot

 

Nassau Newspapers Cover U.S. Crime Report on Bahamas - A Tropical Paradise?

A day after we summarized the U.S. report on the high level of crime which is affecting U.S. tourists and cruise passengers in the Bahamas, the major newspapers in Nassau published articles about the report. 

The Nassau Tribune published U.S. Warns Again Over Crime In The Bahamas. The Tribune also published several other articles about murders which routinely plague the capital of the islands.

The Nassau Guardian published U.S. Embassy See Jump in Assault Reports - State Department Highlights Bahamas' Crime Problem. The article was positioned next to another article about a murder Nassau Tribune with a large photo of a body in a bag being taken away a medical examiner's team.

When we published our article yesterday - 2014 Bahamas Crime Report: Armed Violent Crime Escalates - we received a great deal of hate emails. The criticism fell into general categories. The local Bahamians didn't like a U.S. citizen discussing crime in the Bahamas. Many wanted to discuss crime in the U.S. and talk about mass murders in U.S. schools. And many people in the Bahamas claim that it is perfectly safe in Nassau. 

In response to all of that I say this: of course there are crime problems in the U.S. But there are a few salient point to keep in mind. There are around 304,000,000 (million) people in the U.S. There are a little over 350,000 people in all of the Bahamas with 70% of them living on New Providence island (Nassau).

The Bahamas unemployment rate is staggering. Almost 16% of people in New Providence and almost 20% of people in Grand Bahama have no job. There are too many people with no money and nothing to do.

Not surprisingly, the per capital murder rate in the Bahamas is substantially higher than the U.S rate. The per capita homicide rate in the Bahamas is seven or eight times higher than the U.S. rate. There are around 4.5 murders per 100,000 in the U.S. but between 29 and 35 murders per 100,000 in the Bahamas.

The biggest point to keep in mind is that no one pretends that the USA is a tropical paradise. If you are coming to America, I won't bullshit you. Compared to the UK or the European countries which have few guns and little armed violence, the U.S is the wild west.  But many U.S. tourists who jump on a cruise ship for a vacation to the Caribbean mistakenly believe that the Bahamas is a tranquil, idyllic and peaceful place. It's clearly not. 

Many people who rail against our publication own businesses in Nassau, like bars, restaurants, resorts, excursions companies, jet-ski shops and so forth. They can't afford to lose business. They are characterizing Nassau like a magical safe location.  

But the 2014 crime report bears out what we have been discussing frequently here. That tourists and cruise passengers are being targeted for robbery by criminals armed with guns, knives and machetes. There are too many young men not employed who can make a month's wages with a single grab of a purse or gold chain.

Yes, Nassau has assigned more police officers to the ports and the officers are working longer shifts (which the report acknowledges). But crime in general and crime against cruise passengers has still increased. That speaks poorly for the future of Nassau and its fanciful notion that it is a tropical paradise.

 

Image Credit: Nassau Tribune

More Reefer Madness from Bermuda's Kangaroo Courts

Busting U.S. cruise passengers for small amounts of pot is big business for the customs officers in Bermuda. It's a topic we have written about often.

The cases all seem the same. When the cruise guests go ashore, the customs officers board the ship with their sniffer dogs and conduct warrant-less searches without probable cause. They even request the ship security personnel to open up the safes in the cabins.  A gram or two brings a $500 or so fine which the passengers pay with a credit card to avoid the threatened three month jail sentence. 

This week, a newspaper in Bermuda reports that a U.S. passenger, age 25, "Chelsea," arrived in NCL Norwegian BreakawayBermuda on NCL's Norwegian Breakaway. The customs officers found 2 grams of marijuana in her cabin's safe. A man who shared her cabin (apparently her boyfriend) said the pot was his, but that didn't stop the police from handcuffing Chelsea and hauling her off to jail.

Chelsea claims that she was suffering from pain due to the cuffs and asked for relief several times from one of the officers. The newspaper says that after the arresting officer "repeatedly ignored her cries of pain," intimating that the officer intentionally tried to hurt her by twisting the middle part of the handcuffs, Chelsea cursed the officer saying:.

“You f***ing stupid b***h. You’re hurting me, you b***h.” 

This outburst led to the prosecutors charging her with "violently resisting arrest."

The presiding judge, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner, scoffed at the charges pointing out that the woman did not become violent and cursed only after she was ignored when she complained of pain.

The prosecutors introduced no evidence on the resisting arrest charge.

Magistrate Warner then fined Chelsea $500 for the pot. You can read about Magistrate Warner in these articles: 

Bermuda's Kangaroo Courts Back in Action

Business As Usual In Bermuda: Cruise Passenger Arrested & Fined For Small Amount of Pot

Reefer Madness Continues: Bermuda Shakes Down Another Cruise Pot Head

People ask me, why do you care if cruise stoners get fined?

The problem is that Bermuda has a strange sense of priorities. It delights in small time pot busts of vacationers with a cigarette or two in the cabin safe to be smoked for recreational use on the high seas, an issue the cruise line security should deal with. But rapes or violent shipboard crimes? Bermuda is indifferent to prosecuting rapists and criminals on Bermuda flagged ships.

Compare Bermuda's madness with the customs policy in Canada toward cruise ships. For a period of a year or so, customs officers in Halifax, Canada arrested four crew members and cruise passengers with child pornography on their computers. All of them served jail time. A good use of Canadian customs and judicial resources.

But in Bermuda, you'll never see a cruise rapist, pedophile or child porn pervert arrested by police or customs officers or sentenced by Magistrate Warner. There's no money to be made in arresting real criminals.

Photo Credit: Bermuda Sun

 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Passenger Medevaced From Majesty of the Seas

Majesty of the Seas Injury Accident Local Miami news station WSVN channel 7 reports this morning that Miami Fire Rescue medevaced a Royal Caribbean cruise ship passenger who sustained a serious head injury. The medevaced occurred last night. 

The medical evacuation occurred on the Majesty of the Seas cruise ship. WSVN says that the passenger suffered the injury while the cruise ship was approximately four miles from the port of Miami. 

The video shows the cruise ship passenger being transferred from the Majesty through an open crew entrance into the Miami Fire Rescue rescue vessel. These type of transfers are dangerous. Passengers have been dropped into the sea during the transfers if they are done incorrectly. You can see a terrifying botched passenger rescue here.

The Fire Rescue then returned to port and the passenger was taken for emergency medical treatment at Mercy Hospital. 

The video also shows cruise passengers who witnessed the event cheering and applauding the paramedics.

Update: A local CBS news station reports that the passenger is a 32 year old Swedish citizen. A spokesperson for the cruise line said that the passenger was first treated in the medical facility on the Majesty of the Seas ship on Tuesday but on Wednesday the passenger required “additional and urgent medical attention.” 

 

WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

The Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a cruise passengers from a cruise ship returning from Freeport Bahamas yesterday.

The Coast Guard deployed a MH-65 dolphin helicopter to perform a medical evacuation of a a 56-year old male passenger suffering severe pain aboard the Bahamas Celebration northeast of Palm Beach, Florida, on May 18, 2014.

The man was airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Video Credit: U.S. Coast Guard via DVIDS  

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from the Carnival Imagination

Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System reports that a San Diego-based Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter evacuated an ill woman from a Carnival cruise ship yesterday.

The Carnival Imagination was approximately 30 miles off the coast of Point Loma, California on May 7, 2014 when it contacted the Coast Guard and requested a medevac for a 41-year-old American woman, believed to be a passenger. She was experiencing abdominal pain.

Video (no audio) credit to U.S. Coast Guard video.   

 

"Dangerous Drugs?" Nassau Nabs Two More U.S. Cruise Passengers for Pot

The Bahamas Weekly reports that Nassau police officers - on a tip from cruise ship security personnel - arrested two U.S. passengers from Massachusetts. One was a 27 year-old woman and the other was a 28 year-old woman.

Around 9:30 AM on Friday April 25, 2014, police officers from the "Tourism Police Unit (TPU)" went onboard an unidentified cruise ship docked at the Prince George Dock and arrested the two passengers "who had a quantity of marijuana in their possession."

Nassau BahamasThe newspaper said that the cruise passengers were arrested for possession of "dangerous drugs." 

At a time when cruise passengers are afraid to go ashore into Nassau because of crime and the harassment of tourists by locals hawking drugs at the docks and in the straw market, the Bahamas tourism police are raiding the cruise ships and arresting guests who have no intention of bringing pot ashore?

We have talked about this foolishness before:

Reefer Madness: Bahamas Magistrate Taunts & Shakes Down Royal Caribbean Potheads.

April 30 2014 Update: The Bahamas Weekly reports that yesterday "A 58 year old man of Spring Hill, Florida is in custody after he was arrested for possession of dangerous drugs on Tuesday 29th April 2014.

According to reports, around 3:30 pm, Officers from the Tourism Police Unit (TPU) acting on information, went onboard a Cruise ship docked at the Prince George Wharf, where they arrested the man who had a quantity of marijuana in his possession. The man will appear in later today to be formally charged."

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / TampAGS, for AGS Media

Man Disappears From Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

Bahamas Celebration Cruise ShipA local newspaper in South Florida is reporting that a man disappeared from the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by Celebration Cruise Line.

CBS Miami states that sometime shortly after 2:00 AM last night, the cruise ship notified the U.S. Coast Guard received that a man from South Carolina was missing from the ship. The article indicates that the cruise line did not know how the man went overboard. 

The ship had departed Freeport, Bahamas on Saturday around 6 PM and was heading to its home port in West Palm Beach when the man went overboard.

The cruise line says that it searched for the man but was unable to locate him. 

The Celebration Cruise Line is one of many cruise lines which has not bothered to install an automatic man overboard system, in violation of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security & Safety Act.

A Canadian passenger, Fariba Amani, disappeared from the Bahamas Celebration 2 years ago. Her disappearance remains a mystery.

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has documented 231 cases of overboard passengers and crew members since 2000.

This particular cruise ship has been the subject of cocaine smuggling arrests, sexual assault and fire in the last couple of years.

April 29 2014 Update:

FOX 4: "Couple Appalled By Cruise Line's Rescue Effort to Find Missing Man."

Palm Beach Post: "Uncle says man who jumped off cruise ship not suicidal."

 

Photo Credit: thebahamasweekly.com

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Norwegian Gem

NCL Medevac Cruise Ship The Coast Guard issued a statement today that it rescued a man in medical distress from the Norwegian Gem cruise ship. 

The Coast Guard stated that the NCL cruise ship called for assistance when the ship was sailing around 80 miles off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina. The Coast Guard received the distress signal at approximately 2:30 PM.  It sent a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. 

As you can see in the video, it looks like the crew had a little difficulty getting the passenger into the helicopter.

The helicopter crew hoisted the man onto the helicopter round 5 PM and flew him back to land where he was transported by ambulance to Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City. 

Photo Credit: WCTI 12

March 28 2014 UpdateNorwegian Gem Medevac Involved Honeymoon Couple (VIDEO)

 

Costa Cruise Passenger Disappears, Found Dead

Costa Fascinosa Cruise ShipThe Pefil newspaper reports that a Brazilian businessman traveling on a Costa cruise ship was reported missing by his wife. He was later found dead on the shores of Rio de la Plata.

The newspaper's headline is "Misteriosa muerte del pasajero de un crucero - Un empresario brasileño fue encontrado a 50 metros de la costa del Río de la Plata".

Tranlsated, that means: "Mysterious death of cruise passenger - A Brazilian businessman was found 50meters from the shore of the Río de la Plata."

The newspaper identifies the passenger as Odair Marcos Faria, who was traveling with his wife, Maria Cristina Florio Bonafin. They were sailing on the Costa Fascinosa.  His wife had reported her husband's disappearance to the ship's crew.

The body was found 50 meters from the shore of the Río de la Plata. There is an investigation underway to establish whether the overboard case was a suicide, accident or homicide.

The "Rio de la Plata" (River of Silver) is the estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and Costa Cruise Ship Passengerthe Paraná River on the border between Argentina and Uruguay.

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein has documented 229 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000. 9 people have gone overboard so far this year.

Update: The Clarin newspaper also reports on the case, stating that the cruise was a gift from the man's children. The newspaper suggests that shortly before the cruise, either the passenger or his wife apparently learned that one had a terminal illness (the translation is unclear).

 

Photo Credit: Top - Wikipedia / Abxbay; bottom - Clarin / Facebook

Carnival "Poop Cruise" Passengers Seek $5,000 a Month for Life

Carnival Poop Cruise LawsuitReuters is reporting that the Carnival "poop cruise" passengers are seeking $5,000 a month for life. Ridiculous, many people will say. I don't disagree.

I went on record a year ago saying that Triumph passengers should not bother suing because they are not going to get anything - read Carnival Triumph Cruise From Hell: Here Come the Lawsuits!

Carnival's lawyers responded by telling Reuters that "this is an opportunistic lawsuit brought by plaintiff's counsel and plaintiffs who seek to make a money grab."

That's like the pot calling the kettle black. Carnival CEO Micky Arison is worth $7 billion and just sold $395 million of stock. But Carnival still felt compelled last year to raid the crew member's tips and suspend their retirement benefits. Talk about a money grab.

I say what do the hard-working Carnival crew members get for cleaning up the filthy ship?

Coast Guard Responds to Injured Passenger on Grandeur of the Seas

The U.S. Coast Guard provided emergency transportation for an injured cruise ship passenger this morning.

The Coast Guard released a statement that it medevaced a 93-year-old man from Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas in the lower Chesapeake Bay.

The Royal Caribbean ship contacted the Coast Guard via VHF-FM at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday night and reported that a passenger suffered a head injury and was in need of medical assistance.

The Coast Guard crew, together with Virginia Beach Fire Department personnel, responded with a 45-foot response boat. The crew arrived at the cruise ship at approximately 1:30 a.m. this morning. They transferred the man and his wife aboard the Coast Guard boat and took them ashore. The passengers were then transferred to local emergency medical services and taken to Virginia Beach General Hospital.

There is no indication how the passenger was injured.  Many people have informed us that the Grandeur encountered rough weather heading back to port, although it is unknown whether the passenger's injury was related to sea and wind conditions.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / J. Glover

Grandeur of the Seas

Passenger Reported Overboard From Costa Classica

Costa Classica Cruise Ship Man OverboardWe were notified a few minutes ago that a passenger has gone overboard from the Costa Classica cruise ship after the ship sailed from Casablanca, Morocco.  

The AIS tracking shows the cruise ship searching for the passenger.

A person from the ship contacted us about the man overboard and indicated that it was a male passenger.

It appears that the ship performed a Willamson turn to try and locate the person and then has been sailing in circles.

The cruise ship was sailing to Funchal, Madeira (autonomous Portugese island).

We will update this site as more information become available.

If anyone has update information, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Costa Classica Man OverboardFacebook page.

Update: The AIS tracking showed the cruise ship end its search after a couple of hours and sail on to Funchal.

It was disappointing to see a number of vessels in the area (within 50 kilometers) not join in to look for the passenger over the course of the search by the Classica.

A newspaper in Portugal identifies the passengers as a 70 year old man from Germany

 

Passenger Reportedly Falls From Deck 6, Strikes Lifeboat on Deck 4, on Carnival Miracle

Carnival Miracle Cruise ShipThe Cruise Critic message board states that a passenger apparently went over her balcony railing on the Carnival Miracle during the most recent (February 15 - 22) cruise. 

A poster left a message that the cruise ship turned around to begin a search for the passenger. However, it was announced that the passenger was recovered on board. She was taken to the infirmary.

One passengers suggested that "the person was pushed off the balcony and the people responsible were turned over to the authorities in Cabo."

Other people posting on the message board indicate that the passenger may have fallen from deck 6 to deck 4 and struck a lifeboat.

This morning we requested Carnival to provide information regarding this alleged incident. We will post Carnival's response if and when it responds. 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / HurricaneX31

Praising its Captain and Ship, Cruise & Maritime Voyages Quickly Returns the Deadly Marco Polo Back to Sea

Just two days ago, the news broke about a wave smashing windows out in the Waldorf Restaurant aboard the Marco Polo cruise ship killing one elderly passenger and injuring a dozen passengers and crew members. Passengers disembarking the 49 year-old former-Russian vessel this morning complained about the poor condition of the cruise ship.

The widow of the passenger who died when the windows exploded in said that the ship was "badly maintained." The Daily Echo quoted her saying that ''There's so much paint on the outside you can't see the rust, they just slop some more on when they get to port."

Marco Polo PassengersBut seemingly just as soon as the passengers had disembarked the old ship, the Marco Polo was already preparing to leave on its next scheduled cruise.

The cruise ship's operator, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), was quick to issue a corporate PR statement downplaying the incident. It characterized the wave as a "freak" incident, a designation which was contradicted by numerous passengers who characterized the worsening rough weather as an ongoing process requiring them to ride the ship "like a bucking bronco."

CMV described the damage to the vessel as involving only a "small section of Marco Polo’s Waldorf Restaurant," but it neglected to mention that the entire restaurant was flooded with 3 to 5 inches of water. Today, somehow the ship had already completed the "required reparation works," and the cruise ship had already "been cleared to sail by the authorities."

Just who are the "authorities" who gave the old ship a green light to again sail on the same day that it returned to port after the deadly cruise?  The ship is registered in Nassau, Bahamas which could care less about inspecting the ship and will never conduct an analysis of the casualty nor issue a report for public reading.

Other basic questions need to be asked.

How were the "required reparation works" conducted so quickly during such a short turn-around?  Was the ship, constructed back in 1964, completely inspected from bow to stern by qualified experts? Were independent marine surveyors permitted to inspect the damage before the scene was altered?  Was the dead man's family members provided an opportunity to hire their own experts to assess the cause and origin of window failures?

If this casualty involved a U.S. commercial aviation incident where the windows of a Delta jet blew out causing death and injuries to the passengers and crew, the airplane would be shut down indefinitely pending an exhaustive inspection and analysis by the stringent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the aircraft manufacturer, component vendor companies, maintenance companies and other companies. Even the FBI would be a part of the investigation.

But this incident involved the largely unregulated "anything-goes" world of foreign-flagged cruise ships where the ships never stop and the cruise operator PR people are left to praise themselves rather than scrutinize what went wrong. 

CMV has already claimed that the wave was a "freak" which in legal terms means its was allegedly "unforeseeable" which CMV's lawyers will contend. The weather broadcasts, wind and sea forecasts, and nautical charts showing wind speed and wave heights are of no consequence it seems. The cruise operator has already settled on its defense strategy. The Marco Polo is already heading out to sea again.

CMV already boasts that its ship is allegedly in compliance with "strict" international maritime "requirements" (the International Maritime Organization has no authority to even enforce its own recommendations).  Remarkably, the cruise line praises its captain and officers who sailed into harm's way while inviting the elderly guests to sit like ducks next to the windows as the giant waves Marco Polo BBCcrashed upon the ship. 

Instead of such cheerleading and gushing praise, a criminal investigation should be initiated into whether manslaughter charges should be leveled against the captain, the navigational officers and the senior managers who permitted the passengers to sit precariously close to the restaurant windows under such dangerous circumstances.

The ship never should have been permitted to take new passengers aboard today. It should have been detained. The Marco Polo should be immediately returned to port and undergo a thorough and complete survey before it leaves port again anytime soon. 

February 18 2014 Update: A newspaper in the U.K. contains an interview of a couple of the cruise who "do not believe that the ordeal was the result of a freak wave but that of gale-force wind and said that there was an incident even on the first night of the 42-night cruise." A window blew in earlier.  A reader left this comment to the story:

We were on the ship too, in the restaurant and also found out that the man who died was our shipboard next door neighbour. I too take issue with the word 'freak' allowing commentators to write off the incident as tragic but one of those things. Others were seriously injured that day. If it was a freak wave it was one of a series . . . 
 

 

Photo Credits:

Marco Polo Passengers - BBC News

Marco Polo: BBC News / Martin Dalton

1 Dead, 12 Injured: Pandemonium After Wave Breaks Window & Floods Cruise Ship Restaurant

Marco Polo ITV NewsMore details are coming in about yesterday's deadly incident where a large wave crashed through a window on the Marco Polo cruise ship.

As we mentioned in our article yesterday, a 85 year old man and a woman in her 70s were airlifted from the ship. The man later died due to his injuries. 

A cruise passenger gave the following account to the U.K.'s Channel 4 News:

"We were sitting at a table in the Marco Polo's Waldorf restaurant, located on deck six of the cruise ship. The table was on the starboard side. Lunch was just being served and most people were waiting for their orders.

The seas, visible through the windows, were very rough. Waves were peaking nearly parallel to the windows. Furniture in the restaurant was beginning to shift, so people were holding on to tables and chairs.

Suddenly there was a very loud 'bang' and the daylight in the room reduced as a wall of seawater covered most of the starboard windows. The bang was the breaching of a forward window in the restaurant."

On leaving the restaurant, I went up three decks to my cabin, when another large wave hit the ship and I was thrown across a connecting passageway and ended up in a bundle against a wall.

I was rescued by fellow passengers who called the ships doctors and crew. I was stretchered to the sick bay four decks below with a cut head and extensive bruising."

ABC News aired the video here: 

 

Another account stated that sea water rushed through the broken windows and flooded the restaurant to a depth of about three to five inches.

In all 12 passengers and crew members sustained injuries.

There is no indication in any of these articles that the captain has issued warning to the passengers. The cruise line is playing the "freak wave" a/k/a the "rogue wave" defense, suggesting that the wave was unforeseeable. That's hardly true. Storms like this create cyclical patterns of waves where one out of one hundred waves or so is of a substantially large size and velocity. The vessel's officer and senior officers should not permit passengers, particularly elderly guests, into public areas with large windows which can be breached.

Other cruise ships encountering rough weather have experienced smashed windows which killed and seriously injured passengers. 

The Channel 4 video is below:

 

 

Photo Credit: Marco Polo -  ITV News

Rough Weather Kills Cruise Passenger

CNN reports that a British cruise passenger was killed during rough weather which struck a ship sailing into the English Channel.

The death occurred aboard the Marco Polo cruise ship.

The cruise line tried to characterize the death as a result of a freak accident. The incident was described as a result of a "freak wave" according to a statement released Friday by the ship's owner, Cruise & Maritime Voyages. It is quite common for cruise operators to say that a "freak wave" was the problem, rather than admitting that the sea conditions were foreseeable and that the captain and officers failed to Marco Polo Cruise Shipwarn the passengers of the dangers inherent in the adverse sea conditions. 

There was nothing "freaky" about the waves. The U.K. is being racked by severe weather which includes driving rain and gale-force winds.

One of the most popular videos we have ever posted is that of a wave smashing through a window and causing death and destruction. You can see that video here on our YouTube channel.  It has been watched around 1,500,000 times: "Wave Hits Louis Majesty Cruise Ship." 

CNN says that "one elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance."

BBC News says that "water crashed through a window injuring several passengers. An 85-year-old man and a woman in her 70s were airlifted off the ship but the man later died."

The ship was sailing from the Azores to its home port in Tilbury, England and was carrying 735 passengers and 349 crew members.

February 15 2014 Update1 Dead, 12 Injured: Pandemonium After Wave Breaks Window & Floods Cruise Ship Restaurant.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Luca Riva 

Elderly Couple on Thomson Celebration Brutally Assaulted

A newspaper in the U.K. reports on a "dream luxury cruise turned into a holiday from hell" when an elderly couple were brutally assaulted by a fellow passenger. 

The Gazette Live states that the violent crime occurred aboard the Thomson Celebration. The woman suffered "serious spinal injuries" and her husband incurred "serious facial injuries." Both victims were taken to the hospital. 

A spokesperson for the cruise line said the assailant left the cruise after the attack, and that it "is very Thomson Celebrationsorry to hear of the injuries." 

“We would like to reassure our customers that their safety is of paramount importance and incidents such as this are extremely rare.”

Cases like this never cease to amaze me.

Instead of apprehending the assailant and confining him to the brig or secluding him to his cabin under the watch of a guard, the cruise line lets him disembark and escape justice. Invariably, the cruise line's PR team expresses condolences and claims that the crime is "rare."

In my opinion, the captains and security officers of cruise ships which permit assailants to flee justice should be arrested for aiding and abetting a criminal.

The cruise ship sailed from Santa Cruz in Tenerife to exotic ports like Las Palmas, Santa Cruz, Funchal and Agadir in Morocco.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / ozgurmulazimoglu

Carnival-Owned AIDA Cruises Pulls Out of Margarita Island, Venezuela After Murder of Passenger

Margarita Island Venezuela Cruise MurderToday there is a report in El Universal newspaper that German cruise line AIDA Cruises announced the suspension of its two next port calls on Margarita Island, Venezuela. 

Last week we reported that a 76 year old passenger was shot and killed while ashore on an excursion from the Aida Luna cruise ship.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. 

The newspaper quoted the president of the Nueva Esparta Chamber of Tourism, stating:

"This was expected to happen, because security has a direct effect on tourism; hence we insist on saying that time has come to go from words to action. Not only we need police, but the fact of the matter is creating wellbeing in the region in order to minimize crime; there is the need to combat impunity with all the strength we have."

In many ways, there are other countries in the Caribbean which are exactly in this Venezuelan island's precarious situation. I was interviewed by the Nassau Guardian last month about the high crime and murder rates in Nassau and the threat presented to cruise passengers. I said that Nassau was "one gunshot away" from losing its cruise ship business.  I expect Carnival to up and leave if and when a Carnival passenger is shot.

In Margarita Island, which is in the Caribbean, this turned out to be the case.     

The Aida Luna is owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by AIDA Cruises.

I suspect other islands in the Caribbean are holding their breath, afraid that a cruise tourist will become a murder statistic.  

 

Photo (Map) Credit: David Gouaze 

Passenger Goes Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Splendor of the Seas

A newspaper in Brazil reports that a passenger went overboard on Friday February 7, 2014 from the Splendor of the Seas cruise ship while it was sailing in the waters of Uruguay.

The vessel reportedly docked later at the Port of Santos, São Paulo, on Sunday, February 9, 2014. The local police investigated the incident and believe that it was a case of suicide.

Witnesses indicate that the passenger, a 47 year old Brazilian man, was wearing a life vest when he jumped into the water from the 7th floor of the cruise ship. Ship passengers who disembarked at the Port of Santos on Sunday state that the cruise ship searched for the man and managed to locate his body.  

Royal Caribbean said that the guest threw himself overboard. The ship stopped and conducted a search, and alerted  Uruguayan Coast Guard.

According to the newspaper, the cruise line says the Splendor of the Seas left Santos on February 2, with stops in Punta del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Splendor of the Seas DeathRoyal Caribbean also says it is focused on providing support to the man's family. 

This is the fifth person overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in less than 2 months.

In addition to this latest case, crew and passengers have gone overboard from the Celebrity Constellation, Rhapsody of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

 

Photo Credit:

Top: Wikipedia / Exequiel Pérez Millán / GNU Free Documentation License,

Bottom: Globo newspaper / Santa Casa de Santos / G1 Santos)

Royal Caribbean's Misplaced Priorities: Fast Internet, Virtual Balconies But No Automatic Man-Overboard Systems

Today I read an article by a popular cruise blogger that Royal Caribbean was on track to deliver a fast land-based internet experience to its guests.

The article went on to say that "cruise lines are working overtime, trying to enable passenger use of their electronic devices at sea just as they might at home."

I suppose this is of some interest to the cruising public, knowing that they can surf the internet on the high seas just as fast as they can at home.

Virtual Balcony Another article which caught my eye was in Wired magazine entitled "Cruise Ship’s 80-Inch ‘Virtual Balconies’ Livestream the High Seas." 

The article explains that on Royal Caribbean' Navigator of the Seas, the cruise line has installed, in 81 interior staterooms, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screens which display a live feed of the bow and stern video cameras. Those passengers "stuck" in interior, view-less cabins will be able to enjoy clear, beautiful images of the Caribbean waters.

The article explains that the high-tech video gear is marine compliant and can handle all of the sun, heat, salt, and water "that comes with being at sea." Further, "fiber-optic cable carries the video to a server, then to a set-top box that decodes and processes the video before it’s displayed on the screen." 

Consultants from MIT and Harvard were involved in the project in order to bring the best technology to the cruise ship. 

All of this technology is coming from the cruise line which prides itself in "Delivering the Wow!" to its guests. When it comes to designing cruise ships which incorporate the newest entertainment gadgets for its passengers to enjoy, Royal Caribbean is the best. This is the cruise line which will introduce the Quantum of the Seas later this year, filled with all types of technological marvels like simulated sky-diving and a gee-whiz" Jetson-family-like futuristic mechanical arm that magically transports passengers high above the ocean in a glass capsule called the "North Star."

But one thing which the Quantum of the Seas will be lacking is an automatic man-overboard (MOB) system which will signal the bridge when a passenger or crew member goes over the rails and into the sea. Such devices were required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. But Royal Caribbean, like most cruise lines, has not bothered to install such systems onto its fleet of cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean has experienced the most passengers and crew going overboard in the last two months. In all cases there is no mention of the required MOB systems. In some cases its does not even appear that the ships were even equipped with a sufficient number of surveillance systems to determine how and why the guest or employee disappeared from the ship.

The cruise industry claims that technology doesn't exist to detect when people go overboard. Cruise lines also claim that salt deposits from the sea spray can obscure the view of the MOB cameras.

North StarWhen it comes to why it has not complied with the life-saving safety law, Royal Caribbean has a boat load of excuses. It is still using old school, outdated technology. It can't even figure out how to keep an exterior camera clean.

But when it comes to the technology for its gadgets like cameras for its live-streaming, virtual balconies, it involved experts from MIT and Harvard to design the best cameras for the marine environment.    

The difference is that Royal Caribbean can generate significant profits by selling higher speed internet and charging more for an interior cabin if it has a virtual balcony. Royal Caribbean will charge a premium fare for the Quantum of the Seas with its "North Star" ride in the sky.  

But a CVSSA-compliant MOB system creates more costs and no profits. You will hear nothing about Royal Caribbean involving experts from MIT and Harvard to create "gee-whiz" safety devices. Yes, crew members and passengers will continue to disappear at sea but, in the cruise line's view, they are both easily replaceable.

 

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Royal Caribbean via Wired

Passenger Missing From Fred Olsen's Black Watch

There has been some speculation over the last two weeks that a passenger went overboard from a Fred Olsen cruise ship sailing to South America.

Several newspapers have now reported that a passenger died "after falling overboard from the Fred Olsen Black Watch 70-miles off the coast of Brazil" on January 30th, after the cruise ship made its Transatlantic crossing. 

One newspaper quotes a spokeswoman for Fred Olsen saying that the passenger died "after falling overboard in rough seas" after the ship left Rio de Janeiro. The cruise line spokesperson also said that "a body was sighted floating in the water, but due to the bad sea conditions, with waves of up to three Fred Olsen Black Watchmetres and 30-knot winds, it was not possible for the ship to recover the body."

This incident sounds like a prior incident where a cruise passenger from the U.K. went overboard. The cruise ship was not identified in that prior story. 

Many readers commented that they find it difficult to believe that a passenger could "fall" off of a cruise ship, without being pushed, clowning around, or intentionally jumping. I don't necessarily disagree, except to say that it sounds like there were no surveillance cameras which recorded the event and certainly no automatic man overboard system installed.

The Black Watch is a old ship which started sailing in the early 1970's. 

The newspaper also reported that the cruise ship stopped near Isla Picton close to the Argentine border around 50 miles north of Cape Horn and was delayed because of a "technical issue with the ship's steering gear."

The ship is on a world tour and will continue its 114-night "South American and World Voyage" cruise when repairs are completed.

 

Photo Credit: RaBoe/Wikipedia Creative Commons License

Cruise Passenger Murdered in Venezuela's Margarita Island

Yesterday a cruise passenger was murdered while ashore in Venezuela's Margarita island.

The international press reports that "a gunman shot dead an elderly German tourist on Venezuela's Margarita island," in the latest incident "illustrating the country's rampant crime." 

Reuters identified the dead man as Goldhahm Hors Kurt, age 76, from Germany.

A German cruise blog explains that the cruise tourist had gone ashore on an excursion from the Carnival owned Aida Aida LunaLuna cruise ship. The crime occurred at a tourist shop in a shopping center.

The El Universal newspaper says that two armed robbers on a motorcycle tried to rob the tourists. A struggle ensued and Mr. Kurt was shot and killed.

Venezuela's murder rate is one of the highest in the world, and reflects a trend we have observed of substantially higher crime against tourists in the Caribbean region. Last month a former Venezuelan beauty queen and soap opera star Monica Spear was shot and killed when she returned to her homeland. 

The Venezuela Tourism Minister tweeted (@IzarraDeVerdad) his condolences and said that authorities were pursuing the criminals. However, newspapers state that over 90% of murders in Venezuela remain unsolved.

The Aida Luna is a Sphinx class cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by AIDA Cruises.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Frank Schwichtenberg / GNU Free Documentation License 

Nassau Bahamas Crime Watch: Cruise Passengers Beware

Nassau Bahamas - Crime WarningThe newspapers in Nassau continue to report the high rate of armed robberies and murder. 

If you are thinking of taking a cruise to Nassau, don't trust the U.S. based cruise lines or U.S. travel agents to be transparent with you. That would be a mistake. There are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made in cruise fares, cruise excursions and cruise commissions from people sailing into Nassau. 

The local newspapers in Nassau are straight forward in reporting crime. The crime problem mostly affects the local Bahamians but it also involved crimes against cruise passengers and tourists. Check out these local newspapers in Nassau: Tribune; Guardian; Bahamas B2B, Bahamas Press, and Nassau Punch. And check out the Bahamas Police Depatrment. Bookmark them and read the news articles and information for a couple of weeks before you book a cruise. 

Here are a few highlights over the last month:

United States Issues Another Crime Warning For The Bahamas: 2 days ago the U.S. Embassy issued yet another crime warning. The new advisory warns US citizens traveling in the Bahamas of a “crime spike” in the country. "The Embassy said that a number of US citizens had fallen victim to armed robbery and two had been murdered in the last eight months." Read the chilling advisory here.

Two tourists were robbed of their belongings and a rental car at gunpoint: "The man and woman were on Jaws Beach in western New Providence when they were approached by two men who Crime in Nassau Bahamasproduced a weapon, took a backpack containing cash and other items." The U.S. Embassy says that the robbers carried an "assault rifle."

"Nassau is Bloodier Than New York" From the Tribune in Nassau: "New York City is much, much safer than small New Providence, despite that US city’s massive size. Of every 25,035 New York City resident, only one was murdered in 2013. Conversely, of every 2,100 Nassauvian, one was murdered in 2013."

Tourism Conference To Debate Issue Of Crime: "US Embassy officials issued a crime warning to Americans living in and travelling to New Providence and Grand Bahama. In the advisory, the murders of two Americans over the past eight months and numerous armed robberies were pinpointed."

Challenging the Status Quo of Crime in the Caribbean:  "2014 began with crimes rates soaring ridiculously high in the Caribbean."

Are Bahamian officials safe?  In December, the Acting Prime Minister Philip Davis was robbed at gunpoint. A few days ago, a police officer assigned to guard a residence of the Prime Minister Christie was arrested on suspicion of stealing a television at the residence. The latter is a petty crime I know, but you have to shake your head when the bad guys are bold enought to stick up the Acting Prime Minister and the police are stealing from the Prime Minister.

"Two men armed with guns robbed a pre-school while more than 100 students attended classes." From pre-schools full of children to the highest governmental officials, no one seems safe in this beautiful island. 

 

Have a thought? Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: 

Top: Bahamas B2B

Bottom: Tribune

A Royal Mess: Sick Count Increases to Over 600, Cruise Ends Early

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that over 600 people have been sickened by the gastrointestinal illness outbreak on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, CNN reports.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship left Cape Liberty, New Jersey on January 21, 2014 for a 10 day cruise through the Caribbean. The ship missed a stop at its private stop in Labadee Haiti after the outbreak. It sailed to San Juan to be cleaned. 

The CDC initially stated that over 300 people (281 passengers and 22 crew members) were ill. (Its official report is here with the new statistics). However, over the weekend we began to hear reports from passengers that the number Royal Caribbean Cruise Explorer of the Seas Norovirusof people suffering from nausea and diarrhea had increased to to over 450 and, now, to over 600. 

CNN quotes a spokeswoman with the CDC that more than 600 people on the ship have become ill, reporting vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC spokeswoman said 564 passengers and 47 crew members reported being ill.

Royal Caribbean is ending the cruise two days early. The cruise line will "use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly." 

We have been contacted by guests on this ill fated cruise as well passengers from the prior cruise who became ill. 

Passengers who contacted Royal Caribbean say that the cruise line is not considering refunds of any type.

We previously reported on the incident in our article: Puke Fest Aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.

There has been no official word from the CDC whether this is in fact norovirus, although the symptoms are consistent with the virus. The cruise lines invariably blame the passengers, but the CDC has never in my experience ever pin-pointed the exact source of an outbreak like this.

NBC News raises the issue whether the outbreak on the Explorer is linked to a nasty new type of norovirus known as the GII 4 Sydney strain which caused an outbreak on the Queen Mary 2.

Join our discussion on Facebook about why norovirus outbreaks occur on cruise ships

 

ABC 20/20 Program "Controversy Around Man Overboard Systems"

Last night, ABC 20/20 aired a program about the controversy surrounding the cruise industry's refusal to install automatic man overboard systems.

There is no question that the systems exist and can be installed. However, the cruise industry refuses to do so. (Disney says that its cruise ships have the technology). But it's clear that Carnival and its brands (HAL, Princess for example) don't. 

The cruise industry has endless excuses why it has still not complied with the law enacted 4 years ago. It says that a bird or debris in the air can set the alarms off. The lawyer for the cruise lines in the 20/20 program says that the cruise lines have not "perfected" an automatic system yet. But there is no requirement for a "perfect" system. As matters exist now, the cruise lines have no system at all, in violation of the law.

