Monthly Archives: August 2012

Proudly Representing Cruise Ship Cases in Miami, Nearby Areas of Florida and Nationwide

We have been following a story for a while in which a Panamanian fisherman has accused Princess Cruise Lines of leaving him and his fellow fishermen for dead.  Here is the back story.  After a night of fishing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Panama, 3 fishermen found themselves stranded after their engine gave out on them.  They drifted for weeks before allegedly being spotted by passengers aboard the Star Princess, a cruise ship.  The passengers of the ship notified the crew of the men’s plight, but the captain was never informed.  The ship did not stop to help the men, and 2 of the men later died.

The sole survivor, Adrian Vasquez, and the families of the 2 deceased fishermen have filed suit against Princess – claiming negligence.  Now, Princess has turned the entire case on its head.  The company admits that they did pass fishermen in the open sea.  But, according to photographic evidence provided by the company, the ship did not pass the fishermen who are currently suing them.

Princess says it has compared a picture of the boat that was seen floating in the Pacific Ocean, the boat which it passed by, and the video of the boat on which Vasquez was eventually rescued – and concluded that they are not the same boat.  Vasquez’s attorney, Edna Ramos, has said Princess is just trying to wear down he plaintiffs, but that it won’t work.  Ramos pointed out similarities between the two boats, including a characteristic blue tarp and poles featured on the boat.

Princess has apparently had the video y photographic evidence analyzed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which concluded that the boats are not the same.

So, one question remains – who did Princess leave stranded in the Pacific Ocean that spring day?

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

Here is a flashback video of a man who jumped from a Carnival cruise ship – the Valor.  Though the video is not very clear, it was shot at night, the man can purportedly be heard screaming for his life after having purposefully jumped into the water.


This video is from several years ago, but it seems to document a phenomena which continues until today – people going overboard of cruise ships.  There is an average of 15-17  people who go overboard cruise ships every year.  Some people, for whatever reason, actually jump – perhaps to commit suicide, perhaps for the thrill.  Other people go overboard by accident.  Many more simply disappear from cruise ships and are never heard from again.

It can be very difficult for the Coast Guard to rescue a person who has fallen from a cruise ship, even seemingly ideal conditions.  But, the fact is that rescues attempts often take place in rough seas, at night, and in other unfavorable conditions.  It is common that a person who has fallen overboard is never seen or hear from again.

The fact is that over the past 10 years there have been over 165 cruise ship disappearances.  Many times the family of the missing have reported that the cruise lines have been very unhelpful when investigating the case of a missing person.  Certain case have even lead to the family taking their case all the way the the legislature of their home country – such as is the case with missing Disney Cruises worker Rebecca Coriam.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

Tropical Storm Isaac has caused the temporary closing of the Port of Miami, causing thousands of cruise passengers to wait out the storm aboard their cruise ships.

Passengers aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor and 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination are sitting off the coast of Miami, Florida, awaiting the reopening of the Port of Miami, which was closed in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac.  But Carnival passengers were not the only cruise travelers affected by the storm,  the  2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky are also waiting off the coast of Miami for safe passage home.

Cruise travelers may or may not feel burned by the delays.  Surely there are some passengers who celebrate a little extra time aboard the cruise ships, but there must certainly be others who will miss their flights home, or other important scheduled events.  Of course, this year’s delays may seem like a relatively minor disturbance, but last year’s hurricane season brought about far more significant itinerary changes.

Last summer, as a potential hurricane threatened Puerto Rico, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean had ships in port at the island.  Due to the impending storm, both companies decided to set sail early – stranding hundreds of passengers in the process.  The passengers were left with no notice, leaving them to have to find lodging and a way home.  Royal Caribbean even refused to help reimburse the costs of the stranded passengers, until a internet firestorm caused the company to change course.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

We have written extensively about norovirus here on this blog.  The is the stomach bug which is usually responsible when you hear about a cruise ship outbreak.  But, though these kinds of outbreaks occur all the time.  We like to continue to shine a spotlight on this issue, because if we don’t who will?

One thing you should know about norovirus is that is is highly contagious.   In one study aboard an airplane, a passenger which had been sick with norovirus vomited on the plane.  The mess was cleaned up with disinfectant. 2 of the employees cleaning up the fluids then contracted the illness.  The same spot continued to remain infected, despite having been cleaned with disinfectant, for several days.

A second thing you should know is that if you come down with norovirus, you will probably be quarantined to your room.  Depending on when the virus is contracted, this could mean that you spend most of your trip confined to your room, with nausea, headache, and diarrhea – which are all common side effects.   Oh, and the cruise line will most likely refuse you a refund as well.

A third thing to know about norovirus is about disinfecting.  Remember how we just said that a norovirus infection can last days, even after being cleaned with disinfectant?  Well, many cruise ships unload one infected group of passengers, do a “thorough” cleaning, and then board the next group that afternoon.  We will let you be the judge of that practice.





Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

Perhaps you have seen the Royal Caribbean commercial which features all the different attractions on their different ships.  One ship features a rock climbing wall, another features a kind of powered surfing pool.  While the attractions certainly look like a lot of fun, there is a certain amount of hazard they pose – especially the powered surfing pool.

Take a look at the following video.  This is the second video we have found online of someone falling head first on this attraction.  It may seem like common sense that you need to be careful in any pool, especially one in which the water is rushing at your feet like that.  But, the cruise line still has a responsibility to make the pool safe for those who will be using it.  The idea is to go on vacation and come home safe and sound, not paralyzed.


Thankfully this guy seems to be OK.  We never want to see anyone permanently injured aboard a cruise ship.   It is hard to tell but the Royal Caribbean employee sitting on the side of the pool does not seem to be much help.  He doesn’t even get up to help the poor passenger after the passenger falls on his face!  Needless to say, this situation could have turned out far worse.  The cruise lines really need to put greater focus on safety, especially on attractions such as this on.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

It seems like the Charleston cruise battle has been dragging on forever.  In case you have forgotten, various citizens’ groups in Charleston, South Carolina are fighting against the cruise industry, and even their local government, to prevent the expansion of the cruise industry in their historic city.  The fight has seen numerous lawsuits filed, in both state and federal court.  In the most recent development SC regulators have reopened the public comment period relating to a proposed $35 million cruise terminal.

The terminal, which is proposed to be constructed on the site of Union pier, would be a state of the art port terminal, designed to welcome cruisers from around the world.  After submitting an original proposal for the terminal’s construction, planners issued a change  -which would include pilings being driven into the riverfront.  The pilings would serve to support elevators.  Because of the change, regulators have reopened the public comment period – extended until September 2.

The construction of the pier is also the subject of a federal lawsuit.  Citizens’ groups filed the lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for issuing the construction permit for the pier, unlawfully issued a permit for “maintenance,” when in actuality the construction would constitute a new building.

The extended comment period comes after a contentious meeting, which saw over 200 participants, during the original comment period.

A decision is expected within 90 days after the closing of the comment period, which means a decision could come as late as December.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other persona injury cases.