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Articles Posted in Maritime Accident

A Canadian passenger aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship vanished recently, and police in the Cayman Islands suspect the 65-year-old may have fallen off the boat.

Search crews have been scouring the waters around the British Caribbean territory looking for the unidentified man believed to have fallen around dawn Tuesday about 13 miles northwest of Grand Cayman.

Police have interviewed staff and witnesses aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship and are still investigating the disappearance.

Police issued the following statement: “The Port Authority broadcasted an appeal to all marine traffic to be on the lookout for the missing passenger.”

The man’s wife reported him missing on Tuesday morning, right as the Independence of the Seas ship prepared to dock at George Town Harbor.

independance of the seas betch.jpgA spokeswoman for Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises said the investigation was turned over to local authorities before the cruise ship departed and continued on its path. The man’s wife got off the ship in the Grand Cayman.

According to police, the wife claims they went to sleep around 1 a.m. Tuesday and that her husband was gone when she woke up about six hours later.

Authorities have searched the 15-deck, 1,112-foot-long craft and reviewed closed-circuit camera footage before the ship set out. The ship is on a six-night cruise that left from Fort Lauderdale on Sunday and has port calls in Jamaica and Haiti. It is equipped to lodge 4,375 guests and more than 1,300 crewmembers.

This man is the second Canadian passenger that has gone missing from a Royal Caribbean ship recently.

On Saturday, a 26-year-old jumped from the Adventures of the Seas near a Puerto Rican island on the last night of a week-long Caribbean cruise with his family. The U.S.
Coast Guard finished its search for the man on Monday.

Cruise ships can be a wonderful way to travel in ease and hit many destinations in a short period of time. Due to its beautiful year-round climate and open waterways, south Florida is the perfect starting point for many cruise lines. In fact, more than 5,300 ships call at Port Everglades in a year making this port located within the three cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach one of the world’s best and busiest cruise ports. However, with the increasing popularity of travelling via cruise lines, we are starting to see an abundance of cruise ship accidents, ship malfunctions, crimes and a larger number of reported accidents, injuries and wrongful deaths suffered by cruise ship passengers.

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With spring break still in effect, many residents of Florida and visitors alike are taking advantage of the tropical climate and getting out on the water. It is the perfect time to get away from school and work and take a break by cruising along the coastline for some fun and sun. However, be reminded that Florida continues to be the most dangerous state for boating accidents.

Unfortunately, every year Florida sees far more boating accidents than any other state in the country. In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, nearly 700 boating accidents were reported in Florida last year alone.
The state of California ranks second in boating accidents, and saw close to 400 maritime accidents last year.

49819_party_boats-1.jpgWhy do we see so many boating accidents every year? Keep in mind that Florida has more registered boats than any other state. The most recent statistics show that Florida had more than 914,000 registered vessels in 2010.

In 2011, Monroe County was cited as the most dangerous place for boating accidents, with more than 90 reported boating incidents. In that same year, Miami-Dade County had 74 boating accidents, Palm Beach County saw 58 watercraft incidents and Broward County reported 41 maritime accidents.

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San Juan, Puerto Rico – A wave of illness, suspected of being a norovirus, swept across the cruise line that operates the Queen Mary 2 last month, causing 201 passengers to fall ill.

According to a spokeswoman for Cunard Line, the owner of the ship, the gastrointestinal illness outbreak subsided as the ship headed back into port, leaving just two passengers affected at the voyage’s end.

Those sickened were asked to “isolate themselves in their cabin until non-contagious.” The cruise line told ill passengers that any shore excursion costs would be refunded.

The Queen Mary 2, with 2,613 passengers and 1,255 crew members, was docked in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean when the outbreak was reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vessels are required to notify the agency when at least 2 percent of those on board develop a gastrointestinal illness.

The crew of the Queen Mary 2 claims they took steps to stop the spread of the virus, such as deploying teams to do additional cleaning of public areas with disinfectant.

According to the CDC, norovirus can be acquired from an infected person, contaminated water or food or even by touching contaminated surfaces containing the contagious microorganism. Norovirus causes acute gastroentitis, producing severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This particular disease causes around 21 million illnesses a year, and an estimated 70,000 cases require patients to be hospitalized. The illness kills around 800 people a year, according to the CDC.