The cruise lines' approach is to attack the victims. The cruise defense lawyer attacks the dead and injured saying: “I call it 'sail and sue.' We deal with it all the time.”  You can read my response here

I will admit that many people I have spoken to don't seem to care much about the fact that Carnival has no automatic system in place. Most blame the passenger for being intoxicated and are quick to insult her. That's what Carnival and the other non-compliant cruise lines are counting on.

It's a rather amazing phenomenon to see a non-tax paying foreign corporation which collects over $15 billion a year, from tax-paying U.S. citizens, and makes hundreds of millions of dollars pushing alcohol sales, blatantly ignore the law requiring overboard systems, and then shift 100% of the blame on to the passenger who got drunk on the Carnival booze. 

 


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Norovirus on Diamond Princess: How is Princess Cruises Handling the Outbreak?

Diamond Princess NorovirusA newspaper in New Zealand is reporting that 60 cruise passengers aboard a Princess cruise ship which sailed from Australia have been infected with the dreaded norovirus. They have been suffering from vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. 

The newspaper is stating that cleaners are working to sanitize the Diamond Princess before the next group of passengers board. 

Check-in has been delayed as the extra cleaning has been taking place. 

One passenger expressed serious reservations about the upcoming cruise. The thousands-of-dollars cruise vacation can't be cancelled because there was no chance of a refund, he said.

The newspaper correctly points out that norovirus can be transmitted through infected food or water, person-to-person contact, and surface contact.

If you were on the cruise, is the estimate of 60 ill passengers accurate?

What, exactly, is Princess saying about refunds?

How did the cruise line handle the outbreak?

 

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia / Barrylb

Coast Guard Medevacs 68 Year Old Passenger from Carnival Elation

Carnival Elation Cruise ShipDefense Video and Imaging Distribution System (DVIDS) reports tonight on another medevac of a cruise ship passenger by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Today, the Carnival Elation cruise ship notified the Coast Guard that a passenger was suffering from cardiac symptoms and needed to be medically evacuated.

The Coast Guard in New Orleans sent a MH-65D helicopter to the Carnival cruise ship and hoisted a 68-year-old man from the ship.

The Coast Guard said that the passenger experienced symptoms of cardiac arrest.

The cruise ship was 60 miles offshore of the Southwest Pass, Louisiana.  

The helicopter transported the ill passenger to the LSU Medical Center.

 

Video Credit: Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / P. Alejandro Diaz

Worst Cruise Line Headline of the Day: "Cruise Industry is Going Overboard to Make Sailing Safe for the Environment"

Today the travel section of the New York Daily News published an article entitled the Cruise Industry is Going Overboard to Make Sailing Safe for the Environment.

In light of the many recent overboard passenger cases, the title is inappropriate. After all, there have been four passengers who have gone overboard in less than three weeks. Passengers have gone overboard from the Rhapsody of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, all operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises in just eleven days. Just this morning, I posted an article about a passenger going overboard from Holland America Line's Veendam

So I clicked on the link, which goes to a puff piece by a writer for the Daily News claiming that:  

Garbage Bags Cruise Ship DumpingThe "major lines have reportedly reduced waste, garbage and other forms of pollution by nearly 50% in the past decade through a conscientious, industry-wide effort to go green."

"Conscientious, industry-wide effort to go green?"  Egads!

The last news about the cruise industry, involving environmental issues, involves a MSC cruise ship which is alleged to have recently dumped bags of garbage overboard into Brazilian waters after making a Transatlantic crossing.    

It's cruise passengers, not the cruise lines, who are going overboard. And it's the cruise industry which is treating the oceans like a garbage dump. 

Person Overboard From Holland America Line's Veendam?

HAL VeendamThis weekend we received inquiries from passengers who had been on the Holland America Line Veendam cruise ship about a passenger who apparently went overboard. Passengers indicated that the incident apparently occurred off the coast of Mexico on January 3, 2014 as the ship sailed back to San Diego. 

Here are two of the comments:

"Was on the MS Veendam (Holland America) 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise and a woman mysteriously fell or jumped off the top deck the early afternoon of day 6 (last Friday, Jan 3) off coast of Mexico (coming back to San Diego). She had to be dead (body floating face down in water), as we were sent to cabin for an hour. But no news was shared or online. Crew was working on top rail, which someone (the crew?) had disassembled even before the FBI showed up Sat morning to inspect before disembarkation. Do you have any info on this?  Strange that there hasn't been any news. Rumors were suicide, but I'm really wondering."

"On MS Veendam (HAL) (Jan. 3, 2014) when we had a man overboard called. We were ordered to our cabins but never offered an expiation as what happened. Only rumors that it was murder, suicide or accident . . . How can we find out the truth?"

Anyone with information please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Update: Why is there no information about this overboard on the internet

Photo Credit: Holland America Line via L.A. Times

A Cruise Passenger's Perspective: Local Newspapers in Nassau, Bahamas Paint Grim Image of Armed Robberies & Murders

On Friday, I published an article regarding whether travel agents and cruise lines are warning passengers about the high rate of violent crime in Nassau. My article followed an article in the Tribune newspaper in Nassau reporting on the cruise industry's concern with crime against its passengers and crew members, as well as the U.S. State Department warning of the risk to tourists of armed robbery. 

My impression is that whereas Carnival is warning its passengers of high crime ashore in Nassau, the other cruise lines are not. And while some travel agents are transparent with their clients and tell them the sad news about Nassau, many have a cavalier attitude of "crime happens everywhere" or "nothing Nassau Bahamas Crimehas happened to me there" type of approach.

The article - Is Your Travel Agent or Cruise Line Warning You of Crime in the Bahamas? - also hit a nerve with the residents of the Bahamas. In comments to my article, I received two reactions from the Bahamas community. One sentiment was "yes, its dangerous here." The other reaction was a mixture of denial and strange patriotism "no, don't malign my country, Miami is more dangerous."

But the truth is that Nassau is more dangerous than Miami, New York, or Los Angeles, and does not compare well to even Detroit which is the murder capital of the U.S. In terms of armed robberies and murders, a U.S. citizen cannot travel to a more dangerous city in the U.S. compared to Nassau. And unlike these U.S. cities, Nassau is dependent on tourists arriving by cruise ship. The Miami-based cruise lines are finally talking about pulling out of Nassau if such high crime affecting their guests doesn't improve.   

The Bahamas used to advertise that "it's better in the Bahamas." I don't know if it does anymore. A more accurate description would be "it's more dangerous in the Bahamas."

Perhaps some of the remote islands of the Bahamas are safer, but that's not where the cruise lines unload thousands of people a day.

Last month, the Acting Prime Minister of the Bahamas was the victim of armed robbery (see photos on our Facebook page here).  Earlier this year, a 74 year-old female U.S. diplomat was the victim of an armed robbery on a Sunday morning downtown Nassau while walking to church. A few months ago, we wrote about the open letter to the Tribune newspaper about crime penned by Bahamian Senator Bostwick who talked about "regular random robbery of tourists."   

Many in the Bahamas dependent on the U.S. dollars of the cruise passengers say that violence finds only those tourists who "go over the hill" looking for drugs or sex. Similarly, many U.S. travel agents tell their clients that everything will be fine if you stick with the other passengers in the cruise approved excursions ashore.

But I will always think of the Bahamas as the only place where armed robbers have targeted cruise passengers to rob in bulk on multiple occassions. I'm talking about the armed robbery of 11 passengers visiting the Queen's Staircase on a quiet Sunday afternoon and, a month later, the armed robbery and terrorizing of 18 cruise passengers during a cruise excursion to a nature's preserve.

I have been accused of exaggerating things. My response is don't read my blog. Read the local newspapers in Nassau - the Tribune and the Guardian.  They are filled daily with stories of violent crime. I selected ten front page headlines from the Tribune in the last month or so to post on our Facebook page. Here are a few recent headlines:

"Man shot down in street," "7 shot, 1 killed at peace party," Murder count over 2012 total," and "Four dead in 36 hours of violence." The headlines go on and on.

You can see the articles from the Tribune here.

I doubt any cruise lines or travel agents want any of their customers to read these articles when deciding their cruise itinerary.  

Passenger Missing From Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas Sailing to Cayman Islands

According to news sources, a passenger is reportedly missing from the Independence of the Seas cruise ship which sailed to the Cayman Islands today. 

The missing passenger is a 65-year-old man from Canada who was reported missing by his wife, before the Royal Caribbean ship arrived at the Grand Cayman's port.

His name and hometown were not disclosed.

Independence of the SeasA search of the cruise ship and a review of closed-circuit camera footage provided no information. 

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson says that the missing man was last seen entering his room just before midnight.

You can watch a video from the Cayman's television station here.

Royal Caribbean's inability to explain what happened to its cruise guest reveals, again, that the cruise line is in violation of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act.

This law requires cruise lines to install state of the art automatic man overboard technology to detect persons going over the rails into the sea. Technology exists to detect when passengers or crew members go overboard and will record their images and send a signal to the bridge notifying the officers of the emergency in order to begin emergency rescue procedures.

Read our article: Cruise Industry Ignores Law Requiring Man-Overboard System.

Unfortunately Royal Caribbean has not implemented this system.

Two days ago, another Canadian went overboard from the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas as the cruise ship was sailing to San Juan.

Ten days ago, a passenger disappeared from the Rhapsody of the Seas in Australian waters. 

If you have a comment, please join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Aztec06

Man Overboard from the Adventure of the Seas

Adventure of the SeasEarly this morning we received an email from a cruise passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas alerting us that a man had gone overboard last night. We received this message:

"Man overboard Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. Close enough to San Juan to be getting AT&T service right now. At about 8:45 - 9:00 PM, the Captain came over loudspeaker and announced that a man had "jumped" overboard. They also said they believed he was in his mid 20s. About 30 - 45 minutes later they announced the arrival of a Coast Guard helicopter. I can verify. When the announcement was made I went on deck and witnessed the ship turning around. They launched life preservers with lights attached as well as two rescue boats. There were spotlights at first and brighter ones joined later. There was talk spreading throughout the shop that people had witnessed the pulling the spotlights out of the theater or ice rink.

I wrote that at about 11 last night. We are now heading to port. Captain told us there would be a 4 hour delay and that he extended condolences to the family. No more information at this time."

There have been at least 219 persons overboard since 2000, according to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein.

Nine days ago, we reported on another passengers who disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.

If you are on the cruise or have any information or photographs you wish to share, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Update Sunday afternoon: The AP quotes a Royal Caribbean spokesperson saying that the captain of the Adventure of the Seas stopped the ship, turned around and alerted authorities after a passenger reported seeing the person going overboard late Saturday.The cruise spokesperson said footage of the incident was also captured by the ship's cameras.  You can read updated comments here.

According to the Coast Guard said that the missing man is Canadian Tien Phuoc Nguyen, age 26, and was sailing with his family.

There is an article in a Puerto Rican newspaper suggesting that the man may have been involved in an argument with his family & under influence of alcohol, and that ship security tried to intervene prior to him going overboard.

The U.K.'s Daily Mail also covered the story.  

 

Photo Credit: Top CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Woman from Grandeur of the Seas

According to the Defense Video & Imagery Service, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 56-year-passenger today from a cruise ship. 

The Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas notified the Coast Guard at approximately 10 PM last night that the woman was is medical distress. The cruise ship was approximately 300 miles east of Orlando, Florida. At approximately 3:30 AM this morning, a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft and an MH-60 Jayhawk took off by Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The helicopter arrived at the cruise ship at 6:20 AM. and transported the woman to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.  

 

Man Overboard From Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas

We have been notified from readers of Cruise Law News that a passenger has gone overboard from the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas.

The cruise ship was reportedly 550 kilometres east of Brisbane on a trip from Sydney to the South Pacific.

The P&O's Pacific Pearl cruise ship was involved in the recovery of the body.

We have reported often that cruise ships do not have automatic man-overboard alarms to detect passengers and crew who go overboard.

If this case, according to the local press, the man was seen falling into the sea around 2:00 AM, but he was not rescued. The cruise line claims that crew members "immediately threw life rings and marker smoke into the water, turned the ship around and launched rescue boats," but this has not been verified by a passenger on board.  

We have not yet received details from any passengers regarding exactly what happened or how the cruise ship responded.

His body was located approximately 7 and one-half hours later, at 9:30 AM. 

If you have information, photographs or video regarding this incident, please contact us.

Photos Credit: Wikipedia / Lisa LushRhapsody of the Seas 

 

Video: Coast Guard Medevacs 34 Year Old Passenger From Carnival Miracle

Coast Guard Medevac Cruise ShipChannel 7 San Diego reports that a Coast Guard aircrew medevaced a woman from a Carnival cruise ship today after she began internally bleeding approximately 600 miles south of San Diego.

The Carnival Miracle contacted the Coast Guard last night, requesting a medevac for the 34-year-old woman.

A helicopter flew from San Diego to met the ship, which was nearly 300 miles south of San Diego at the time of the rescue.

The helicopter crew hoisted the woman and transported her to San Diego where she was transferred to emergency medical personnel for further medical care. 

You can see a Coast Guard video of the amazing medical rescue below.

Have a thought? Please leave a message below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

P&O Ferries Plagued By Overboard Passengers & No Safety Systems

P&O Ferries crisis management spokesperson Chris Laming recently responded to the disappearance of passenger Richard Fearnside.

He stated that P&O Ferries refuses to consider installing CCTV cameras on the Pride of Kent ferry.

He told a newspaper in Kent, U.K.:

"It is so rare. It is just not practical to consider doing this."

That's cruel, and it's hardly true.P&O Ferries - Passenger Missing - Teresa Cowley

Last December, a 43 year-old mother of twin girls disappeared from another P&O Ferries ship, the Pride of Rotterdam. Teresa Cowley (right) fell overboard following a night of drinking on board the P&O ferry as it sailed from Hull to Rotterdam in the early hours of December 31, 2012. 

The sale of alcohol is a major money maker for cruise lines and ferry operators. Excessive alcohol sales increase the likelihood of passengers going overboard and require effective safety protocols and systems.

The Daily Mail in the U.K. covered the story in an article: "British Mother of Twin Girls Feared Drowned After Flling Off Ferry During Night Drinking With Husband On Holland-Bound Ship."  

The newspaper article states that an after-the-fact review of "CCTV cameras on board the ship show Teresa staggering alone on deck shortly after 1 AM." But like Richard Fearnside's case, there was no CCTV showing the passenger going overboard, and apparently the P&O ship had no automatic overboard system signalling the bridge of the emergency. 

Five months later, Mr. Fearnside also disappeared. Two overboard, dead P&O passengers in just 5 months. Are man-overboard cases really "so rare" as P&O claims?

In August of this year, a passenger went overboard from the P&O Pride of Burgandy.

In January 2011, P&O Ferries notified the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency of a passenger missing from the P&O European Highlander ferry sailing from Larne to Cairnryan. The newspaper stated this was "standard procedure" when people go overboard from a P&O ferry. "A major air and sea search" was launched due to the emergency. Again, there were no CCTV images of the apparent overboard nor any type of automatic man overboard system on the ship. Eventually the expensive search & rescue operation was called off after the ferry company couldn't determine whether the passenger went overboard or was simply unaccounted for.

A similar incident occurred in 2006 aboard the Pride of Kent when P&O Ferries alerted authorities of the disappearance of a young couple leading to an early morning, 7 hour, international air and sea search involving four lifeboats, a rescue tug, two French helicopters and one coastguard search plane.  After this massive and expensive undertaking, it turns out that the two passengers has disembarked the ferry and were located in Belgium. All of this could have been avoided by the installation of CCTV and overboard systems.

The absence of safety systems presents a danger for crew members as well as passengers. In 2008, a crew member aboard the P&O ferry Pride of Rotterdam disappeared 20 miles out at sea. Seven lifeboats and two search and rescue helicopters subsequently tried to find the man; however, a Royal Navy spokesperson told the BBC that the water was "very cold" and the man's chances of survival were considered "very slim."

For U.S. based cruise lines, the use of CCTV cameras is standard operating procedure. As I mentioned in a previous article, cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line have over 1,000 CCTV cameras in operation on a single ship. Some cruise ships, although not many, have state-of-the art automatic man overboard systems. But the U.K.'s P&O Ferries appears to be decades behind in terms of basic safety and security systems.

CCTV systems play an important part of a vessel's safety and security system. A CCTV system with automatic alarms is essential to the timely search and rescue of passengers going overboard. Contrary to what many think, overboard passengers can be saved if the bridge is notified promptly of the emergency. A passenger who fell off of the P&O Express ferry was rescued in 2009 because other passengers immediately notified the ship's crew. Another passenger from the P&O ferry Pride of Calais was promptly rescued in 2010.  Similar success was not obtained when a passenger went overboard from the P&O ferry, the Pride of Burgundy, in October 2010.

But many overboards occur in the dark late at night when no other passengers are around which make the need for CCTV systems even more important. A sound vessel safety program should integrate state-of-the-art technologies and not rely on the customers to report emergencies when things go wrong.

You can see a successful rescue of a passenger from a different ferry company here. The woman reportedly fell from an upper deck after trying to light her cigarette.

CCTV is also effective in monitoring whether criminals or terrorists come onto a ship or whether Pride of Rotterdamcustomers go off the ship due to foul play or preventable accidents. They act as a deterrent to crime and have a wide range of safety applications. They can assist the operators in determining whether the passengers are in a state of intoxication which often leads to horse-play and accidents.  

In April last year, around 200 students in an intoxicated rampage from Manchester trashed a P&O ferry sailing from Dover to Calais ferry and frightened fellow passengers. CCTV cameras would have been effective in documenting the unsafe and reckless behavior and aiding in the prosecution of those involved in the drunken shipboard brawl.

There's no justification for not installing CCTV cameras on a commercial passenger ship. The costs are inexpensive and the cargo is precious. 

 

Have a thought? Join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

Call for help: The Fearnside family has started a campaign to require ferry operators to install CCTV cameras on their vessels.  Please click here and sign the petition.

Photo Credit: Newsteam via Daily Mail

Transatlantic Cruise Turns Deadly for 87 Year Old Brazilian Passenger

Newspapers in Brazil are reporting on the recent death of a cruise passenger on a MSC cruise ship.

MSC PreziosaMercedes Lessi Raia, age 87, was cruising on the MSC Preziosa cruise ship when she sustained a fall on a set of stairs.  The ship was sailing around Europe on Tuesday, November 19, 2013. The accident is described as occurring when she was headed to the restaurant where dinner would be served. As the elevators were full, she decided to go down the stairs where she tripped, fell and struck her head. She sustained a hematoma and began to vomit. 12 hours later she died, on November 20th.

According to newspaper articles, Ms. Raia accomplished a lifelong dream of cruising through Europe with her two daughters. At the time of the accident, the cruise ship was returning to Brazil from Spain. She lived in Londrina in the state of Paraná, Brazil and spent her time divided between the city and the São Paulo coast.

Her son told reporters that this mother was a "very cheerful person, with an impressive vitality, did not look her age and still dreamed of the sea cruise to Europe."  She always said she wanted to live to be 100 years old.

Mercedes Lessi RaiaHer son commented on the accident and lamented the ship did not have medical facilities for appropriate and urgent care. Her family was critical of the cruise ship's response, stating that the ship did not attempt to arrange for an emergency medevac operation. 

MSC responded to the tragedy by claiming that the fall was caused by a pre-existing illness.

We have seen cruise lines defend themselves in situations like this when they claim that a fall and resulting death were the result of the passenger's health and not a problem with the cruise ship or inadequate shipboard medical facilities. Even if true, such disclosures by a cruise line violate a passenger's confidential medical rights.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

 

Photo Credit: www.jb.com.br

Cruise Lines Continue to Ignore Cruise Safety Law's Requirement to Install Automatic Man-Overboard Systems

Grand Princess Cruise ShipIn the last week, there have been several articles about the cruise industry's refusal to comply with the requirements of the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act to install automatic man-overboard systems.

The spirit and intent of Congress in enacting the legislation, as expressed in several hearings in Washington D.C. which I attended over the years, was to require all cruise ships to implement system to alert the bridge when a passenger went overboard so that prompt rescue efforts could be undertaken.  

Unfortunately, the vast majority of cruise lines have not invested in the available systems.

A week ago the Miami Herald first published an article entitled "Overboard Cases on Cruise Lines Often Under-Reported to Public."   

The Huffington Post followed up with an article after a woman went overboard from a Princess Cruises ship, the Grand Princess, which apparently does not have an automatic man overboard system. The security personnel on the cruise ship were required to look through images on the cruise ship's CCTV system to look for the incident in order to confirm that the passenger went over the rail. 

Yesterday, a local South Florida NBC television station, WPTV, published an article entitled "Cruise Lines Are Slow to Implement a Man Overboard Detection System for Passengers."  It also aired the video segment below.

Our firm was mentioned in all of the articles.

Today Time magazine published an article "Cruise Industry’s Mysterious ‘Man Overboard’ Problem."

The cruise lines' refusal to comply with the law results in the U.S. Coast Guard having to deploy aircraft, helicopters and cutters over a wide search grid with the expensive and often million-dollar searches being paid for by U.S. taxpayers rather than the foreign-flagged cruise ships which pay no U.S. taxes in the first place. 

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has documented over 200 person going overboard from cruise ships since 2000.  There is no question that the technology exists to automatically and instantly detect persons going overboard. 

Supporters of the cruise industry say that the percentage of overboard passengers is small compared to the total number of people going overboard.  That may be true. But the cruise industry's non-compliance with the cruise safety law ensures that the prospects of saving those overboard passengers are slim and their deaths are likely.

Watch the video below and let us know how you think how the cruise lines can be forced to comply with the law. Join the discussion on our Facebook page.  

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Ivan T.)

Carnival Joins Plane & Train Companies in Refusing to Permit Obese Passenger Aboard

Kevin ChenaisThe international media is abuzz over the plight of a young man suffering from obesity who has been refused transportation by planes, trains and even a cruise ship in his efforts to return from the United States to his home country of France. His family claims that he was discriminated against because of his weight (500 lbs) and deemed "too fat to travel."

In an article entitled "Too Fat to Travel? Man Rejected by Plane, Train and Cruise Ship," the Associated Press writes about Kevin Chenais, age 22, who is under medical treatment due to a hormonal imbalance.

He was in the U.S. undergoing medical treatment, and ran into a wall of resistance when he tried to return home. 

British Airways first considered him too heavy to fly. Then Carnival Corporation, the owner of the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, refused to transport him across the Atlantic. 

Virgin Atlantic stepped up to the plate and flew the young man to the United Kingdom. But the Eurostar under-sea train service refused to transport him to France, according to press reports

The train company said that Mr. Chenais posed a safety risk "to himself, our crew and all of the other passengers on board."

With the involvement of French consular staff, Mr. Chenais was transported by ambulance to Dover where he caught a ferry with the P&O Ferries company. A ferry representative said: "It's difficult to imagine the frustration that this gentleman has gone through. But for us, it's very straightforward as we are set up to carry people who have medical needs."

According to Mr. Chenais, Carnival, which rejected his request for a cabin on the trans-Atlantic voyage from the U.S., "declined to comment."

Should cruise lines, air carriers and trains be required to accommodate obese passengers under these circumstances?  

Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Norwegian Breakaway

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an 81 year old man from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship off the coast off Cape Hatteras early this morning. 

The Norwegian Breakaway contacted the Coast Guard around 4 a.m. this morning to report that a passenger was suffering a heart-attack.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew responded to the ship, 55 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, and flew the passenger to Sentara Norfolk General hospital.  

 

And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem: NCL Screws Another Customer in Distress

David Lazarus of the LA Times writes about how Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) refused to either refund or credit the cruise fare to 66 year old David Warlick and his wife after she was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent emergency surgery.

In his article "Cruise Line Unmoved By Customer's Cancer Emergency," Lazarus points out that although cruise corporations are considered to be a person under the U.S. Constitution, "when called upon to demonstrate a little human decency, they almost unfailingly respond with profound corporate indifference."

NCL defended itself by saying that it has a strict cancellation policy. Moreover, NCL pointed out the Norwegian Cruise Line - Kevin Sheehancouple should have purchased insurance. But NCL had no legal obligation to screw its cancer stricken guest. From a moral perspective, it could and should have done the right thing and let the couple reschedule their cruise until a later date.

This is not the first time NCL has acted like a bad corporate citizen.

NCL refused to refund the cruise fare of a passenger whose brother died and the funeral was on the same day as the cruise. The guest notified NCL, asking for a credit on a future cruise. NCL said no. He asked for their cruise to be donated to charity (Make-A-Wish) so a child with cancer could enjoy a once in a lifetime cruise. NCL said no. Then NCL re-sold the cabin to another couple.

NCL got a double profit due to the death of a guest. Ugh.

NCL also demonstrated a lack of humanity when a grandmother, whose home was destroyed last year after being submerged by Superstorm Sandy, tried to reschedule a $4,000 cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel for her family and grand kids. She appealed to NCL for help.

She even wrote the CEO Kevin Sheehan (above right) asking to refund the cruise or reschedule it, but the cruise line and its CEO wouldn't make an exception. NCL said absolutely no refund or rescheduling, even though the grandmother works driving special needs kids to school. This trip was going to be her first vacation ever, in 70 years.

But NCL refused to help the family and took their money. A news station says that when it approached NCL about the terrible situation, the cruise line erected a "stone wall of silence."

 

Photo Credit: prhub.com

U.S. Woman Disappears From Grand Princess Cruise Ship

Multiple news sources are reporting that a woman is missing from the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The U.S. cruise passenger was last seen around noon. News accounts state that the crew of the Princess Cruises ship reported her missing to the U.S. Coast Guard around 1:00 PM.

The Coast Guard deployed a Hercules aircraft to search for the woman about 750 miles northeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

The Associated Press reports that Princess Cruises spokeswoman Julie Benson says that the Grand Princess Overboard Passengerpassenger intentionally went overboard.

The Coast Guard states that the woman is 30, while Princess Cruises says she is 54.

In 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act which requires cruise ships to implement automatic man overboard systems to capture images of persons going overboard or to send notification to the bridge that someone has gone overboard.

The purpose of the law is to require cruise lines to institute immediate rescue action whether the passenger went overboard accidentally, intentionally or through foul play. Unfortunately virtually no cruise lines have implemented such technology even though automatic alert systems are available. 

The failire of cruise lines like Princess to comply with the cruise safety law results in passengers and crew members disappearing without a trace and reduces the chances of successfully searching for the person overboard. The absence of alert systems also results in the U.S. Coast Guard being called late to conduct search of large areas which is very expensive and is ultimately paid for by U.S. taxpayers. 

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has documented over 200 passengers and crew members have gone overboard since 2000.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Ivan T.)

Two Cruise Passengers Seriously Injured on the Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise ShipA local CBS news station is reporting that two cruise passengers were seriously injured on a cruise ship that has docked at Port Canaveral, Florida.

The news station says that a man suffered a neck injury and a woman in her 70s suffered some type of fracture while aboard the Norwegian Breakaway.

The Orlando Sentinel also reports that the Brevard County Fire Rescue is involved responding to the injuries.  Crews responded to terminal six at Port Canaveral for a man with a neck injury around noon, according to the Fire Rescue's Twitter page. Twenty minutes later, officials issued a trauma alert for another patient – a woman in her 70's with a fracture. 

It is believed that both men are passengers.

The Breakaway is home ported in Manhattan and makes includes Port Canaveral as a port. 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Dickelbers)

Human Remains at Costa Concordia Shipwreck Identified as Missing Italian Passenger Maria Trecarichi

Maria Grazia Trecarichi - Costa ConcordiaInternational news sources are reporting that remains located at the ship wreck of the Costa Concordia are of an Italian woman, an Italian prosecutor said.

"The human remains belong to Maria Grazia Trecarichi," prosecutor Francesco Verusio said.

Newspapers quote Trecarichi's widower Elio Vincenzi saying:

"I have learned from the press that the remains belong to my wife but have had no official confirmation. They assured me I would be the first to know, it didn't go that way."

Mr. Vincenzi had earlier identified shoes and a necklace found with the remains as belonging to his wife.

 

Coast Guard Medevacs Carnival Passenger with Broken Legs

A local news station in Broward County reports that the U.S. Coast Guard has medevaced a seriously injured passenger from an unidentified Carnival cruise ship today.

The woman, who sustained injuries to both of her legs, was hoisted onto a Coast Guard helicopter and flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. 

The news station states that Coast Guard Sector Miami was notified by cruise personnel that the 52-year-old woman had fallen in an elevator, severely injuring both of her legs.

This was the second Coast Guard medevac of a passenger from a Carnival cruise ship today. Earlier this morning, a Coast Guard helicopter rescued a passenger from the Carnival Splendor.

Coast Guard Medevac Carnival Cruise Ship

 

Photo Credit: Local 10

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger From Carnival Splendor

A news station in Norfolk Virginia reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill passengers from a Carnival cruise ship near Norfolk to a local hospital today. 

The news station states that this morning at around 10:45 A.M., the Carnival Splendor cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard regarding a 57-year-old woman who required medical assistance.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. dispatched a helicopter crew to respond to the medical emergency.

The Coast Guard helicopter flew to the cruise ship, which was about 80 miles east of Norfolk, at around 12:30 P.M. The Coast Guard crew then hoisted the woman into the helicopter and flew her to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

 

Woman Falls Overboard, Treads Water Until Rescued: Who's Responsible?

Carnival Destiny Cruise Ship - Man OverboardInside Edition aired a program about a 29 year old woman "Sarah" who sailed on the Carnival Destiny to celebrate her 30th birthday. After too much drinking, she fell from the balcony into the water. 

Despite the pleas of her cabin mate and another passenger, the captain sailed on. It took an hour and a half to turn around and rescue her. Carnival then allegedly delayed her medical treatment by refusing to call for emergency medical evacuation.

Carnival says that it acted properly.  

The case has ended up in court and raises a number of issues common in the cruise industry.

Is this a case simply of a passenger exercising a lack of personal responsibility by drinking too much? Or is this a case which involves a lack of corporate responsibility by over-serving the passenger too much alcohol and then sailing on after there was a reasonable indication that she had gone overboard?

Why didn't the cruise line have an automatic man overboard system as required by the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act which was enacted into law to deal with this exact situation?

Read our articles about the case:

Why Did Carnival Delay Rescuing An Overboard Passenger From The Destiny?

Carnival Booze Cruise Disaster Ends Up In Court,

Disappearances at Sea: Cruise Industry Refuses to Comply with Cruise Safety Law,

If you have a thought about this case, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

 

 

Photo credit: Jetaria Taylor

Cruise Crime & Missing People: Are Cruise Lines Telling You the Truth?

The non-profit International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization released an interesting press statement today.

Earlier this year, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee convened a hearing about protecting cruise ship passengers. Senator Rockefeller planned to introduce legislation which required the cruise industry to report crimes and overboards which occur on cruise ships.

Under intense pressure before the Senate committee, the executives of the three major U.S. based cruise lines (Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean) promised at the outset of the hearing to begin to "voluntarily" report cruise ship crimes and man overboard situations. Was this an earnest commitment to transparency or a last Cruise Ship Safety ditch effort to stave off legislation?

My son and I were at the hearing. The first thing I thought was "sounds good, but what tricks are the cruise lines up to this time?"

Shortly after the hearing, the cruise line began to post their crime and man-overboard data.

Royal Caribbean and sister line Celebrity Cruises quickly proved that they can't be trusted. They chose to disclose only three (3) overboard persons for the time period from October 2010 to June 2013. As explained in our article Cruise Line "Voluntary" Crime & Man-Overboard Disclosures: Royal Caribbean's Data Is Incomplete and Misleading, at least eleven (11) persons went overboard during this time period.  

Royal Caribbean was particularly sneaky. It chose to define man-overboards as excluding all crew members and included only U.S. passengers. In the process, Royal Caribbean summarily excluded eight men who were either crew members or were non-U.S. citizens who went overboard.   

So instead of learning the complete story about people disappearing from Royal Caribbean ships, the public learned of only 27% of the truth (only 3 out of 11). This is exactly the type of deceitful conduct that Senator Rockefeller wanted to avoid.

So what tricks were played by Royal Caribbean's competitor, Carnival?

The ICV press statement today reveals that Carnival Corporation, which owns Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa, HAL, P&O Cruises, Princess and many others, combines all of its its cruise brand data in one tally in order to dilute the rate of crime on its cruise brand with the most crime.  

Why does Carnival Corporation (the parent company) do this?  Because it gives the false appearance that Carnival Cruise Lines is much safer than it actually is. Based upon research by cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, Carnival Cruise Lines makes up less than half the total of the Carnival brands but accounts for a whopping 88% of all the crimes for the parent company, Carnival Corporation. (The conclusions are based on crime data obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request for the period covering October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008.)

The purpose of the cruise crime disclosure is to permit consumers to determine the safest / most dangerous cruise lines to take your family on cruises. 

But the cruise lines are playing a big game. Trickery and dishonesty are the names of the game. 

The Carnivals and Royal Caribbeans can't help themselves. They are incapable of telling the U.S. public the truth.

That's one reason why the House and Senate have introduced the Cruise Passenger Protection Act (H.R. 2800 and S.1340). And that's why you should insist that these bills are enacted into law.    

You can read the ICV press release here.

Princess Cruises: Why No CCTV or Man Overboard Systems on the Sun Princess?

Today, after a cruise passenger disappeared from the Princess cruise shipSun Princess, the cruise line admitted that "there is no CCTV footage of the man falling overboard" according to Cruise Critic.

How is this possible?

Sun PrincessOur U.S. Congress has already enacted legislation requiring that cruise ships implement state-of-the-art technologies to detect man-overboard situations. Perhaps the Sun Princess because it was operating in Australian waters didn't bother to comply with U.S. standards.

But what is the excuse for not having a single image of the passenger going overboard?  

Cruise ships like the Sun Princess are money makers, collecting many millions of dollars every single cruise.

So why no CCTV?  Why no automated man-overboard alarms? The technologies are old school at this point.      

Why should there ever be a controversy regarding how a passenger or a crew member goes overboard on the high seas? 

 

Photo Credit: The Australian 

What Governmental Shut Down? Coast Guard Drops Blood for Sick Passenger Aboard the Oosterdam Heading to Hawaii

Coast Guard - Oosterdam  The U.S. Coast Guard comes to the rescue again.

Our Federal Government may be in the middle of a shutdown, but the Coast Guard aircraft and helicopters are still flying to help cruise ship passengers in distress on the high seas.

The latest story comes from a newspaper in Hawaii, the Maui News, which reports that a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane flew over a 1.000 miles to "drop six units of blood, a pack of platelets, and two transfusion kits via parachute to medical personnel aboard the Oosterdam."

The heroics were in response to requests for assistance by Holland America Line (HAL) which was dealing with an ailing elderly passenger who was suffering from internal bleeding.  The situation was critical because the cruise ship was far out at sea, heading to Lahaina, Maui. 

You can see the blood drop in the video below.

Photo/ Video Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa McKenzie, courtesy US Coast Guard, via Maui News. 

 

Sun Princess Passenger Disappears

A passenger has gone overboard from the Sun Princess cruise ship.

News sources are reporting that a 73 year old man has disappeared from the Princess cruise ship which was sailing from Western Australia to Darwin.

The man was reported missing by his wife.

A search was conducted approximately 40 nautical miles north of Cape Londonderry.

NT News reports that the cruise ship was joined by patrol ship HMAS Maryborough, and three aircraft were involved in an aerial search. Although the weather was good, the missing passengers was not rescued or his body located.

The Sun Princess cruise ship was sailing on a 16-day cruise from Fremantle to Sydney.

Professor Ross Klein reports that 207 people have gone overboard since 2000. 

Image Credit: marinetraffic.com via NT News

Sun PrIncess Disappearance

Norovirus on the Celebrity Summit: A Reader's View

From time to time, we will feature a reader's comments to one of our articles. The motto of our blog is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know," so we like to offer our readers a peek inside what really happens during cruises.

Here are the comments from a passenger who was aboard the Celebrity Summit during the recent norovirus outbreak we reported on last week:     

"While just more than 300 passengers is the official number, I was on that cruise and I can assure you that many, many more were sick.

Celebrity Summit - NorovirusThe majority of people did not report to the ship's doctor, preferring to stay in their rooms and tough it out. Each night during the height of the infection, many of the large tables in the dining rooms were virtually empty. Crew members and entertainers were also sick. Many people we're overtaken with little warning, and some did not get to the bathroom before vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. Often the halls in the stateroom areas reeked of excrement.

The staff worked very hard to keep things cleaned up and sanitized, but there were not sufficient staff on board to deal with this huge health issue. Unaffected staterooms were not kept up to the expected standard, as staff were always busy dealing with cleaning and disinfecting rooms where people were sick."

Do you have a comment or a story to tell about your recent cruise experience?  Let us hear from you.

 

Photo Credit: News 12 New Jersey

"Black Death Plague" Claims New Cruise Victims

Last week we reported on a norovirus outbreak on the Fred Olsen cruise ship, Black Watch, while sailing to Russia. The cruise ship's sickened passengers dubbed the ship the "Black Death." One ill cruise passengers was quoted saying:

“The staff marked doors of those infected with a cross. It was like the Dark Ages. Forget the Black Watch – we were on the Black Death plague ship.” 

Well the so-called "plague" continues. The Daily Record says that 72 people on the latest cruise aboard the Black Watch have been struck down with the same sickness causing nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Fred Olden Black Watch Cruise ShipThe cruise line confirmed to the newspaper that 112 passengers on the August 18th cruise became sick, and then 59 more passengers fell ill on a September 1st cruise to Norway. That means that 234 passengers have become ill on the last three cruises on this cruise ship which carries less than 750 passengers.

According to the Daily Record, one poor passenger said: 

“Norovirus was rife. The sauna, jacuzzi, casino, buffet and cinema – all the facilities we had paid for – were closed, as were all the public toilets."

“In my opinion, this ship should never have been allowed to leave  . . . It should have been docked until it was free of the bug.”

My thoughts?

