This past week has been a busy time for our firm with many international news stories being published about the cruise industry.
Our firm is off and running with our advertising in Jamaica. We spent Sunday fielding questions from prospective clients in response to our ads in local Sunday newspapers. We are in discussions with advertisers in other Caribbean countries where injured and disabled crewmembers are abandoned by Miami-based cruise lines.
Our firm received a fair amount of press in the last week. We were quoted in the Los Angles Times (discussed below) regarding a major cruise story. The South Florida Business Journal and the U.K.’s Telegraph mentioned Cruise Law News’ article about the bizarre 7 hour interrogation of British passengers by the U.S. Customs and Border police.
it seems like some over-zealous Federal agents in Los Angeles mistook the geriatric British passengers on the luxury cruise ship as al-Qaida terrorists and subjected them to a nightmarish situation where the 2,000 elderly passengers underwent detailed passport checks, extensive background interviews, and biometric checks, including fingerprints of both hands and retina scans after standing in the heat for 7 hours. You can read about the misguided way our Federal government treats tourists in my blog U.S. Customs Officials Take Revenge Against Elderly British Cruise Passengers?
Turning to more serious legal news, last Friday a Federal Court Judge in Miami rejected an attempt by Oceania Cruises to limit its potential liability at no more than $65,000 for alleged damages suffered by a 13 year old child raped on the Regatta cruise ship.
Can you imagine having your child raped during a vacation cruise and then have the cruise line try to limit its liability for damages to only $65,000? Only a cruise line could handle its PR like this. You can read about the case here.
The major event this weekend involved the Los Angeles Times’ article about the sad tale and continuing mystery of missing youth counselor Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship. Written by Corina Knoll, the LA Times article is entitled "Bereft Parents’ Loss is as Deep as the Ocean." It contains an iconic photograph (bottom) of Rebecca’s parents, Mike and Ann Coriam, standing at the dock in San Pedro as the Wonder cruise ship sailed off for another cruise to the Mexican Riviera. The Coriam family returned to Chester England with no answers regarding what happened to their daughter. You can read our article here about the many questions which remain unanswered by this disturbing case.
It amazes me that parents on the next cruise would drop off their kids to the care of youth counselors on the Disney cruise ship, after one of the counselors "vanished" during the last cruise. How can a young woman completely "disappear" from the Magical Kingdom’s cruise ship with no CCTV cameras capturing the events. Are there "blind spots" in the CCTV cameras coverage of the ship? Not a good idea on a cruise ship catering to family vacations with kids. Does Disney have a serious problem with its security cameras? Or do the cameras work just fine, but Disney is hiding information?
A disturbing issue with this latest cruise disappearance is that Disney Cruise Line is incorporated in the U.K. and Ms. Coriam is from England as well, but a single policeman from the Bahamas is involved in the "investigation" because the Disney Wonder flies a flag of convenience from that third world country. There is something wrong when a British citizen hired by a British corporation to work on a U.S. based cruise ship disappears, and no U.S. or U.K. agencies are allowed to board the cruise ship to investigate.
This suits Disney Cruise Lines just fine. They can work behind the scenes, as the policeman in the Bahamas sits in the police station in Nassau pretending to investigate what happened on a cruise ship sailing between LA and Mexico. Meanwhile, the Coriam family remains in England with no answers.
I suppose that our U.S. Federal agents in Los Angeles could do a better job investigating the case of missing British citizen Rebecca Coriam. But then again, they probably are busy harassing elderly British cruise tourists.