Monthly Archives: December 2012

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

Norovirus has been making a lot of cruise ship passengers sick this year.  While norovirus is found to infect cruise ship passengers every year, 2012 seems to have been a record – perhaps because of a record number of people cruising in general.  Norovirus causes some very nasty symptoms, so it would be best to avoid contracting it if possible.  Here we will look at some of the best steps a person can take to avoid contracting norovirus.

The symptoms from the gastrointestinal illness called norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and nausea.  It would be best to avoid contracting the virus, if possible.  Because norovirus is a highly contagious illness, the absolute best way to avoid contracting it is to avoid those who have it.  Cruising causes thousands of people to share very limited and cramped quarters, giving norovirus an easy way to spread.

It is always advisable to wash your hands frequently, especially when cruising.  Norovirus may be spread through interpersonal contact, so washing your hands frequently may help reduce your risk of infection from norovirus and other communicable diseases.

Norovirus is an airborne pathogen.  Because it travels through the air, infection can happen quickly.  Also, norovirus has been shown to be particularly resistant to disinfectant cleaners.  These facts combined suggest that the best way to avoid contracting norovirus is to stay as far away from it as possible.  Use the internet to search for cruise lines which have had frequent norovirus problems, and keep that in mind when booking your next cruise vacation.

 

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 sinking of the Costa Concordia in January was the most recent cruise disaster.  Claiming 32 lives, the Concordia disaster will go down as not only a human tragedy, but as a warning that modern technology is still prone to human error.  But, the Concordia is not the only major cruise ship to sink in modern times.  In 1991 the Oceanos set sail from South Africa and found itself struck by a monster storm within 12 hours of sailing.

The storm that struck the Oceanos was so powerful that the ship was quickly overpowered.  It began to take on water, causing the ship to sink.  The captain of the Oceanos, like the captain of the Concordia many years later, abandoned ship – leaving the passengers to fend for themselves.

Unlike the passengers of the Concordia, on which 32 people died, all of the passengers of the Oceanos were able to band together and help ensure that there were no lives lost.  The cases of the Oceanos and Concordia both underline just how important is having capable, and responsible, people piloting our cruise ships.  Furthermore, the incidences show what happens when people take it upon themselves to help their fellow man.  In the case of the Oceanos, passengers helping one another helped ensure that everyone escaped with their lives.  In the case of the Concordia, good samaritans helped to ensure that a greater human tragedy was averted.

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

Medical researchers have recently indicated that they are closing in on a potential vaccine for norovirus, and not a moment too soon.  Norovirus is a highly contagious bug, which affects the gastro-intestinal system.  Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and headache.  People sharing tight living conditions tend to be more prone to contract norovirus, making cruise ships practically a petrie dish of illness during and outbreak.

The United Kingdom is currently experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of norovirus.  According to the Telegraph newspaper, the UK has seen over 750,000 cases of the virus this year, which is up a whopping 72 percent from last year.  With no many cases, it is no wonder that cruise ship passengers have not been sparred.  As the cruise season continues, more and more stories of cruise ship norovirus outbreaks are emerging.

Passengers aboard the 1,843 passenger P&O ship Oriana have begun to call the ship the “plague ship” after dozens of them fell ill with norovirus during a recent sailing.  The ship One passenger described the situation as passengers “dropping like flies.”  Yesterday morning the P&O Azura docked in Southampton, carrying still more passengers who were showing symptoms of the illness.

Because norovirus outbreaks occur on a yearly basis, especially during winter, researchers are scrambling for a vaccine.  Recent reports suggest that scientists are close to a vaccine, but not there just yet.  Though the virus is not usually fatal, there is no cure for norovirus.

 

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 cruise business could be said to be 50% public relations and marketing.  The cruise companies spend millions of dollars every year in order to paint a cruise vacation in the best light possible.  They want to give the impression that a cruise vacation will transport the traveler to a far away world, where crime, injury, and sickness do not exist.  Sometimes, when bad things happen aboard cruise ships, cruise tour operators mislead the passengers, and the public, about the extent of what had happened – which is exactly what happened during a recent cruise ship outbreak.