There's no excuse having three consecutive noro outbreaks which average over 10% of the passengers (the article doesn't mention the sick crew). 

The business model of all the cruise lines keeps the ships running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There's is no time for a systematic, scientific inspection to determine the actual cause of the norovirus and to determine when and how it is was introduced onto the ship, whether by food, water or a previously-sick passenger.  "Enhanced cleaning" of everything, when the virus may have been brought aboard in lettuce or sprouts, is pointless. Cruise lines are quick to blame the passengers for not washing their hands, but the real culprit could be contaminated food, water or an ill crew member.    

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Ra Boe 

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger from Golden Princess

Local news stations in San Francisco are reporting that the U.S. Coast rescued a cruise passengers man suffering from acute kidney failure aboard a Princess cruise ship 40 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday morning.

A 79-year-old Canadian man was demonstrating symptoms of kidney failure while aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship which was sailing to Los Angeles. 

The Coast Guard helicopter lowered a crew member was lowered onto the ship and then hoisted the sick passenger and the cruise ship’s nurse up to the helicopter. 

The passenger flown to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto and was in stable condition Friday afternoon.

Video Credit: U.S. Coast Guard via NBC Bay Area

 

NCL Passenger Falls Two Decks on Norwegian Breakaway, Receives Medical Treatment in Bermuda

NCL Norwegian BreakawayThe Bermuda Sun reports that on September 17th a NCL cruise passenger was taken to a hospital in Bermuda after she fell two decks and was seriously injured. The woman was aboard the Norwegian Breakaway.

The newspaper states that "it is unclear where exactly on the mega-ship that the accident took place or how it happened."

As a result, the NCL cruise ship made an early emergency stop so that the injured passenger could be taken to hospital for treatment. The Norwegian Breakaway was met with a pilot boat and the passenger was stretchered off the ship and eventually to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

Cruise Critic reports that NCL stated that "the guest accidentally fell from her balcony on Deck 10 to Deck 8 and was disembarked in Bermuda for medical treatment . . ." 

Following this incident, a second passenger, a 72 year old man, was taken from the cruise ship at port to the same hospital in Bermuda for a heart condition.

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Dickelbers

"Black Death Plague Ship?" Cruise Ship Sickness Back in the News

The Daily Record reports that the Fred Olsen Black Watch was nick-named "Black Death" after more than 100 passengers were struck down by a norovirus outbreak during a 12-night Scandinavia and St Petersburg cruise. 

The cabins of infected quarantined passengers were marked with crosses to warn cruise staff who wore face masks for protection. Their luggage and bags were was marked with chalk to protect baggage handlers.

An ambulance was waiting in the home port to take a sick cruise passenger to the hospital Black Watch Cruise Ship Norovirusin Dunfermline.

The newspaper reports that the previous cruise also had a norovirus outbreak. The newspaper quoted a passenger on the sickly cruise ship saying:

“The staff marked doors of those infected with a cross. It was like the Dark Ages. Forget the Black Watch – we were on the Black Death plague ship.”

130 out of 778 guests became ill.

Meanwhile a small number (8) cruise passengers aboard the the luxury cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 (QM2), come down with gastrointestinal symptoms thought to be norovirus, according to the Daily Echo

Norovirus is also commonly known as the "cruise ship sickness."

The cruise industry hates it when people call it that. Cruise lines point out that norovirus is also common in hospitals, nursing homes and child-care facilities. They are right of course. But it's a sad commentary when you have to compare high priced cruise ships to places with ill patients, infirm geriatrics, and kids with poop in their diapers.

Death Aboard the Dream

Carnival Dream Cruise ShipSeveral cruise passengers have stated that a passenger died aboard the Carnival Dream on September 20 2013.

Cruise passengers indicate that they got into one of the hot tubs on the cruise ship Friday evening and realized that another passenger, a man, was under the water.  The man reportedly was removed from the tub, and the medical staff was notified and arrived at the scene. They tried to resuscitate the man for a period of time but were unsuccessful in doing so. The incident apparently happened around 7:45 P.M. Friday evening.

A passenger on the ship contacted us and inquired whether we have other information about this incident.  We contacted Carnival and informed them of what we leaned and sought a comment from the cruise line.

Today at noon, Carnival provided the following statement:

"September 22, 2013 - 12 noon

On Friday evening, while the Carnival Dream was en route to its homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., the shipboard medical staff was notified that a 42-year-old male guest was experiencing a medical emergency. The medical staff responded to the location, one of the ship's Lanai areas, and administered emergency aid but, tragically, the guest passed away.

Carnival's CARE Team is providing assistance and support to the guest's family.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the guest's family and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

Carnival Dream operates seven-day cruises from Port Canaveral."

The last passenger death aboard the Dream occurred two months ago: Questions Swirl Around Death of Passenger Aboard Carnival Dream Cruise Ship.

In May of last year, we reported on the death of another passenger from the Carnival Dream who allegedly received bad medical care on the cruise ship: Carnival Dream Turns Into Deadly Nightmare

September 25 2013 Update: Carnival Hot Tub Death Involved Survivor of 1985 Philadelphia MOVE Bombing

 

Photo Source: Wikipedia / Kuloskulos

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger From Diamond Princess

KCAW reports that a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, based in Sitka, Alaska, medevaced a 72-year-old woman from the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Icy Strait on September 19, 2013.

The woman, suffering from convulsions, was safely transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Sitka, about 100 miles south of Icy Strait. EMS then transported her to Sitka Community Hospital for further care.

Seas were calm at the time of the medevac, with 12 mile winds and 6 miles visibility.

The video below is courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard / Air Station Sitka. 

 

 

Bahamas Cruise Crime Controversy Continues: Is the Carnival Warning Adequate?

Newspapers in Nassau continue to cover the bickering over whether Carnival Cruise Line should be warning its passengers about the high rate of crime in the Bahamas. 

In an article last week, we pointed out the criticism leveled against Carnival by the Atlantis mega-resort that Carnival's warning letter provided to cruise passengers had the potential to scare them from leaving the cruise ship and coming ashore with their money.  Local vendors in Nassau were making the same complaints.

A Senator in the Bahamas, John Bostwick, jumped into the controversy by publicly accusing Carnival of unnecessarily frightening its passengers over crime in Nassau to divert them to the cruise line's new Cruise Ship Crime - Nassau Bahamasprivate island, Blackbeard’s Cay.

Shortly after these accusations against Carnival, Senator Bostwick wrote a letter to the Tribune newspaper talking of "regular random robbery of tourists" at gunpoint, including a 74 year-old diplomat robbed in Nassau while walking to church and the armed robbery of tourists outside of Atlantis. He also complained that there was a developing sex industry at the port involving boys. 

Mr. Bostwick recommended an urgent saturation of tourist zones with CCTV cameras, increased police funding, and additional police patrols, K-9 units & undercover operations.  He also suggested the removal of all "vagrants, negative characters and known criminals" from downtown and efforts to avoid Nassau turning into a place of sex and narco-tourism.

Meanwhile, the latest news is that the Bahamian Tourism Minister, Obie Wilchcombe, has promised to investigate the Senator's accusations against Carnival.  

In a showdown between Carnival and the tourism-dependent Bahamas, the cruise line has the upper hand. Carnival can pull out of Nassau in a second and leave the island reeling. Just ask St. Croix, Acapulco and Mazatlan. 

Carnival responded to the controversy by pointing out that it sent the Bahamas with a “draft” warning during a May 2013 meeting of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) members. A vice president of Carnival stated “the Bahamian government was made aware in advance that cruise lines were planning to warn their guests.”  

The Bahamas Tribune newspaper contains the language of the Carnival letter to its guests:

“The US Embassy in Nassau recently issued a security message advising US citizens traveling to the Bahamas to be aware of their surroundings and remain on heightened alert to avoid being a victim of crime.

The Bahamian government is taking this situation very seriously and has committed to providing significant additional security personnel and resources, with particular focus on the tourist areas.

We wanted to bring this to your attention as a reminder to enhance your personal security by exercising good judgment and taking certain precautions as you would when visiting any foreign destination.

If you decide to venture into town, we encourage you to stay in the main tourist areas, return to the ship before sunset, and refrain from wearing any jewelry or carrying large sums of cash or other valuables.

Compared to the grim warning of the situation in the Bahamas contained in the U.S. State Department on-line warnings, the Carnival letter is rather innocuous and is really not much of a warning at all. It's incomplete and understates the critical nature of the crime problem in Nassau.

It's often hard for the cruise lines and the local tourism officials in the Caribbean ports of call, which rely on U.S. dollars from cruise passengers, to have a transparent conversation about the risks associated with crime in the ports of call.

Just today, an article was published in a newspaper in Trinidad & Tobago about the harm to the country's tourism industry caused by travel advisories about robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault involving cruise passengers and tourists.

It seems like many tourism officials in countries in the Caribbean view scary travel advisories as the problem rather than crime itself.

 

Photo Credit: meted.ucar.edu

22 Year-Old Passenger Disappears From Hjaltland Ferry

Hjaltland FerryBBC News reports that a 22-year-old ferry passenger disappeared while sailing from Lerwick to Aberdeen yesterday. The young man was aboard the MV Hjaltland and was last seem early in the morning around 4:00 A.M.

An air and sea search, after the passenger was not located on the ship, was initiated but was unsuccessful. 

BBC News states that Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen lifeboats were called out, and were assisted by a Sea King helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth, and two commercial vessels

The Hjaltland  retraced its route back up the coast, but was not successful in locating the passenger.

Aberdeen Coastguard, which was coordinating the operation, said given the sailing time which elapsed between the last sighting of the passenger and the deploying of lifeboats, the search area was extensive and time-consuming. 

Unfortunately this is another case where the vessel failed to have a state-of-the-art man overboard detection system. 

 

Photo Credit: thesun.co.uk

Overboard Ferry Passenger Rescued in Puget Sound

A number of news sources are reporting that a woman who apparently jumped from a Seattle-based ferry yesterday into Puget Sound has been rescued by the Coast Guard. 

The M/V Wenatchee was reportedly crossing from Bainbridge Island to Seattle's Colman Dock when the women went overboard. A witness who observed the woman in the water alerted the vessel's crew and two rescue boats were dispatched.

The Coast Guard said that they were notified of the incident around 1:45 P.M. yesterday. 

Two other ferries, the Tacoma and the Kitsap, were summoned to assist in the search.

A Coast Guard vessel rescued the woman about 40 minutes after the Coast Guard was notified. The woman, who was in her 40's, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition.Wenatchee 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / S.S. Sol Duc

Lawsuit: Cruise Line Abandons Passenger with Head Injury in Fiji

A newspaper in Australia reports that a cruise aboard the Dawn Princess for passenger Graham Welsh was suppose to be a vacation of a lifetime.  But things began to go wrong when he sustained an injury after roof panels and lights fell on his head in a hallway on the cruise ship.  The cruise line then left him stranded in a foreign hospital in Fiji without his passport or wallet.

According to a lawsuit filed on his behalf, Mr. Mr Welsh alleges that shortly after his accident he began to vomit and suffered headaches. The cruise ship's doctor disembarked him at the next port, Suva, Fiji, to go to the hospital for a brain scan. The newspaper article quotes him saying: "They took me down the gang-plank and stuck me in a cab. I was surprised because no one accompanied me (to hospital). No one was assisting me and I didn't know what to do."  He basically had only his credit card which paid for the medical visit and scan.

Mr Welsh is suing Carnival Cruises Australia (as the owner of the Princess operated cruise ship) for the injuries and for the subsequent abandonment in Fiji.

The article explains that the cruise line is not denying that the passenger was injured but is contesting his claim that he is entitled to $750,000 in compensation. Dawn Princess Cruise Ship

The defense lawyer for the cruise line suggested that the lawsuit was less about the passenger's head injury and more about seeking revenge for the way he felt he had been mistreated by the cruise line.

"You (were bitter) that you hadn't got what you had bargained for, or paid for, and that was an enjoyable cruise," the defense lawyer suggested.

This is the second highly publicized case where an injured passenger alleges that the cruise line dumped them in a foreign port and and then forgot about them.  

Earlier we discussed the case of 89 year-old cruise passenger Dodge Melkonian who was abandoned in Turkey by Azamara after he broke his hip.  

 

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia / Bahnfrend

Belfast Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Thomson Spirit Cruise Ship

Thomson Spirit Cruise ShipA newspaper in Ireland reports that the Belfast Coast Guard arranged for the airlift of a 78-year-old woman from a cruise ship last night due to a heavy nosebleed. The doctor aboard the MS Thomson Spirit reportedly became concerned for the passenger's health.  

The Belfast Coast Guard requested the assistance of a Coast Guard helicopter based in Dublin which responded to the emergency call at last night around 10 P.M.  The helicopter lifted the passenger from the cruise ship which was located just south of Strangford Lough.

The cruise passenger arrived at Dublin airport around 12:20 A.M. and was then brought to hospital for further treatment which stopped the bleeding. 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Clive Curry

Korean Passenger Disappears From Cruise Ship

The Global Post reports that an elderly South Korean tourist fell off a cruise ship off South Korea's east coast today. 

The cruise passenger was identified as a 75-year-old male, with the family name of "Jeong." He reportedly fell overboard three kilometers northwest of Jumunjin, a port on the east coast, at around 2:50 p.m.

Coast Guard officials sent rescue vessels and a helicopter to the area to search for the missing man. The Korean Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.

The cruise passenger fell from the Risabu Cruise, which was sailing to Gyeongpodae from Jumunjin.

Risabu Cruise declined to provide further details.

 

Azamara PR Disaster Continues: Is a Law Required to Prevent Cruise Lines from Abandoning Injured Passengers?

The fall-out over Azamara's abandonment of an elderly couple from Clearwater Florida continues.

The luxury cruise line Azamara, a subsidiary of Miami based Royal Caribbean Cruises, has been accused of abandoning its guest Dodge Melkonian, an 89-year-old World War II veteran, and his wife at a "rural" hospital in Turkey after Mr. Melkonian broke his hip on the Azamara Journey last week.   

The story has been extensively covered, first by a local ABC news station, and later by the U.S. national press like CBS, CNN, and ABC as well as the New York Daily News. The international press has shown interest in the plight of the Melkonian couple. The regular cruise bloggers, like Cruise Critic and Travel Dodge Melkonian - Tampa Bay TimesAgent Central, have also added their perspective.  

Azamara's CEO has made matters worst by gratuitously tweeting comments on his Twitter account stating that 89 year old dodge Melkonian should contact his travel agent and the insurance company and essentially leave the cruise line alone.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson called the cruise line's conduct "outrageous."

The South Florida Business Journal published an article Move Over Carnival, Royal Caribbean Takes Shot at Ruining Industry's Image.

The Tampa Bay Times is the latest news organization to cover the story. Its article Couple Stranded by Cruise in Turkey Receives Outpouring of Support is highly critical of the cruise line's indifference to the Melkonians.

So who are the winners and losers in this story? And what are the lessons to be learned?

The Winners: Mr. Melkonian's surgery was a success because of the couple's persistent travel agents who sprang into action when the insurance company (sold through the cruise line) refused to act responsibly in assisting Mr. Melkonian. And a Turkish tour guide, involved by the hard-working travel agents, not only assisted the couple in reaching a quality hospital but even donated his blood which was needed for Mr. Melkonian's surgery.  

The Losers: "The health & safety of cruise passengers are the cruise industry's highest priorities?" Hardly.  Azamara, Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry prove, again, that talk is cheap. 

Lessons Learned: Even luxury cruise lines can treat their guests shabbily. The case demonstrates the "cut and run" strategy of the cruise industry. When a passenger (or crew member) becomes ill or seriously injured during a cruise, the cruise lines' usual response to to get them off the cruise ship as soon as possible and then wash their hands of the problem.  

This is hardly the first time a cruise line abandoned a passenger ashore and sailed off.  We have seen this exact situation play out numerous times, particularly in ports of call in the Caribbean and Mexico. Read our article British Passenger Stuck In Mexican Hospital Following Heart Attack on Princess Cruise Ship.

Legislation Needed: The Melkonian's travel agents are communicating with Senator Nelson's office about drafting a law that "would ban cruise lines from leaving people stranded." The Melkonian's travel agent was quoted saying: "Where is the humanity in that?  There is no accountability, and that has to change."

 

Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Times

Ill Cruise Passenger Medevaced From Coral Princess

The Alaska Dispatch reports that a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter medevaced an ill cruise ship passenger off a cruise ship yesterday.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew, stationed in Sitka, flew to the Princess Cruises' Coral Princess cruise ship while it was in Glacier Bay. The helicopter hoisted the passenger, who was suffering from stroke-like symptoms, and transported her to Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau.   

Coral Princess Glacier Bay Alaska

Photo Credit: Get Up and Go Magazine 

Cruise Ship Passenger Dies in Cayman Islands - Third Cruise Death in Caymans in 18 Months

Cruise Ship Passenger Death - Cayman IslandsThe Associated Press reports that a cruise ship passenger from New York state has died at a beach in the Cayman Islands.

According to the newspaper, police in the Cayman Islands identified the victim as Louis Janvier DeBiase of Deer Park.

Police say that Mr. DeBiase, age 81, lost consciousness while swimming in waters at Grand Cayman. 

This is the third cruise ship passenger who has died in a similar fashion in the waters of the Cayman Islands in the last eighteen months.  You can read about the others incidents below: 

Cruise Passenger Found Dead in Cayman Islands

Another Cruise Passenger Found Dead In Cayman Islands Waters

 

Photo Credit: photos4travel / @patrix99

Passenger from Sea Spirit Cruise Ship Killed During Artic Excursion

Sea Spirit - Quark - Cruise Ship A newspaper in Norway reports that a cruise ship passenger was killed and three other passengers were injured while on an Artic cruise excursion. The incident occurred when a rubber inflatable boat (a Zodiac) was swamped by a wave in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, causing all 13 people to go into icy Arctic waters.

The accident involved passengers from the Sea Spirit who were being taken on a sightseeing excursion. The deceased passenger was a U.S.  woman in her 60's. She was examined by the cruise ship doctor. A rescue helicopter was sent but the woman was pronounced dead, Two other passengers were flown in the helicopter to a hospital at Longyearbyen for treatment.

The Sea Spirit cruise ship is operated by Quark Expeditions

 

Photo Credit: Cruising Holidays

Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights: A Step in the Wrong Direction?

Late yesterday afternoon the cruise industry's trade organization, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), announced in a press release that it was adopting a cruise passenger "Bill of Rights."

The "Bill of Rights" is primarily a reaction to the adverse publicity following the Triumph "cruise from hell" stories where passengers were stuck on the disabled and sewage filled Carnival cruise ship without electricity, running water or operational toilets.   

The "Bill of Rights" is being largely praised as a step in the right direction, but there are a number of problems that most people in the media are missing. 

First, the "rights" actually contain limitations of liability. In disasters like the Carnival Triumph, a Cruise Passenger Bill of Rightspassenger would have very limited recourse. The "Bill of Rights" provide only for "a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early" due to mechanical failures.

After the Triumph fiasco, Carnival not only fully reimbursed the passengers their cruise fare, but provided them with a free voucher for a future cruise, waived all on board purchases and reimbursed the passengers' travel expenses. Carnival also gave each passenger $500. Ironically, the proposed passenger Bill of Rights actually provides substantially less compensation than Carnival previously provided to the passengers voluntarily.

CLIA representative David Peikin is quoted in the Miami Herald saying that "the rights will become part of passengers’ contracts of carriage and will be legally enforceable."  This means that the very limited compensation of only a "partial refund" in a "cruise from hell" situation can be legally enforced by the cruise lines against the passenger!  In Triumph-like poop cruises, passengers will not be entitled to a full refund, or a free cruise voucher, or a waiver of onboard charges, or cash compensation. The bill is actually taking rights away from the passengers. 

The cruise Bill of Rights is a strategic move to preempt Sen. Charles Schumer from introducing a more stringent bill before the U.S. Senate and to avoid a bill which may be enacted into law with penalties and fines.

The Bill of Rights is entirely voluntary and there will be no financial consequences or punitive measures if the cruise lines violate the enumerated rights of the passengers.

It is nothing more or less than a promise to treat the cruise passengers right.

Historically, there may be cause to question the cruise lines' sincerity. A number of years ago, Crystal Cruises promised to never dump wastewater in the Monterey Marine Sanctuary. Later, the cruise line was caught dumping over 35,000 gallons of waste and sewage into the protected waters. As cruise expert Ross Klein pointed out in his testimony before Congress, the cruise line responded by stating that we did not break the law, merely our promise.

If the cruise lines are serious about extending rights to the passengers, then they should propose that the Bill of Rights be enacted into statutory law with certain penalties to be imposed against them if they violate their guests rights.

There are also some parts of the "Bill of Rights" which are misleading.

For example, one of the rights is "the right to have available on board ships… professional emergency medical attention…"

This sounds great. However, passenger tickets of all cruise lines state that ship doctors and nurses are independent contractors for whom the cruise lines are not responsible. In cases where the cruise passengers are seriously injured or killed due to the absence of appropriately trained and experienced medical providers on cruise ships, the cruise lines refer to the language in the passenger tickets and argue that they are not responsible. A cruise ship is the only place in the world where you can be a victim of medical malpractice and have no recourse whatsoever.

Will the cruise lines remove this exculpatory language in the passenger tickets? I am sure that they won't. As such, this provision in the Bill of Rights is not only meaningless but it is misleading and potentially fraudulent.

If the cruise industry wanted to be transparent and agree to extend meaningful rights to cruise passengers, it would state clearly that passengers have the right to seek relief when they are maimed or killed by incompetent ship doctors. It should also agree that there are no limitations of liability that the cruise lines can legally enforce.  

The biggest problem with the Bill of Rights is that it primarily addresses inconveniences and nuisances which cruise passengers may face from time to time. It includes no rights regarding more important matters, such as when the cruise passenger is a victim of a crime.

The cruise news recently has been dominated by a controversy involving a 33 year old Disney crew member who molested an eleven year girl on the Disney Dream cruise ship. It is alleged that the cruise line refused to timely report the incident, which occurred in U.S. waters in Port Canaveral, to the local police. The cruise ship then left the jurisdiction and sailed to the Bahamas where it was impossible to obtain a criminal prosecution. The crew member is now free at home in India and the victim and her family are left with no justice.

In order to deal with outrageous situations like this, the proposed cruise passenger Bill of Rights should contain rights which require the cruise line to immediately report crimes to the local authorities, require the disclosure of surveillance videos and statements that may assist in the prosecution of crew ship criminals, and include significant penalties when the cruise lines do not behave appropriately.

May 24 2013 Updates

Schumer Not Satisfied with Cruise Industry "Passenger Bill of Rights"

What can cruise passengers expect from their own Bill of Rights?

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger from Carnival Splendor

Over the weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a cruise passenger who suffered a heart attack from a cruise ship 150 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

The rescue involved a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to assist.

The video below shows the crew aboard the Jayhawk helicopter hover over cruise ship Carnival Splendor in the Atlantic Ocean, 150 miles east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The crew medevaced a heart attack patient and a nurse from the ship and took them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. 

 

 

Guilty Plea Entered in Murder of Cruise Ship Passenger in Antigua

Nina Elizabeth NilssenOver three years ago, a U.S. cruise passenger, Nina Elizabeth Nilssen, age 30, was murdered while vacationing in Antigua near the English Harbour / Falmouth area. She had been cruising with her parents, an uncle and aunt, sister and brother-in-law aboard the Royal Clipper, a tall masted ship operated by Miami based Star Clippers. 

The murder was terribly tragic as she was ashore with her family to attend the marriage of her sister. 

A 27-year-old man, Tishara Daniel, was arrested for attacking Ms. Niessen and stabbing her in the neck while she was walking near Windward Bay Beach in Pigeon Point.

Yesterday he pled guilty to the murder. He will be sentenced on July 5 for the crime. 

The cruise line pulled out of Antigua following the crime but returned five months later.  

You can read our prior articles about the crime and ensuing events here.

Two Passengers Overboard From Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship

Carnival Spirit Cruise ShipNewspapers in Australia are reporting that two passengers disappeared from a Carnival cruise ship. A 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man were unaccounted for when the cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbor today. 

The couple were last seen on deck last night, but failed to disembark when the Carnival Spirit cruise ship docked in Australia.

A Carnival spokesman said that crew members had become concerned only at 9:15 AM after it was discovered during disembarkation process that the passengers were missing.

Cruise ships are required by law to have technologies in place to detect when passengers go overboard. CCTV and motion detection technologies exist today but the majority of cruise lines refuse to implement the systems.

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has listed almost 200 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

Do you have information about what happened?  Please leave a message below.  

May 9 2013 Update:  New sources in Australia report that Kristen Schroder, 27, and Paul Rossington, 30, were last seen on the Carnival Spirit on Wednesday as it was sailing off the coast of Australia. CCTV appears to show them going overboard around 8:50 pm, according to a statement from the local New South Wales Police Force.

Read article from Australia: Cruise Industry Urged to Report Missing People Earlier

Here's the PR statement which Carnival issued today:

"We have naturally been concerned since we became aware that two passengers were missing from Carnival Spirit and our thoughts are clearly with their families at this difficult time. We are working closely with New South Wales Police and assisting them in their inquiries.

At approximately 9:15am today Australia time during the debarkation process for Carnival Spirit at the conclusion of a 10-night cruise in Sydney, it became apparent that two guests, a 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, were unaccounted for. The guests in question were travelling with family and friends and initial reports indicate that the couple was last seen onboard the vessel last night. As part of our standard protocol, a full ship search was conducted as well as examination of closed circuit video. There is indication from the shipboard video of what transpired. There is no evidence of foul play. However, out of respect for the families, we are not going to publicly disclose the details of what occurred at this time."

May 10 2013 Update: How Love Turned Tragic on the High Seas

May 11, 2013 Update: "The footage shows Ms Schroder climbing over the railing and standing on the other side of it as she faced towards the sea. Police did not reveal how long she was standing there and were unable to determine if she intended to jump or simply fell." Read article here.

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jean-Philippe Boulet

"Missing at Sea" - NBC Investigates Another Passenger Disappearance from a Holland America Line Cruise Ship

Tonight local ABC Channel 6 news station aired a special program Missing at Sea regarding the disappearance of cruise passenger Jason Rappe' from the Eurodam cruise ship operated by Holland America Line (HAL).

Mr. Rappe' went overboard last November after participating in a "Pub Crawl" on the HAL cruise ship where the cruise line plied the passengers with alcohol at various locations.

You can see some video of Jason on the deck after the cruise sponsored drinking event.  Curiously, Cruise Law Miami Jim Walkerthere has been no clear video released of Jason going overboard. 

Although the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act requires cruise lines like HAL to install systems to signal when cruise passengers and crew members who go overboard so that the cruise ship can promptly respond, HAL had no such systems in violation of the new cruise safety law.

Cruise lines are also responsible when they over-serve passengers alcohol.

The FBI and Coast Guard are suppose to disclose to the public on an online database when crimes occur or when passengers go overboard but the database does not even mention Mr. Rappe.' 

You can read an article about the program here by Jason's brother Eric who was featured in the program. 

See photos about the case here.

You can read our prior articles about this case:

Passenger Missing From HAL's Eurodam Cruise Ship - Why Do All HAL Overboard Cases Remain Mysteries?

Family Searching for Answers After Disappearance Aboard Holland America Line Cruise Ship

Best of Cruise Line Hate Mail: Holland America Line Wins the Award

If you have information about this case, we would like to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below or contact me confidentially at jim@cruiselaw.com 

 

 

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire? St. Lucia Tourism Board Denies Prior Armed Robbery of Cruise Passengers

Yesterday a U.K. newspaper, The Telegraph, published an article "How Safe is the Caribbean?" following the armed robbery of 55 Celebrity Cruises cruise ship passengers from the Eclipse who were on a cruise-sponsored excursion in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

The robbery was terrifying with Canadian cruisers reporting that they were afraid that they would be murdered by the armed men. A Canadian newspaper reports that the cruise passengers and guides "were systematically searched at gunpoint and robbed of their money, jewelry, cameras and cellphones on Friday. They were then ordered to march forward, during which they feared they would be shot in St. Lucia Cruise Robberythe back . . . ".

We were one of the first to write about the cruise passenger robbery and we quickly put the incident into perspective pointing out that numerous cruise passengers have been robbed in St, Lucia, including the armed robbery of 14 Norwegian Cruise Line passengers a couple of years ago.  We also stated that NCL pulled out of St. Lucia in 2010 because of the risk of violent crimes against cruise passengers.

But that has not stopped the cruise lines and the tourism people for issuing statements down-playing the crime.  The Telegraph's article quotes Jean-Marc Flambert, identified by the newspaper as the St Lucia Tourist Board’s head of marketing for the UK and Europe, who says: “An incident of this nature and seriousness has never happened before on the island.” St. Lucia Tourist Board Chairman Mathew Beaubrun stated immediately after the robbery that such incidents were "rare." 

But just two months ago, a U.S. retired policeman who had cruised to St. Lucia on the same cruise ship, the Celebrity Eclipse, reported an incident where passengers were accosted on the island by a man with a knife. He mentioned it in the cruise community website Cruise Critic where other cruise fans mentioned crimes issues in St. Lucia. 

Did the St. Lucia tourism people forget about the 14 NCL cruise passengers robbed at Anse-La-Raye waterfall in St. Lucia a few years ago and forget NCL's decision to skip the island  as a stop or are they misleading the public to try and attract tourists to St. Lucia?  

Cruise Booze: Is a Passenger's Drinking Problem Just His Own?

An article this weekend from the popular cruise community Cruise Critic caught my attention: "Royal Caribbean Removes Passenger from Cruise Ship for Rowdy Behavior."

The article is about Royal Caribbean kicking a passenger off the Rhapsody of the Seas for what is described as "rowdy behavior" that included throwing items overboard while the ship sailed in the south Pacific. The cruise line has a "Guest Conduct" policy which requires the passengers to act responsibility and permits the cruise line to kick them off the cruise when they act badly. 

I don't disagree with the notion of removing an unruly passenger from a cruise. But the first thing I Cruise Ship Drunk Rowdy Conduct thought of was that Royal Caribbean probably over-served the guest too much booze in the first place. I later read comments that the passenger in question was probably drunk when he threw a bunch of stuff overboard and then staggered back to his cabin and passed out.

Royal Caribbean has what it calls a SafeServe policy where it supposedly trains its staff not to over-serve alcohol to passengers. But from the many comments to the incident on the Cruise Critic message board, it seems that the drinking policy is not rigorously enforced. The cruise line also offers an All-You-Can-Drink package which can lead only to more and more drunken conduct.

I have written about Royal Caribbean's drinking policies in the past where the company collects hundreds of millions of dollars in profits a year based on a system where bartenders earning only $50 a day from the cruise line push booze to make tips from the passengers. 

Here are some comments to the rowdy passenger article:

"Saw way too much of the drunken behaviour on our last Royal Caribbean Cruise aboard Voyager and I have to agree that alot are now making sure they get their full monies worth with the drinks package and the only way to do that is to make sure you are just about smashed everyday."

"I cannot imagine drinking for ten straight days, actually I can, it's called "leaving Las Vegas" and it starred Nicholas Cage . . ." 

So what happens when a cruise line violates its drinking policy and then a passenger breaks the guest conduct policy?  Yes, the guest usually gets the boot. But shouldn't the bartenders responsible for over-serving the guest also find themselves on the dock the next morning?  Should cruise executives face culpability when excessive serving of alcohol leads to unruly conduct, fights, crimes and people going over-board?

Or is a passenger's drinking problem just his problem alone?  

 

  

Photo Credit: Cruise Critic

Passenger Overboard From Coral Princess Cruise Ship - Does Anyone Care What Happened?

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein and the Cruise Critic message boards are reporting that on Sunday, March 24th a passenger was reported overboard from the Coral Princess cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

There is a vague reference to a passenger-possibly-going-over-the-rails on the Cruise Critic site, but as is the case with most overboard cruise ship cases there are no clear facts and lots of speculation.

There should never be a debate about what happens when a passenger or crew member goes overboard.  All cruise ships should have state-of-the-art surveillance cameras to document what Coral Princess Cruise Shiphappens when a person goes overboard. The ships should also have motion detection systems which signal the bridge immediately when someone leaves the cruise ship on the high seas - whether it be intentionally or accidentally or criminally.

All of the Cruise Critic members jumped immediately to the conclusion that the case involves a suicide. They just as quickly offered their on-line-prayers and condolences.  

But there is no statement by Princess Cruises about what happened, assuming you were naive enough to believe the cruise line PR. There's no report of the results of an official investigation, but that's not unusual because Princess Cruises is incorporated in and registers it cruise ships in Bermuda, to avoid U.S. taxes and safety regulations, which is indifferent to what happens on Bermuda flagged cruise ships. And there is no report of an investigation by law enforcement officers in the next port of call.

Was this an accident, a suicide, or a crime?  I don't know.

It's a real shame that there are no news accounts, no official investigation and only lots of speculation by cruise fans who blame the dead passenger, say a hollow prayer and then forget about it.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia 

Carnival Booze Cruise Disaster Ends Up In Court

Courthouse News Service reports on a disturbing story of Carnival allegedly over-serving alcohol to a passenger who fell off the cruise ship and then not taking reasonable steps to rescue the overboard woman.

The case involves cruise passenger "Sarah."  As Courthouse News explains: 

"After Carnival cruises got her so drunk she fell overboard, and eyewitnesses reported it, the captain refused to turn around the ship for 90 minutes, then refused to airlift her to hospital to treat her fractured bones." 

The incident occurred aboard the Carnival Destiny in October of last year. Sarah was cruising to Jamaica with her fiancé and her friend Rebecca. We wrote about the incident when it happened: Why Carnival Destiny Passenger RescueDid Carnival Delay Rescuing An Overboard Passenger From The Destiny?

The lawsuit alleges that a bartender kept pushing drinks on her. To encourage more alcohol sales, the Carnival bartender offered them free $5 coupons for the ship's casino. As a result, Sarah became "extremely intoxicated" and fell into the ocean but not before first striking a life boat during her 100 foot fall.

Her injuries included what is describes as "fractured orbital bones, lung contusions, hypothermia, fractured ribs, dissection of the carotid artery, heart arrhythmia, broken optical shelves, blood clots in her eyes, arms, and legs, as well as extreme hematomas all over her body."

Sarah's friend, fiance and others on the ship saw and/or heard her fall into the ocean and immediately notified several Carnival staff members.  Carnival refused and delayed before they turned the ship to cruise ship around and eventually found her nearly two hours in the ocean, severely injured and without a life vest. 

But the woman's ordeal was not over. Carnival refused to airlift her to a hospital, but diverted the cruise to Key West, where "doctors explained that they did not have the equipment to handle the severe trauma that plaintiff had suffered. They also stated that the plaintiff should have been air evacuated from the cruise ship directly to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami."

The story was also covered by Cruise Critic, and the members of that on-line cruise site are blaming Sarah for not exercising "personal responsibility."

Bur cruise lines are considered to be persons under the law. Cruise lines have responsibility to their guests. There is case law in Florida that cruise lines face liability when they over-serve passengers past the point of intoxication which appears to be the case if the allegations are true.  Plus it's inexcusable to delay a couple of hours before trying to rescue an overboard passenger, whether they are drunk or not.

People may scoff at the case but Carnival earns hundreds of millions of dollars pushing alcohol on its huge fleet of cruise ships. It faces a multi-million dollar exposure in a case with such egregious allegations.   

New Zealand Passenger Missing From Celebrity Solstice

A newspaper in New Zealand reports that a passenger, identified only as a man from Dunedin, New Zealand, is missing from the Celebrity Cruises' Solstice cruise ship which left Port Chalmers, New Zealand today. 

It is less than clear whether the man disembarked from the cruise ship, leaving items, including his passport, on board, and didn't return. Or whether he disappeared at some earlier time while the cruise ship was sailing. 

The article does not state when the man was last seen. It should be easy to determine whether the Celebrity Solstice Cruise Ship passenger used his sea pass card which should have been scanned when he boarded or disembarked the cruise ship.  Unfortunately, this does not always occur.

In another case, American passenger Sarah Tessier Powell set sail on the Holland America Line Veendam cruise ship last year. She disappeared.  Police in Canada speculate that Ms. Powell may have walked off of the HAL ship and didn't return.  

But how is that possible?

Passenger gangways are supposed to be heavily monitored by security with each passenger's sea pass card scanned and the gangways always covered by closed circuit television cameras.

Is this another one of those cases?  Or is this a passenger overboard case which the cruise line didn't realize until the ship arrived in port?

Anyone with information please contact us.

 

Photo Credit: Constantine Kulikovsky via Wikimedia

6 Problems the Cruise Industry Needs to Fix - No. 5: Disappearances of Passenger & Crew Members on the High Seas

As part of Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM 2013), I have raised 6 problems which I believe the cruise lines need to address.

Problem No. 5: Disappearance of Passengers and Crew Members from Cruise Ships:.

The problem is not just that approximately 200 people have vanished from cruise ships since year 2000, but the attitude of the cruise lines when families try and find out what happened to their loved ones is just plain nasty.

When Seattle businessman Son Michael Pham's parents disappeared during a Carnival cruise, he voiced his frustration that he received greater responsiveness upon losing a piece of luggage.

Insurance company president Ken Carver's daughter disappeared from a Celebrity Cruises ship and the cruise line responded by discarding her personal items without so much as a call to the FBI. Rebecca Coriam - Disney Wonder Cruise Ship 

Today, a reader of this blog sent me a link to an article which discussed how Disney youth counselors on the Disney Wonder lost track of a three year old child whose parents dropped the little boy off in the cruise ship's Oceaneer Club (for children aged 3 to 12).  The cruise line's response was not only incompetent but heartless.  

The youth counselors had no clue where the little boy entrusted to their care was on the ship. They appeared indifferent to the parent's understandable fears. No announcements were made over the course of 45 minutes while the ship sailed along as the parents searched frantically for their child.

