Who Pays for Medical Emergencies on Cruise Ships?

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The Cape May County Herald reported that the US Coast Guard medevaced two women, ages 73 and 81, from the Carnival Splendor approximately 80 miles southeast of Atlantic City on June 25. A little more than a week later, WESH-TV reported that a 12-year-old boy had to be airlifted to a hospital after a fall on the Carnival Sensation. On July 8, the Coast Guard medically evacuated a 72-year-old woman who reportedly suffered stroke-like symptoms while onboard the Norwegian Pearl, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

These three stories in less than two weeks are just a small example of what has been a very problematic trend with the cruise line industry in recent years. While cruise ships have medical personnel and facilities onboard, they typically will not treat the more serious ailments. Instead, they will often require that passengers with serious illnesses and injuries disembark for treatment. In many cases, this results in substantial unforeseen expenses for cruise passengers who can be billed for the cost of a medical evacuation or may be shocked to learn that their travel insurance does not cover medical emergencies outside US borders.

Additionally, cruise lines have also developed a troublesome reliance on the US Coast Guard during all sorts of emergencies. As West Virginia’s senior US Senator, John Rockefeller IV, noted in a tweet this past March, the US Coast Guard responded to 90 incidents with Carnival ships in five years—with passengers onboard. In a letter Rockefeller sent to Carnival CEO Mickey Arison that month, he noted, “the Coast Guard spent almost $780,000 in responding to the Carnival Triumph incident – costs that are paid by federal taxpayers.”

As Chris Mims, a science and technology reporter for the international business magazine Quartz, said in his own tweet, “Carnival Cruise’s awesome biz model: Pay no US tax, evade all US labor laws, get free rescues from US Coast Guard.”

You could be entitled to compensation if you or your loved one sustained injuries in a cruise ship accident. Contact our firm today at (800) 215-7117 to schedule a free consultation or fill out the form on this page to have our Miami cruise ship attorneys review your case.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. — Miami Cruise Ship Lawyers handle cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

Did You Know?: Senator Rockefeller said the Coast Guard and the US Navy spent an estimated $4.2 million in assisting the Triumph in February and the Splendor in 2010.