The P&O Oriana has been struck with an outbreak of norovirus.  While usually not deadly, the bug causes nasty symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.  Norovirus victims are often quarantines aboard cruise ships.  There are many reports that they are scarcely left out of their rooms, and that food service and other services may be hard to come by for them.

Taking this into account, it is no wonder that P&O originally said that the ship had suffered 9 cases of norovirus.  This was a flat out lie.  It is not possible that P&O did not know the extent of illness aboard the Oriana.  Instead, the company tried to pull the wool over our eyes, and only updated their story once passengers from the affected ship began to speak out in the media.

P&O also had another ship, the Azura, which also suffered a recent norovirus outbreak.

 

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

Cruise ship captains have a tough job.  They are very highly trained professionals, who take thousands of lives into their hands every time they sail.  Cruise ships generally return to port with everyone aboard safe and sound, though there are exceptions.  Despite the training, cruise ship captains are human.  They have to maneuver several thousand ton, floating hotels, across the sea – wide and narrow.  Sometimes, more often than many would think, accidents happen.  Take a look at this video which shows a Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise ship colliding:

The video was apparently shot in Cozumel by an amateur videographer.  In the video can be seen a collision between the Carnival Legend and the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas.  The Carnival ship reportedly sideswiped the Royal Caribbean ship.

It would seem that such cruise ship accidents are rare.  But, the truth is that there are at least an average of 1 or more events like this every year.

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

With the news of yet another passenger going missing from a cruise ship, only to be later declared lost at sea, the inevitable question arises: who is responsible for cruise ship disappearance?  Is it the passenger that is responsible to make sure that they keep themselves safe on cruise vacations?  Does the cruise line bare a responsibility to make sure the the ship is secure from inviting accidental over boards, especially as cruise lines begin to offer “all you can booze” cruise packages?

The latest person to go missing from a cruise ship, 42 year old Jason Rappe, was sailing aboard a Holland America cruise ship last week when he went missing.  Not much is known about what caused Rappe to apparently go overboard the ship, though there have been reports that he and his wife were involved in a social drinking setting before his disappearance.  So, as is the case with so many crimes and disappearances aboard cruise ships, alcohol may have been a factor.

Cruise lines encourage drinking.  Many have even introduced so-called “all you can booze” cruise packages recently, which more or less amounts to a prepaid all-you-can-drink package.  But, with so many people going over board (no pun in tended) from cruise ships, it would seem that the ships would make falling from the ship, or jumping, more difficult.  However, at least 197 over boards have been reported in the past 10 years.  Once a person goes over board from a cruise ship, their likelihood of being found alive is slim.

Cruise lines should do more.  There should be fewer places where passengers can fall, jump, or be pushed from the ship.  In sensitive areas, closed caption video recording and security guards should be mandatory.

 

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

42 year old Jason Rappe, of Olympia, Washington, set sail with his wife on a Holland America cruise last week.  After a night of drinking, Jason took a walk on one of the upper decks of his cruise ship, where he disappeared.  What caused Rappe’s disappearance is a mystery, like so many cruise ship disappearances.  Only his baseball cap was found on the deck of the ship where he had been last seen.  In addition, there were conflicting reports of just what happened in the hours leading up to his disappearance.

Internet comments which were posted in response to various online news accounts of Jason Rappe’s disappearance have painted differing pictures of just what happened in the hours leading up to his disappearance.  One commenter said that he had seen a wild drinking party that the cruisers were engaged in.  He thought to himself that it would not be far fetched to think that someone may wind up in trouble after the party – only to find out later that someone was indeed missing.  Another commenter disputed the characterization of a wild party, and instead insisted that, though the cruisers were drinking, it was nothing more than a normal social gathering.

The conflicting accounts of what happened in the moments before Jason Rappe’s disappearance show just how difficult it can be for authorities to piece together what happened in a cruise ship disappearance.  Sadly, in this case, Jason Rappe was never found.

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