This cavalier attitude is business as usual for the floating Magical Kingdom ships. Almost two years ago exactly, a 24 year old youth counselor from the U.K., Rebecca Coriam, disappeared from the Disney Wonder. The ship continued on sailing. The cruise line's attitude and response, in my opinion, seemed motivated to protect its own marketing image and cover-the-truth-up, rather than to find out exactly what happened to young Rebecca.

Today is Rebecca's 26th birthday which her parents and sister are celebrating in sorrow.  Neither Disney nor the country of the Bahamas, where Disney incorporates its cruise ships to avoid U.S. George Smith Royal Caribbean Cruise Shiptaxes, will cooperate with the Coriam family.  No one will provide the Coriams with a copy of the Bahamas report on the disappearance of their daughter. The callousness demonstrated by Disney and the Bahamas is the product of a foreign flagged scheme which is designed to keep cruise lines like Disney away from real oversight except by Caribbean islands whose loyalties lie exclusively to the cruise industry.  

I touched upon this problem briefly in an opinion piece for CNN entitled "What Cruise Lines Don't Want You to Know."

There are many other examples of a cruise industry which would rather spend it efforts trying to create an image to vacationers that cruising is safe rather taking reasonable steps to make certain cruising is actually safe.

George Smith disappeared in July 2005 during his honeymoon. Going on eight years later, there remain no answers and no arrests, It was only last year that the public learned that Royal Caribbean had possession of a video of a certain passenger on the cruise ship who was taped telling his friends "we gave that guy a paragliding lesson without a parachute."  We represented Mr. Smith's wife and were never told that the video existed; instead, we watched as the cruise line stonewalled our investigation and tried to convince the public that Mr. Smith just got drunk and fell overboard.

HAL Disappearance Jason Rappe EurodamLast November, HAL passenger Jason Rappe' disappeared from the Eurodam while cruising with his wife.  We asked the cruise line for information like videotapes, passenger addresses, statements and other basic information.

HAL refused to provide anything to us.

Instead HAL insisted that it was Mr. Rappe's wife who first had to agree to provide all of her missing husband's medical records, life insurance policies, work information and any psychiatric records before they would even think about cooperating.        

No airline would act like this if a passenger or crew member disappeared in flight. But then again the aviation industry is overseen by the strict and serious Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). There is no equivalent to the FAA on the high seas - only ships flying flags of convenience in countries like the Bahamas which care only their relationships with the cruise industry.   

Its too easy to commit a crime on a cruise line and get away with it. Even in cases where there is no foul play, the cruise industry's knee-jerk reaction is to deny and delay and obfuscate rather than treat families respectfully and transparently. Until this attitude changes, cruise lines will always appear that they have something to hide.   

  

You can read our prior articles about 6 problems the cruise industry needs to fix below:

Problem No. 6: Cruise Pollution of Air & Water

Check in this week as we explore problem number 1 - 4 during CSM.

False "Man Overboard" Alarm on P&O's Pride of York

Pride of YorkShipworld.org reports that there was a false alarm earlier this week regarding an overboard passenger from P&O's Pride of York.

The Shipworld website mentions that at 10:45 PM on Monday February 25, 2013, the Pride of York notified the Dutch Coastguard Center that a male passenger may have gone overboard 90 kilometers west of Hoek van Holland. The ship was sailing from Zeebrugge to Hull when the incident was reported.

The Dutch Coastguard sent two helicopters along and two rescue vessels, the Koopmansdank from Neeltje Jans and Jeanine Parqui from the Hoek van Holland station. The Dutch naval vessel Schiedam and the Rijkswaterstaat vessel Arca also joined the search.

However, after a headcount established that everyone was accounted for, the search and rescue operation was called off around 11:50 PM.

There was also a false alarm of a person overboard from the Sapphire Princess cruise ship on Monday. A head count revealed that all passengers and crew were on the cruise ship, which was sailing from Los Angeles to Hawaii. 

 

Photo credit: theferry.wikia.com

Passenger Overboard From the Sapphire Princess?

A reader of this blog emailed me for information after reading comments on the Cruise Critic message board that the captain of the Sapphire Princess announced that a person was sighted overboard from the cruise ship. 

The passenger commented that the ship was currently stopped as of around 11:00 PM last night. The crew was reportedly taking a head count of everyone on the ship.  

The cruise ship is sailing from Los Angeles to Hawaii. There have been no updates on the message board since late last night.

I requested information from Princess but have not heard anything yet.

February 26 2013 Update:  False alarm:

Princess says that there was "no person overboard. A passenger they thought they saw someone in the water. As we take reports such as this seriously we mustered all passengers and crw and all were accounted for. There were also no reports from any ships in the area about a missing person."

Another Passenger Goes Overboard from a MSC Cruise Ship - This Time the MSC Fantasia

Cruise Law News received a message late Saturday night indicating that a passenger went overboard from the MSC Fantasia.  Here's the message:

MSC Fantasia is in first day of a Carnival cruise. It embarked 4000 drunk pax today in Santos, Brazil and around 7 PM, the time to leave the port, we had one passenger go from deck 11 straight into the sea. It's 11.30pm and we're still looking for the passenger. We have the Federal Police on board and divers and we don't know where is the passenger . . .  was to drunk so he couldn't save himself.  Then they lowered a lifeboat but by the time they manage to get close to him, Costa Favolosa was getting out from the port so two small waves and the passenger was nowhere to be found.  We're standing by now but the party at the pool is at the MAX.  Drinks, music and naked pax. This is Brazil!

A newspaper in Brazil is covering the story.

MSC Fantasia Cruise Ship

This is the second passenger overboard from a MSC cruise ship in two days. Yesterday we reported on a Portuguese passenger who went overboard from the Divina in the Mediterranean.  

In December 2012, we reported on a cruise passenger who fell from an upper deck of the MSC Fantasia and died.

As you can see from the Fantasia's web cam, there seems to be quite a partying crowd on the cruise ship.

MSC Fantasia WebcamPlease leave a comment if you have information about what happened.

February 10 2013 Update: The missing passenger was identified as Luciano De Lucca, age 30, from passenger cabin number 11063, located on the 11th deck.

Portugese Cruise Passenger From MSC Divina Found Dead

MSC Divina Cruise ShipA reader of Cruise Law news has alerted me to another person going overboard from a cruise ship.

A newspaper in Italy states that a Portuguese man, 46 years old, was found dead off of the coast of Corsica. He was sailing as a passenger on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean sea when he went overboard for reasons not disclosed.

The Expresso XL newspaper reports that "the victim has been formally identified as a Portuguese man of 46 years who had disappeared from the vessel MSC Divina . . . "

The passenger had been reported missing from the MSC cruise ship at 1:00 PM today. The weather was calm.

Helicopters and a jet searched for the unidentified man after he was reported missing.  An investigation is being conducted into the case by shoreside maritime officials in France.

The French maritime authorities released the following statement (translated):

"This Saturday, February 9 shortly before noon, the body of a lifeless man spotted ten miles southwest of Bonifacio by a customs plane. He had taken part in the device search to try to find a passenger MSC Divina missing since 1am in the area.

Hoisted by the helicopter PUMA Solenzara, the victim has been formally identified as a Portuguese man of 46 years who had disappeared from the ship.

An investigation will be launched to determine the exact circumstances of his death."

Anyone with information please leave a comment below. 

 

Photo credit MSC Divina - Wikimedia Commons / Mllturro

South Florida TV Station: Cruise Ship Workers Breaking Rules & Making Passengers Sick

Cruise Ship Virus - NorovirusThursday night a news station in West Palm Beach, Florida is airing an expose into passengers who are sickened on cruise ships.

WPTV - 5 aired a teaser video tonight entitled Cruise Ship Workers are Breaking the Rules, and Making Passengers Sick.

It sounds like the TV station will take a look at the outbreak of gastrointestinal viruses which have plagued the cruise industry over the years. It promises to reveal the cruise lines with the most problems (i.e., Princess Cruises and Holland America Line).

Cruise lines always blame the passengers for not washing their hands, and the passengers usually blame the cruise lines for having unsanitary ships.  Meanwhile no one is conducting a scientific analysis to determine exactly where the virus originated.  

I will be watching tomorrow night at 11:00 PM.   

 

 

Cruising, "Eh!" to Z! What Canadians Should Know Before Getting On-Board . . .

Danielle Gauer, JD Candidate 2013 University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, joins us for another guest blog.  You can read about Danielle's background and read her first guest blog here. This blog is an interesting inside look at cruising for our friends north of the border:

More and more Canadians are looking for a way to escape the cold and snow during the winter months and instead catch some sun. Cruise ships seem like the perfect way to spend a family vacation offering passengers an experience similar to that of a five star all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. With luxury travel, activities catered to the entire family, world class-cuisine and entertainment, and Canada Cruise Shipssome of the most fascinating ports of call, Canadians are hopping on-board these monster ships to enjoy the family vacation of their lives. However, with the move towards accommodating more passengers and offering more “risky” activities, such as rock-climbing and surf simulators, there is inevitably an increased possibility of catastrophe occurring.

When serious personal injury arises as a result of negligence on the part of the cruise line, it is imperative that Canadian cruise ship passengers know how to assert their rights and obtain compensation for their damages. Being injured on-board a cruise ship is frustrating. Injured passengers also experience physical, emotional and financial loss. In many situations, Canadians fear that taking legal action in the U.S. will be pointless. They can feel defeated at the outset. The choice not to advance their rights can stem simply from the perception that retaining a U.S. attorney can be expensive and time consuming. The thought of “competing” against a large corporate enterprise, that has equipped itself with a team of lawyers that have unlimited resources at their disposal, can be intimidating.

When Canadians pay for a vacation on a cruise ship, they also agree to certain contractual terms and conditions. Cruise ticket contracts generally include a “forum selection clause” stating where a lawsuit can be brought. This informs the passenger where they can file documents to commence legal action against the cruise line. Most cruise ship companies have inserted an exclusive foreign selection clause in their cruise ticket contract. What this means is that when signed, passengers have submitted to the jurisdiction chosen by the defendant cruise line, whether it is the State of Florida (Carnival and Royal Caribbean), California (Princess), or Washington (Holland America Line). This limits the plaintiff’s choice in selecting a location to file a lawsuit that is more convenient and close to home (i.e. in Canada).

Sometimes these ticket contracts may include clauses that place a limit on the types of lawsuits that a plaintiff can bring. Some of these conditions are valid and legally enforceable; other conditions are illegal and unenforceable. For example, Norwegian Cruise Lines has inserted a clause to limit its liability for injuries or damages resulting from participating in specific activities on-board (i.e. rock Canada Cruise Ship Passengersclimbing wall, ice skating, onboard water-slides). Royal Caribbean has similar conditions which attempt to protect the cruise line from lawsuits arising out of injuries from participating in flow-riding or zip-lining. These types of conditions have been struck down in Florida although the cruise lines still insert the illegal language in their passengers contracts.

Before commencing an action against a cruise line, Canadians must be aware of any clauses in the passenger ticket contract that can limit their claims. Canadian laws make it difficult to challenge forum selection clauses in cruise ship contracts, so Canadian plaintiffs should be fully aware of those challenges before contemplating litigation in Canada instead of the United States. Contacting a US attorney who specializes in cruise ship litigation will helpful as they will be fully equipped with the resources and knowledge to assert their client’s rights and allow a Canadian plaintiff to obtain the most accurate information regarding their claim.

Canadians should also realize that passengers have only one year to file suit, and most cruise lines require that the passenger notify them in writing of their intention to file suit within six months.  

Cruises can be very enjoyable, but Canadian passengers should be aware of their rights before getting on-board!

 

Photo credit: "Winter in Ottawa" - Danielle Gauer

Cruise Passenger Rights and Wrongs - Interview With Maritime Lawyer Jim Walker

Over 14 years ago, I was interviewed by Linda Coffman who has a very nice and exceedingly polite blog called CruiseDiva. Ms. Coffman's Twitter handle is @CruiseDiva

It was my first interview by anyone as best as I recall, long before I was interviewed on Larry King Live and Greta Van Sustern and the endless cable news talking heads.  I was a heck of a lot skinnier and had a nice head of hair 15 years ago. What the heck, 1,000 or so cases later, I certainly know a lot more now than I did then.

I have always felt a great appreciation to Ms. Coffman for the thoughtful interview well over a decade ago. I have added a few newer photographs, but the article is re-printed verbatim below:

CRUISES . . .  LIKE NO OTHER VACATION IN THE WORLD

Things that go bump in the night happen. And when they happen on a ship, the horror of the possibilities are heightened. Who would have paid to see the movie Titanic if the ship hadn't sunk? No one embarks on a cruise expecting the worst and no major cruise line purposely puts their guest and ships in danger, but the unexpected and unavoidable can occur during any voyage. In my travels, I've been rousted in the middle of the night by a fire alarm, spent the day at a Red Cross evacuation center, and suffered the indignity of Norovirus--all on dry land.

Cruise divaPerhaps the idyllic and carefree perception of cruise vacations is as much to blame as anything for passenger discontent when the slightest out-of-the-ordinary incident crops up. Cruise lines tout their products as 'simply the best' and 'like no other vacation on earth.' Are they telling the truth? Absolutely. It's true--the worst day on a cruise is better than any day on land. Unless, of course, your ship is on fire, the plumbing doesn't work, or you're dead in the water with a tropical storm fast approaching.  

No cruise line or ship's officers would purposely put their passengers and vessels in harms way. That simply wouldn't make sense. Often decisions to change course and skip a port are beyond their control, particularly when Mother Nature is calling the shots. And there are accidents. However, "unavoidable" is not much consolation to a cruising couple celebrating twenty-five years of marriage on the second honeymoon of a lifetime. 

Distracted by glamorous photos or dreams of moonlit walks on deck and midnight buffets, few passengers take the time to read the fine print, either in the cruise brochure or their ticket. Even if they do read it, the legal language can intimidate the average person.  

For an explanation of passengers' rights and assistance in translating the "contract of carriage" (cruise ticket), I turned to James M. Walker.  A specialist in maritime law, Mr. Walker is a member of the Miami Cruise Ship Lawyer - Miami Florida Maritime Law Association and serves on the Admiralty Law Committee of the Florida Bar. In addition to having the unique perspective of representing both cruise lines and passengers, he has handled cases for clients throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America.  

Mr. Walker graciously answered my questions, providing insight into passenger rights and what to do if things go terribly wrong on your vacation. 

How did you become involved in maritime law involving cruise ships? 

I grew up in a port city and our family traveled a lot. Our vacations seemed to revolve around the water - a trip down the Rhine, vacation in Malta, sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, and so on. I have always had an interest in the water. This turned into an interest in maritime law once I started law school at Tulane University, which has a pretty good maritime curriculum. Once I moved to Miami, rightfully called the “cruise ship capital of the world,” I joined a large firm which defended some of the larger cruise lines.  

Now that I am exclusively representing passengers and crew employees, I find myself traveling again on a regular basis. My practice provides me with the opportunity to travel to beautiful places like Vancouver and London, as well as small towns across the heartland of the United States, to meet with our clients.

What are your thoughts as a maritime lawyer regarding the collision involving the Norwegian Dream in the English Channel and the fire aboard Carnival’s Tropicale in the Gulf of Mexico some time back? 

These incidents raise important questions whether the cruise lines are devoting sufficient resources to protect passengers’ health and personal safety. Unfortunately, these mishaps are not isolated incidents. 

Cruise ship fireTake the fire aboard the Tropicale. Despite wide spread media coverage, few major news organizations reported the Tropicale’s prior problems which could be traced back to 1982 when a fire broke out during its inaugural cruise. 

Before the Tropicale fire, Carnival’s Ecstasy caught fire the previous year. Between those two incidents, the Sun Vista ignited off of the coast of Malaysia and 1,000 passengers found themselves in lifeboats in the Straits of Malacca. The video images of the Ecstasy on fire off of Miami Beach are hard to forget, but few people remember that the Ecstasy caught fire in 1996 as well. Carnival‘s experience with ship fires is not limited to the Tropicale or the Ecstasy. Remember the fire aboard Carnival’s Celebration in 1995 which forced 1,700 passengers to evacuate? All of this, and more, occurred in just four years.

Cruise ship fireAfter each incident of this type, the cruise lines immediately offer a reimbursement of some type and, perhaps, a free cruise. Inevitably, the story becomes old and everyone - including the cruise line - forgets about what happened, until the next collision, fire, or other mishap occurs.

A LOOK AT COMPENSATION

What do you think of the practice of some cruise lines offering free cruises to “compensate” for these type of mishaps?

It’s a good start, but is it adequate compensation? Lets look at the “cruise from hell” stories from the Tropicale. These passengers included families who brought their minor children aboard, couples honeymooning, or elderly citizens who used their limited savings for a relaxing vacation. Through no fault of their own, these nice people quickly found themselves in a nightmare - drifting in the Gulf of Mexico, nauseated, with a tropical storm approaching. Carnival’s offer of a full refund and a free cruise is a good idea, but is it adequate remuneration for their experiences? Does this reflect a greater commitment to safety, or just a more savvy public relations department?

The cruise lines are more likely to offer free cruises now than just a few years ago. Compare Carnival’s approach today with its attitude just a few years ago. In 1996, hundreds of passengers became sick and frightened when highs seas rocked the Tropicale as Hurricane Roxanne approached. 600 passengers signed a petition for a full refund. They believed that the captain threatened their safety by taking the cruise ship too close to the hurricane. Carnival responded with a $40 shipboard credit to make up for port charges on the missed ports in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Does anyone really think this was sufficient compensation? Or was this just a public relations nightmare?       

Do you have any feel for how the passengers themselves regard these offers? 

Some passengers appreciate the “full-refund-plus-a-free-cruise” offer. But many people are not satisfied. The last thing they want to do is to step foot on a particular cruise ship again. 

Cruise law Of course, the debate of a “free cruise or not” ignores the real issue of passenger safety. The important question is whether the cruise industry is devoting adequate financial resources to make their fleet as safe as possible for families and their children. Things like state of the art sprinkler systems, sophisticated security monitoring, and vigorous background checks on their employees.

Remember, this industry earns literally billions each year in profits, and pays less than one percent in U.S. taxes by registering their vessels in Liberia and Panama. The notion that the traveling public should be happy with a free cruise and a tote bag trivializes the fundamental issue of protecting the precious lives and personal safety of millions of passengers every year.

What is the most common complaint you hear from a cruise passenger?

There are two general types of complaints. The first is what I call the “disappointed expectation” complaint. A passenger becomes disappointed because he or she feels that the service was poor, the weather was bad, their cabin had too much engine noise, or something like this. These type of complaints generally do not belong in a courtroom.

The second type of problem is when a passenger has been injured aboard the cruise ship, due to an accident, food poisoning, or an assault. The most common situation is when a passenger slips on a deck, trips on an elevated threshold, or falls down a flight of stairs. It happens on every cruise.

The most common complaint we hear is when a passenger writes to the cruise line regarding a particular problem, and does not receive a response after several months. Most passengers who contact us are not the least bit “lawsuit-minded.” Yet, they find themselves frustrated by the cruise line’s lack of response after they return home.

What are some of the interesting cases you have handled?

When we defended several of the cruise lines in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we saw virtually every imaginable type of claim. Of course, with more than five million people sailing on cruises from U. S. ports each year - and everyone attempting to escape from reality - there are a lot of unrealized dreams which turn into strange lawsuits. Single women sue claiming that there were not enough single men aboard the cruise ship. The next week, single men sue claiming that there were not enough single women.

My favorite story involves an elderly widow from Miami Beach who loved to sail aboard from Miami at least three times a year. Unfortunately, she would trip or slip or fall every other cruise. She would file suit every year in December and then try to settle the case as soon as possible for at least two free cruises - first class no less. She still sends me a holiday greeting card every December. 

You would agree that there is no constitutional or absolute right to a perfect vacation or cruise?

True.

So what are the types of things which go wrong that are not the cruise line’s responsibility?

Most problems which fall into the “disappointed expectation” category are not the cruise maritime lawyerline’s legal responsibility. An example would be when cruise lines change the itinerary and the passengers miss a popular port.

The courts determine whether a cruise line is legally responsible to a passenger by reviewing the terms of the passenger ticket. I saw one judge literally pull out a magnifying glass to read the fine print buried in the ticket. The passenger invariably loses when this occurs, which is not surprising. The cruise lines have spent considerable effort drafting language which protects them from virtually every imaginable situation. The exception is when a passenger has been injured or assaulted - there is a federal statute which prohibits cruise lines from limiting their liability in these circumstances. However, this exception may not apply if the cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port. 

Cruise lines reserve the right to change their itineraries at their discretion. Do passengers have any right to compensation or a refund (other than port charges) if such a change is made?

No, based on the “fine print” in the ticket. For example, Royal Caribbean’s language says that it “may at any time and without prior notice cancel, advance, postpone or deviate from any scheduled sailing or port of call.” As a public relations gesture, some cruise lines offer $100 or so for missing a port. But this is dependent entirely on the cruise line; they hold all of the cards in these type of situations. 

Theft from staterooms is pretty uncommon on cruise ships, but if something disappears mysteriously from my cabin, what recourse do I have?      

Virtually none. Again, most tickets limit the cruise line’s liability for theft. Carnival excludes any liability for money, jewelry, or other valuables “left lying about the vessel or cabin.” This Cruise attorneyseems reasonable enough. But even if the cruise lines is negligent, there is a $100 limit of liability for lost valuables, and a $500 limit if the valuables are deposited in a safe-deposit box in the purser’s office and then lost or stolen. 

One reported case involved a passenger who reported the loss of several hundred thousands of dollars in jewelry. The court dismissed the case based on the language in the passenger’s ticket limiting the cruise line’s liability to $100. My only advice is to leave your priceless jewelry at home, or buy insurance before you sail. 
 
STEPS TO A RESOLUTION
 
Before seeking the assistance of an attorney, what steps should a passenger take to resolve a claim?

First, read your ticket and take steps to protect your rights! Passengers who are injured have to send a letter to the cruise lines within a short period, usually six months, advising the cruise line that they intend to seek compensation. Also, passengers have a very short period - usually only one year - in which to file suit when they have been injured. If they are one day late, they lose their right to seek compensation.    

When a passenger is injured on a cruise ship, what proof should they present to substantiate a claim for personal injury?

Of course, not all injuries are compensable. There are two issues to consider. The first issue is liability - it is the passenger’s burden to prove that the cruise line is legally responsible for the accident. The second issue is damages - medical expenses, lost wages, and other intangible losses caused by an injury. This issue is simple; keep receipts of all of your out-of-pocket expenses, insurance claims, and medical bills. Be sure to request your shipboard medical records before you disembark. The cruise lines will usually try to put you off the ship without them, but remember - these are records of your health, and you are absolutely entitled to obtain a copy before you leave. 

The most important issue is liability. A passenger will need proof that the cruise line was negligent. First, passengers have to establish that there was a danger aboard the ship, such as an unexpected step-down without any warning signs. Secondly, they must establish that cruise lawyerthe cruise line knew or should have known of the hazard, yet failed to correct the hazard or warn passengers of the danger. This is often quite difficult to establish.  

As a practical matter, passengers need to take photographs and video of the accident scene, take notes and document what occurred, and record the names and addresses of all witnesses. In seventeen years of practicing law, I have never seen a cruise line respond to a passenger’s complaint by saying “yes, we are responsible - sorry, here is your check.” Cruise lines are not in the business of giving away their money. You have to be prepared to fight for what you are entitled.   

What is the most important thing for a passenger to remember if they intend to seek compensation from a cruise line?  

Don’t forget the one year limitations period! Many cruise lines correspond, quite pleasantly, back and forth with passengers regarding their claims. They invite the passenger to submit medical reports. A month or two later, they request other documents, implying that additional information is necessary to evaluate the claim. The cruise lines never mention the one year limitations period, but they know that the clock is ticking away on the passenger’s rights. On the 365th day, when the limitations period has expired, they notify the passenger that the claim is barred. I cannot tell you how many times passengers contact us after the one year period has expired. The ball game is over! There is very little we can do at this point.

Could you explain what steps you take to negotiate a resolution between a passenger and a cruise line?

If we believe that the cruise line is at fault, our approach is always to send correspondence to the cruise line’s risk management department and attempt to establish a dialog.  

Cruise lawyerMany lawyers by-pass the negotiation stage and file suit immediately. This is not always in a passenger’s best interest. The passenger usually lives in a distant state or in Canada or Europe. All cruise lines require that the lawsuit must be filed in a certain city, such as Miami. The passengers will therefore have to travel to Miami to appear for a deposition and for trial. Over 90% of our clients live outside of Florida, and over 30% live abroad. It is expensive to travel to and from Miami, and these expenses usually cannot be recovered from the cruise line even if they are found responsible.     

We therefore try to make a good faith effort to present our client’s case efficiently, and to submit the medical documentation necessary for the cruise lines to make a reasonable offer without the necessity of a lawsuit. Certain cruise lines offer fair compensation in meritorious cases. Other companies play “hard ball” on every claim. They will not offer anything until the lawsuit is filed and the trial date is approaching.

When all else fails and a lawsuit is the last resort, how long can a passenger expect the process to take?

It depends from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Florida, it can take a year to two years before the case is tried. Then there is the potential for another year if an appeal is taken. Patience is a desirable trait to develop.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

We hope that your readers have a safe and enjoyable cruise. 

 

Photo Credits 

Linda Coffman   Ms. Linda Coffman

Sun Vista cruise ship      Sun Vista "Were You There?" website

 

Norovirus Strikes Emerald Princess Passengers on Christmas Eve - Princess Suffers More Than 50% of U.S. Norovirus Cases This Year

Miami's WSVM Channel 7 television station is bringing us some bad news this Christmas Eve, reporting that passengers aboard a Princess Cruises cruise ship sailing on the high seas are ill with the dreaded norovirus.

According to News Station 7, more than 150 passengers and crew members reportedly caught the norovirus aboard the Emerald Princess.

This is the second Princess cruise ship in a week to report cases of the contagious virus.  The Crown Princess sailed to Galveston with over 100 cruise passengers and crew members ill with norovirus. You can read several comments by passengers criticizing the food serving and hygiene on Emerald Princess Cruise Shipthe cruise ship  

The news station states that crews will sanitize the ship once it docks at Port Everglades on Thursday, whatever that means.

The sick passengers and crew were reportedly confined to their cabins to prevent a further spread of the disease on the 10-day cruise.

As far as cruise ships calling on U.S. ports, Princess Cruises has by far the most gastrointestinal illness outbreaks - with all of the cases involving norovirus.  According to the data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of the total number of 15 outbreaks, this is the ninth sailing with an illness outbreak on Princess cruise ships this year alone:

The Crown Princess suffered two outbreaks in January and February; the Ruby Princess in February; the Sun Princess in July; the Dawn Princess in August and September; the Ruby Princess again in October; the Crown Princess again in December; and now the Emerald Princess.  

As year 2012 ends, Princess has experienced more than 50% of the CDC documented gastrointestinal cases. Considering there are 26 cruise lines associated with the Cruise Line International Association, one cruise line having more than 50% of the sicknesses is quite a feat!

Princess' standard operating procedure is to always blame the passengers for bringing the virus aboard.  Let's wait and hear what Princess says this time. Who wants to make a bet that the cruise line PR representatives point the finger at the poor people spending Christmas Eve puking in their staterooms?

Anyone sailing on the Emerald Princess have comments about the latest norovirus outbreak?  

December 26, 2012 Update: The Global Dispatch states:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program team will be boarding Princess Cruises’ “Emerald Princess” as it arrives in Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 27 to investigate an outbreak of yet unknown etiology, which has sickened nearly 200 passengers and crew.

According to health officials, a total of 166 passengers and 30 crew were sickened with the symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, resembling norovirus. The voyage dates for the cruise were from Dec. 17 to Dec. 27.

The CDC said the cruise ship took the following actions in response to the outbreak to include cleaning and sanitizing, making announcements to notify passengers and crew and to encourage hand hashing, collecting stool samples for laboratory analysis and reporting twice daily to CDC officials.

This outbreak follows a norovirus outbreak reported aboard a “Crown Princess” cruise destined for Galveston, TX. More than 100 passengers and crew were sickened in this outbreak, according to a Chron.com report earlier this week.

Norovirus is a highly contagious illness caused by infection with a virus of the same name. It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food andwater, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Holger.Ellgaard)

Emergency Medevac of Sick Passenger from Crown Princess?

Coast Guard Rescue Crown Princess Cruise ShipI am being told by a reliable source that the U.S. Coast Guard is about to conduct an emergency medevac of an ill passenger from the Crown Princess cruise ship which is heading to Galveston and will arrive tomorrow.

It is less than clear whether there is any connection to the norovirus outbreak on the cruise ship.  The cruise has been under red level disease alert throughout the crossing from Europe.

The ship is facing heavy swells and the helicopter is facing strong winds.

The last medevac from the Crown Princess was in March.  You can see the video here.

Does anyone have information to confirm this latest story?

December 21, 2012 Update:  There's an update to this story we reported this morning:

The incident involves a 68 year old woman who was suffering from internal bleeding and had to be medevaced by a Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter which flew 140 miles south of the Mississippi River's Southwest Pass to the Princess cruise ship. The Times Picaynue states that the cruise ship alerted the Coast Guard station in New Orleans about 2 AM this morning, reporting that the woman had received blood transfusions on the ship. At the time, the ship was about 200 miles offshore. 

 

Photo and video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Passenger Missing From HAL's Eurodam Cruise Ship - Why Do All HAL Overboard Cases Remain Mysteries?

Multiple news sources are reporting that a passenger has gone overboard in the Caribbean earlier this morning. The passenger, age 41, is from Washington and was traveling with his wife.

The passenger's wife reportedly discovered her husband missing from the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Eurodam.  The U.S. Coast Guard said that, according to HAL, a baseball cap was located on one of the decks that was allegedly confirmed by the wife of the missing passenger as belonging to him. The ship was sailing from St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) to the Bahamas when the man disappeared early today. 

The Coast Guard issued a statement that it was conducting a search after being notified of the incident at 5:00 AM. Two Coast Guard ships and a helicopter have been dispatched to search for the passenger, whose name has not been released.

Eurodam Cruise Ship - HAL - Passenger OverboardHAL issued a statement that the cruise ship turned around at some point and has joined the search for the missing passenger. The ship left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday for a seven-day cruise.

You can read about prior recent disappearances from HAL cruise ships:

The Veendam just last month.

The Oosterdam involving a young man.

The Maasdam involving an elderly man. 

The Zaandam involving a young woman.

The overboard from the Zaandam revealed a lack of credibility by HAL's PR department.

Cruise line expert Professor Ross Klein has documented 197 over-boards from cruise ships since the year 2000. 

HAL has had 5 passengers overboard from its cruise ships in just the last couple of years. All remain mysteries.

As best as I can tell, there has never been a determination regarding the cause of any of the HAL over-boards and there has never been a case where HAL admitted that it had closed circuit television (CCTV) images of what happened.

It's disturbing that people can somehow just disappear on the high seas with no explanation and no video of what happened.  You'd think that the cruise line would revamp its security systems when not one single overboard has been solved in the last three years. It also raises the issue whether HAL is being transparent with the public. 

November 30, 2012 Update: The missing passenger has been identified in the press as Jason Gregory Rappe. HAL issued a statement to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel newspaper, which you can read here.The statement is silent regarding when the wife reported her husband missing to the cruise line and when the cruise line notified the Coast Guard.  In recent overboard cases, the cruise lines have delayed as long as several hours before notifying the Coast Guard.

December 1, 2012 Update: The Eurodam returns to Fort Lauderdale this morning and the FBI should Jason Rappe - HAL Eurodam - Missingbe boarding the cruise ship. At the same time, over two thousand passengers will disembark and begin to head home.  

December 3, 2012 UpdateWalker & O'Neill Retained to Investigate Disappearance of Cruise Passenger Jason Rappe' From HAL's Eurodam  Our firm was retained today to represent the Rappe' family find answers to what happened on the cruise ship.

Please help!

If you were on the cruise and have information about Mr. Rappe's disappearance (photo right), please contact me directly - jim@cruiselaw.com     

Please note that the comment section below is closed, and no further comments will be published. If you were on the cruise and have information, please contact us directly.

 

Photo credit:

Top: Welkinridge / Wikipedia

Bottom: Rappe' family

Passenger Reports Sexual Assault By Crew Member Aboard Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship

Tauranga New Zealand - Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship - FijiA New Zealand newspaper reports that the police in the port city of Tauranga are investigating sexual assault allegations made against a crew member of the Millennium cruise ship which docked at the port yesterday morning after sailing from Fiji.

Police state a woman in her late 40's or early 50's accuses one of the crew members of the Celebrity Cruises ship of "indecently assaulting her" while the cruise ship was in Fiji waters.

Police state that the passenger alerted the ship’s captain who then informed Tauranga Police once the ship docked at the port in New Zealand.

The newspaper reports that "police are looking into the matter."

Cruise ship rapes are one of the problems which cruise lines try and keep secret.  

A decade ago, we represented a victim of a rape which occurred on this cruise ship. In our experience, the rape of women and children by cruise employees are rarely prosecuted in the civil courts. Behind the scenes, cruise lines work to defend their employees and build a case against the victims. 

In the civil courts, cruise lines are strictly liable when their employees sexually assault passengers on the high seas.  

November 18, 2012 update: No Surpirse - New Zealand declines to make arrest: "Citing Tight Cruise Itinerary and Jurisdictional Issues, New Zealand Police Decline to Arrest Crew Member in Alleged Cruise Ship Sexual Assault"

 

Photo credit: Sun Live 

88 Year Old Passenger Medevaced From Voyager of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Medevac - Voyager of the Seas Cruise ShipThere is a nice article in the West Australia newspaper about a elderly cruise passenger who had the misfortune of falling on a cruise ship.    

The article, entitled Love is in the Air Amid Rescue, explains that 88 year-old passenger Ms. Eileen Ewins was traveling with her husband, George Ewins, on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas as the ship re-positioned to Australia for the next 6 months. She fell as she was exiting her cabin and broke her hip. The ship doctor determined that Ms. Ewins needed to be treated on an emergency basis ashore. 

The accident happened on day 12 of the 14 day cruise.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority contacted an offshore helicopter company, the Bristow Group, which sent a helicopter and team of five staff members to fly to cruise ship off of western Australia. 

The helicopter winched both 88 year-old Ms. Ewins as well as her 89 year old husband up and flew them to the Royal Perth Hospital.

"We do everything together," Mr. Perth told the newspaper. 

This is the fourth medevac of an ill passenger from a cruise ship in the last week, including another elderly passenger medevaced from a cruise ship off of the western coast of Australia.

High Winds Damage French Ferry Napoleon Bonaparte

Cruise industry expert Professor Ross Klein's website, Cruise Junkie, mentions an incident this last Sunday involving a passenger ferry in France.

High winds broke a dozen mooring lines to the Napoleon Bonaparte, a passenger and vessel ferry. The impact with the pier ripped a 30-metre long hole in the stern, causing water to flood compartments below the waterline.  The vessel is listing at port in Marseille. 

The Daily Mail in the U.K. has the full account and a number of photographs of the stricken vessel.

Napoleon Bonaparte - Passenger Ferry

Photo credit: EPA via Daily Mail

Busy Weekend For Cruise Ship Medevacs: Coast Guard Rescues Sick Passenger From Carnival Inspiration

Carnival Inspiration Medevac - Coast Guard HelicopterThe U.S. Coast Guard issued a press release indicating that it medically evacuated a passenger from a cruise ship 50 miles southwest of Point Loma yesterday afternoon.

The Carnival Inspiration cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard yesterday shortly before noon requesting a medevac for a 26 year old man who was experiencing rapid heart rate and possible cardiac complications.

Coast Guard Sector San Diego dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to fly to the cruise ship to perform the medevac.

The aircrew hoisted the man and the ship’s nurse to the helicopter and transported them to San Diego, where they transferred the ill man to emergency medical personnel.

This was the third medevac from a cruise ship this weekend.  Previously the Coast Guard rescued a pregnant passenger from the Disney Magic and flew her to a hospital in Galveston, Texas.  And an ill passenger was hoisted by a helicopter, operated by the Australian Navy, from the Sea Princess cruise ship and taken to a hospital in Australia.   

 

Photo / video credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard Medevacs Pregnant Cruise Passenger From Disney Magic

News sources are reporting that the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a woman "experiencing pregnancy issues" on a Disney cruise ship approximately 180 miles from Galveston coast early today. 

A Coast Guard helicopter crew medevaced the 31 year old woman from the Disney Magic cruise ship and flew her to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The captain of the ship requested the medevac late yesterday Friday night.

Disney reportedly said passengers cannot sail on a ship if they are more than 24 weeks pregnant.

This is the second cruise passenger medevaced from a cruise ship today.  Earlier this morning a helicopter rescued a passenger from a Princess cruise ship off of the coast of Australia. 

The U.S. Coast Guard video of the Disney medevac is below:

Australian Navy Helicopter Rescues Sick Passenger From Sea Princess Cruise Ship

Sea Princess Cruise Ship RescueA newspaper in Australia reports that an Australian Navy helicopter airlifted a sick elderly passenger from a Princess cruise ship off the coast of Western Australia after a medical emergency today.

The elderly passenger was suffering from acute stomach pains.  In response, the Sea Princess cruise ship contacted the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba which was was training nearby the cruise ship as it sailed north of Cape Naturaliste.

The helicopter airlifted the passenger to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for treatment.

The Sea Princess continued its cruise and is due to arrive in Adelaide in five days.

Was Cruise Passenger Murdered in the Mediterranean?

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website refers to a case of an Israeli passenger who went overboard in the Mediterranean Sea during a vacation cruise earlier this month.

According to the Y News Net newspaper in Israel, the passenger was identified as a 43 year old Israeli taxi driver from Hadera who did not return from a leisure cruise to Cyprus he went on three weeks ago.

