Monthly Archives: October 2012

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

Cruise ship operators and captains have wide latitude to change aspects of the cruise due to the weather.  The captain can change arrival and departure times, and even ship ports of call all together in order to keep passengers safe.  With this kind of policy in place, combined with modern technology – which helps ships know where the worse weather is – it would seem that the days of a cruise ship sailing in hurricane affected waters are long gone.  But, passengers aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship recently discovered that modern day cruise ships are still susceptible to sailing in rough seas.

Video posted on CNN.com by iReporter tneyedoc2020 shows the rough seas they encountered as a result of sailing through rough seas caused by Hurricane Sandy.  The video shows the ship sailing through rough and choppy seas.  Also, water apparently entered the cruise ship.  It can be seen in the video swishing around on the floor as the ship rocks in the water.

Passengers were largely complimentary of the crew of the Fantasy.  The captain  even reportedly made an announcement telling passengers that they should go to their rooms because it is safer there.

 

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

The past month and a half has seen no fewer than 4 people go overboard cruise ships, with all of the people who had gone overboard either being found deceased or being declared lost at sea.   This is a significant uptick from the average over the last 10 years – which is about 1.5 overboards per month.  Another person went missing from a cruise ship over the weekend, but this time the passenger was found alive.

An unidentified 29 year old woman was reported to have jumped from the Carnival Destiny after the ship set sail from the Port of Miami on Saturday.  The woman was apparently witnessed by other passengers, who notified the crew.  The captain of the ship immediately turned around to look for the woman.  The woman was rescued.

The rescued woman was taken to the ship’s infirmary for treatment.  The medics aboard the ship determined that the woman needed additional medical treatment, and the ship was diverted to Key West, Florida to drop the woman off at a hospital.  The original itinerary had the ship sailing to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

This latest cruise ship overboard resulted in the woman being rescued, which is a marked difference from the previous 4 overboards we have reported on.  All of the previous 4 overboards resulted in the persona being found deceased, or being declared lost at sea.

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

A cruise ship tender rand aground off the coast of Massachusetts earlier this month.  The ship, which was carrying 93 people at the time of the accident, was traveling from Bar Harbor back to the Celebrity Summit.  The ship struck a rocky shale off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine, and became stuck. The passengers then needed to be rescued.

According to officials, no one was hurt in the incident.  A high speed whale watching vessel and a fishing boat came to the assistance of the stranded passengers.

 

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

One of the decks of a cruise ship suffered a crack as it sailed in rough seas on Friday, requiring the ship to need repairs.

The P&O Ventura, a 3000 passenger cruise ship, suffered a crack as it crossed the Bay of Biscay on Friday.  The 2 inch crack opened below the Laguna Pool Deck, causing the ship to need repairs.  The deck was reportedly immediately roped off, and people on Deck 14 were instructed not to use their balconies.

The Ventura was on a 2-day mini cruise at the time of the event.  The crack was reported to pose no structural or safety hazard, and the ship was expected to continue its sailing as planned.

 

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

The long, arduous, process of refloating the capsized Costa Concorida cruise ship is about to begin.  The process is expected to take several months to complete, and will be a pivotal step in removing the massive ship from the delicate marine preserve in which it sank.

Final preparations are underway in preparing to refloat the Concordia.  The feat is truly monumental, and has been called the largest operation of its kinds ever undertaken.  According to the man in charge of the refloating effort, South African captain Nick Sloane, the current schedule for the refloating will see the process completed in June 2013, weather permitting.

According to Captain Sloane, there are a number of weather related factors which may affect the time frame for refloating the Concordia.  The salvage was originally scheduled to be completed in January of next year, but was pushed back due. Captain Sloane has indicated that the severity of the Italian winter will affect salvage efforts.  If the winter brings high winds and strong waves, the salvage effort may be taken even longer than the already modified time frame.

The salvage effort has been estimated to cost about $400 million.   The effort to refloat the sunken ship involves using four massive cables, which have been wrapped around the belly of the ship, to pull the ship into an upright position and stabilize it.  Early reports also indicated that the team intended to weld air tanks to the ship to help refloat the ship.

 

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

Passengers are flocking take to cruise vacations in record numbers, despite recent bad press.  This trend may reflect that, as the economy struggles to bounce bad from the deepest recession in over half a century, more people have opted for the cost-effective cruise travel option over other forms of travel.

Reports from several fronts are predicting good business for cruise operators this fall and winter.   A recent report from stock advice outlets, such as Morningstar.com, report that cruise ship operators are seeing increased bookings, and that business is expected to be good over the coming couple of years. Meanwhile, cruise operators continue to order newer and larger ships.  Miami based Norwegian Cruise Lines is reported to have just ordered its largest ship to date – to be delivered in 2015.  The 4,200 passenger ship will have a weight of 163,000 tons.

