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. 

Cruise Ship Overboard Passengers 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

  • Will B.
  • John Smith

    I was on a ship where a Crewman went overboard. Are there remediation where the Shipping line provides passengers for delay or missed ports? I would seem to understand delays due to “acts of God”… However, in this case is the cruise line responsible as the crew member is an employee of the cruise line.

  • Guiseppe Verde

    I was on that cruise. I noticed an empty life ring pass the ship on the starboard side around 2pm on the same day the crew member shook hands with Davy Jones. Strange coincidence because he was reported to have jumped overboard at around 10pm. As for the idea of a lawsuit – get real and learn to draw the line at crass. This is a ship and ship happens and only a dip would expect guaranteed ports of call. Stay on land if you want to bolster your illusion of control. At least you’ll be able to untrap yourself before ennui becomes terminal. Such a frivolous lawsuit would have no merit so don’t make yourself look like a bum for nothing. As spoiled, entitled as the greedy gluttons have become the norm on cruise ships, its no surprise there are lawsuits over such an event. That notion is as lowlife as it gets.