Police officials said there was a chance that the man had fallen off the ship and drowned.

However, an Egyptian newspaper, al-Masry al-Youm, reported that the man had been shot dead. 

The police launched an investigation into the incident after learning of the man's disappearance, taking collecting statements from the ship's crew and passengers and checking security cameras.

The man was reportedly seen in the ship's bar and pool area a day before the ship docked at Haifa Port.

The body was discovered by Egyptian authorities and was transferred to Israel on Friday. It was taken to a forensic institute, where the circumstances of death are being examined.

Meningitis Afflicts U.S. Passenger Aboard Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Ship

A newspaper in Italy is reporting that a U.S. passenger became sick with meningitis and was taken ashore for medical treatment once the ship arrived at port.

The Corriere del Mezzogiorno newspaper reports that when the Seven Seas Voyager cruise ship arrived at the port of Messina, one U.S. passenger was taken from the cruise ship to a hospital in Gaeta. However, no other passengers were allowed to disembark - apparently out of concern that they may also be sick and infect people ashore.

The newspaper account states that the passengers were given prophylactic medications but must wait at least 48 hours to avoid others from being infected. 

Meningitis is a serious disease affecting the mucous membranes surrounding the brain. It can be spread in the air, person to person and through contaminated food or water. It can be deadly.

Last month four crew members were infected with meningitis while working on the MSC Orchestra cruise. They were hospitalized in a medical facility in Italy.  One crew member died. The frightening thing about that case was that two of the crew members worked in the cruise ship's galley which increased the prospects that the passengers could be infected.

Anyone aboard the Seven Seas Voyager with information to share, please leave a comment below.

October 29, 2012 Update: The Cruise Critic message board has a comment that this was a "suspected" case of meningitis and the Italian Health Ministry indicated that the passenger tested negative for the disease. 

Why Did Carnival Delay Rescuing An Overboard Passenger From The Destiny?

One of the first comments from the Carnival Destiny cruise ship about a passenger going overboard earlier this week was by another passenger who remarked on Twitter that it took well over a hour to complete the rescue. The tweet stated that the overboard passenger had to tread the water for one and one-half hours.

Another person left a comment to my article about the incident, stating:

"The woman's friends who knew she had fallen had a difficult time convincing the crew to stop the ship. They chose to search the ship first. Fortunately a passenger in an above deck had reported hearing a splash and that info convinced them to stop the ship and look in the water. She was not rescued for over an hour. She tried to swim after the ship until it disappeared and she was left in total blackness. . . ."

Coast Guard regulations and the requirements of most cruise ship safety management systems (SMS) Carnival Destiny Cruise Ship Rescue required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) state that the vessel must immediately take steps to rescue a person who goes overboard.

Vessel operators must also notify the Coast Guard and other vessels in the vicinity if the overboard person is not "immediately" located in the water. Once a man overboard is reported, most SMS cruise line policies require a prompt reduction of speed of the ship, a "Williamson Turn" to head the ship back to the location of the overboard person, the deployment of extra look-outs, the use of spotlights, and preparation to deploy life craft. While this is happening the captain can order a muster and head count if there is any doubt about whether a passenger went overboard. 

Why didn't this occur in this case?  If the comments by other passengers are true that the cruise ship did not promptly turn around and the overboard passenger was forced to tread water for over an hour, this is in violation of Coast Guard regulations and basic maritime rescue procedures.

Last month, a similar incident occurred on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas. A young woman went overboard and reportedly struck the arm of a passenger standing on a lower balcony. The passenger reported the incident immediately but the cruise ship sailed on and did not report it for over two hours.  The cruise line initially falsely stated that it immediately initiated a search and notified the U.S. Coast Guard. When confronted with the fact that it actually delayed for over two hours, Royal Caribbean said that it decided to search the ship first so as to avoid unnecessarily causing the Coast Guard to deploy search aircraft and rescue vessels.  

Unlike the Carnival case where the passenger was eventually rescued and taken to a hospital ashore (photo above), in the Royal Caribbean case the passenger was never found and her body was never recovered.

There were many comments after the fiasco aboard the Allure of the Seas that no one can survive a fall of 100 feet from a cruise ship, but the Carnival Destiny incident shows otherwise. In both cases, there were criticisms by other passengers that they were inconvenienced by the delay and/or they missed the next port because of the overboard. Cruise lines have to then deal with whining customers and unhappy people demanding credits and discounts.  

Are cruise ships under so much pressure to keep their itineraries that they are ignoring basic search and rescue protocols? 

Yes, everyone should be happy that the Destiny passenger survived. But the issue needs to be explored to understand why the ship delayed in searching in the water rather than wasting time looking around the ship.The next overboard will not be so lucky. 

The notion advanced by Royal Caribbean's PR people that cruise lines can delay a rescue for a couple of hours is preposterous. It's exactly the opposite of what the applicable maritime rules and regulations require.  After all, the Allure of the Seas is touted as the largest cruise ship in the world. In an emergency, no one has the luxury of searching an entire floating city before initiating a search and calling the Coast Guard for help.

A person struggling in the water at night does not have time to wait a hour or two for help.    

 

Photo credit: Jetaria Taylor

Coast Guard Medevacs Cruise Passenger From Carnival Glory

A Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a sick cruise ship passenger suffering from chest pains from the Carnival Glory, which left Norfolk yesterday. According to WAVY, the 52 year old woman, her husband and a nurse were hoisted off the ship and flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. 

 

Carnival Destiny Passenger Rescued After Going Overboard

Carnival Destiny Cruise - Passenger Jumps  WSVN - Miami Channel 7 reports that a cruise ship passenger went overboard from the Carnival Destiny Saturday night after the ship left the port of Miami.

The news station states that the 29 year old female apparently jumped from the cruise ship but was rescued by the ship's crew who used a rescue boat to pick her out of the water.

The Destiny diverted from its scheduled port in Ocho Rios, Jamaica to Key West where the woman was disembarked yesterday for medical treatment at a hospital. The cruise ship will now head for Grand Cayman.

A number of passengers left comments on Twitter to the effect that the overboard passenger may have struck a lifeboat on the way down and treaded water for over one and one-half hours. One passenger took a photo of the lifeboat (below) involved in the rescue. 

Anyone with photos, video or information about what happened please leave a comment below. 

October 25, 2012 Update:  Why Did Carnival Delay Rescuing An Overboard Passenger From The Destiny?

Carnival Destiny Lifeboat - Rescue - Overboard Passenger 

Photo credit:

Top: WSVN 7

Bottom: @NStookey Twitter 

Holland America Line Cruise Passenger "Disappears" - How Is That Possible?

American passenger Sarah Tessier Powell set sail on the Holland America Line Veendam cruise ship the last week of September.

Two weeks later, no one has any idea where she is.

CBC News in Nova Scotia Canada reports that Ms. Powell, age 70, from Louisiana, was last seen September 30th on the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Veendam, as it sailed from Quebec City to Charlottetown.

The HAL cruise ship's next stops were scheduled in Charlottetown, Sydney, and Halifax on October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively

Halifax police speculate that Ms. Powell "may have walked off the ship without being checked by the Sarah Tessier Powell - HAL Cruise Passengercruise ship security," as CBC reports.  Let's hope that's the case. Assuming that's true, the Canadian police admit that it's not clear where Ms. Powell may have disembarked.  

How on earth is that possible?  Passenger gangways are supposed to be heavily monitored by security with each passenger's sea pass card scanned and the gangways always covered by closed circuit television cameras.

Cruise ships can easily trace the passenger's onboard purchases and use of their cabins by "lock-link" reports which document the opening of cabin doors. When did the passenger last use her card to either charge a purchase or open her cabin door?  The shipboard security should easily be able to know when there was any documented activity by Ms. Powell on the ship.

And why do the police think she left the ship?  If she did, then there should be CCTV film documenting her exit even if the gangway security guards were asleep at the wheel.    

There are a number of news outlets covering the story. That's good news. Passengers should not disappear during cruises, with loved ones wondering whether the passenger went overboard or is wandering around somewhere ashore.

It's been ten days since anyone say this cruise line guest.  Where is she?

This reflects poorly on HAL and the security systems on HAL's Vandeem.  Wasn't the Vandeem the same HAL ship which just  flunked the Centers for Disease Control inspection of the ship's cleanliness

It looks like the HAL Vandeem's security procedures are no better than its failed sanitation system.  

27 Years After Hijacking of Achille Lauro, Can Cruise Ships Keep Passengers Safe in the Middle East?

Twenty-seven years ago today, the world saw terrifying television images of Palestinian terrorists holding passengers aboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship hostage. The terrorists demanded the release of 50 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. 

There were over 20 nationalities of passengers booked on the cruise, but the terrorists stated that Americans would be the first to be executed if their demands were not met.   

Leon Klinghoffer, age 69, was from New York City and was vacationing with his wife, Marilyn, and their friends, when the Achille Lauro sailed for Port Said, Egypt.  Although Mr. Klinghoffer was disabled and in a wheelchair, the terrorists picked him to be the first to die. They shot him in the chest and head, and Achille Lauro Cruise Ship - Terrorismthen forced two crew members to dump him and his wheelchair over the side of the cruise ship.

That terrible crime occurred in October 1985. Now 27 years later, are cruise passengers, particularly Americans, any safer?

We have seen civil unrest across North Africa. President Mubarek is gone from Egypt and Colonel Gaddafi of Libya is dead. Good riddance to both I say, but both countries now seem more dangerous to Americans than ever. Last month we saw anti-American demonstrations on the 9/11 anniversary in both of these countries, and the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in Benghazi.

On the front page above the crease of the New York Times this morning are several articles about violence in Syria with a photo of a Syrian firing a Kalashnikov rifle. I not sure who is fighting who anymore but they all seem to have the potential to take their violence to U.S. interests.

In April I blogged about a plot where Arab terrorists envisioned hijacking a U.S. based cruise ship, forcing the passengers to wear orange Guantanamo-like jump suits and then videotaping their execution. 

The World Cruise Industry Review concluded that the most likely terrorist scenario is the hijacking of a Anti American Protests - Egypt, Libya, Tunisiacruise ship and its passengers: "A cruise ship is boarded and commandeered, while perpetrators hold and potentially injure or kill passengers if demands are not met – as in the Achille Lauro attack."

27 years after Leon Klinghoffer's dead body was dumped into the Mediterranean Sea, the danger of terrorism against cruise ship passengers seems greater than ever before. Have cruise ships increased the number of security guards aboard their cruise ships? I doubt it. Every cabin occupied by a security guard means less revenue for the cruise lines.    

The current strategy seems to be to simply skip ports in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia until things calm down. But that's a short turn fix; when the street protests are over, there remains the risk of jihadists plotting a cruise ship to target. Will the cruise security teams be ready?

If terrorists can over-power several heavily armed U.S. Marines and kill our Ambassador in Libya, does anyone really think that they are safe sailing on a Holland America Line or Princess cruise ship sailing into Tunis or Port Said?

Video: Royal Caribbean Delayed Reporting Overboard Passenger

A'riel Marion - Overboard Cruise Passenger - Allure of the SeasLocal NBC 6 reports that Royal Caribbean delayed reporting the disappearance of Allure of the Seas cruise passenger, A'riel Marion, for two hours, even though another passenger on a lower balcony was literally hit on the arm as Ms. Marion fell to the water.

Based on the official report from the United States Coast Guard, the cruise line did not report the incident to the Coast Guard until 11:30 PM even though a passenger immediately reported the overboard to the ship around 9:27 PM.

Royal Caribbean's initial press release falsely claimed that the cruise line "immediately" reported the overboard. 

Our articles about this case are here:

Passenger Missing From The Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Why Didn't Royal Caribbean Immediately Notify the Coast Guard that a Passenger Went Overboard from Allure of the Seas? 

Delay, Deny, Deceive & Defend: Royal Caribbean Shows How Not to Respond to an Overboard Passenger  

 

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

Delay, Deny, Deceive & Defend: Royal Caribbean Shows How Not to Respond to an Overboard Passenger

Overboard passengers are hardly unexpected.  

All cruise lines have man overboard (MOB) procedures required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The procedures are fundamentally no different that what is taught to the public in United States Coast Guard (USCG) powerboat courses.  

My family took such a USCG course many years ago.

One of the operational courses involves simulating a man overboard by throwing a life-vest overboard. We all practiced performing a "Williamson Turn" where the person operating the powerboat turned the wheel to the side of the overboard and then, at around 60 degrees, turned the wheel back to the opposite side to come around and position the boat to speed back to the location of the man overboard. As one person handled the helm, others stayed focused on the overboard or obtained the equipment necessary to bring the overboard back on the boat as soon as possible.

By the end of the course, even my youngest, 5th grade son understood the importance of promptly powering the boat back to initiate the rescue.  We learned that every second was important.

Cruise ships are obviously not as maneuverable as a small powerboat. But the rescue protocols are fundamentally the same and equally important to passengers whether they went overboard from a small pleasure craft or a giant cruise ship.. 

A'riel Marion - Overboard Allure of the Seas Cruise ShipWe also learned that if the person overboard cannot be "immediately" located, we were required to notify the Coast Guard right away. All of the cruise lines are required to do so as well. 

So when I learned that Royal Caribbean waited over two hours after a passenger observed another passenger go overboard from the Allure of the Seas to contact the USCG, I was absolutely shocked.

Not only did Royal Caribbean delay, it delayed outrageously so.

But it gets worst.

It not only delayed but it denied it delayed. It deceived the public by claiming that the captain of the Allure of the Seas "immediately" turned the ship around and notified the Coast Guard. Its corporate communication department set out to deceive the public by releasing a false and misleading PR statement claiming "immediate" action when, in truth, it delayed for hours.

Delay, deny, and deceive.  We now have a dead passenger.

The young woman who went overboard has now been identified as A'riel Marion, a pretty young model with the rest of her life ahead of her.  Her mother, Vera Marion, has hired a maritime lawyer in Miami, Brett Rivkind, to try and find out what happened and why Royal Caribbean didn't do at least what my young son would have done - turn the damn ship around and, if the young woman was not "immediately" located, notify the Coast Guard?

WMC-TV, a television station in the small Tennessee town of Bartlett where A'riel is from, interviewed A'riel's mother. Another passenger reportedly notified the cruise ship that she observed a passenger go overboard around 9:25 PM.  Ms. Marion is quoted saying:          

"They knew she had gone overboard. The woman called and said something from the deck fell and hit her arm. They immediately cleared off that side of the ship, but they never started the search." 

Her attorney Rivkind added: "This is a very specific 911 call that a passenger from the cabin below was actually struck on the arm by the person who fell from the cabin above." 

At 9:30 PM, the ship's staff brought Ms. Marion to private room. 

Ms. Marion states: "They started asking me, could she swim?  And that's when I panicked and knew that they knew that she had gone overboard."

Two hours later, at 11:30 PM the U.S. Coast Guard was called. 

At 1:30 AM, the search for A'riel began.

"I believe they could save my daughter if they had began the search immediately," Ms. Marion told the news station.

Royal Caribbean has a lot of explaining to so.

But if history is any lesson, this cruise line will engage in more delay, denial and deception as it defends the lawsuit Ms. Marion will be forced to file to try and find out what happened to her daughter.

 

Read our other articles about this case:

Passenger Missing From The Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Why Didn't Royal Caribbean Immediately Notify the Coast Guard that a Passenger Went Overboard from Allure of the Seas?

 

Photo credit:  WMC-TV 

Another Cruise Passenger Overboard - This Time From P & O Aurora

P & O Cruises Aurora Web CamMultiple news sources are reporting that a passenger went overboard from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea yesterday.  Little information is being released except that the passenger is described as a "British woman" and is apparently in her seventies. 

The incident occurred on the Aurora cruise ship as it sailed from the Oporto, Portugal to to Barcelona, Spain.  The news accounts state that the woman "fell" although there is no real description whether she jumped, or was thrown overboard, or she somehow fell into the water.

Cruise ship overboard cases are rarely solved. In this case, there is no real information being released to explain what happened.  

The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. quotes a passenger saying that "we heard that the woman is 72 and was on holiday with her daughter but we don't know how she fell in. The passengers are all very sad and subdued as the outlook doesn't look good. The sea is very choppy. We are just so concerned for this woman and her family. It is awful."

P & O states that "the ship's crew were alerted and ordered an immediate search of the area," although cruise lines often say this when it's not true. There is no information when the woman was reported Aurora Cruise Ship - P & O Cruisesmissing and when the search was initiated.

Investigations fall to the flag state which for P & O cruise ships is Bermuda.  That country has a dreadful record conducting investigation involving overboard passengers and crew members or crimes on cruise ships at sea.

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, this is the 188th person overboard from a cruise ship in the last decade or so.

The last cruise ship passenger overboard from a cruise ship was 2 weeks ago when a 21 year old passenger disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.  

The cruise ship had left Southampton on Wednesday September 26th and was sailing on a 14 day cruise.

Anyone with information about this latest overboard, please leave a comment below.

 

September 29 2012 Update:  A comment to this article below states that the passenger committed suicide, although this cannot be confirmed. 

Credits:

Aurora Web Cam: P & O Cruises 

Aurora cruise ship photo: SOLVENT via Telegraph 

Hat tip Goatys' News

"Lord Keep Us Safe On This Gigantic Cruise Ship"

Allure of the SeasA news station in Memphis has identified the 21 year old woman who went overboard from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship on September 16, 2012.

There has been speculation about what happened. This was the overboard where the cruise ship delayed reporting the incident to the Coast Guard for two hours. Some people have speculated that the young lady may have committed suicide, although there is no evidence of that.

That scenario seems highly unlikely given the comments that she was posting on Twitter leading up to the cruise, including many tweets expressing her excitement about the trip.  Consider one of her last tweets upon boarding the cruise ship:   

"Lord keep up safe on this gigantic cruise ship! Let the festivities begin!! See you suckers in a week . . ."

After the delayed Coast Guard search ended, the matter was turned over to the FBI for investigation.

Here's our initial article about this case: Passenger Missing From The Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship.

 

Passenger Seriously Burned in Cruise Ship Bar

Cruise Passenger Burn Victim James BailyNewspapers in the U.K. and Australia are covering a horrific story involving a 28 year old man who was reportedly sailing on an Amsterdam "booze cruise" when he awoke in the ship's bar on fire.

Cruise passenger James Bailey had what he describes as a "few drinks" and fell asleep in the cruise ship's bar on the deck 8.  Most of his cruise mates who were on what is being called a "stag party" cruise were either asleep or back in their cabins.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr. Bailey stated: ‘I suddenly awoke in extreme agony and quickly realized my clothes were on fire. The bartender assisted in removing my shirt and putting out the flames."  His back and hands were severely burned.

There were a group of 20 to 30 people in the bar when the incident occurred.

The cruise staff refused his requests for an air ambulance claiming that his injuries were not deemed serious enough for emergency medical treatment.  

The cruise ship was operated by DFDS Seaways which denies liability for what happened and would not comment. 

Mr. Bailey states that he suffers from first, second and third degree burns, as well as psychological trauma.  He adds that "I have no idea what happened that night. As it stands there is no one to blame, so I can only blame myself right now until other evidence is found."

In the U.S., there is a legal principle called "Res Ipsa Loquitor," which is Latin for "the thing speaks for itself."  This a legal doctrine that a company or person is presumed to be negligent if they had exclusive control of whatever caused the injury even though there is no specific evidence of an act of negligence, and without negligence the accident would not have happened.

Short of spontaneous combustion, Mr. Bailey obviously did not catch himself on fire.

Cruise ships cannot legally serve passengers alcohol until they pass out in the ship bars and then permit other passengers or crew members to catch their guests on fire.  

There are some very gruesome photos of Mr. Bailey on the Daily Mail site, but be warned that they are disturbing.

DFDS Cruise Ship - Cruise Ship Passenger Burned

Photo Credits:

James Baily - Sam Hardie via Daily Mail

DFDS cruise ship - Daily Mail 

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas: "Profits Over Passenger Safety?"

Today the Barbados Free Press takes a look at the failure of the captain of the world's largest cruise ship to timely notify the U.S. Coast Guard that a passenger had been spotted going overboard.

Notwithstanding an eyewitness account, the cruise ship intentionally did not follow its own man overboard protocols and delayed 2 hours before finally contacting the Coast Guard in Miami.  Royal Caribbean's conduct is particularly egregious considering that the cruise ship was not in the middle of the Atlantic when the incident.  It had left Fort Lauderdale a few hours earlier and was heading to Nassau, within quick striking range of Coast Guard aircraft, helicopters and cutters.  Here's what the Barbados Free Press (BFP) has to say:

"A few days ago on Sunday September 16, 2012 at about 9:30pm a passenger was seen falling overboard from the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

Allure of the Seas - Passenger Overboard - DelayThe Allure of the Seas never called the Coast Guard for assistance in searching until two hours later. By that time it was far too late for the lost passenger.

When BFP’s own pilot Robert heard about the incident, his first comment was surprise that Royal Caribbean built the world’s biggest and most expensive cruise ship – at a cost of some US$1.2 billion dollars – and didn’t include an onboard helicopter and alert flight crew to handle rescue situations and medical emergencies. The initial cost and ongoing expenditure would be nothing in relation to the overall operation, but Royal Caribbean made a decision to exclude the helicopter and instead build more cabins. Similarly Royal Caribbean does not maintain a quick launch rescue boat with a standby ready crew on alert. “Profits over passenger safety” seems to be the Royal Caribbean motto even at the design stage.

The outrageous failure of the Allure of the Seas captain to call for help for a passenger overboard and the failure of planning, design and operations in dealing with passengers overboard is just the latest in an ongoing series of cruise disaster stories."     

Read more here.

 

Image Credit:  Barbados Free Press

Allure of the Seas Overboard: Royal Caribbean Struggling to Justify Late Notification to Coast Guard

With the Coast Guard ending its delayed search and the 21 year old woman still missing at sea, Royal Caribbean is struggling to justify the two hour delay it caused in reporting the latest person overboard from the Allure of the Seas.  Its excuse is a whopper - it claims that it first had to first search the ship to make certain that the passenger was still not onboard. 

This statement is coming from a cruise line PR executive Cynthia Martinez, who is obviously unfamiliar with well established maritime rules and even her company's own man overboard protocols.  According to International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommendations and Coast Guard regulations, cruise ships are required to notify the Coast Guard if the person overboard is not "immediately" observed in the water.  

Royal Caribbean knows better than to act like this. It has some highly experienced mariners and former Coast Guard commanders working for it, like former Coast Guard Commander Captain Howard Newhoff Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seaswho was awarded a medal of commendation by President Reagan in the 1980's and whose skills and service to this country are beyond reproach. He must be shaking his head in disgust after reading the PR statements dreamed up by the cruise line's PR team members who don't know the difference between port and starboard. 

Royal Caribbean said that the Coast Guard was notified when the cruise ship found “the incident on the recording . . . from the video, we could pinpoint the exact time and location using Global Positioning System and provided that information to the Coast Guard.”

Nonsense. The Coast regulations require immediate notification. The GPS coordinates should have been sent to the Coast Guard immediately. Searching the largest cruise ship in the world and pouring over CCTV images from hundreds of cameras first?  A person can float for tens of miles over the course of the unnecessary two hour delay.

Maritime experts on Ring of Fire Radio voiced their displeasure about the delay from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., over 2 hours after the passenger fell overboard. Gerald McGill, a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a former Commanding Officer of two Coast Guard cutters, states:

"The most troubling aspect of this tragedy is why the ship waited two hours before notifying the Coast Guard. Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said the process of making sure a passenger is not onboard takes some time. She said such verification is necessary before the Coast Guard is notified 'and they commit to sending assets to help search.'

However, in this case a witness reported seeing another passenger go overboard and video footage verified this. The important fact was that “someone” had fallen overboard. Determining who had fallen overboard should not have delayed notifying the Coast Guard. Hopefully the FBI investigation will address this issue."

Delayed notification causes the Coast Guard to expend additional resources and expands the search grid of the Coast Guard cutters, helicopters and aircraft. The expenses increase substantially. And most importantly the chances of the person being rescued - which is why immediate notification to the Coast Guard is required in the first place - decrease dramatically.

 

Check out our facebook page to see what people are saying about how Royal Caribbean handled the situation. 

Why Didn't Royal Caribbean Immediately Notify the Coast Guard that a Passenger Went Overboard from Allure of the Seas?

Yesterday the first media source which reported that a cruise passenger went overboard from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas was Cruise Critic.  Notwithstanding its name, Cruise Critic is not remotely a critic of the cruise industry.  It's one of the cruise lines greatest fans and supporters. It will publish cruise line PR statements without question or hesitation.

When Cruise Critic broke the story, Royal Caribbean's PR department had already fed Cruise Critic a statement claiming that another passenger witnessed the 21-year-old American go overboard at about 9:25 p.m. EDT. "The ship's Captain immediately stopped the ship, turned around, and alerted the U.S. and Bahamian Coast Guard," read the cruise line statement.

The next time entry mentioned by Cruise Critic was 3:30 a.m., when the U.S. Coast Guard assumed control of the search and released the Allure of the Seas as well as Carnival's Fascination and Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas cruise ships which had joined in the search for the missing woman. 

Allure of the Seas The impression created by Royal Caribbean and its friends at Cruise Critic was that Royal Caribbean "immediately" notified the proper authorities and "immediately" searched the waters for the young woman and that the search lasted six hours from 9:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. until the Coast Guard released the cruise ship to continue with itinerary. 

What Cruise Critic didn't mention was that, based on an article in the Sun Sentinel newspaper, Royal Caribbean was notified of the 9:25 p.m.overboard at 9:30 a.m. but the cruise line delayed two hours until 11:30 p.m. before notifying the U.S. Coast Guard. The Sun Sentinel article was based on comments directly from the U.S. Coast Guard.  

But no other news sources mentioned the two hour delay; instead, CNN, Miami Herald, CBS FOX News, and others published the false and misleading cruise line statement that Royal Caribbean "immediately" stopped the cruise ship and notified both the U.S. and Bahamian Coast Guards following the 9:25 p.m. incident. 

Coast Guard regulations and the requirements of most cruise ship safety management systems (SMS) required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) state that the vessel must notify the Coast Guard and other vessels in the vicinity if the overboard person is not "immediately" located in the water. Once a man overboard is reported, most SMS cruise line policies require a prompt reduction of speed of the ship, a "Williams Turn" to head the ship back to the location of the overboard person, the deployment of extra look-outs, the use of spotlights, and preparation to deploy life craft. While this is happening the captain can order a muster and head count if there is any doubt about whether a passenger went overboard.

It is inexplicable that the cruise ship would sail on if an eye witness reported the overboard to the cruise line at 9:30 p.m. Two hours later, the ship would be 30 - 40 miles away not even considering the effect of the current on the person overboard.  The chances of drowning would increase substantially and the search area would increase dramatically due to the delay. 

The Allure is the world's largest cruise ship with 5,400 passengers and 2,300 crew members aboard. A search of this huge ship would take many hours. Did the cruise line really ignore the man overboard report and sail away? Why search the ship or order a muster and head count if an eye witness saw the woman go overboard as initially reported?  It is against basic maritime protocols.

In cases like this, wild speculation follows a delayed rescue attempt. Was this a suicide, foul play or the results of excessive serving of alcohol?  

I don't believe that people wanting to commit suicide take the time and incur the expense of booking a cruise, buying an airplane ticket, packing a big suitcase, and then flying across the U.S. to South Florida for a week long cruise to the Caribbean with the thought of killing themselves.  

But readers commenting on the cruise message boards at cruise fan sites like Cruise Critic have already labeled the case a suicide or 100% her fault for partying.  Sites like Cruise Critic perpetuate the cruise line's misleading PR campaign by ignoring the cruise line's two hour delay and then letting its readers assassinate the woman's character.

Unfortunately, there is no independent police authorities onboard cruise ships to gather the true facts and conduct an objective and timely investigation. Cruise lines investigations are often conducted with the cruise line's reputation and legal interests in mind.

This is a real disservice to families of missing passengers who need transparency in such a time of despair. 

 

September 19, 2012 Update: Royal Caribbean tries to justify why it delayed stopping the ship and notifying the Coast Guard. Coast Guard ends its delayed search. FBI now involved.

Passenger Missing From The Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Last night a young woman from Bartlett, Tennessee disappeared from the world's largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas.

According to experts who track cruise ship disappearances, she was the 186th person to go overboard from a cruise ship in the last ten years.

At the time of the overboard last night, the Allure was sailing to Nassau after leaving Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades).

Royal Caribbean Cruises issued a press release that the 21 year old U.S. passenger went overboard Allure of the Seas OverBoard Passengerat 9:25 PM Eastern Standard Time last night.  The incident was apparently captured on the cruise ship's CCTV cameras. 

Royal Caribbean Delays Notifying the Coast Guard

The Sun Sentinel reports that the incident was reported to the cruise line around 9:30 PM, but the cruise line delayed reporting the incident to the Coast Guard for 2 hours until 11:30 PM. According to the Sun Sentinel. the cruise line apparently searched the ship for two hours to look for the young woman.

Only after the shipboard search was unsuccessful did the ship contact the Coast Guard.

Royal Caribbean Denies Delay

According to Cruise Critic, Royal Caribbean says that there was no delay.  It released a statement claiming that after another passenger observed the overboard and reported it, "the ship's Captain immediately stopped the ship, turned around, and alerted the U.S. and Bahamian Coast Guard."  This is inconsistent with the Coast Guard statement that Royal Caribbean waited until 11:30 PM to notify it and then search in the water for the passenger.

The Allure is a huge ship with some 8,000 passengers and crew members. As the cruise line likes to advertise, the massive ship comprises some seven neighborhoods.  Why would the cruise line waste valuable time searching such a big ship while sailing for two hours away from where the overboard was observed? 

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein reports that 186 people (passengers and crew members) have gone overboard in the last decade or so.

The last overboard from the Allure of the Seas was in early February of this year when an Irish passenger in his 20's went overboard.  

In instances where suicide is suspected, the cruise lines usually allude to that in their initial public statement. There is no mention of that so far.

Alcohol is often involved in cruise ship overboards, but there is no mention of that factor one way or the other.

Please leave a comment below if you have information about what happened, or click on our facebook page to see what other people are saying about this case.

 

September 18, 2012 Update: Cruise line's 2 hour delay in inconsistent with Coast Guard regulations, International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommendations and cruise line safety management system (SMS) procedures - read here..

September 19, 2012 Update:  Royal Caribbean tries to justify why it delayed stopping the ship and notifying the Coast Guard.  Coast Guard ends its delayed search.  FBI now involved. 

September 20, 2012 Update: Royal Caribbean Struggles to Justify Delayed Notification to Coast Guard.

September 22, 2012 Update:  Allure of the Seas: "Profits Over Passenger Safety?

September 27, 2012 Update: Passenger identified.  One of her last comments on Twitter: 'Lord Keep Us Safe On This Gigantic Cruise Ship." 

October 3, 2012 Updates: Delay, Deny, Deceive & Defend: Royal Caribbean Shows How Not to Respond to an Overboard Passenger 

Video: Royal Caribbean Delayed Reporting Overboard Passenger

Police in Cayman Islands Investigating Sexual Assault of Cruise Ship Passenger

Cayman Islands - Cruise Ship A newspaper in the Cayman Islands is reporting that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is investigating a reported sexual attack on a female cruise ship passenger.

The incident happened on Friday July 27, 2012 according to the local police in the Cayman Islands. The newspaper account is very vague. The newspaper states only that the incident involved a female cruise passenger "in the George Town area" that led to the arrest of a 43 year old man on August 18, 2012 on suspicion of attempted rape.  No charges have been filed and the suspect was reportedly released on bail. 

The newspaper states that the incident "was not proactively reported by the police service."

The newspaper did not identify the name of the cruise line or the cruise ship.  This is quite common in the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean countries which do not wish to cause embarrassment to the cruise lines which call on their ports.  

If anyone knows which cruise ships were in the Cayman Islands on July 27, 2012 please leave a comment below.

April 29 2014 Update: A Caymans newspaper states that Shawn Mourao, 45, the owner of Cayman Shaun Mourao Caymans RapeStyle Ocean Adventures, was charged with three counts of indecent assault in the case and is the subject of an Interpol warrant seeking his arrest after he failed to appear in court and fled the Caymans. He is believed to be in South Africa.

The woman was a Carnival cruise ship passenger who had booked a seven-day “Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise” that included stops in Mexico, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman. She paid $79.99 for a “beach party and snorkeling shore excursion” in Cayman. Cayman Style Ocean Adventures was the tour operator that provided the tour for Carnival. 

The newspaper states that woman went on the excursion around 1 p.m. on July 27, 2012, and returned at 4:30 p.m. to George Town harbor. She asked the tour boat captain where she might find a restroom. He led her to a small room in nearby shopping center where she was assaulted. The woman repeated pleas for the suspect to stop, and she eventually escaped, running off half-naked to find her friend with whom she was on the cruise.   

In addition to the owner fleeing the jurisdiction, the tour operator in the Caymans dissolved as well apparently to avoid legal liability for the rape.

Man Overboard: What Really Happened Aboard the Carnival Fascination?

After a 31 year old passenger went overboard from the Carnival Fascination cruise ship into the dark waters off of the Florida coast last night around 2:00 AM, all of the major news sources and cruise friendly bloggers all lined up to dutifully repeat verbatim what the Carnival PR people fed to the public:

  • A passenger jumped overboard; and
  • A security guard witnessed the jump and immediately threw life rings overboard. 

End of story.

Sounds like a suicide to me, everyone thought. How sad, a man overcome with the weigh of the world's Cruise Ship Overboard - Suicide?  pressures. What a pity. Pray for his family.

But was this a suicide as the cruise line wants you to believe?

The first thing that struck me strange about the story is that a security guard just happened to be at the precise spot where a passenger chose to jump overboard from the top deck of the Carnival cruise ship.

One thing i have learned over the past 29 years as a maritime lawyer is that there are virtually no security on duty and patrolling at two in the morning on a cruise ships. Perhaps a guard or two around the bars and discos where drunken fights break out, but a guard patrolling randomly on a top deck who just happened upon a passenger choosing to end his life?  No way.

The International Maritime Organization ('IMO") regulations suggest that cruise lines have just two security personnel on duty on the entire ship at night.  This is a ridiculously insufficient number of security guard to maintain order and safety on a cruise ship, particularly aboard the drunk fest atmosphere associated with the anything goes attitude on Carnival's "fun ships."  

There must be more to the story, I thought. What really happened to the Carnival guest who fell 90 feet into the deep waters 25 miles off of the coast of Florida?

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has studied cruise overboard cases over the past decade. He has documented some 185 passengers and crew who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000. Most are never found. Most cases remain "mysteries."   

That's the way cruise lines want it.  The cruise line PR people trot out the it-must-be-a-suicide-so-let's-blame-the-passenger game.  90% of the public accepts the first thing they hear or read and lack the healthy cynicism to look behind the curtain.

When the cruise ship returns from the cruise at the end of the week we will see passengers returning to their computers and commenting about what they heard or saw on the cruise ship.  A different story will emerge. Already there are comments on Cruise Critic's boards that this was no suicide but what is being called a strange situation where a Carnival security guard was chasing the passenger who grabbed a life ring and then jumped overboard.

Was excessive alcohol involved?  It would be surprising if not given the late hour and Carnival's booze cruise reputation.  

But in a week from now, will anyone be concerned with what really happened?

Overboard number 185.  Carnival's PR people have done their work.  Another mystery it seems.

Does anyone really care?      

August 30, 2012 Update:  Looks like the initial information released by Carnival is misleading.  Cruise Critic has this information today:

The case involves an "U.S. Army sergeant who was taking a vacation before shipping out to duty in Afghanistan. Sergeant Ronald Kemp, our source tells us, was intoxicated and had entered a crew-only area of the ship. There he was confronted by a female crewmember, who told him to leave. A physical confrontation ensued, during which time a security officer pepper sprayed Kemp, who then fled. Security gave chase, and Kemp ran up to the Verandah deck, one deck above the Lido deck. In order to evade security, he jumped over the railing, falling one level and landing on the Lido, and then continued to flee before grabbing a life ring and leaping overboard."

Cruise lines face liability when they serve passengers alcohol to the point of intoxication.

In the case of Hall v. Royal Caribbean, an appellate court here in Miami held that the cruise line can be sued in the following circumstances:

"  . . . a paying passenger on the defendant's cruise ship, was injured on the high seas when, after having been served alcohol by the vessel's employees to and obviously past the point of intoxication, he staggered from a lounge, and while unable to look after himself fell down two flights of open stairways." 

 

Art Credit:   CruelKev2's blog

Passenger Missing From Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship

Several news stations are reporting that a 31 year old man went overboard last night from the Carnival Fascination cruise ship. 

Newspapers are reporting that a Carnival crew member observed the passenger jumping off the top deck of the ship into the water.  The ship had left Jacksonville around 5:00 P.M and was heading to Key West. The ship was 25 miles off the Coast of Florida near Volusia County.

The incident reportedly occurred around 2 a.m. 

A Carnival spokesperson said that the crew threw life rings into the water and the ship then turned back Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship Overboard Passenger - Jump?to the location where the man went overboard.

Bay News 9 reports that the Coast Guard deployed considerable resources in searching for the man, including the 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, the 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, a Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Shrike, a 47-foot Motor Life Boat and a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.

No information has been released regarding why the man jumped, if that is really what happened.

Given the late hour, one of the things that I would inquire about is whether the passenger was drinking alcohol.  I would request the ship's records regarding the passenger's on board purchases to see how many drinks he purchased. There is a 100% certainty that Carnival's lawyers in Miami have already looked at this information, as well as any CCTV images of the passenger on the ship.

As usual, there is a spirited debate about the story at the CruiseCritic boards, with one member suggesting that the case was not a suicide but involved the passenger allegedly running away from a security guard and jumping overboard with a life ring.  Can't verify this of course.

Anyone on the cruise ship have accurate information?

