The big news this week is the sad story of the sinking of the Bulgaria cruise ship on the Volga river. The 1955 era ship was considered a rust bucket. On the day in question, it sailed with a malfunctioning engine, listing to one side, and overloaded with passengers. When a storm turned the ship sideways, the captain could not right the vessel and it rolled and sank. Over 100 people perished, mostly women and children. The international press is calling the tragedy the Russian Titanic.
Last week marked the six year anniversary of the suspicious death of George Smith. We ran a series of articles Disappearance of George Smith IV – Six Years Later.
Royal Caribbean is placing pressure on the city of Key West to dredge and fill a path through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in order to widen the shipping lane into the harbor to accommodate its Genesis class of cruise ships, according to the Key Noter newspaper. If the channel is not widened, the cruise line threatens to bypass Key West and head straight to Mexico. However, dredging will destroy coral and sea fan resources. Currently, some 800,000 cruise passengers unload into Key West every year. Some residents expressed concern that adding even more cruise tourists from mega ships like the Allure and the Oasis will degrade the overall experience of visiting Key West and turn it into an "amusement park like atmosphere," transforming Duval Street into "redneck Disney World meets Myrtle Beach."
Carnival cruise passenger Robert McGill, aged 57, admitted killing his wife of five years, Shirley McGill, after an argument during a five-night cruise aboard the Elation to Cabo San Lucas in July 2009. I blogged about this bizarre case last year –Prosecutors May Seek Death Penalty In Carnival Cruise Murder Case.
Regarding firm news, Cruise Radio interviewed me regarding a legal case. Cruise Law News is the number 15th most popular law blog per the Alexa / Avvo rankings. AOL Travel / Gadling published an article – "Death by Cruise Ship? It Can Come in Several Ways" which mentioned our firm. The article cited our series on the disappearance of George Smith and featured a video of me on the Scarborough show. Wow, did I lose a lot of hair in the past six years.
Princess Cruises showed how not to handle customer complaints by abandoning a honeymoon couple in St. Thomas (the crime capital in the Caribbean) and then dumping a passenger who needed a blood transfusion in Montego Bay, allegedly causing her to suffer brain injuries.
Where is Captain Stubing and the Love Boat Doc when you need them?
I ended the week with an article on the long hours and low pay which cruise ship cleaners receive: Long Hours, Repetitive Injuries & Bad Medical Care Plague Royal Caribbean Crewmembers. Imagine working 330 hours a month for around $550. Turns out to be $1.67 hour or so.
But don’t worry. When you sustain a serious repetitive hand injury, the cruise lines will send you back to Jamaica for surgery.
Oh, I forgot, there are no hand surgeons in Jamaica.