The recent uptick in cruise activity comes in the wake of what has been a bad year, with respect to news headlines, for the cruise industry.  In January, the Costa Concordia capsized – killing 32 people.  That tragedy was followed by numerous cruise ship disease outbreaks, and the Costa Allegra being completely disabled at sea by an engine fire. In fact, because of the Concordia disaster, the cruise industry has faced additional media criticism, not seen in years past.

Despite the additional negative attention, the cruise business is up.

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

The former captain of the Costa Concordia, which sank of the coast of Italy in January, is suing his former employer for wrongful dismissal.

Imagine you are the captain of a massive, 4000 passenger cruise ship.  One day, you decide to veer off course, and sail closer to shore than normal – all so that you can wave to a buddy on shore.  Say during this “salute” of the shore your ship strikes underwater rocks – creating a 100+ foot hole in the ship, and the ship sinks.  It would stand to reason that this would probably get you fired from your job.  This is exactly the narrative of Francesco Schettino, who captained the Costa Concordia when it sank on January 13, killing 32 people.  Now, Schettino is suing from wrongful dismissal.

Bruno Leporatti, Schettino’s attorney, says that his client is simply appealing his termination,which is a right all terminated employees have.  Of course, this may come as a bit of a slap in the face of the families of the deceased Concordia victims, and those who lived through the tragedy.   But, it is likely little more than a legal tactic.  As hearings approach regarding who is responsible for the Concordia disaster, the cruise line has indicated that it intends to place the blame squarely on the former captain.  This legal filing is probably more about gaining leverage, than about getting his old job back.

 

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

When visiting a port of call it is not uncommon for a cruise line to give the passengers a list of shops in which to find the best shopping deals in that area.  The lists are meant to provide the passenger with a basic understanding of where to go in order to make difference kinds of purchases, such as jewelry, art, and clothing.  But, as a recent expose revealed, the lists are less about informing the passenger, and more about lining the cruise line’s pockets.

Many best deals lists that are published by cruise lines are actually a sort of side business for them.  The companies contract with an outside vendor who sells space to the shops which will be featured in the publication.  In other words, the shops featured in the “best deals” publication have to pay a price of entry.  Many of the shops also are required to pay a “kickback.”  A percentage of gross sales which originate from cruise ship passengers must be paid back to the cruise line as the price of being included in the publication.

A recent study found that the shops listed in the best deals publications don’t even really offer the lowest prices.  Perhaps this is because the companies must raise their prices in order to be able to afford to be included in the best deals publication in the first place.

 

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

Anyone who has taken a cruise will surely remember one of two friendly cruise ship workers.  These people, who are usually from diverse countries the world over, work tirelessly day and night in order to make the passenger’s cruise experience the best it can be.  Most cruise ship workers are honest, hard working people – just trying to make a better way for themselves and their families.  But, as in any group of people, there are some bad apples.  Be sure to keep you and your traveling party safe from the occasional bad apple cruise ship employee.

Many cruise ship employees are found by employment companies, which essentially recruit cruise ship employees for the cruise lines.  Most of these employees are good people, but a few bad ones slip through the cracks. For example, one cruise ship employee, who was actually the manager of daycare services for several large cruise lines, has pleaded guilty to molesting over a dozen children, including making video of some of the encounters.

Sexual assaults aboard cruise ships are committed more often by cruise ship employees than any other group.  A recent report claimed that a woman asked a cruise ship crew member for a towel when she was going to use the public pool.  He then lead her to a bathroom where he sexually assaulted her.  Part of the assault, when the woman tried to get out of the bathroom and was pulled back in, was apparently caught on closed circuit video.

Crew members have unprecedented access to staterooms, and the trust of travelers.  While we do not recommend being afraid of the crew, exercising caution is highly advised.

 

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

Since January we have been following the sinking of the Costa Concorida.  The Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy on January, 13 – killing 32 people including 2 Americans.  Since that fateful night, much has happened, including the beginnings of criminal and civil court proceedings, as well as a massive salvage operation.

As of now, no one has formally been charged in the sinking of the Costa Concordia.  The former captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, was arrested within days of the sinking.  He was accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship, among other offenses, and was placed under house arrest.  However, he was later deemed not to be a flight risk, and was set free from house arrest, but ordered not to leave his tiny Italian village.  There has been speculation that Schettino and other officers of the Concordia, along with managers of the Cosata Corporation, may face formal criminal charges.  But, to date, no such charges have been filed.

The civil procedures are also moving slowly.  A Florida judge recently ruled that a coalition of 1000 Italian businesses, which have suffered losses due to the tragedy, cannot sue in American courts.  This is seen as being a victory for Costa Cruise Lines and its parent company, Carnival Cruise Lines.  Additional civil cases await to be sorted out by Italian and American courts, with no near term end in sight.

Meanwhile, the Concorida is being salvaged in what has been called the largest salvage operation of its kind in history.  Originally planned to be completed in January, the salvage operation’s schedule for completion has been pushed back to the Spring of 2013 – perhaps even farther.

 

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

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