Lawsuit: Royal Caribbean Crew Member Rapes Cruise Passenger Aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas - Surveillance Camera Shows Victim Trying to Escape

The Miami Herald reports that a Royal Caribbean crew member sexually assaulted a passenger during a New Year’s cruise according to the allegation in a lawsuit filed last week.  The newspaper reports that the sex attack was partially captured on surveillance video.

The woman was attacked on January 1, 2012 while cruising aboard the Navigator of the Seas during an Eastern Caribbean cruise. 

The Herald explains that on the morning of the attack, the victim had gone to an upper-level deck to use a whirlpool. She then asked a crew member for a towel, and he led her into a bathroom, where he assaulted her.  The cruise ship's CCTV surveillance video captured images of the victim trying to Navigator of the Seas - Rape - Cruise Shipescape, only to be dragged back in to the room. 

The woman slipped away and reported the attack to ship security.

The woman's lawyer told the newspaper that he believes that Royal Caribbean's security officers took the man into custody and "kicked him off the ship at the next overseas port."

“This is a problem in the cruise industry and if the company cared, it wouldn’t just turn this guy loose in the nearest port. You need to cooperate with the victim and assist in bringing him to the proper authorities.”

The cruise line claims that it reported the incident to the FBI and local law enforcement in St. Kitts.

As we have mentioned in many other article, the FBI has a terrible record investigating cruise ship rapes. 95% of FBI investigation go nowhere and the alleged crew member rapists go free - often ending up working for a different cruise line after spending a few months at home.

Earlier today we reported on the rape of a Royal Caribbean cruise passenger in Cozumel.

Last month we reported on the rape of a passenger by a crew member aboard the Equinox, operated by Royal Caribbean's sister company Celebrity Cruises.  CNN aired a special Predators at Sea about a Royal Caribbean crew member raping a fifteen year old child. 

In March we discussed the sexual abuse of a minor aboard the Enchantment of the Seas.  

Literally hundreds of women and children have alleged being sexually assaulted on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships over the past decade. We have attended 7 Congressional hearings since December 2005 which have studied the issue of cruise passenger safety.

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean typically under-report the actual number of crimes which occur during cruises. For example, in 2006, Royal Caribbean told Congress that 66 rapes and sexual assaults occurred over the course of the preceding three years - that's 3 rapes every 2 month just on the Royal Caribbean fleet. However, in a subsequent civil case our firm handled against this cruise line, a trial court here in Miami ordered the cruise line to produce its raw crime data to us. The reports revealed that the total number of rapes, sexual assaults and sex-crimes related incidents were actually around 273 (over 4 times the amount reported to Congress).

The Los Angeles Times covered the story in an article entitled "Cruise Industry's Dark Waters."

Royal Caribbean Passenger Reports Rape at Senor Frog's in Cozumel

A newspaper in Mexico and cruise expert Professor Ross Klein report that a young woman from Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship was apparently drugged and sexually assaulted by employees of Senor Frog's in Cozumel, Mexico last Friday, August 10, 2012.

The article states that the woman (reportedly around 19-20 years of age) was cruising on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which called on Cozumel. Her family went on a tour and ended up at Senor Frog's which is a popular bar frequented by cruise passengers and other tourists. The newspaper explains that the young woman and other family members drank and she danced with one of the employees who worked Senor Frogs Cozumelwith several other men as disc jockeys (DJ's).  

The young woman ended up being invited into the DJ's "cabin," an enclosed area of the restaurant from where music is played. The DJ's gave her a drink and she thereafter lost track of things but just remembers vague images of the four men attacking her and trying to fight them off. 

The circumstances were particularly brutal with reports that other employees went into the booth to watch, and some men were beating the victim.  

She was taken back to the cruise ship and experienced pain and burning in her genital area and had bruises on her body.  Her family decided to leave the cruise and stay on the island to report the incident to the Mexican police. 

Another newspaper reports that the four Senor Frog employees were taken to a local magistrate who promptly released them. We are not referring to this newspaper because it mentions the victim's name. The newspaper also indicates that police records indicate that from January to June 2012 there were seven complaints of rape.  It is less than clear whether the article refers to the bar or Cozumel.  Women raped in Mexico rarely obtain justice.

This is not the first report of rape of a cruise passenger in Cozumel or the first rape of a Royal Caribbean passenger who went to a Senor Frog's during a cruise.

In June, we mentioned a lawsuit filed against Royal Caribbean arising out of a gang rape of a young woman in Cozumel from the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas.  The cruise line provided the passenger with a map of the shopping locations recommended by Royal Caribbean. A gang of men brutally raped the young woman while she visited one of the recommended stores.

Royal Caribbean does not warn cruise passengers of the danger of being sexually assaulted or violently attacked in Cozumel.  Cozumel is one of the few ports capable of accommodating the Genesis project ships like the Allure and the Oasis and it is my opinion that the cruise line doesn't want to scare anyone off from traveling to this Mexican port.

Last year a young woman from Poland, working aboard the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, was murdered while ashore in Cozumel.  

Royal Caribbean knows that bars ashore in ports of call present dangers of date rape drugs and sexual assault. 

Last year a Royal Caribbean passenger was raped and severely beaten after drinking at a Senor Frog's in Nassau.

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Cruise Ship - Sexual AssaultCruise lines have an obligation to warn of dangers ashore in the ports of call that they sail to and where there guests are reasonably likely to frequent such as local bars near the cruise ships.  

Royal Caribbean in particular, acknowledges that it has a duty to inform cruise passengers of dangers like this. The cruise industry publication 'World Cruise Industry Review" interviewed the head of "Global Security" at Royal Caribbean, Gary Bald, about the cruise line's obligation to warn cruise passengers of dangers in ports of call.  In an article entitled "Safe Harbor," Mr. Bald stated that as far as looking for dangers to passengers in ports of call, "I’m locked in and tuned in around the clock, 24/7.”   

The article states that "Bald is happy to share security information with both the crew and the passengers. “All guests are my responsibility,” he says, “and I don’t want some more prepared than others.” 

It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Bald and his cruise line warned this latest victim and her family about the prior rapes and attacks in Cozumel and other Royal Caribbean ports of call.  

 

Photo credit: Top: Senor Frog's - Julián Miranda/SIPSE; bottom - Wikipedia / Andres Manuel Rodriguez

Another U.S. Cruise Passenger "Missing" in Jamaica

Carnival Cruise Passenger Fredrick Lauritzen - Missing - JamaicaThe Jamaica Gleaner reports today that an American cruise ship passenger is missing in Jamaica after disembarking from an unidentified cruise ship that apparently called on Ocho Rios.

The Gleaner states that the police are seeking the assistance of the public in locating an American who has been missing since Thursday.

The Ocho Rios police say 50 year old cruise passenger Fredrick Lauritzen disembarked a cruise ship and has not been seen or heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Fredrick Lauritzen is being asked to contact the Ocho Rios police at 974-2469, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

This is the second time in the last two weeks that U.S. cruise passengers have not returned to a cruise ship which calls on Jamaica. The last incident involved passengers who failed to return to a Carnival cruise ship. There was a great deal of speculation what happened to the American family of three who were reported missing from a Carnival cruise ship, the Freedom, which docked in Ocho Rios.

Jamaica - Carnival Cruise Passenger Fredrick Lauritzen - Missing The three were 45-year-old Donald Henderson, 43-year-old Maria Henderson and 21-year-old Aja Henderson. Jamaican police found the passengers vacationing in a villa in Discovery Bay, St Ann, and were deported back to the U.S.   

It is against both Jamaican and U.S. law to fail to return to a cruise ship in the middle of a cruise.

We hope that this latest passenger turns up relaxing somewhere in a hotel drinking Red Stripes.

August 11, 2012 Update:  Blogger Mickey Faust tells me that the only cruise ship in port in Ocho Rios last Thursday was Carnival's Freedom.

Photo Credit: Jamaica Observer

Coast Guard Medevacs Ill Cruise Passenger From Carnival Glory

The U.S. Coast Guard website reports that it medically evacuated a 41-year-old woman from the Carnival Glory cruise ship today.  The passenger reportedly exhibited stroke-like symptoms.

The cruise ship was approximately 55 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts at the time of the emergency.

Coast Guard Sector Boston received the word from the Carnival cruise ship at approximately 3:35 p.m. In response, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the scene. Carnival Glory Cruise Ship Coast Guard MedevacThe helicopter hoisted the ill woman up to safety and then transported her to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.

The Coast Guard website quotes a John Tomaszewski , a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Boston, "our crews launched swiftly . . . they were able to hoist her and get her the care she needed.

The Coast Guard did not comment on the passenger's medical condition.  

The last medevac from the Carnival Glory occurred, according to our records, in May 2010 when the Coast Guard in Miami rescued that a 36 year-old pregnant woman who needed emergency medical treatment.  

Read about other Coast Guard rescues here

Coast Guard medevacs like this are always the highlight of Cruise Law News.  The Coast Guard just celebrated its 222nd birthday! 

Anyone with photos, video or information about this latest Coast Guard rescue, please leave a comment. 

 

Photo: Space Coast Blogger

Passenger Falls Overboard From Silja Symphony Cruise Ship

A newspaper in Sweden reports that a man, described to be in his thirties, fell off of a cruise ship in the early morning hours yesterday.  The unidentified Swedish passenger fell into the water at around 4.30 am on Tuesday from the Silja Symphony cruise ship.  The vessel was sailing around 30 kilometres south of Örö in the Finnish archipelago.

A Finnish sea rescue crew was dispatched to search for the man along with several other cruise ships.

After a 90 minute search, a helicopter spotted the overboard passenger and lifted him to safety.

The man was taken to hospital in Turku and is reported to have suffered no serious injury.

"He had a slight injury in his leg and was cold, but he was in pretty good shape," said Samu Hiljanen of the Finnish Lifeboat Society.

According to Hiljanen the water temperature at the location of the accident was around 15-20 degrees Celsius.

The newspaper does not explain or speculate why the passenger fell overboard.

Over 180 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000, according to Canadian Professor Ross Klein.

 

Silja Symphony Cruise Ship

 

Photo credit:  Wikimedia via The Local

British Cruise Passenger: Crew Member Raped Me on the Celebrity Equinox

The U.K.'s Mail Online reports today that a 27 year old British passenger alleges that a Celebrity Cruises ship employee raped her in her cabin aboard the Celebrity Equinox.

The article reports that the crew member, believed to be working on the cruise ship in the entertainment department, met the passenger in a bar and spent several hours drinking with her.  He then allegedly followed her back to her cabin where he raped her.  The articles states that although she said she was tired and going to bed, the crew employee attacked her. 

The Celebrity Equinox had left the Italian port of Civitavecchia and the arrest came some 17 hours later.

Rape Aboard Celebrity Equinox cruise ShipThe arrest took place after ship video showed the crew member and passenger in the bar, with him then following her back to her cabin. 

The woman was seen by a doctor on board the ship.

Celebrity's parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises, has not made a comment to date about this alleged crime. 

The last rape aboard the Celebrity Equinox we reported on was last September - Perfume Sales Assistant Alleges Rape Aboard the Celebrity Equinox

As we mentioned in our prior article, Celebrity and its parent company Royal Caribbean have known about the high rate of sexual assaults on cruise ships for over a decade.  

In 1999, Royal Caribbean hired two top notch firms to study the problem of sexual assaults on the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fleet of cruise ships. The cruise line retained a consulting firm called "Sheridan, Swailes" to study the company's security systems. Royal Caribbean also retained a nationally recognized expert on sexual harassment issues, Dr. Kay Krohne, who previously was a commanding officer at the Naval Training Station in San Diego.

After conducting an extensive analysis of the Royal Caribbean / Celebrity fleet, these experts concluded that sexual misconduct occurred "frequently" during cruises. They attributed this problem to the fact that most crew members were not afraid of being arrested, much less convicted.  

Unfortunately, Celebrity Cruises does not warn its guests of the history of men attacking women during cruises.

Women on cruise ships need to be aware of the danger of rape by crew members, especially after drinking alcohol.

 

July 20, 2012 Update: We were informed that the crew member who allegedly raped the passenger was an IT employee. 

July 21, 2012 Update: A newspaper in Italy identified the alleged rapist as an American. 

Cruise Industry's New Safety Initiatives - Too Little, Too Late?

The cruise industry's trade group, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), announced two new safety initiatives last week. I was rather amazed when I read what the new proposals involved.

The first policy is what is being called the "Nationality of Passengers" policy. This policy states that each passenger's nationality should be documented for use by search and rescue personnel in case of an emergency evacuation. 

It surprises me that cruise lines don't already do this.  Airlines have kept such international manifests with passenger nationalities listed for decades.

CLIA claims that this is an effort to enhance passenger safety on board cruise liners. I'm not sure how listing passenger's nationalities leads to safety at all. Perhaps the information helps to Cota Concordia Cruise Ship - Muster Drillidentify the dead after disaster strikes.

A second safety procedure touted by CLIA is a list set of 12 "universal" instructions that should be given to passengers at muster drills.  These include the most basis instructions to passengers to prepare them for an abandon ship situation after a cruise ship fire or collision.

Cruise Critic summarized these instructions in a recent article as follows:

  • When and how to don a lifejacket;
  • Description of emergency signals and appropriate responses in the event of an emergency;
  • Location of lifejackets;
  • Where to muster when the emergency signal is sounded;
  • Method of accounting for passenger attendance at musters both for training and in the event of an actual emergency;
  • How information will be provided in an emergency;
  • What to expect if the Captain orders an evacuation of the ship;
  • What additional safety information is available;
  • Instructions on whether passengers should return to cabins prior to mustering, including specifics regarding medication, clothing and lifejackets;
  • Description of key safety systems and features;
  • Emergency routing systems and recognizing emergency exits; and
  • Who to seek out for additional information.

When I first read this proposal, I couldn't believe that the cruise industry didn't already have an established set of muster station / life vest / life boat instructions.  It's 2012, over 100 years since the Titanic sank!  No wonder there was such deadly confusion on the Concordia.

You may recall that back in April, CLIA announced some other new proposals including limiting visits to the bridge during cruises. I called this the "no bimbos in the bridge" policy because Captain Schettino's girlfriend was reportedly in the bridge after the Concordia hit the rocks.

Is this an industry so far behind the times that it is only now recommending standard muster drill instructions, listing passenger nationalities, and keeping the captain's girlfriends out of the bridge during disasters? 

 

Photo: Carlos Carballa / EFE 

Royal Caribbean Passenger Alleges Gang Rape in Cozumel

Cozumel - Cruise Ship CrimeCrimes against women in ports of call is a topic which I write about on a regular basis on Cruise Law News. Cruise lines have a legal duty to warn about the danger of crimes in the ports of call that they sail to on a regular basis.  Cruise lines sell an idyllic image of a care-free tropical vacation, but in reality they know or should know that there are dangers ashore waiting for their passengers.

One country I write about all too often is Mexico.  Drug related crime is increasingly creeping into the port cities. Gang violence will increasingly pose a threat to cruise passengers traveling to Mexico unless things turn around quickly in the future.

But a real threat to female passengers sailing to Mexican ports is violence, including sexual assault, against teenagers and young women.

A case pending in our court system should serve as a wake up call to cruise lines sailing to Mexican ports.  After Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas sailed into Cozumel, a young woman went ashore into the port to shop.  The lawsuit alleges that the cruise line provided her with a map of the shopping locations recommended by Royal Caribbean.  A gang of men brutally raped the young woman while she visited one of the recommended stores.  The lawsuit further alleges that it is believed that the men who raped the cruise passenger worked in the subject shopping area.

Like most crimes against cruise passengers in ports of call, there have been no arrests.  Ostensibly the alleged rapists may still be working in and / or around the shopping area in question.

Does Royal Caribbean warn cruise passengers of this danger?  No.  Cozumel is one of the few ports capable of accommodating the Genesis class cruise ships like the Allure and the Oasis.  No way will Royal Caribbean risk scaring its customers away from Cozumel when it has to sell 11,000 tickets for these two monster ships.

In fact, the cruise line touts Cozumel as one of the safer ports in the world.

Five months after the gang rape of the Royal Caribbean cruise passenger from the Oasis, a Royal Cozumel - Cruise Chip CrimeCaribbean crewmember from the Allure of the Seas was found murdered and floating in the water off of Cozumel.  The cruise line did not alert her or any other crewmembers or passengers of the earlier crime.  Indeed, after the murder Royal Caribbean issued a press release characterizing the crime as "isolated and uncharacteristic for Cozumel."   

It seems that Royal Caribbean forgot about the gang rape a few months earlier? 

The murder, like the rape, remains unsolved.

I have never heard of anyone in Mexico being tried or convicted of a crime against a tourist or a ship employee going ashore. There are several web sites discussing the reluctance of Mexican police to get involved in investigations in cases like this, such as Mexican Vacation Awareness which chronicles crimes and violence against tourists in Mexico.  Some of the local police in Mexico have even been accused of participating in crimes against tourists.

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean conceal these dangers from their cruise guests.  It appears that even the stores on the cruise line's recommended shopping list may not be safe to visit.

 

Photo credit: AP Photo/Angel Castellanos

Overboard Carnival Spirit Cruise Passenger Rescued

Last evening, a member of Cruise Critic commented that his father was sailing on the Carnival Spirit to Hawaii and texted him that a passenger went overboard in the Pacific.

Another passenger on board the cruise ship posted this comment:

They announced a Bravo Bravo about 45 mins ago. They then came on and announced it was a passenger that went over and we were circling around to look for them. Another announcement came that we were heading straight for them and were about two miles out. They asked everyone to look out for the passenger. Finally, a life boat went out and they announced the passenger was alright and in "Good Condition."

Some cruisers on the message board suggest that the passenger jumped from the Serenity deck, as ironic as that may be.

Great news the passenger was quickly rescued.

Rescue of overboard passengers and crew is relatively uncommon.  Last year in June, a passenger from the Norwegian Spirit cruise ship was rescued near New Orleans after going overboard into the Mississippi River en route to a seven day Western Caribbean cruise.  One of the most dramatic rescues occurred last October when a passenger went overboard from the P & O Ventura, in the dark, in the middle of the Atlantic, and yet was rescued.  Read: A Miracle In Dark Waters

If anyone has photos or video of this latest rescue, please leave a comment below. 

Carnival's statement is below:

STATEMENT REGARDING CARNIVAL SPIRIT
April 17, 2012 – 10:35 a.m. EDT

Yesterday, while the Carnival Spirit was en route to Hawaii, a 28-year-old man was witnessed jumping overboard. Search and rescue operations were initiated and the guest was located and brought back on board where he was treated at the ship’s medical center.

Carnival’s CareTeam is providing its support to the guest and his family.

Carnival Spirit is currently sailing on a 15-day Hawaii cruise that departed San Diego on April 13 and will return to San Diego on April 28.

###

Fire Stricken Azamara Cruise Ship Limps Into Sandakan - Passengers Praise Captain & Crew

Azamara Quest Cruise Ship FireAccording to first hand accounts taken by reporters in Malaysia, passengers from the Azamara Quest cruise ship that was stranded at sea for 24 hours after an engine room fire, were full of praise of their Captain and crew members. 

After the passengers reached a hotel in Sandakan, Malaysia, reporters interviewed them on camera.  

"The Captain and the staff and the crew were fantastic, Absolutely Fantastic . . . If it wasn't for the crew, there could have been more serious problem," said passenger Allan Mackenzie from Scotland.

Passenger Jackie from England said," The crew were brilliant. It was a bit worrying, we thought we may have to go into the lifeboat . . . but they managed to put the fire out very quickly"

Passenger John Rosemead said, "There was no panic and everything as far as I am concerned ran perfectly smooth. The officers and the captain kept us fully informed." He continued," the Swedish Captain was very visible throughout the cruise, even when we got off the port tonight, he was there to wish us all well as we left the ship and got onto the buses."

The AP reports that "the smell of smoke spread fear on the cruise ship Azamara Quest, whose passengers put on life vests and gathered for roll call thinking of a deadly capsizing of another luxury vessel."  

However, "for most of the 48 hours it took the fire-damaged ship to lumber into a Malaysian port, they were partying more than panicking.  Passengers said the hardworking crew who quickly put out an engine-room fire Friday night kept their spirits buoyant, even as they suffered without air conditioning in sweltering heat. They enjoyed barbecues on the deck and free drinks."

The AP quotes passenger Diane Becker Krasnick of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who was celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary with her husband, "everyone was joyous that they were alive."

A passenger mentioned that one crew member was seriously injured due to smoke inhalation after being trapped in an unspecified location, apparently after the fire doors shut.  Prior reports indicate that five crew members were injured, one seriously.

The passengers will be in Sandakan, Malaysia for two days sightseeing and will be flown by chartered flights to Singapore.

 

 

Photograph credit:  Passenger Marc Kresnick / AP / SeattlePI

Video credit:  Taikonunt

 

Read our first article about the fire here

Passenger Missing From Condor Rapide Fast Ferry

Numerous news sources in the UK are reporting that a passenger is missing overboard from a high speed ferry this afternoon in England. 

The passenger was aboard the Condor Rapide Fast Ferry, which was en route from Guernsey to Poole in Dorset. The ferry's crew raised the alarm at 5.35 PM, British time.

The Guardian newspaper reports that British and French coastguard, as well as lifeboats from Weymouth and Alderney and a search plane from the Channel Islands, are searching the route of the Condor Rapide Fast Ferry - Passenger Overboardferry to find the missing passenger, according to the HM Coastguard.

A spokesman for Condor Ferries said: "At 5.35pm today crew were made aware of a possible missing person situation onboard Condor Rapide.

"The captain raised a Pan Pan with the coastguard and a full search was conducted of the vessel.

"The passenger was unable to be found and the Pan Pan was upgraded to a Mayday."

Other newspaper are reporting that several helicopters are also involved in the search.

The passenger is a woman.  Her name has not been released.

 

Photo credit:  Condor Rapide Fast Ferry via Guardian

Cruise Ship Door Locking Devices - What On Earth Is This?

A member of Cruise Critic posted a photograph of some kind of device designed to prevent the insertion of a key card to unlock a passenger cabin door as well as to padlock the door handle from moving.

The passenger apparently sailed aboard an unidentified Royal Caribbean cruise ship last month, and invited the fellow Cruise Critic members to speculate on why this device was used.

Cruise Passenger Door Locking DeviceWas the device used to lock a passenger in the cabin? This seems very unlikely.

Or was the device used to keep the cabin secure for an investigation by law enforcement officials to search for drugs or to investigate a crime scene?

Aren't these cruise ship doors designed such that there is a master lock or key which can prevent cleaning personnel out of the cabins following crimes?

What happened on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship at the end of last month?

Which cruise ship was this (some speculate the Liberty of the Seas or the Monarch of the Seas)?    

As a maritime lawyer who has represented many passengers whose family members have been sexually assaulted in their cabins, I have seen many incidents where the passenger cabins were meticulously cleaned when the crime scenes should have been preserved.

Is this a device designed to prevent that from occurring? 

I am curious why any cruise line would use this particular type of locking device?

Anyone have information to solve this riddle?  Please leave a comment below.

 

Photo credit:  Cruise Critic member SSPhone

Coast Guard Busy Rescuing Sick Cruise Passengers: Three Medevacs in Ten Days

The United States Coast Guard has been busy rescuing ill passengers from cruise ships over the past week. 

Today a newspaper in North Carolina reports that a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a 49 year old woman from the Carnival Pride cruise ship.  The ship was near Virginia at the time of the emergency medical evacuation.  The medical condition of the passenger was not disclosed.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, launched to assist, hoisted the woman and ship’s nurse and took them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk.

Yesterday, the Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from Belle Chase (near New Orleans) into the Gulf of Mexico to rescue a man aboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas cruise ship.  According to a newspaper in New Orleans, a MH-65C helicopter flew 132 miles into the Gulf to medevac the passenger who was experiencing stroke-like symptoms. The Coast Guard then transferred the passenger to Touro Infirmary in New Orleans.

Last week, the Coast Guard medevaced a man from the Crown Princess, operated by Princess Cruises.  I don't have any information about this medevac. Does anyone have any information about this event or the other two medevacs?

A video of the Crown Princess rescue (credit tigertran01/youtube)  is below. 

 

Was a Passenger Sexually Assaulted on the Carnival Victory?

Carnival Victory Cruise Ship Rape  Several people have informed us that Carnival is investigating an incident where a cruise passenger awoke on the Carnival Victory cruise ship in a crewmember's cabin with bruises and little recollection of events.

The issue of cruise ship rape is one the cruise industry nastiest secrets.

Was a passenger raped on the Carnival Victory?

We have reason to believe that two crewmembers are under scrutiny.

There are online reports that a Maitre'd from Macedonia and a waiter from Croatia were arrested for the alleged rape of an underage girl.

Our Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a spotty history of investigating shipboard rapes.  Was the alleged incident timely and accurately reported by Carnival to the FBI?  Has there been an arrest?

Crewmembers were arrested recently for engaging in sexual abuse of a 16 year old girl on the NCL Norwegian Star, a child on a Cunard cruise ship by a child activities supervisor, a 14 year old girl on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas, a 15 year old girl (by another passenger) on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, and a 14 year old girl aboard the Carnival Freedom.    All of this in just three months.

A rape is the last thing that Carnival wants to deal with after the Costa Concordia disaster and the Costa Allegra ship fire.      

The Carnival Victory is sailing a 7 Night Southern Caribbean itinerary and departed San Juan today.

You can read about cruise ships rapes here.  Rapes of children on cruises here.

We have represented over 75 women and children raped on cruise ships including Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, among others. 

The last time the Carnival Victory was in the news was following the murder of a 14 year old passenger ashore in St. Thomas last year.  We are representing the victim's family in a case we reported on here

Were you on the cruise last week?  If you have information to share, please leave a comment below.  

January 23, 2013 Update: Bad Times Aboard the Fun Ships: Passenger Alleges Rape Aboard Carnival Victory Cruise Ship 

Coast Guard Medevacs 47 Year Old Passenger From NCL Jewel

Yesterday a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter medevaced a 47 year old woman female off a cruise ship.  The cruise ship was approximately 115 miles northeast of Cape Henry.  

The captain of the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard at around 5 PM, reporting they had a passenger with severe abdominal pains who needed medical attention ashore.
 
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. were dispatched to the scene.  The helicopter crew hoisted the woman and her husband off the cruise ship at approximately 7 PM.
 
The couple were taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
 
 
 

 

Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard

Congress Studies Cruise Ship Safety While Passenger Disappears From Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

While the U.S. Congress addressed the safety of the foreign flagged cruise industry today in Washington D.C., a passenger disappeared from a cruise ship sailing between the Bahamas and Florida.

ABC News reports this evening that a Canadian woman in her 40's disappeared during a Celebration line cruise aboard the Bahamas Celebration between the Grand Bahama island and Florida.  The woman was reported missing by her boyfriend at 8 AM this morning.  He told the police and FBI that he last saw his girlfriend at the cruise ship's gift shop before heading to the casino at around 1 AM and then retiring to their cabin to sleep

Missing Passenger Bahamas Celebration After the cruise ship docked at the Port of Palm Beach at 7 AM, he awoke and and searched the ship but could not find her.  At around 8 AM, the ship's crew and Coast Guard searched the cruise without success. 

According to ABC, the Coast Guard believes the woman was on the ship when it left Freeport at around 8 PM Tuesday night, because every passenger must swipe a card to get on the cruise ship.

The issue of cruise passengers and crew who "disappear" during cruises is a problem which the cruise industry has failed to adequately address. 

Australia's popular television program Dateline aired a cruise special today about missing passengers & crewmembers and crime at sea.

Well over 150 passengers and crew have disappeared from cruise ships over the last decade.

The cruise industry claims that it has an "incredibly safe" record.  

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

Update: The passenger has been identified as Fariba Amani from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Lost at Sea: Australia's Dateline Features Cruise Law & International Cruises Victims

Dateline Lost at Sea Cruise Disappearances and Cruise CrimeAustralia's popular television program Dateline aired a cruise special today about missing passengers & crewmembers and crime at sea.  

The program starts with the case of missing Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam who disappeared from the Disney Wonder cruise ship last year.  Her parents Mike and Ann Coriam were interviewed and express their thoughts about how the case is being handled.

The program also features the case of missing Holland America Lines (HAL) passenger Blake Kepley who vanished from the HAL's Oosterdam.  

The CEO (Ken Carver) and President (Jamie Barnett) of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) are on the program.  Mr. Carver lost his daughter Mirian Carver on the Celebrity Mercury and Ms. Barnett's daughter Ashley died during a Carnival cruise.

I am interviewed and I discuss the problem of cruise ship crime and the cruise industry's lack of transparency.

Take a minute and watch the program below: 

 

Another Cruise Passenger Found Dead In Cayman Islands Waters

A newspaper in the Cayman Islands is reporting that a 56 year old cruise ship passenger was found dead in the water Wednesday afternoon.

The cruise passenger was found floating on the water by people on a boat in Coral Gardens. They lifted the man onto their vessel, but found he was unconscious and unresponsive to CPR. He was transported to a yacht club where paramedics were waiting and then transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, but was found to be dead on arrival.Cayman Islands Drowning Death Cruise Ship

This incident sounds identical to the death of another cruise passenger in the same area. Last December a 71 year old cruise passenger from North Carolina was found dead in the water in the Coral Gardens area and taken to the same yacht club and hospital where he was pronounced dead. You can read about the death last year here.

The name of the latest cruise passenger to have died in Cayman Islands waters was not released. The name of the cruise ship was also not released.

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

 

Photo credit:  photos4travel / @patrix99

Family of Overboard Passenger From Allure of the Seas Asks Public For Information

A blogger of international news at the Examiner, Edward Owens, published an interesting article today regarding the disappearance of a passenger from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship.  

You will recall that last week, Irish cruise passenger Kenneth John Gemmell went overboard from the balcony of his cabin on the eleventh deck of the Allure cruise ship.  The initial reports stated that he "fell," although the cruise line was quick to issue a statement that a review of the ship's closed circuit television cameras eventually indicated that the passenger "intentionally" went over the railing.

We reported on the incident on February 3rd and have been updating the story since then.

Did Royal Caribbean Send A Crewmember Home After The Incident?

Kenneth John Gemmell - Allure of the Seas - MissingMr. Owen's article contains a new twist, perhaps, to the incident.   Mr. Gemmell may have argued with a Royal Caribbean crewmember at some point before he went overboard.  The crewmember then allegedly left the vessel in Cozumel.  Mr. Owens writes:    

The family says that some information has already come their way. One party told them that Kenneth may have been arguing with a ship's crew member (perhaps a bartender) in one of the bars late Thursday night or early Friday morning. They were also told that the crew member, a man they understood was sharing a room with a Canadian citizen, left the ship in Cozumel. 

Is this gossip or accurate information?  If this is true, then the crewmember would have been removed from the cruise ship before the law enforcement authorities or representative of the flag state (Bahamas) boarded the cruise ship when it returned to port in Fort Lauderdale two days later.   If you know anything about this, please leave a comment below and contact the family.

Family Seeks Information

Mr. Gemmell's family is seeking answers to the circumstances surrounding their son's death.  The article states that they are issuing an appeal to anyone on board the ship who might have met their son during the cruise.  They especially wish to hear from the passenger who witnessed him going overboard. 

Anyone who has information about this tragedy is asked to email the family spokesperson at the following email address: michael@mhynes.com 

 

Story credit:  Examiner

Photo credit:  Kenneth John Gemmell - Anglo Celt newspaper

Passenger Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas OverboardThe AP is reporting that a Irish cruise ship passenger went overboard from the Allure of the Seas, which is the world's largest cruise ship cruise ship.

(Update: If you are searching for the overboard involving a twenty-one (21) year old woman from Bartlett Tennessee who disappeared on September 16, 2012 from the Allure, click here.)

Royal Caribbean states that another passenger allegedly saw the British passenger, age 30, go over the railing from his stateroom on the Allure.  The cruise line then apparently verified the overboard by viewing images from closed circuit television.  

The incident occurred as the cruise ship was heading to Cozumel.  Announcements were made around 6:45 AM.  The cruise ship then stopped off the coast of Mexico near Cozumel. and participated in a brief search.  The ship was to depart tonight at 8:00 PM tonight and was scheduled to be at sea tomorrow, with a return to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

There are rumors that the passenger may have left a suicide note and then stepped on a table and went overboard.

The last British citizen who disappeared in international waters near Mexico is Rebecca Coriam, a Disney cruise member employed as a youth counselor aboard the Disney Wonder.    

The last reported incident aboard the Allure of the Seas involved multiple rapes earlier last month

The cruise ship was under charter by Atlantis, which hosts parties for the gay and lesbian community.  The Allure had sailed from South Florida on January 29, 2012 to Labadee Haiti, Costa Maya Mexico, and then to Cozumel. 

In the past, the Atlantis - Royal Caribbean cruises have been marred by controversy, with drug overdoses, suicide, and a travel agent busted for selling drugs (arrested with 142 ecstasy pills, 3 grams of methamphetamine, ketamine and about $51,000 in cash).  You can read about these incidents below.

One year ago:  Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Two years ago:  Another Death on a Royal Caribbean - Atlantis Cruise

Three years ago: GLAAD Board Member Dies Aboard Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas

And don't forget to read:  Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World's Largest Gay Cruise?

Does anyone know what happened on this latest Atlantis cruise party?

 

Allure of the Seas Atlantis Cruise

 

Photo credit:  Atlantis Events

Royal Caribbean Passenger Falls & Dies on Liberty of the Seas Cruise Ship

Liberty of the Seas - Catacombs News sources are reporting that a passenger died aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this morning after falling down a staircase. 

Massachusetts resident, Barbara Wood, age 47, reportedly was leaving the Catacombs nightclub aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas at about 1:48 a.m. when she fell on the stairs and struck her head, according to a statement by the Broward County Sheriff's office. 

Ms. Wood was taken to the ship’s infirmary where she was pronounced dead at 2:50 a.m., according to the Sheriff's office.  Sheriff’s deputies met the cruise ship when it docked at 5 a.m. at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. 

The Royal Caribbean PR spokesperson stated that the company would not speculate on what caused the accident. 

It should be noted that there should be closed circuit television (CCTV) maintained by the cruise line which should have captured the accident and should reveal exactly what happened.  It is less than clear where the accident occurred although the stairs around this club are extremely decorative. 

Any time an accident occurs late at night and near a nightclub, there is speculation that alcohol may have been involved.  This is nothing new.  Alcohol sales are a fundamental part of the cruise Liberty of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship - Catacombs experience, and alcohol is often pushed by the cruise lines. 

Royal Caribbean has undoubtedly already carefully reviewed this passenger's onboard purchases and determined exactly how many alcoholic beverages, if any, she purchased last night.  The cruise line will also have reviewed the CCTV images and interviewed those at the scene of the accident.  

To the extent that alcohol played any part in the accident, the maritime law regarding the liability of cruise lines is well settled.  In Hall v. Royal Caribbean, a passenger "was injured on the high seas when, after having been served alcohol by the vessel's employees to and obviously past the point of intoxication, he staggered from a lounge, and while unable to look after himself fell down two flights of open stairways." 

The appellate court reversed the trial court's dismissal of the case, finding that the dismissal "must be reversed because the complaint clearly stated a cause of action for breach of the defendant's duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of its passengers."  

If you were on the cruise and have additional information to add, please leave a comment below.

February 4, 2012 Update:

This i snot the first serious accident on the Liberty o fthe Seas involving the Catacombs stairwells: When Will Royal Caribbean Replace the Dangerous Stairs in the Catacombs Lounge on the Liberty of the Seas?

 

Photo credit:  Bottom photo - skinnie minnie / Flickr page

Two Rapes Alleged on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

The world's largest cruise ship was the location for two shipboard rapes during a 10 day Christmas and New Year cruise which returned to South Florida yesterday.

The first reported incident occurred on the last night of the cruise and has been reported by several local news stations.  It involved a 15 year old girl who was lured from a cruise line teen club under false pretenses back to a passenger cabin and then sexually assaulted by a 20 year old man and another 15 year old boy.

Allure of the Seas Passenger - Luiz Scavone - Brazil - Rape - Sexual AssaultThe alleged assailants are two Brazilian passengers who were sailing aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, which is based on Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

According to the Broward County's Sheriff's Office, the 15 year old girl was at the cruise ship's teen club called "Fuel" when a 15 year old boy told her he was having a party in his room.  The young girl, who was vacationing with her family, was led to believe that she would meet friends there.  However, after entering entering the cabin, she was confronted by an older passenger, Luiz Scavone, age 20. His full name is Luiz Antônio Scavone Neto.

The Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) said that Scavone and the 15 year old boy prevented her from leaving, removed her clothing, forced oral sex, and then both raped her. "The victim told them 'no' several times and tried to leave but was not able to," according to the  BSO.

Scavone and the 15-year-old boy have been charged with "lewd and lascivious battery."  Scavone is in jail in Fort Lauderdale.  His Broward County Sheriff's mugshot is to the left. 

A judge in Broward County ordered Scavone to relinquish his Brazilian passport.  According to CBS Channel 4, the judge stated that if the immigration hold is lifted, and Scavone is released on bond, he must be fitted with a GPS monitor and is barred from applying for a replacement passport.  The judge cited the case of a Boynton Beach police officer who fled to Brazil last July using a replacement passport after he was indicted on a drug charge.  The U.S. used to have an extradition treaty with Brazil for decades, however Brazil now prohibits its citizens from being extradited to other other countries to face criminal charges.

The second incident occurred in the early morning hours of January 1, 2012.  It also involved a Brazilian passenger, believed to be in his 40's, who sexually harassed and then sexually assaulted and battered an U.S. college student.  The young woman was treated in the ship infirmary and underwent a rape examination.  Unlike the incident involving the 15 year old victim where the assailants were arrested, the Brazilian man was released by the FBI and the Broward Sheriff's Office.  He returned to Brazil and cannot be extradited.

This incident has not been reported in the media.  Royal Caribbean has not issued a statement regarding the second allegation of sexual assault.