1182085_ship_docked.jpgThe Queen Mary 2 received a score of 100% on their most recent inspection by The Vessel Sanitation Program, which is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, just because a cruise ship passes as being clean, this does not mean you cannot get sick while on board. Illnesses on cruise lines is not a new concern, rather it is a problem that comes up quite frequently despite active measures to prevent the problem. The following are some of the most common causes of illnesses on cruise lines:

• Potable water systems
• Food storage and preparation
• Pest control
• Jacuzzi and swimming pool maintenance
When people fall ill or are injured aboard a cruise ship, they are often confused and unsure about their rights. A Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton understands the technicalities of cruise ship injury claims and can help you recover compensation for damages. If your vacation was cut short by an illness or unfortunate injury, we can help you recover the costs of medical bills, pain and suffering and other costs associated with the illness or accident.

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The strong-growing cruise ship industry may face at least a short-term slump following the Costa Concordia disaster.

Wall Street analysts, travel agents and other cruise line industry spectators expect a brief drop in bookings as controversy churns around the safety of cruise vacations. It remains unclear if the impact of the Costa Concordia disaster will have a long-term effect on the industry.

Analysts are apparently slashing 2012 expected earnings for Costa Cruises’ parent company Carnival to take into account the influence of costs related to the disaster, the Costa Concordia being removed from service and an anticipated drop in demand. The accident occurred during what is called “wave season,” the January-to-March period when cruise bookings are at their highest.

The 5-year-old Costa Concordia partially sank on Jan. 13 after hitting rocks in Giglio, a small island off the Tuscan coast. At least 11 people were killed and more than 20 remain missing.

Costa Cruises as well as Italian prosecutors are blaming the ship’s captain for the accident because he allegedly took the vessel off course to sail closer to the island.

The cruise ship industry has overcome previous tragedies at sea. In 2010, a fire onboard the Carnival Splendor left the ship adrift without power for days, which had no negative effect on bookings in the long run. The 2007 sinking of Louis Cruise Lines’ 1,500-passenger Sea Diamond, that hit rocks and left two people dead, also had little to no impact on future bookings.

Some experts say the Costa Concordia disaster could be different because of constant negative media attention surrounding the accidents in combination with the loss of life. According to industry watchers, the picture painted by the media is that the crew reacted badly and even irresponsibly, which does not build confidence among consumers. Costa Cruises and parent company Carnival are also being criticized for their response to the tragedy.

Miami-based Carnival at present time has said the loss of use of the Costa Concordia this year will reduce its earnings by $85 million to $95 million. Tens of thousands of travelers who already have paid for cruises on the liner will have to be refunded.

In addition to the loss of use of the Costa Concordia, Carnival also faces the costs connected to personal injury liability and damages to the ship, although the cruise line says it fully expects insurance to cover both areas. Should investigators find that the cruise accident was caused by inappropriate actions by the captain, Carnival could be cleared of any liability.

Carnival has yet to decide if they will fix the Costa Concordia that cost around $570 billion to rebuild. If they do, the ship will likely be out of commission for at least the rest of the year.

The nation’s largest cruise franchise, CruiseOne, reported that it has actually seen an increase in bookings this year by 5.9 percent when compared to last year.

In New York, shares of Carnival stock reportedly dropped almost 14 percent, which is the biggest drop since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In this case, to recover punitive damages against Costa or its parent Carnival, a person would need to prove gross negligence on some level by the company and not just the captain. Florida law requires that some negligence by the company be shown in order to prove punitive damages. It will be interesting to see how the investigation will play out and what actions Costa and Carnival decide to take.

A dream vacation aboard an ocean cruise can turn into a nightmare when dangerous conditions leave passengers suffering from injuries or death. It is important to act fast and contact a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney immediately if you feel your injuries or a loved one’s death are the result of cruise line negligence. In many cases, there is a one-year statute of limitations on personal injury or wrongful death claims against the cruise line. Because of this short window of time, it is critical for an attorney to investigate your injury claim promptly by locating and documenting the conditions aboard the ship and interviewing any witnesses and crew members while they are in port.

At Whittel & Melton, our attorneys can handle any and all types of injuries that can occur on a vacation cruise:

• Waterslide and swimming pool catastrophes
• Slip and Fall accidents
• Physical or Sexual Assault
• Severe Illness from Contaminated Foods
• Medical Negligence
• Excursion Accidents
• Drowning

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