There have been 5 persons overboard in the past 3 weeks.
There will be many more this year.
None of the cruise lines involved in the overboard cases – Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line & Princess – have installed automatic man overboard systems.
So a passenger disappears at sea. "A mystery," the cruise line says. "Not our problem." A crew member jumps overboard. "Suicide by sea," says the cruise line. "Not out fault." And the beat goes on.
The cruise lines don’t seem too concerned about people disappearing on the high seas.
Congress passed a law a couple of years ago, requiring automatic man overboard systems. It doesn’t matter whether the person jumped, or slipped, or was drunk, or was engaged in horse-play, or was thrown overboard. The cruise lines have not complied with the cruise safety law.
California lawyer Larry Kaye, the go-to lawyer for the cruise lines’ trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), tells ABC News “These detection systems are not perfected yet." (Mr. Kaye previously appeared on the cruise lines’ behalf before Congress to argue that cruise lines should not be forced to turn over crime data to the American public).
Of course, the cruise safety law does not require a "perfect" man overboard system, only one that "reasonably" complies with the law.
The non-tax paying cruise industry’s excuses are endless. "There is no technology available, or the systems are not reliable, or the systems are too expensive," the cruise lines say. The cruise lines’ excuses are as seemingly endless as the billions of tax-free money collected each year by the cruise lines from tax paying Americas who take their families on cruises offered by these unlawful cruise lines.
ABC News will be airing a special tomorrow night on passengers going overboard. You will learn that the cruise industry has not installed the man overboard system. When a person falls into the sea, if they are not immediately spotted, the cruise ships sail on. The cruise lines have a million reasons why they have not complied with the law.
Cruise lawyer Kaye has an answer for what the cruise lines view as a problem of people disappearing on cruise vacations.
“I call it ‘sail and sue.’ We deal with it all the time,” Kaye tells ABC News. “I think cruise ships are probably the safest vacation option available to most people."
That’s what Kaye is paid to say.
For the families of passengers who have gone overboard under mysterious circumstances, or a crew member who decides to end his life going over the rail, the "sail and sue" accusation is the final indignity. None of the last 5 cruise overboard victims have filed a lawsuit nor will they.
I suppose that’s impossible, isn’t it? They are dead after all.
Cruise industry lawyer Kaye’s vulgar comments are highly offensive to families grieving the loss of their loved ones.
Kaye’s comments perfectly reflect the cruise industry’s attitude to passengers and crew lost at sea.
Photo Credit: ABC News