 

 

Issues to consider:

These incidents raise questions regarding the adequacy of the security aboard the world's largest cruise ship.  The Allure and its sister cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, can carry 6,500 passengers.  Both ships are essentially small cities with no police force.  We have been critical of Royal Caribbean's refusal to employ a sufficient number of security guards on its cruise ships and its refusal to monitor closed circuit television cameras to respond to potential criminal activities.    

A year ago, the Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain and President Adam Goldstein were aboard the Allure's sister ship with microphone in hand and supposedly open for all questions.  But they refused to provide any information about the safety and security of the passengers.  Certainly U.S. passengers who pay thousands of dollars each to sail on this mega-target of a ship deserve straight forward answers whether their families will be safe from crime.  Here are the questions which I posted on my blog which remain unanswered:

"Q:  The LA Times reported that for a period of 32 months, there were over 250 incidents of sexual assault, battery, and sexual harassment against guests and crew members on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. In light of these problems, how many security guards are employed on the Genesis class of cruise ships? 

Q:   How many security guards are assigned to the seven "neighborhoods" on the cruise ships?  Allure of the Seas - Security - Sexual AssaultsAre there security "sub-stations" in each of the neighborhoods?

Q:  How many security guards patrol the neighborhoods from 10:00 p.m. to 4 a.m., a time period we have found when female passengers are at a higher risk of being assaulted?  (Both of the alleged rapes this week occurred in the early morning hours when Royal Caribbean has virtually no guard patrolling). 

Over a year ago, I also asked the  question: 

Has Royal Caribbean invested adequately into safety and security technologies and personnel to protect you and your family?  The cruise line executives will never tell, but we shall soon find out."

January 10, 2012 Update:  Alleged Cruise Ship Rapists From Brazil Seek Low Bond

 

Photo credit:

Top: Broward Sheriff's Office via Mugshots Online

Bottom:  Royal Caribbean Cruises via Cruise Critic

Coast Guard Medevacs 73 Year Old Passenger From Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship

A 73 tear old passenger from the Carnival Triumph received a ride of a lifetime when an U.S. Coast Guard helicopter plucked him from the deck of the cruise ship and flew him to Galveston for emergency medical treatment.

The Carnival cruise ship was around 120 miles off the coast of Galveston when the Coast Guard performed the medical evacuations early Friday yesterday morning.

Carnival notified the Coast Guard around 10 PM Thursday night that the cruise passenger had a blood clot in his foot and needed immediate medical treatment.  An MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter was dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Houston around 11:40 PM>  As you can see from the Coast Guard video below, they helicopter crew successfully lifted the passengers from the Triumph cruise ship. He was flown to the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston.

We have reported on around a dozen Coast Guard - cruise ship medevacs this year.

 

Video credit:  U.S. Coast Guard via Houston Chronicle

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger from Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill passenger from the Queen May 2 cruise ship off of the coast of North Carolina.

The video below shows the the skilled crew of a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter lifting a 64 year old woman from the deck of the QM2 cruise ship.  The passenger was suffering from severe abdominal pains.  The cruise ship was sailing 110 miles off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina on December 20, 2011.  The Coast Guard flew the ill woman to a hospital in Norfolk Virginia. 

 

 

Video Credit:  U.S. Coast Guard

Rescued Passenger Kisses and Waves Goodbye to Cruise Ship

One of the stories I never tire of reporting is when a Coast Guard helicopter plucks a sick cruise passenger from the deck of a cruise ship and takes the passenger ashore for emergency medical treatment.

The skill of the U.S. Coast Guard in rescuing people from cruise ships is rather remarkable. The Coast Guard can fly 200 miles out to sea to medevac ill and injured passengers and crew.  Other than England, Canada and perhaps a few other countries, you will not see anyone performing life saving heroic missions to rescue the needy on the high seas other than the U.S. Coast Guard.     

Below is a video of a Coast Guard helicopter hoisting a young woman from the deck of the Explorer cruise ship as the ship returned from a Caribbean cruise.  The helicopter took the passenger to a hospital in Key West.

At the end of the video, you can see the young lady in the rescue basket waving to the cruise ship, and kissing goodbye perhaps to a loved one below.

 

 

Video credit:  U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick NCL Cruise Passenger

A number of news sources are reporting that yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill cruise passengerman from a cruise ship to a North Carolina hospital for treatment.

The ship doctor on the Norwegian Cruise ine's Gem cruise ship notified the Coast Guard that  a 38-year-old man was going into shock. The cruise ship was reportedly about 75 miles east of Wilmington at the time.

A helicopter from the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City North Carolina then flew the man from the cruise ship to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.

The Coast Guard says the man was in stable condition. His name was not released.

 

Celebrity Solstice Hit By Cruise Ship Virus?

The Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") report that 118 of the 2,730 passengers aboard the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship have reported to the ship's medical facility with vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.

The Solstice is currently on a 14 day cruise and will return to Fort Lauderdale on December 11, 2011.

Pursuant to the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program, environmental health officers and an epidemiologist will board the cruise ship, once it returns to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow, in order assess the outbreak and the cruise line's response activities.

It has been our experience over the years that the "official" CDC numbers of ill passengers and crewmembers is usually less than the true number of those afflicted with viral illnesses.  This is because many sick passengers know that they will be quarantined in their cabins or they simply do not want to wait in the long lines outside of the ship infirmary.  Often, sick crewmembers are Celebrity Solstice - Cruise Ship Sicknesspressed to work notwithstanding their sicknesses.  

We wrote about the problem of under reporting last year when the Celebrity Mercury experienced a prolonged outbreak of norovirus: Is Celebrity Cruises Under-Reporting Sicknesses to the CDC?

This is not the first time the Solstice has experienced an outbreak this year.  In January and February, there were norovirus outbreaks on the Solstice with one passenger dying due to exposure to the virus. 

Celebrity Cruises has experienced other bouts of widespread illnesses in 2011.  Over 100 passengers became sick on the Millennium in May of this year. 

Not all gastrointestinal outbreaks are documented with the CDC.  The cruise lines do not have to report the outbreaks when the cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port.  In September, norovirus broke out on Celebrity's Eclipse sailing out of Southampton, England.  You will find no mention of it in the official CDC database.

Earlier this week, we discussed Is there a Cure for the Cruise Ship Virus?

If you were on the Solstice and have something to add to this story, please leave a comment below.  Was the sickness more widespread than reported?  How did the cruise line handle the situation?   

 

Photo credit:  Examiner

Cruise Passenger Found Dead in Cayman Islands

Cruise Passenger Drowns - Cayman IslandsToday the Cayman News Service reports that yesterday afternoon a seventy one year old cruise passenger was found dead in the water near an area referred to as the "Sand Bar."  This is a popular location where tourists can swim in shallow water near stingrays.

Police have identified the cruise ship passenger as Mr. Samir Rizk of Raleigh, North Carolina.

According to this news source, a spokesperson for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said that just before 2:00 PM on December 6th, the local police police received a report that "a man had been found in the ocean, near to Coral Gardens, floating in the water by people who were on a boat at the Sand Bar."  

The boaters lifted the man onto their vessel, but found he was unconscious and non-responsive to CPR.  

The news source further reports that the Joint Marine Unit’s ‘Niven D’ went to the location and transported the man to the Yacht Club where paramedics were standing-by.  He was then taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, but was found to be dead on arrival.

A post mortem examination is scheduled to take place on this Friday, December 9th.  There is no indication regarding the name of the cruise line or cruise ship on which the deceased passenger was sailing.  It is also unknown whether the passenger was on an excursion, or a tender, or swimming or engaged in water sports.

If you were on the cruise and have information regarding this incident, please leave a comment below.   

December 8, 2011 Update: The Raleigh News and Observer newspaper has an article where Mr. Rizk's brother described him as an excellent swimmer and marathon runner, having completed a marathon just two months earlier.  He questions how no one observed his brother in distress in such a popular and often crowded area.

 

Photo credit:  photos4travel / @patrix99

Woman Dies After Fall From Queen Mary

A news station in California is reporting that a woman is dead after falling around 75 feet from the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor Monday evening.

KABC News in Long Beach states that the woman "fell off a walkway" around 8:30 p.m. yesterday evening and plunged into the water below.

Another person jumped into the water to try and rescue the woman, followed by two Long Beach police officers. 

The BelmontShores-Naples Patch has the most complete information.  This newspaper states that the 26 year old woman fell from the upper gangway after arguing with her 40 year old boyfriend.

Queen Mary Hotel - Long BeachThe newspaper reports that that two unidentified employees witnessed the argument and the woman falling into the water.  Although ordered not to talk, they provided eyewitness detail.

They said that the woman had been arguing, with a man they called her boyfriend, near the center of the top level gangway for nearly 10 minutes.  One employee recounted that the woman allegedly said "I don't want to live, I don't want to be with you anymore, I don't want to go on."

She made a "motion like she was going to go over the rail and slipped."

The 40 year old man then "ran down the steps to the bottom landing and jumped in."

The newspaper states that one of the employees saw the entire (nearly 10 minute) argument, while the second employee said he saw the final three or four minutes.

She was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later died.

Although many news sources refer to the Queen Mary as a "cruise ship," in 1967 it was removed from the British registry and officially turned over to the city of Long Beach.  The once storied vessel was operated by Cunard.  The vessel had its inaugural voyage in 1936; it was used as a troop transport in the second world war; and it enjoyed its "golden years" in the 1950's and 1960's.  It is now operated as a hotel and is fully dependent on shore utilities.  

Carnival Cruise Passengers Admit Plotting to Import $400,000 of Pot Into Bermuda

Newspapers in Bermuda are reporting today that two American women admitted plotting to import more than $400,000 of cannabis resin on a cruise ship into Bermuda.

In early October of this year, the Bermuda authorities arrested Alloah Jatan Releford, age 23, from Temple, Georgia, and Latoya Nicole Powell, age 27, from Marietta, Georgia. They had sailed from Charleston, South Carolina to Bermuda aboard Carnival's Fantasy cruise ship.

The drugs were found strapped to the women’s bodies.  The total weight was 2.7 kgs (6lbs), with a street value estimated to be over $400,000.

The cruise passengers will be sentenced next month.

Cruise Passenger Seriously Injured in Jet Ski - Banana Boat Accident in Cayman Islands

Multiple news sources are reporting that a sixteen year old girl vacationing in the Cayman Islands during a cruise is in a critical condition following a collision between a jet ski and a "banana boat" near Seven Mile Public Beach.

The incident occurred shortly after noon on Thursday.  The local police stated that the jet ski was being ridden by a seventeen year old cruise passenger when it ran into the "banana" inflatable raft which was being towed by a power boat. 

Two females, aged sixteen and twenty-four years old, were thrown from the inflatable raft.  They were transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital for treatment.  The twenty-four year old woman was released from the hospital, but the teenager remains in a critical condition and is apparently being airlifted here to Florida for treatment.

The newspapers covering the story indicate that all three people involved in the incident were cruise ship passengers.

So far, there is no indication regarding the name of the cruise ship or whether this was a cruise sponsored excursion. 

Reefer Madness: Cruise Passengers Busted in Belize During Cruises

Reefer madness, Belize style.  So you're a young  cruise passenger wanting to get high while visiting some of the ports you visit.  Certainly no one in a third world place like Belize will hassle you, right?

Wrong.

Consider the following news reports from Belize regarding the consequences of cruise passengers choosing to either buy pot or bring a few joints ashore while cruising to Belize. 

Channel 5 Belize reports of a young passenger who was spotted by the local police with a marijuana cigarette.  She quickly swallowed it as the cops moved in on her.

Reefer Madness - BelizeWitnesses say the two male officers choked her and dragged her on the ground in front of a crowd that was infuriated by the way she was manhandled.  After a day and a half in lockdown, she was charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice and harm against a police officer.  She pleaded not guilty to three charges and told the court that she was in shock about how she was treated.

The local magistrate told her that because she is not a Belizean, bail was not an option. 

Eventually, two of the charges were dropped and the cruise passenger was found guilty of obstruction of justice and fined two hundred and fifty dollars to be paid immediately or face jail.  The cashier had already closed for the day and she had to stay the weekend in jail until Monday when she can pay her fine.

In another incident, 7 News Belize reports that a cruise passenger to Belize was arrested for possession of 2.9 grams of pot two days ago. 

The passenger is a 21 year old American college student from Florida. The incident occurred around 4:30 P.M. on Tuesday at the Tourism Village where many passengers visit in Belize. 

A local magistrate fined the passenger $1,000 or in default serve one year in prison. 

2.9 grams probably cost him $25.  The racket in countries like this (Bermuda being the worst) is that no one will contest the legality of the search or the penalty when threatened will a year in jail for such a small amount of pot.    

You can read another similar situation involving a 25 year old cruise passenger in Belize here.  The  passenger faced a seven month sentence for 8 grams of pot because he did not have the funds to pay the fine. 

These local news outlets do a remarkably detailed job reporting these minor offenses while always publishing a photo of the U.S. citizen busted for pot.  In none of these stories did the newspapers identify the name of the cruise ship where the passengers came from.  

Hunting stoned cruise passengers seems to be a sport in Belize

HAL's Veendam: 1 Dead, 80 Sick

Multiple news sources are reporting that an U.S passenger died aboard Holland America Line's Veendam cruise ship that arrived in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.

HAL's Veendam is also the same cruise ship on which approximated 80 passengers fell ill, according to the state-run Brazilian news agency, Agencia Brasil.  The agency refers to the cruise passengers as suffering from "gastro-enteritis."  It is unknown whether there is a norovirus outbreak. 

Forensic doctors are investigating the death of the American passenger.  A CNN article reports that the cruise ship doctors told police that the woman was "elderly and suffered from diabetes and hypertension."  (So much for the confidentiality of a patient's medical information.) 

The Veendam left New York 36 days ago for a South America cruise. The Veendam had stopped earlier in the cruise at ports in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay before reaching Rio de Janeiro.

November 23, 2011 Update: 

HAL claims that the death and the illness of some 80 passengers are unrelated.  HAL issued a statement to Noticias de Cruceros that the passenger died due to a heart condition which had nothing to do with the  gastrointestinal ilnesses.  It's amazing how cruise line PR people suddenly become epidemiologists when someone dies on their cruise ship. 

HAL Veendam - Cruise Cruise Norovirus?But a local newspaper in Brazil, Clarin, has the following account (translated):

An American, 61, died of a suspected food poisoning on a luxury cruise ship which arrived in Rio de Janeiro, from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, in which 86 other passengers had symptoms such as cramps and vomiting, reported Brazilian authorities, in what is thought to be an outbreak of gastroenteritis due to consumption of bad food and poor hygiene.

The Holland America liner MS Veendam, carrying 1259 passengers, arrived in Rio de Janeiro and was quarantined to be subjected to investigations by the Brazilian Federal Police and the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) .

Tourism Secretary de Janeiro, Ronald Azaro, said that 79 people have contracted some sort of infection on the trip. When the November 6 cruise departed from Valparaiso, Chile, ANVISA received a warning symptoms of some passengers.  He went to Argentina and Uruguay, having started the journey in New York, USA, with stops in Panama and Colombia, according to the Brazilian press.

The official said the Brazilian Federal Police took over the investigation into the death of the American, identified as Dorothy Philips, age 61, occurred on board as the ship was in the Maua Pier in the city of Rio. 

Sources told the Brazilian media crew that the crew issued a red alert three days ago to take care with hygiene and some food. For now, the pool and the library of the cruise were closed. 

According to the NASS report released last month, 27% of cruise ships passing through the Brazilian coast have health problems than those permitted by the rules in Brazil. Among the problems, according to an official report collection are inadequate food and lack of water conditions offered to passengers. 

ANVISA recalled thatpassengers on the same boat, in March this year, experienced gastroenteritis cruising to  Brazil. At least 43 passengers had symptoms in Belem, capital of Amazon state of Pará.

 

Photo credit:  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire 

Three Princess Cruises Passengers Hospitalized in Bermuda

Grand Princess Cruise Ship - Princess CruisesThe Bermuda Sun reports this week that three cruise passengers were taken to the hospital in Bermuda after Princess Cruises' Grand Princess arrived in port.

A female passenger reportedly broke her ankle, a male passenger suffered a heart condition, and another male passenger lost consciousness in the cruise ship's swimming pool.  

This was the Grand Princess’s only trip to Bermuda this year. 

Bermuda has recently lost a number of cruise lines as customers this year.  Holland America just announced that the Veendam will no longer visit Bermuda after next year, after making 24 cruises from New York this year.  That announcement occurred shortly after Carnival announced that it was cutting cruises to Bermuda from 16 trips by four cruise ships this year, to just one in 2012.

The president of Bermuda's Chamber of Commerce characterized these developments as a “big blow to the island’s economy.” 

 

Photo credit:  Grand Princess cruise ship in Bermuda Flickr (tribewantedgilligan)

Life In Jail For Cruise Passenger Who Threw Wife Overboard

Yesterday, a jury convicted a Chinese passenger of murder after finding that he threw his wife off a cruise ship.   

The Standard newspaper in Hong Kong reports that Wang Weile, age 49, shook his head in disbelief when the seven member jury returned its guilty verdict.  The judge then sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Charlie Chan's Murder CruiseAs we reported in our article about this bizarre crime earlier this week - Sea Burial or Cruise Murder? - the cruise passenger claimed that he accidentally injured his wife while trying to keep her from committing suicide.  When she lost consciousness, he thought that she was dead. 

Wang claims that he suddenly remembered that she wanted a burial at sea.  He then pitched her overboard to honor her wishes.

The couple have a nine year old child.  

However when he took the stand at trial, he retracted the "sea burial" story.  He admitted being partially responsible for his wife's injuries, explaining that he struggled with her after she asked him to leave her alone and find another woman.

He also alleged his wife wanted to borrow 400,000 yuan (around $63,00) for her niece's business.

The incident occurred on the Macau Success, a casino cruise ship, while it was in Hong Kong waters.

As bizarre as Wang's defense sounds, the guilty verdict was not unanimous. 

One juror voted to acquit Wang.

Sea Burial or Cruise Murder?

What do you do if you accidentally knock your wife unconscious when she tries to commit suicide on a cruise?  Do you throw her overboard after suddenly remembering that she wanted to be buried at sea?

Yes, pretty far fetched.  But that is exactly the defense offered in a criminal trial against a Chinese cruise passenger who is accused of murdering his wife and then pitching her overboard during a cruise aboard the Macau Success last year.  

The Standard newspaper in China explains that Wang Weilie, age 49, stands accused of murdering his wife Yang Wenjuan, age 43, during a cruise on September 24th last year.

Macau Success - Cruise Ship Murder - Passenger OverboardA cruise passenger witnessed the couple on a deck when Wang pushed Yang's head backwards towards the railing.  He rushed to notify the cruise staff but returned to find the couple gone but blood covering the deck.

Cruise security guards observed bloodstains on Wang's fingertips.  He said the injuries to his fist, chest and knee were caused during a struggle to prevent his wife from killing herself.  However, when she lost consciousness, he threw her overboard.

A post-mortem examination found bruises, abrasions and a broken arm.  A pathologist concluded Yang "died of drowning after sustaining significant but otherwise non-fatal injuries."

According to an article published last year, the couple have a nine year old son.

The bizarre story reminds me of the violent death of cruise passenger Karen Roston whose husband threw her overboard on the last night of her honeymoon cruise from the Sundancer cruise ship operated by Admiral Cruises of Miami.  Scott Roston concocted a story that high winds blew her overboard as she ran on the jogging track on an upper deck.  But evidence introduced at his criminal trial indicated that the winds were just 4 - 5 mph. 

FBI agents found Ms. Roston's hair embedded in the rubberized jogging track along with a broken earring matching one she was wearing in a photograph taken at a shipboard dinner.  Her husband was observed with scratches on his face after her disappearance.  A medical examiner concluded from an autopsy that Ms. Roston had been strangled and then thrown overboard . . .

 

Photo credit:    shipphotos.com.au

Passenger Goes Overboard From NCL's Norwegian Sun in Falmouth Jamaica

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein reports that a NCL passenger went overboard from Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun shortly after the cruise ship pulled out of the Falmouth shipping pier in Jamaica late Wednesday. 

Professor Klein has the most complete list of passenger overboards over the course of the last ten years.

Professor Klein's website refers to an article in the Jamaica Observer which reports that the Trelawny police responded to an incident late on Wednesday involving a passenger who died after going overboard from the top deck of the cruise ship Norwegian Sun.

The newspaper quotes the head of the Falmouth Police Division, Superintendent Andrew Lewis, stating that he was informed that the cruise passenger was taken from the water by crew members of the vessel, which had turned around after an alarm was raised that the passenger had jumped.

Famouth Jamaica Passenger OverboardThe police reported that the incident occurred 25 minutes after the vessel left the Falmouth cruise shipping pier about 6:00 pm.

The article is confusing, claiming that the passenger allegedly "jumped" while  Superintendent Lewis referred to "the man falling in the water."

Yesterday, the Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett issued a bizarre statement, expressing regret over the incident but said he stating that "the circumstances has nothing to do the destination."

NCL, which is based here in Miami, has not issued a statement about the incident.  The only reports I have seen about the passenger overboard are from Professor Klein who is in Canada, and the newspaper in Jamaica.  

The Miami-based cruise lines do a remarkable job keeping these type of incidents under the radar.

Like many overboards, it is less than clear whether the passenger jumped or fell, and if so whether alcohol was involved.

If you were on the cruise or have information, photographs or video regarding the incident, please leave a comment below. 

November 4, 2011 Update:Norwegian Sun Passenger Overboard

Tonight NCL issued the following statement:

"At approximately 7 pm ET on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, a guest traveling on Norwegian Sun was observed jumping overboard from a public area on Deck 12.  The ship immediately turned around, launched rescue boats and conducted a search.  At approximately 8 pm ET, the guest was located in the water, returned to the vessel and pronounced deceased by the ship’s doctor.

All appropriate authorities have been notified.  Out of respect for the family, the company will not be releasing any further details.  Norwegian Cruise Line extends its deepest sympathies to the guest’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Norwegian Sun departed Port Canaveral, Florida on October 29, 2011.  The ship is sailing a Western Caribbean itinerary and had visited Falmouth, Jamaica on Wednesday."

November 7, 2011 Update:

Several passengers have left comments below.  One passenger, Kate, sent us a photograph of one the rescue boats.  (The exposure of the photo was adjusted substantially because it was very dark).

Cruise Passenger Busted for Crack in Belize City

7 New Belize reports today on the arrest of a 27-year old British cruise passenger in Belize City.

A police officer working at the Tourism Village reportedly arrested Paul Smith, after he was "acting suspiciously" and searched him. The officer found 2.3 grammes of crack cocaine inside a pack of cigarettes in Smith's pocket.

Smith pleaded guilty to trafficking and a local constable fined him ten thousand dollars to be paid forthwith, or serve three months in prison. 

The newspaper reports that Smith was unable to pay the fine and remains in jail. 

The article did not mention the name of the cruise ship.  Carnival, Celebrity, Holland, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean sail to Belize.

You can read other stories about passengers busted for drugs during cruises here.

A Miracle in Dark Waters - P & O Cruises Passenger Rescued from Middle of Atlantic Ocean

Passenger Overboard - P O Cruises Ventura Cruise ShipWhile the P & O Cruises Ventura cruise ship sailed from Southampton to the Caribbean, a passenger went overboard.

Falling into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean at night should be the beginning and the end of the story.  But this passenger overboard story is different from the many other cases we have discussed before.    

The Mail Online newspaper in the U.K. reports that passengers on the cruise ship "were woken by a huge lurch in darkness at 5:30 AM, while horns sounded . . . "  Life rings were thrown out and lifeboats were deployed.  The overboard passenger was pulled aboard a lifeboat and, once aboard the cruise ship, he was sent to the ship infirmary to recover.

There is no explanation regarding what happened.

The newspaper quotes another passenger, Julie Lourens, saying  ‘It has all been very dramatic. It was pitch black. This guy is so, so lucky."

 

Were you on this cruise?  Do you have information to share?  Please leave a comment below. 

Photo Credit:  Mail Online

Two Passenger Deaths on NCL Cruise Ship

Multiple news sources are reporting that two passengers died aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship which returned to port in Boston this morning.  The passengers died separately on the ship on Thursday.

One of the passengers, a 67-year-old woman, has been removed from the vessel.  State Police said that her death was not suspicious.

The second death, involving a 23-year-old man, is being investigated.  His cabin is being scrutinized by crime scene investigators because of his young age and the unknown cause of his death.

Massachusetts State Police and Suffolk County detectives are investigating the deaths.  

NCL has yet to commented on either death. 

The last time a young passenger died on a NCL was August of last year.  A 21 year old passenger died aboard the Epic after a severe allergic reaction to peanuts.   

Were you on the cruise or have information about these deaths?  Please leave a comment below.

October 28, 2011 Update:  The NCL cruise ship is the Norwegian Dawn.  The local District Attorney states that neither incident involved foul play.  

Holland America Line Sued Following Death of Passenger During Excursion in Belize

The Seattle Times reports that the husband of a cruise passenger filed a wrongful death suit Holland America Line in Seattle after his wife was killed during a cruise sponsored snorkeling excursion.

The incident occurred when passenger Diana Mechling had just entered the water from the excursion boat off the coast of Belize to start snorkeling.  The operator put the vessel in reverse, and the propeller struck Ms. Mechling.  According to the newspaper, her husband, Michael Mechling, was present on the snorkeling vessel during the incident.  Ms. Mechling died in a local hospital.

The Belize-based operator of the snorkeling excursion, Cruise Solutions Belize Ltd., was also named in the lawsuit.

We reported on this tragedy last February shortly after the incident occurred.  You can read the account here

A local newspaper in Belize, 7 News Belize, reported in February that Port Authority Belize concluded its investigation into matter and found that the Captain of the boat Reef Rocket, Martine Manuel Pariente was negligent.  The Port Authority has decided to charge the cruise operator with negligently causing loss of life, and has suspended his captain's license.

The passenger's family can now expect the Belize excursion company to deny that it is subject to jurisdiction in the United States, as it has done in other cases where cruise passengers are injured during cruise excursions.

NCL Abandons Elderly Woman with Sick Husband in Columbia, Proclaims Its Their Fault

NCL Cruise Horror StoryA local news station in Tampa, WTSP 20 News, has a story about an elderly couple's cruise horror story. 

Betty and Ronald Coleman from Port Ritchie Florida were sailing on a Panama Canal cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl when Mr. Coleman contracted what is described as norovirus.  NCL put the Colemans ashore in Cartegena Columbia without contacting the couple's son Mark, even though they listed him as the emergency contact on paperwork the cruise line required them to fill out. 

Ms. Coleman, who was obviously overwhelmed by trying to take care of her sick husband, complains: "My son is on the paper you sign, for next of kin to be called in case of an emergency. I would have thought they would have notified him if they are leaving me in a foreign country."  

The couple's son first learned of his parent's plight after receiving a frantic call from his mother.  She did not know where she was.  NCL subsequently told him that that she was still on the cruise ship.  Finally, Mark had to contact the State Department to find his parents.

NCL claims that it provided the couple with an opportunity to call home, but the Colemans allegedly "chose not to."   How and why this allegedly occurred is not explained.  But a cruise line should never disembark an elderly couple like this in a foreign country without first making sure that it contacted the emergency contact.  It's far fetched to believe that the couple instructed NCL not to call the emergency contact.  It's inexcusable for NCL not to have done so.  Ms. Coleman seemed stressed out and Mr. Coleman, described in the video as " . . . so sick that he could not sit up to even sign a paper," was obviously so ill NCL didn't want him on its cruise ship.  

NCL issued a completely unrepentant press release.  NCL side stepped the norovirus issue, denied responsibility for not telling the family of the emergency, and claimed that the Colemans were, in fact, "appreciative" of the cruise line agent's assistance ashore in Columbia.

  

 

The guest relations team on a cruise ship should always contact the emergency contact number whenever it forces a family off of a cruise ship in a medical emergency.

Blaming the sick elderly guest in a case like this reflects poorly on the cruise lines' manners.

For other similar stories, read:

And The Cruise Industry Wonders Why It Has An Image Problem . . . (continued)

24 Year Old Passenger Falls to His Death on the Celebrity Equinox

Multiple sources are reporting that a U.S. passenger fell from an upper balcony to his death while cruising aboard the Celebrity Equinox in the Mediterranean Sea.

The incident occurred on September 26th while the Equinox was sailing toward the port of Kusadasi Turkey.

I first learned of the incident today while reading cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's blog, which contains an account from a cruise passenger that: " . . . a man of age 25ish jumped from the 11th floor and died.  Do you know any thing about this as it has been kept very much in the dark as we were on the side of the ship from where he jumped. Some say he had a disagreement with his girlfriend and some say he was sleep walking. 

The account states that the passenger " . . .  hit the life boat metal rigging gear, it took about 30 mins to get to him but was dead at the scene."

A newspaper in Turkey states that the passenger was allegedly sleepwalking when he went overboard around 3:00 AM.  The cruise ship then arrived in Kusadasi around 8:00 AM.  After an investigation by Turkish police, the cruise ship sailed on to Rhodes Greece as part of its regular itinerary.

Some real conflicting stories, it seems?

Another quick investigation by the Turkish police?  Were these the same police in Turkey which conducted the quick investigation into George Smith's disappearance during his honeymoon

Were you on the cruise?  Do you have information which may shed light on this case?  Please leave a comment below.

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship - Passenger Death

 

Photo credit:  Krafft Angerer/Getty Images (via New York Times blog)  

Body of Missing Holland America Line Passenger Found Near Prince Edward Island

HAL Maasdam Cruise Ship Missing Passenger CBC News Canada is reporting that a 75 year-old passenger from the Holland America Line MS Maasdam was reported missing by his wife shortly after 8 AM. yesterday after the HAL cruise ship docked in Charlottetown, Canada.

The Maasdam left from Montreal on Saturday on a seven-day cruise,

The newspaper states that the vessel's crew conducted a shipwide search but could not locate the passenger on the cruise ship. The Canadian Coast Guard searched the cruise ship's route but could not locate the man.

According to the newspaper, a lobster fisherman found a body around 8:30 AM. in the Northumberland Strait near western Prince Edward Island. 

The cruise line confirmed that the body was that of a passenger from the cruise ship, although the Canadian police have not yet confirmed that the body was the missing passenger.   An autopsy has been requested.

If you have information about this latest cruise overboard, please leave a message below.

October 5, 2011 Update:

The CBC News identifies the deceased passenger as William Cureton, age 75, of Port Dover, Ontario.    

Photo credit:  Robert F. Bukaty / AP  (via MSNBC)

Norovirus on Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Ship Sickens Passengers

Celebrity Cruises Eclipse - NorovirusThe Southern Daily Echo newspaper in Southampton England is reporting that the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship was delayed for “enhanced sanitation” after dozens of passengers returning to Southampton from a 11 night eastern Mediterranean cruise had been struck down by norovirus.

Sick passengers disembarking the cruise ship at the city's terminal reported seeing “people walking around in Ghostbusters suits” ready to disinfect the vessel and the terminal.

Cruise ship norovirus cases often take several sailings before the virus runs its course.  Perhaps the Eclipse needs a major cleaning and spray down.  But "enhanced cleaning" may or may not help, depending on whether the virus is passed hand-to-hand between crew and passengers or passenger to passenger - or is contained in contaminated food or water. 

If you were on the Eclipse, please leave a comment below about how the cruise line handled the situation.  We would be interested in hearing from passengers on the ship now whether additional passengers have been sickened or whether everyone is well and enjoying the cruise.

 

Photo credit:  UK Telegraph

Carnival Cruise Passenger Busted for Cocaine in San Juan

Tribute Weekly Chronicle, a publication in San Juan, Puerto Rico, reports that U.S. Customs and Border officials in San Juan arrested a Carnival cruise passenger last Sunday  for possession of cocaine.

The arrest occurred during what is described as a random inspection of passengers arriving from St. Christopher – Nevis.  The passenger was sailing on on board the Carnival Victory.   U.S. Customs and Border officers arrested Carl Peterkin, a 27 year old U.S. citizen when they located 1,694 grams of cocaine inside his backpack.

His brother, Steven Peterkin, 23, was also arrested on conspiracy charges.

 

Passenger Missing From Carnival Conquest Cruise Ship

A local television station in Galveston, Texas is reporting that a 39 year old passenger is missing after going overboard from the Carnival Conquest after the cruise ship left Cozumel, Mexico. 

Carnival Conquest Cruise Ship - Overboard Passenger The incident occurred Friday evening.

ABC affiliate Channel 13 Eyewitness News' article states that  "according to a statement from Carnival Conquest, a 39-year-old male was seen jumping overboard around 6:30pm Friday while the ship was in the Gulf of Mexico, shortly after departing Cozumel."

This statement likely indicates that other passengers observed the passenger go overboard and/or ship personnel observed him jump overboard.

The article indicates that the cruise ship returned to the location where the passenger was seen going overboard in order to conduct search and rescue operations.  

Mexican vessels apparently were also in the search efforts.

The Carnival Conquest is returning to Galveston today.

This cruise ship has had passengers go overboard in the past.  In October 2006, a 48 year old woman apparently committed suicide by jumping from an upper deck.  You can read about that incident here.  Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website mentions another incident in November 2006 when a 42 year old passenger fell/jumped from his cabin and was not found. 

Professor Klein's website lists 167 incidents (not including this one) where passengers and crew have gone overboard from cruise ships in the last 10 years.  

Were you on the cruise?  Do you have information, or photos or video of the rescue attempts, to share?  Please leave a comment below.  

September 24, 2011 Update:

The passenger has been identified as Clint Wayne Markham of Forney, Texas.

The Carnival cruise ship captain, Antonio Sammartano, sent a letter to the passengers stating:

“We’re sorry to say that at this time, the missing guest has not been located. However, the Mexican navy remains on site and continues with the search.  We continue to provide support to his family and friends during this difficult time.  We ask that you please continue to join us in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers."

A Fox News station in Dallas has accounts from friends and family of Mr. Markham that he was a fine son, father and husband and that he would not have voluntarily gone overboard.  He apparently sailed on cruises every year to celebrate his birthday.  He would have been 40 years old today.   

 

Photo credit:

Wikipedia/Wikimedia Klobetime

British Press Focuses on Missing Cruise Passengers and Crewmembers Following Disappearances of Disney Cruise Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam

Today the Mail Online published an article today entitled:  The Vanishing Passengers: It's A Mystery As Bizarre As It Is Disturbing - Why Have 165 People Gone Missing From Cruise Ships In Recent Years?

The article discusses the cases of "missing' passengers and crew from cruise ships and the lackluster efforts of the cruise lines and foreign flagged investigations which are doomed to failure.  

If you are interested in learning about missing passengers and crewmembers like Rebecca Coriam who "disappeared" from the Disney Wonder cruise ship, please read this article.

Rebecca Coriam - Disney Youth Counselor - Disappearance

AOL Travel in the U.K. also published an article "165 People Have Gone Missing From Cruise Ships Since 1995."
 

Do you know what happened to Rebecca?  Please contact her family:

Email:  help@rebecca-coriam.com
Coriam Family:  07747359968
Media Spokesman:  07932815970

You can read our articles about this case here.

  

Photo Credit:   Coriam Family via Mail Online

Carnival Passenger Dies While Snorkeling Off Bermuda

The Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda reports that a 79 year old cruise passenger died on Sunday while snorkeling about one mile offshore off the West End.

The newspaper indicates that man was a US citizen from Carnival's Fantasy cruise ship, and part of a tour group.  He was found in a “unresponsive state” in the water. 

A member of Carnival Cruise Lines "guest care team" reportedly was meeting with the victim's family. 

The comments to the article raise the issue whether the tour company had a policy in place requiring passengers to wear personal floatation devices (PFD's).

This is the second death of a cruise passenger in the waters of Bermuda recently.  In June 2011, a passenger from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas died after going on a "helmet diving" in excursion with Hartley's Bell Diving off of Bermuda.  You can read that tragedy in Royal Caribbean Passenger Dies During Diving Excursion in Bermuda

September 22, 2011 Update:

The passenger has been identified as Joe Alston.

Another Passenger Disappears from Fred Olsen "Balmoral" Cruise Ship

Mail Online in the U.K. is reporting on the disappearance of what is described as an "elderly" passenger who was traveling alone on the Balmoral cruise ship operated by Fred Olsen Lines.

The story made the news when the cruise ship returned to the port of Southampton after an eight day cruise in the Norwegian fjords.  Around 1,000 passengers were detained on the cruise ship while authorities showed photographs of the missing passenger and questioned them whether Balmoral Cruise Ship - Missing Passenger - Overboardthey had any knowledge about the passenger.

The detaining of passengers is somewhat unusual because most cruise lines and investigating agencies let the passengers disembark without ever questioning them.

The newspaper article indicated that the passenger was in his late 70's or early 80's and also referenced a "note which was discovered by a cabin stewardess."

The passenger was apparently last seen around 9:00 PM on Sunday night, and was discovered missing yesterday morning.

Does the presence of a "note" and the fact that the passenger was elderly suggest that he committed suicide?  I don't know.  What is the height of the rails?  Was he over-served alcohol?  Where are the CCTV images if the passenger went overboard, voluntarily or involuntarily?

We reported on the disappearance of an eighty year old passenger last year from the Balmoral, without explanation.  Did the cruise line improve its CCTV capacities following that incident?

This incident occurred as the parents of missing Disney Cruise youth counselor Rebecca Coriam appealed to the U.K. Shipping Minister to introduce tougher laws to protect British citizens from crimes at sea, as we mentioned in an article yesterday.

Last year, the Balmoral was dubbed the "Cursed Cruise Ship of the High Seas" following a series of norovirus bouts which sickened hundred of passengers and crew.  The Balmoral also narrowly averted disaster when it was attacked by pirates last year.   

