Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Last year, the cruise industry’s biggest story was the Costa Concordia’s grounding in Tuscany after it struck a rock in the seabed, which caused the ship to partially sink. This year the cruise industry has already experienced another unfortunate disaster with the engine room fire aboard the Carnival Triumph. Thousands of passengers and crewmembers were left stranded without power for four days, in conditions many described as unlivable. This week, at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM) conference, executives from the major cruise lines met to discuss the state of the cruise industry in general, and the effects of these incidents in particular. Despite a weak year relative to historical averages, executives said that 2012 was on par with industry expectations for most cruise lines, and many of the larger cruise lines expressed excitement about the new opportunities for expansion that are opening up in emerging markets such as East Asia and Brazil. (The European market struggled more than others due to the Concordia incident as well as the European sovereign-debt crisis).

The cruise line industry has maintained its stance that cruising is still one of the safest ways to vacation, and in an effort to reassure passengers unnerved by recent events, Carnival announced that it would be performing a thorough review of its entire fleet to help prevent any similar accidents or incidents in the future. Nevertheless, the Triumph fiasco has prompted many, both in and outside the industry, to demand greater safety regulation of the cruise ship industry. (Cruise line executives, of course, insist that the cruise ship industry is adequately regulated)

Horror stories of accidents, crimes, disappearances, and illnesses occurring on cruise ships are admittedly nothing new, dating back to the infamous maiden-voyage of the Titanic. And while it is true that the percentage of passengers who experience a serious injury or fatality is comparatively small relative to the total number of those who cruise, the frequency and severity of these episodes appears to be increasing. If you or any of your loved ones have suffered an accident or become ill aboard a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation, contact the Law Office of David H. Pollack at 305-372-5900 or visit our website at www.davidpollacklaw.com.

Francesco Schettino, the Costa Concordia ship captain accused of causing the accident on January 13, 2012 was released from house arrest yesterday. Click here for MSNBC news article.

He is charged with multiple counts of manslaughter, causing the accident and abandoning ship prematurely. A strict component of his house arrest prevented Schettino from communicating with anyone besides his lawyer and close friends. Now that the house arrest has been lifted, however, the AFP reported that Schettino made a statement to the media claiming that a “divine hand” guided him and saved lives.

“A divine hand surely touched my head . . . If I had continued on that path the ship’s prow would have hit the rock. It would have been carnage.”

On June 26, the Norwegian Star cruise ship diverted its course to rescue six sailors aboard the Avenir, a yacht associated with the Newport Bermuda Yacht Race. In a distress signal sent to the U.S. Coast Guard at approximately 1:00 p.m., the vessel was still adrift, though the sailors reported irreparable damage to the rudder, resulting in an inability to steer the yacht. Click here to Read more about the distress signal.

The Norwegian Star, en route from New York City to Bermuda, was just 54 nautical miles from the distressed vessel in the Atlantic Ocean when the U.S. Coast Guard notified it of the emergency. Norwegian captain, Kenneth Harstrom, expeditiously diverted the ship’s course and safely transferred the three men and three women from the Avenir onto the Star. The yachtsmen departed Bermuda to deliver the Avenir to Bristol, Rhode Island two days before the rescue.

The Star wasn’t the only ship to effectuate a rescue during the 2012 Newport Yacht Race. Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas brought Nathan C. Owen on board on June 18th when he began to suffer from dehydration. Reports of Owen’s condition were relayed to the primary physician for the race, who ultimately directed that he be evacuated from his yacht, the 46-foot sloop Seabiscuit. About 200 miles northwest of Bermuda, Enchantment of the Seas intercepted racer and brought him onboard where he was treated for his condition.

237487_grandeur_docked.jpgSchool is out, temperatures are soaring, and conditions are prime for water sports fanatics and families eager to spend some downtime on the high seas during the upcoming summer months. With the variety of onboard activities on the rise, it’s no surprise that the number of reported injuries is, too.

Whether passengers are testing their dexterity on the rock-climbing wall, perfecting their serve on the volleyball court, practicing their putt during a round of mini golf, or even learning to surf, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that an “Onboard Activity Waiver” is invalid and unenforceable against passengers who sustain injuries while engaging in activities on the ship.

In Johnson v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD, a passenger brought a personal injury action against the cruise line when she severely injured her ankle on a simulated surfing activity called “The FlowRider” aboard the Oasis of the Seas.