Two crew members*, who reportedly suffered chemical burns on a Celebrity cruise ship today, were medevaced to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.

The crew members were injured while working on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship. Earlier today, the cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard Fifth District Command Center, which responds to maritime incidents in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region, in order to obtain medical assistance for the injured crew members. The Celebrity cruise ship was located approximately 70 miles from the shore of Virginia.

The Coast Guard dispatched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Elizabeth City, North Carolina and flew the crew members and a ship doctor from the ship to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Injured Celebrity crew members are not permitted to file lawsuits against the cruise line after they are injured. Instead, they are required to pursue their legal remedies through internattional arbitration pursuant to the one-sided arbitration agreements inserted by their employer into their employment contracts which require that that the law of Malta applies.

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Image Credit: Celebrity SummitMaster0Garfield – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

June 3, 2022 Update: *According to an engineer aboard a Celebrity ship, the two injured workers are not Celebrity crew members but are instead contractors: specifically, “two contractors working on the AEP overhauling.” “AEP” stands for “Advanced Emission Purification System” (i.e. scrubber system). We have written about scrubbers on Royal Caribbean owned cruise ships before.

Legally, if the injured workers were in fact paid by a contractor of Celebrity rather than directly by the ship, they still should have been provided with a reasonably safe place to work and full PPE (personal protective equipment) just like a ship employee paid by the cruise lne.

Regarding the work on the scrubber system, the question arises why Celebrity was requiring the contractors to work on the project while the Celebrity Summit was at sea with passengers, rather than when the ship was not in service?  You will recall that a fire broke out on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when welding operations connected to the installation of a scrubber system were underway when the cruise ship was sailing to Falmouth, Jamaica in 2015. Freedom of the Seas Fire: Is Royal Caribbean Installing a Scrubber System With Passengers Aboard?