There are conflicting reports regarding why a Carnival cruise employee ended up overboard yesterday about a 100 miles south of Galveston. The crewmember was employed on the Carnival Magic cruise ship and went overboard while the cruise ship was underway around 10:30 PM Saturday night. The ship called the U.S. Coast Guard, but the ship’s crew rescued the crewman before the Coast Guard could arrive.
A news station in Galveston was on of the first to report on the overboard situation. The station indicates that the cruise line indicated that the employee was working on the deck when he slipped over the railing. Other news sources indicate that he was wearing a life vest when he fell. If these accounts are correct, my speculation is that perhaps the crewmember was working for some reason on or near the railing and had not properly attached his safety harness.
Subsequent accounts, however, suggest that the crewmember "jumped." A second news source in Galveston quotes the cruise line saying that at about 10:53 p.m. on Saturday, the crewmember “was witnessed jumping overboard.”
In over 25 years of practicing maritime law, I have never heard a cruise line admit that a crewmember or passenger went overboard due to an accident or foul play. If a cruise line is going to say anything, it will always be that the person intentionally jumped overboard. In other words, its their fault.
Perhaps the crewmember did jump. I don’t know. But if he was working and wearing a life vest, why would he decide to jump?
The good news is that he was rescued and is alive. But it’s disturbing to have such varying accounts of the incident.
The Magic returns to Galveston today. Does anyone who sailed on the Carnival ship know what really happened? Please leave a comment below.