2013 Ends With Two Passenger Disappearances on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
A 65 year-old Canadian man went missing on New Year's Eve Day from the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, Independence of the Seas. The gentleman was on a 6-night cruise with his wife to port calls in Jamaica and Haiti. His wife reported him missing in the morning, and it is believed he may have fallen off the boat around dawn. The ship was searched and crews were sent out to the location they believed him to be. The Canadian man was the 2nd person to go missing form a Royal Caribbean ship in less than a wee. Prior to this man's disappearance, a 26-year-old man jumped from the boat near a Puerto Rican Island at the end of a week-long cruise on the Adventures of the Seas. The Coast Guard attempted a search, but ended it after he wasn't found two days after his jump.
The Port of Seattle in Washington is a port call for several cruise lines. Whether you're on a Pacific Northwest cruise or a Bahamas cruise, passenger safety should be a cruise line's number one concern. In 2010, the Unites States Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. The Act was intended to increase the accountability of the cruise lines and how they report crime or incidents onboard the ship as well as improve the way crime is reported. Part of the consideration for this legislation were the statistics of sexual violence and disappearance of passengers from vessels. The reporting of crime was often not comprehensive or performed at all. Investigations frequently became complicated because different countries were involved between the location of where the ship was registered, the nationality of the victim, and the nationality of the alleged perpetrator.
The Government Accountability Office recently provided a report regarding the progress of implementing the law. Since the Act, cruise lines have begun to voluntarily post crime reporting data and further legislation has been initiated to improve the reporting of crimes. However, passengers can take other action and utilize the maritime laws available to them. An injured passenger or family member of a deceased passenger may file suit against the cruise line for failing in their duty to provide reasonable care for passengers. If something like the railing was poorly maintained or built too low in the first place, and caused an injury or death, then the cruise ship company may be liable for damages like medical bills and lost wages.
The Washington cruise ship law attorneys Gordon Webb and John Merriam have over 50 years of combined experience investigating and litigating personal injury cases that happen onboard a cruise ship. They know that any legal action against a cruise ship must be started soon after the voyage, as several cruise ship contracts limit the time to file notice of a claim. If you have been injured as a passenger or had a family member who died during a cruise ship voyage, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation today.