Overboard Cruise Passenger Rescued

Princess Seaways RescueNews sources in the U.K. are reporting on the dramatic rescue of a 23 year old passenger who fell from what is being described as a cruise ferry which was heading from England to the Netherlands. 

The incident reportedly occurred, according to the Whitley Gazette, on Monday night around 9:00 PM when the young woman trying to light a cigarette near a railing.

The ship in question is the Princess Seaways which, according to the Journal Live in the U.K., was built in 1986  and is a "large cruise ferry," subsequently renovated in 2006, with the capacity for 580 cars and can more than 1,500 passengers."  

The passenger was in the water for thirty minutes.  The ship turned around and the crew rescued her and she was evaluated by the ship doctor.  

A RAF helicopter then transported the lucky passenger back to England where she was checked for hypothermia.  The video below shows the helicopter hoisting the young woman from the deck of the ferry.  

Don't you wish that all overboards turned out like this? 

September 8, 2011 Update:  Mail Online in the U.K. has identifed the young woman as Ms. Jeni Anderson from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, who was celebrating her graduation from Northumbria University. The newspaper quotes her as being "very, very lucky."


 

 
 
Video credit:  RAF via YouTube SpecialAgent08
 
Photo credit: Mail Online

 

Passenger Throws 7 Year Old Son Overboard

Pavillion Queen - Sloane Briles - Overboard SonMultiple news sources are reporting that a passenger threw his 7 year old son overboard from the Pavillion Queen, which is being referred to as either a cruise ship or sight seeing boat.

The incident occurred yesterday afternoon, when Sloane Briles, age 35, was sailing on a sight seeing cruise in Newport  Harbor, California with his girlfriend and two sons, ages 7 and 6.

According to news sources, Briles began arguing with his girlfriend and struck his older boy and then threw him overboard.

NBC LA reports that the boy was pulled from the water and onto a nearby boat, according to  Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested Briles for child endangerment and resisting arrest.  He was released after posting bond. 

Briles' facebook page indicates that Briles was in the U.S. Marine Corps for 5 years from 1995 to 2000.

This is the first time I have ever heard of a child being thrown overboard.  This is why I have a section in this blog called "Weird Cruise News."

 

Photo credit:  LA Sheriff's Office via NBC LA 

Cruise News RoundUp - August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene has been the big story this week as the cruise lines juggled itineraries to keep their cruise ships out of Irene's path.

The Right Way, and Wrong Way, to Abandon Families in a Foreign Port as a Monster Storm Approaches

Carnival and Royal Caribbean received a lot of press for leaving hundreds of passengers in San Juan, Puerto Rico as the hurricane approached.  The local port officials informed the cruise lines that due to the storm's approach, the port was limiting harbor traffic.  Carnival’s Victory cruise ship left Hurricane Irene - Cruise Lines Abandon PassengersSan Juan four hours early and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas left six hours ahead of schedule.

As a result, 300 Carnival passengers and 145 Royal Caribbean passengers found themselves in San Juan as their cruise ships sailed away.

Carnival handled the crisis effectively.  The cruise line provided all of their guests with hotel rooms  for two nights and offered to fly them to the next scheduled port in Barbados.

Royal Caribbean provided hotel rooms only to the 15 passengers who purchased their tickets directly from the cruise line.  The remaining 130 were left to find their own hotels as the storm approached.  And anyone who wanted to meet up with the ship at the next port in Aruba, had to pay for their own transportation.  This from the company whose mantra is "Deliver the Wow" to its guests?

Unlike Carnival, Royal Caribbean made no effort to communicate the earlier departure time via their customers' emergency contact information and left families in the lurch in a time of emergency.  Even super cruise fan Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of Cruise Critic, expressed outrage in her blog "Bad Weather Blunder: A Lesson in Cruise Crisis Control?"

"This takes my breath away.  And it’s not about the fact that it didn’t offer to pay for hotels and flights . . . .  It’s about dropping the ball in a risky situation.  Clearly, I’m not the only one who is shocked at Royal Caribbean’s lack of responsibility to its customers.  On Cruise Critic’s forums, its blog, and its Facebook page, travelers are incredulous."

Wow is right.  When you can shock Cruise Critic, you have really screwed up.

Another Shocker (But No One is Shocked) - Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Booze Packages

Travel Agent Central reported this week that Royal Caribbean "has taken a lead" in offering prepaid unlimited alcoholic packages to its passengers.  RCCL's CEO Richard Fain is quoted as saying that unlimited booze packaging has been "hugely successful."

The article states that on Celebrity cruise, passengers can pay for an unlimited drinks premium liquor plan for as much as $378 per person for a week cruise.  "Your savings depends on how much you drink," the article reads.   Yikes.  The drunkest passenger gets the best value? 

This cruise line has struggled with alcohol related overboards and sexual assaults over the years.  Take a moment and read Latest Royal Caribbean Rape Allegation Reveals Problem of Underage Royal Caribbean Cruise StockDrinking on Cruises.   Its unlimited-booze-packages is a new low.

I wonder if the cruise line kept all of the pre-paid unlimited alcohol money spent by the guests who missed the Serenade of the Seas in San Juan due to the hurricane? 

Are Cruise Stocks About to Tank Again?

Investor Place has an interesting article about the tenuous nature of cruise lines stocks at this moment - "3 Reasons Cruise Line Stocks Might Be Starting to Sink." 

I have always tracked cruise stocks because crew member benefits are the first to get slashed when money gets tight for the cruise lines.  Three years ago, Royal Caribbean's stock fell from the $40's to under $6 a share.  The cruise line responded with harsh cost saving measures in ship employee benefits.  The company's stock rebounded back to the $40's but has been in a nose dive this year back to the low $20's.  As the cruise executives push alcohol sales to try and boost profits, what new measures will they introduce to screw the crewmembers?  

Bermuda Continues Cruise Ship Drug Busts

Yesterday the Bermuda Sun reported on two additional drugs busts involving both cruise passengers and crewmembers.

The Bermuda Sun reports that yet another cruise passenger was arrested with a small amount of marijuana in his cabin.  This arrest involved a 48 year old US tourist who was arrested after Customs officers from Bermuda entered his cabin.  The cruise passenger was present and admitted having six grams of cannabis in the cruise ship safe. Customs officers claim that Bermuda Cruise Ship Drug Bustthey searched the cabin on the Celebrity Summit in Dockyard on August 17 after receiving an unidentified "tip-off."

Earlier this week I blogged about how Bermuda raises revenue by going onto cruise ships and searching for pot when there is no intention of the passengers taking it ashore.  A senior Magistrate questioned the legality of conducting random, warrant-less searches with no probable cause, as I mentioned in my article: Busted in Bermuda - Customs Officials Extort Money From Cruise Passengers By Unconstitutional Drug Searches

Magistrate Archibald Warner, who we reported on above questioning the legality of warrant-less random searches, nonetheless fined the passenger $1,000.

The Bermuda Sun also reported that  a crewmember from the Holland America Line (HAL) Veendam cruise ship was arrested on drugs charges.  Crewmember Dhimas Pradiptar allegedly conspired with unidentified "others" to bring approximately 340g of cannabis to Bermuda for purposes of selling the pot.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on $15,000 bail. He is scheduled to reappear at Magistrates’ Court on November 17th.

For more news on Bermuda and pot, don't forget to read: High Times on the High Seas - Cruise Industry Struggles with "Reefer Madness"

Carnival Passenger Admits to Sexually Abusing Minor During Cruise

Al.com blog reports today that a 19 year old Mississippi man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 13 year old girl during a Carnival cruise ship last month.

Dylan Cole Bloodsworth, 19, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child during the cruise, as well as enticing another young girl to engage in sex back in Mississippi.  We reported on this crime last April.

Dylan Bloodsworth - Carnival Cruise Sexual Assault The blog states that a 13-year-old girl was taking a cruise to Mexico in March with her friend and her friend’s mother.  She met Bloodsworth on March 6th near the elevators onboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship and agreed to meet him on the top deck after dinner.  She later agreed to go with Bloodsworth to get a jacket from his cabin, where the sexual abuse occurred.

An affidavit filed by the FBI stated that the girl told investigators that she did not want to have sex with Bloodsworth and that he hurt her.  Bloodsworth's defense lawyer disputed that force or coercion were involved.  The bottom line is that the girl was too young to legally consent to sex, which is in violation of the Federal Statutes regarding sexual abuse of minors. 

The blog indicates that Bloodsworth faces up to 10 years in prison on both charges.

 

Photo: GulfLive.com

Rick Ehlert's Attorney Says: Jokingly Dropping a Cruise Ship Anchor is "Silly," But Not a Crime!

Last November, Cruise Law News (CLN) reported on the drunken cruise ship passenger who reportedly snuck into the control room and dropped anchor while the ship was sailing back to Tampa from Mexico.

Daniel Castillo, Ehlert’s defense attorney now claims that Rick Ehlert admits to being intoxicated and sneaking into the control room to drop the M/S Ryndam’s anchor; however, what his client did was not a crime.

Castillo claims that while his client was certainly acting stupid, Mr. Ehlert did not commit a federal crime. Castillo says that no persons were injured or property damaged as a result of his client’s stupidity. Ehlert admits to being drunk around 5:30 a.m. when he stumbled into the control room and released the anchor while the cruise ship was out at sea.

Ehlert was arrested on felony charges for attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel.” However, according to Tampa Bay Online, Castillo stated that his client is only “guilty of felony stupidity.” 

While the charges Ehlert faced could have placed him in jail for 20 years, Castillo reported that prosecutors have told him to expect some form of probationary period for his client.  

Who is to blame? The passenger for getting wankered and pulling a not-so-funny prank? Or the cruise line for continuously pushing alcohol and failing to monitor and/or lock the control room? Should Rick Ehlert be sentenced to more than probation? Should he have to serve time?

Photo credit: Gawker

Cruise Passenger and Crew Members Assaulted in Bermuda

A post by a cruiser on a CruiseCritic forum yesterday indicates that a cruise passenger visiting Bermuda was assaulted and battered in an attempted robbery last week.

One June 14th, a passenger from the NCL Dawn cruise ship was walking back to the ship around 4:00 p.m. from Snorkel Beach on what is described as a "relatively well traveled walkway in front of the main entrance to the Maritime Museum." 

Bermuda Cruise CrimeA Bermudian man punched the passenger in the face, knocking him to the ground and then began to search through the passenger's pockets.  The passenger fought back and then fled back to the cruise ship where he reported the incident to security personnel and customs agents. Bermudian police reportedly stated that such attacks have become more frequent  in recent years.

On June 8th, the BDA Sun reported that two NCL crewmembers from the Dawn were assaulted early in the morning in Snorkel Park and one of the crewmembers required medical treatment in a hospital.

The newspaper then published an article about the fracas entitled Warning of Tourism Fallout after Fight.   Snorkel Park chief Tom Steinhoff is quoted as saying: "Behaviour like this threatens further investment in Bermuda and threatens Bermuda tourism – we are going to do everything we can to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again."

On May 31, 2011, the Royal Gazette newspaper reported on the attacks of two cruise tourists in an article entitled "Man Admits Attack on Cruise Ship Visitors."  A Bermudan man admitted attacking two cruise tourists with a piece of metal pipe in a public bathroom in Par-la-Ville Park.  As usual, the newspaper did not mention the name of the cruise line or cruise ship.

Last week's violent assault and battery of a cruise passenger is not going to help the island's reputation.

The Bermuda Police have an online website which contains "daily reports" of crime.  Although there is an online account of the earlier incident involving the crewmembers, there is no mention of the assault of the cruise passenger last week.

Unlike many of the Caribbean islands, Bermuda has long enjoyed a reputation for being a generally safe destination (the exception being the brutal rape and death of a young Canadian tourist Rebecca Middleton and the incompetence of the Bermudian authorities which followed). 

Are crimes against cruise passengers and crew a problem in Bermuda?    

 

June 22, 2011 Update:

Cruise Critic has an interesting article about this incident.  The police in Bermuda are claiming that this was no random act of violence but rather a "drug deal gone wrong."  The police do not deny that the passenger was injured.  Rather they are saying that the alleged drug transaction led to the violence. 

I'm not sure that makes me feel any better.  It seems to raise the issue whether Bermuda may have a problem with drugs as well as violent crime. 

The article is entitled "Bermuda Police Debunk Alleged Attack on Cruise Ship Passenger." 

June 23, 2011 Update:

The Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda is finally covering the story - "Alleged Robbery was Drug Deal Gone Bad Govt."
 

Dramatic Rescue of Critically Ill, Wheelchair Bound Cruise Passenger from Independence of the Seas

BBC News is reporting today on the dramatic rescue of a critically ill passenger from Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas.

The U.K. Coast Guard was notified by the captain of the Independence of the Seas on Saturday night that a passenger was very ill and needed to be evacuated from the cruise ship.  A helicopter was dispatched from Portland, which is in southern England on the Dorset coast, 23 miles out to the cruise ship.  

Medevac - Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship - Medical EmergencyThe BBC reports that the helicopter was too heavy for the cruise ship's landing pad.  The vessel's crew had to lift the passenger, in her wheelchair, up and into the helicopter as it hovering above them. 

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman is quoted stating "in a supreme example of skill, the coastguard helicopter pilot touched the wheels of the aircraft on to the moving deck of the Independence of the Seas, keeping the rotors powered-up so that no weight was taken by the relatively fragile landing pad."

The helicopter then flew the ill woman and her husband to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

The BBC did not comment on the nature of the cruise passenger's critical illness.

We have received comments from crew and passengers that the Independence of the Seas has been experiencing Norovirus outbreaks for much of this year, although it is unknown what ailed this particular passenger.

The Independence of the Seas was last in the news when an oil tanker exploded while the cruise ship was docked at the port in Gibraltar.   

 

Photo credit:  Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Fertig via Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (image is of U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter responding to a medical emergency aboard the Explorer of the Seas 230 miles east of Cape Henry Virginia on March 11, 2011.) 

Cruise Passenger Disappears on Jet Ski In Nassau, Bahamas

The Nassau Guardian reports that a cruise ship passenger went missing sometime Saturday after he left a Paradise Island beach on a rented jet ski and did not return.  The newspaper reports that the U.S. Embassy has been notified of the passenger's disappearance, and that two friends who accompanied the passenger on the cruise left with the ship.

The Bahamas Tribune also reports on the story and states that the missing passenger is a 32 year old man from West Chester, Ohio, was last seen on the jet ski which he rented on Cabbage Beach at around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Missing Cruise Passenger - Nassau Bahamas - Jet SkiPolice informed the Tribune that the passenger arrived in Nassau on the Carnival Imagination cruise ship at around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, and was reported missing at 10.30pm.

His wife, identified as Cincinnati resident Sonia Wells, called and reported her husband missing.

Officers from various police, airforce and marine agencies reportedly searched the area where the passenger disappeared without success. 

The U.S. Department of State has the following warning about water sports rentals in the Bahamas:

"The water sports and scooter rental industries in The Bahamas are not carefully regulated.  Every year people are killed or injured due to improper, careless, or reckless operation of scooters, jet-skis, and personal watercraft or scuba/snorkeling equipment.  Visitors should rent equipment only from reputable operators, and should insist on sufficient training before using the equipment. There have been reports that some operators do not actually provide insurance coverage even when the renter opted (and paid) for insurance coverage.  Visitors should insist on seeing proof that operators have sufficient medical and liability insurance."

Nathan You can read about other jet ski accidents in the Bahamas here

"Jet Ski Operators Defend Industry After Death" explains some of the problems with renting jet skis in the Bahamas.

June 7, 2011 Update:  Newspapers and television stations in Ohio are reporting that the missing passenger is Nathan ("Nate") Wells, from West Chester Ohio, married with one daughter.  The jet ski was located in the waters off of Nassau.  He had cruised to Nassau with two friends.  In additionto the Bahamian authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard is searching for him. 

WLWT television in Cincinnati has a video interview with friends and family about Mr. Wells.  

Top 10 Shocking Clauses In Your Cruise Contract

Writing this article, I’m reminded of Seth Meyers’s joke at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner - addressing the Senate: “I don't think you read bills anyways.  I think you guys vote on bills the same way the rest of us agree to updated terms and conditions on iTunes.”

Let’s be honest. Most of us don’t read the “fine print” of contracts and are often bound by terms and conditions we don’t understand or don’t even know exist.  And most of us assume that lawyers Cruise Ticket - Cruise Passenger Rightsdrafting these contracts use standard form, kitchen sink, same ole’ same legalese that appears in all of the contracts we encounter in day-to-day life. We assume we’ll be protected by the law.

This assumption is the inspiration for this blog.  I remember when I was writing my undergraduate thesis at the University of Florida.  The irony was that I finally read the ticket-passenger contract to a cruise I had taken 6 months earlier.  Oops.  As I was reading the contract for my research, I remember thinking to myself, I really should have looked at this before I boarded the ship.  Again, oops.

So, I’ve decided to prepare my list of the top 10 shocking contractual provisions in cruise line tickets. (I strongly advise picking up the contract and reading it in its entirety before stepping aboard).

The selected clauses are taken directly from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s (“RCCL”) website. The following clauses are the Top 10 Shocking Clauses taken from RCCL’s Ticket-Passenger Contract for its passengers, excluding the Brilliance of the Seas.

1. We Don’t Care If You Have Read or Signed the Contract

“Purchase or use of this Ticket Contract, whether or not signed by the Passenger, shall constitute the agreement by Passenger, on behalf of himself and all other persons traveling under this Ticket Contract (including any accompanying minors or other persons for whom the Ticket Contract was purchased), to be bound by the terms and conditions of this Ticket Contract.”

2. No Jury Trials for You!

“This agreement requires the use of arbitration for certain disputes and waives any right to trial by jury to resolve those disputes.”

3. We’re Not Responsible for the Ship Doctor’s Malpractice

“Carrier assumes no liability whatsoever for any treatment, failure to treat, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, actual or alleged malpractice, advice, examination or other services provided by such persons or entities.”

4. We’re Not Responsible for the Excursions We Sell, Even if We Make Millions in Profits

“Even though Carrier may collect a fee for, or otherwise profit from, making such arrangements and offers for sale shore excursions, tours, hotels, restaurants, attractions, elements of the RCT Land Tour packages that are provided by independent contractors and other similar activities and Cruise Ticket - Cruise Passenger Rightsservices taking place off the Vessel for a profit, it does not undertake to supervise or control such independent contractors or their employees, nor maintain their conveyances or facilities, and makes no representation, whether express or implied, regarding their suitability or safety.”

5. Our Agents Can Kill You, But We’re Still Not Responsible

“In no event shall Carrier be liable for any loss, delay, disappointment, damage, injury, death or harm whatsoever to Passenger which occurs on or off the Vessel or the Transport as a result of any acts, omissions or negligence of any independent contractors.”

6. Live in Oregon and Injured on Cruise Ship in Mexico? You Have to Sue in Miami

“It is agreed by and between Passenger and Carrier that all disputes and matters whatsoever arising under, in connection with or incident to this agreement, Passenger’s cruise, cruisetour, RCT Land Tour or transport, shall be litigated, if at all, in and before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, U.S.A.”

7. Injured on a Cruise? You Lose Your Right to Sue Us If You Don’t Send Us a Letter in 6 Months and Sue Us in 1 Year

“The limits for personal injury/illness/death claims: no suit shall be maintainable against carrier, the vessel or the transport for personal injury, illness or death of any passenger unless written notice of the claim, with full particulars, shall be delivered to carrier at its principal office within six (6) months from the date of the injury, illness or death and suit is commenced (filed) within one (1) year from the date of such injury, illness or death and process served within 120 days after filing, notwithstanding any provision of law of any state or country to the contrary.”

8. If You’re Injured or Killed on a Ship Which Doesn’t Call on a U.S. Port, the Maximum Compensation is $70,000

“On cruises which neither embark, disembark nor call at any port in the United States, Carrier shall be entitled to any and all liability limitations, immunities and rights applicable to it under the “Athens Convention relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea” of 1974 (“Athens Convention”). The Athens Convention limits that Carrier’s liability for death or personal injury to a Passenger to no more than 46,666 special drawing rights as defined therein (approximately U.S. $70,000, which amount fluctuates, depending on daily exchange rate as printed in the Wall Street Journal).”

9. Don’t Even Think of Filing a Class Action Lawsuit

“Passenger hereby agrees that except as provided in the last sentence of this paragraph, Passenger may bring claims against Carrier only in Passenger’s individual capacity. Even if the applicable law provides otherwise, Passenger agrees that any arbitration or lawsuit against Carrier . . . shall be litigated by Passenger individually and not as a member of any class. . .”

10. We Can Search Your Cabin and Kick You Off The Ship If The Captain Says So

Caitlin Burke - Cruise Law News“Carrier may also change accommodations, alter or cancel any activities of, deny service of alcohol to, confine to a stateroom or quarantine, search the stateroom, property or baggage of any Passenger, change a Passenger's RCT Land Tour, disembark or refuse to embark the Passenger and/or any Passenger responsible for any minor Passenger, or restrain any Passenger at any time, without liability, at the risk and expense of the Passenger, when in the sole opinion of Carrier or Captain . . .”

Some of these terms and conditions are valid and enforceable, other clauses are not. Cruise Law News has reported on several of these issues in the past:

Fox News Focuses on Dangerous Cruise Ship Medical Care

Cruise Ship Statute of Limitations? - One Year for Adults!  Three Years for Minors

This article was written by a "guest blogger" for Cruise Law News, Caitlin Burke.  Ms. Burke just finished her first year at law school at the University of Miami. Ms. Burke is a graduate from the University of Florida. She majored in Recreation, Parks and Sport Management. Ms. Burke wrote a senior honor's thesis entitled a "Qualitative Study of Victimization and Legal Issues Relevant to Cruise Ships."

 

Miami New Times: Couple Sues Carnival Cruise Lines After Teenage Daughter Killed in Virgin Islands Gang Shootout

The lawsuit we filed this week of behalf of our clients for the death of their daughter, Liz Marie Perez Chaparro, has been covered in the Miami New Times and USA Today this week.  The article, written by Tim Elfrink, for the Miami New Times is entitled "Couple Sues Carnival Cruise Lines After Teenage Daughter Killed in Virgin Islands Gang Shootout."

"Liz Marie Perez Chaparro was celebrating her quinceañera on a Carnival cruise with her parents last summer when an employee convinced the family to join an excursion in St. Thomas. What he didn't mention, Chaparro's family says, is that a heated gang war was raging in the area.

Liz Marie Perez Chaparro - Death - Carnival Cruise Chaparro died on a tour bus when a shootout exploded between the rival gangs at a funeral, peppering the young tourist with bullets. Her family filed suit against Carnival today, alleging they should have known the violence was likely.

Chaparro and her parents, Ceferino Perez and Aida Esther Chaparro, live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They saved for ten months to pay for her quinceañera cruise last July, they told the Virgin Island Daily News.

On July 12, one of the first nights of the cruise, Perez was drinking on deck when a cruise employee sold him on a trip to Coki Beach, a popular sandy stretch in St. Thomas.

But Perez didn't know that the Virgin Islands at the time were riding an all-time high homicide streak, he says in his lawsuit. Already that calendar year, the islands -- with a population of 100,000 -- had seen 43 murders.

What's more, Perez says, the week before a gang member had been shot and killed at a mall near Coki Beach and his gang had planned a funeral at a cemetery near the beach on the day of the excursion.

"(Carnival) should have known there was a high risk of an attempted gang revenge killing at the funeral," Perez says in the suit.

Either way, soon after Perez and his family boarded the bus for Coki Beach it was trapped on a two-lane road blocked by the gang members.  When a shootout broke out, their bus was caught in the crossfire.

Fourteen-year-old Liz Marie Chaparro died on the scene.

A Carnival spokesperson didn't immediately return a phone call and an email about the lawsuit this morning; we'll update the post when we hear back."

 

A copy of the lawsuit is available on line here (via courthousenews.com). 

Cruise lines have a legal duty to warn their passengers of dangers in the ports of call.  For our article about this terrible crime, read: More Caribbean Crime - Carnival Passenger Killed In St. Thomas.

U.S. Cruise Passenger Dies in Naples After Assault, Attempted Robbery

Reuters is reporting that an American tourist died in Naples yesterday, after thieves assaulted him while trying to steal his Rolex watch a week ago. 

The article states that Oscar Antonio Mendoza, age 66, and his wife cruised to Naples on May 18th.  After he disembarked the unidentified cruise ship to tour the city with his wife, two men approached him on a scooter, grabbed his arm and tried to take his Rolex.

Mendoza struggled with one of the men and was thrown to the ground, hitting his head. He was taken to hospital and operated on.  He did not regain consciousness and died nine days later.

Naples is an interesting place to visit, but it has a reputation for pick pockets, purse snatchers, and drive-by-scooter robberies.

Naples Cruise Passenger Assaulted  

May 29, 2011 Update:  Cruise Critic reports that the cruise passenger was from the Solstice cruise ship operated by Celebrity Cruises.

Cruise Critic writes "It should be noted that the Italian city is notorious for crime. The Cruise Critic profile on the port warns visitors to be 'careful about crime -- pickpockets, burglaries, etc.' "

Passenger Medevac & Crew Suicide Mar Celebrity Eclipse Cruise

Yesterday, we discussed the latest overboard from a Celebrity cruise ship, this time involving a 31 year old Filipino on the Eclipse who by all accounts committed suicide by climbing a rail and jumping into the English Channel.

While some people may be inclined to say oh,a suicide end of the story, my thought is that an investigation is warranted to study the significant number of crewmembers who decide to end their life in this manner.  Is there a correlation between the long hours and difficult working conditions of "ship life" and crew suicides?   

There are a number of interesting comments posted on line about this sad incident, which apparently occurred shortly after an ill passenger was medevaced from the Eclipse.  A medevac of an ill passenger and a crew suicide is not how you want to remember a family cruise holiday.   

One post links to Ship Finder which charted the cruise ship altering course and returning to the location where the crewmember went overboard.  It looks like the Eclipse may have originally  altered course to sail closer to France to meet the helicopter involved in the passenger medical evacuation.  

Eclipse Cruise Ship Medical Evacuation

  

Image credit:   Lee Armstrong via Pinkfroot

Passenger Missing From Celebrity's Millennium Cruise Ship

Millenium Missing Passenger - OverboardNews sources are reporting that a 65 year old passenger is missing from a cruise ship which ported in San Diego on Tuesday. 

The unidentified passenger was aboard the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship which was was on a 15-day cruise.

The cruise line did not realize that the passenger was missing until she did not show appear for a customs check when the cruise ship docked in San Diego.  The ship had previously stopped in  Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  The Millennium left Cabo on Sunday at about 3 p.m.  According to the AP, the missing woman was apparently last seen on board the cruise ship about 10 p.m. Monday.

The passenger apparently went overboard somewhere between Cabo San Lucas and San Diego.  A C-130 aircraft, helicopter and Coast Guard vessel searched an area that spans 175 miles between the cities.

We have discussed many overboards on the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fleet of cruise ships.  Click on "disappearances" (to the left) to read about other disappearances of cruise ship passengers.  As we have reported before, there have been over 150 overboards from cruise ships in the past decade.

There is no acceptable excuse why a passenger or crew member should ever simply "disappear" during a cruise.  Such an incident exposes deficient security and closed circuit television (CCTV) systems on the cruise ship.

 May 4th Update:  The cruise line subsequently went back and reviewed the CCTV images and determined that the woman climbed over the ship's railing and let go about 9:15 p.m. Monday.

If a U.S. Based Cruise Line Drops Your Grandmother in the Ocean, Don't Expect Any Compensation

The cruise community has been closely following the sad story of 73 year old grandmother, Janet Richardson, who was dropped into the frigid Artic Sea two weeks ago during a botched transfer between the Ocean Countess cruise ship and an awaiting rescue vessel. 

She died this past weekend.

We have posted stories on this sad incident and photographs of the debacle.

Janet Richardson - DOHSA - Death On High Seas ActYesterday Cruise Critic U.K. posted an artice on its blog asking the question "Would You Sue" if this happened to your wife or grandmother? 

The article was directly primarily to its U.K. readers and assumes that a bereaved husband who lost his wife under these circumstances would be legally entitled to significant compensation. 

But in the U.S., sadly this is not the case.

If a retired passenger like Ms. Richardson was on an U.S. based cruise line like Carnival or Royal Caribbean which negligently dropped her overboard to her death, the case would be governed by a U.S. law called the Death on the High Seas Act ("DOHSA").  DOHSA does not provide any basis for the recovery by the grieving family members for their grief and bereavement.  It also does not provide any compensation for the pre-death pain and suffering of the deceased passenger either.  This is because the only compensation permitted under DOHSA involves "pecuniary" damages (meaning financial losses). 

Pecuniary damages include primarily lost wages.  But in cases of retired passengers (or children for that matter) they are not working so there are no such damages.

The only "pecuniary" damages when a retired passenger is rescued and died would be medical expenses (assuming the passenger is rescued and makes it to the hospital).  If the hospital expenses are covered by insurance and/or by Medicare, there are liens which apply which will be asserted by the insurance companies and the federal government.  The only other potential damages are burial and funeral expenses.  However, if the retired passenger is not rescued or the body is not recovered, hence no obligation for funeral or burial expenses, there are no recoverable damages at all.

So before a passenger's surviving family decides to file a lawsuit, the question not only is there is a reasonable basis to win the lawsuit, but what are the damages if the lawsuit is successful?

In the U.S., the only damages may well be the cost of burying your loved one.  The expenses of hiring experts to prove liability for the passenger's accident and to prove that the death was caused by the fall and shock of exposure to freezing water (as opposed to a pre-existing medical condition) may exceed the funeral expenses the surviving family incurs. 

The cruise line defense lawyers understand this completely.  In a worst case scenario, if Carnival drops your grandmother into the water and kills her, the most the cruise line will pay your family is the cost of putting her in a casket and then burying her in the ground.

Most passengers don't understand this.   The cruise line won't explain this before you take your grandparents on a cruise.  Take a moment and consider:  If You Are Retired Or A Child, The Cruise Line Considers Your Life Worthless   

DOHSA is an archaic law which was enacted in 1920.  The cruise lines love it, but it is fundamentally unfair to the families of loved ones who die at sea.  It provides no financial incentive for the cruise lines to improve their procedures to make cruising reasonably safe for the travelling public. 

 

 

For additional information, please read our cases discussing DOHSA.

Photo credit: Patrick Hill via U.K.'s Mail Online

 

Cruise Ship Passenger Dropped in Frigid Water Dies

Sad news.  Cruise passenger Janet Richardson, who was dropped from off of a stretcher while rescue staff tried to transfer her from the Ocean Countess cruise ship to a rescue vessel, died in the hospital in the U.K.

Ms. Richardson suffered from some medical problems and apparently was experiencing internal bleeding when a decision was made to take her to hospital by a rescue vessel.  We have reported on the disastrous circumstances which thereafter followed in prior articles.

Janet Richardson Cruise ShipThe news sources we have read indicate that she remained in the freezing waters from 4 to 8 minutes.  An autopsy may indicate whether her death was due to her illness or the shock of the fall and exposure to freezing water.

According to the U.K. press, Ms. Richardson's husband, George, said: “Janet died peacefully on Thursday night in the Cumberland infirmary with her family and friends around her."

The cruise ship was operated by Cruise and Maritime voyages.  A spokesperson for the cruise operator told the U.K. press: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the richardson ­family at this sad time.”

We first learned of Ms. Richardson's passing when her niece left a message on our YouTube site which has a video regarding the incident:

"This is my auntie .  .  .  such a lovely kind and very caring person who will be greatly missed, we all love you so much  . . ." 

 

Photo credit:  Patrick Hill via BBC News 

Passenger Disappears from Cruise Ship in Red Sea

A local newspaper in the U.K. is reporting that a 63 year old passenger is missing from a cruise ship in the Red Sea. 

The MK News in Milton Keyes is reporting this morning that John Halford, age 63, from Greenleys in Milton Keynes, left the airport in Luton on Thursday March 31st for a cruise aboard the Thomson Cruise Line.  The cruise finished in Sharm al-Shaykh in Egypt on Thursday April 7th, when he was found to not be on board. 

John Halford - Missing - Thompson Cruises - EgyptSharm al-Shaykh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea.

The newspaper reports that it is believed that Mr. Halford went missing sometime between 11.45 p.m. on Wednesday April 6th and 7.30 a.m. on Thursday April 7th.

People who were on the cruise, or know where he might be, are asked to contact Thames Valley Police via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre 0845 8 505 505. 

There have been over 150 passengers and crew members who have gone missing from cruise ships in the last decade. 

The cruise industry trade organization, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), states that it does not keep statistics of people missing from the 25 cruise lines which are members of CLIA.  The most definitive source of cruise disappearances is found in cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's website.   

 

Photo credit:  MK News 

Cruise Passenger Dropped into Freezing Waters During Botched Rescue - Continued

Today, a number of newspapers in the U.K. published articles about an incident we reported on April 6th - Cruise Passenger Dropped into Freezing Waters During Botched Rescue - involving a seriously ill British passenger from the Ocean Countess cruise ship who was inadvertently dumped into freezing waters off of the coast of Norway by the crew of a rescue vessel.  Our article was based on a news account from the U.K.'s Champion newspaper.     

The rescue vessel and cruise ship drifted apart as the passenger, 73 year old Janet Richardson, was in a precarious position between the two vessels, causing the crew to dump the passenger from the stretcher into the icy waters. 

The most remarkable photographs (taken by Patrick Hill) are found in the U.K.'s Mail Online, showing the sequence of events as the crew attempts to transfer the stretcher between the vessels (top), the passenger in the water after being dumped (middle), and the vessels begin to leave the passenger behind (bottom).

As we mentioned in our prior article, the passenger remained in the water for approximately eight minutes before being finally pulled into the rescue vessel.  It is extraordinarily negligent for the passenger not to have been thrown a rope immediately or for her not to have been fitted with a rope attached to a life-vest, not to mention being dumped from the stretcher into the water in the first place.  

Ocean Countess Rescue  

Ocean Countess Rescue  

Ocean Countess Rescue

Photo credit:  Patrick Hill via U.K.'s Mail Online

Celebrity Cruises and Disabled Passenger Exchange Threats - Are Celebrity's Cruise Ships ADA Compliant?

After kicking disabled cruise passenger Jim Keskeny off in a Caribbean island alone, Celebrity Cruises responded to Mr. Keskeny's request for reimbursement of his cruise fare and travel expenses home with a "bombastic and bullying" letter threatening him with legal fees and costs, according to his Mr. Keskeny's Michigan lawyer Richard Bernstein.

The cruise line threats follow Mr. Keskeny's decision to go to the press about his mistreatment aboard the Century cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean's subsidiary Celebrity Cruises. The Daily Tribune in Michigan first published an article explaining that Celebrity Cruises left Mr. Keskeny, who is wheelchair bound due to MS, alone on the island of Guadeloupe. Cruise Law Lawyer Richard Bernstein - Jim Keskeny - ADA - Celebrity Cruises - DisabilityNews followed up on this article the same day with Celebrity Cruises Abandons Disabled Passenger in Guadeloupe.

Celebrity Cruises refused to respond to requests for information by our blog and the newspaper in Michigan.

Instead, Celebrity eventually decided to release a statement only to the online cruise fan community, Cruise Critic, claiming that the cruise line has a strict policy that passengers with special needs must be self-sufficient and, if need be, travel with a companion to provide assistance with eating, dressing, toileting or lifting.

In fact, there is no such policy explained in the cruise passenger ticket at all. There is only an answer to the question "Can I Travel Alone?" in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the cruise line's web site which casually mentions this language.  It is of no legal significance.

Celebrity Cruises responded to the unwanted publicity by pointing out that Mr. Keskeny was on a nude cruise (although he never undressed) offered by "Bare Necessities Tour and Travel Company," a company which specializes in nudist vacations.  Was Celebrity Cruises trying to embarrass Mr. Keskeny by releasing such information?  Probably, but who cares?  If cruising nude is on someone's bucket list, more power to them especially if they have a debilitating neurological disease and they are in a wheelchair with perhaps a diminished life expectancy.  And consider that Celebrity and its parent company Royal Caribbean offer the greatest selection of alternative lifestyle cruising with nudist cruises, swinger cruises, cougar cruises, and gay rave / Atlantis drug cruises.

Mr. Keskeny and his lawyer Richard Bernstein seem not to be intimidated by Celebrity Cruises' threats.  Mr. Bernstein, who himself is a disabled (blind) lawyer, indicates that Celebrity is trying to intimidate Mr. Keskeny because the cruise ship is not compliance with the American with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). 

In particular, Mr. Bernstein claims that the bathroom toilets are not ADA compliant, they are too low, and this was the problem in the first place.  Mr. Bernstein is responding to Celebrity Cruises heavy handed threats with his own threat - an investigation to determine whether the Celebrity cruise fleet is in fact ADA compliant.  

Whatever the outcome of this dispute, one thing is certain.  The issue of the cruise lines' attitude toward disabled passengers is once again front and center.  Cruise lines historically have not been a friend of the disabled community.  Celebrity Cruises and the cruise industry's trade group, the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA"), spent millions and fought vigorously to avoid complying with the ADA. 

The cruise industry argued that because cruise lines are not incorporated in the U.S. and fly foreign flags from countries in Africa and Central America, the ADA does not apply.  The cruise industry appealed this issue all of the way to the US Supreme Court before they lost.  Only then did the cruise lines begrudgingly begin reading the ADA's design requirements for disabled passengers. 

It is a rather amazing spectacle to see a $15,000,000,000 non-tax paying foreign corporation in a shit kicking contest with a disabled U.S. passenger, with the hard core Cruise Critic fans ready to lynch the disabled passenger and his blind lawyer from the nearest tree.  

The story is now garnering international press - read the U.K.'s Mail Online "Nudist with Multiple Sclerosis Booted Off Naked Cruise."  And don't miss the video below from the local ABC news station in Michigan: 

     

 

Photo and video credit:   WXYZ ABC-7 Farmington Michigan