Are changes coming to the cruise line industry by federal mandate?
We’re not sure yet, but according to The Hill which provides breaking news from Capitol Hill and Congress, the Coast Guard is considering new rules for investigating crimes on cruise ships.
Cruise ships would face new security protocols, such as informing passengers about crime aboard the ship, installing systems to detect if someone falls overboard, and crime scene preservation and evidence gathering training, under proposed rules from the Coast Guard.
“Congress found that serious incidents, including sexual assault and the disappearance of passengers at sea, have occurred on cruise vessel voyages, that passengers lack adequate understanding of their vulnerability to crime on board cruise vessels, that inadequate resources are available to assist cruise vessel crime victims, and that detecting and investigating cruise vessel crimes is difficult,” the Coast Guard wrote.
Cruise lines would face new security protocols for reporting crimes and accidents?
We certainly hope so. With more than 20 million people cruising on vessels from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney and many other cruise lines (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of crewmembers working on these ships), we would hope that any increase in reporting crimes and accidents would be welcomed.
Most passengers have no idea about the potential dangers aboard cruise ships. While most people do cruise safely every years, thousands face very serious, life altering physical and emotional injuries.
In fact, there is an entire segment of the legal industry that focuses almost solely on cruise ship injuries, legal claims and accident lawsuits.
Our firm is contacted every single day with inquiries from hurt passengers – and crew – who are interested in knowing what their legal rights are and how they might be compensated for their injuries, hospital bills and lost time at work.
Would passengers be more careful when traveling if they had a better understanding of the dangers involved in cruising?
It’s tool early to tell, but certainly, having advanced knowledge of what might happen – from sexual assault, to stolen identity to a variety of physical injuries – would at the very least, prepare potential passengers for ‘what might happen.’ They might not let their children swim unattended, drink too much, walk down dark stairwells, venture too far from port on excursions or a dozen other things that seem ‘normal and likely uneventful.’
Congress found that serious incidents have occurred on cruise vessel voyages
It’s almost silly to read the paragraph above about Congress essentially just realizing that ‘serious incidents’ have occurred on cruise ships. Perhaps the cruise ship lobbyists are doing a great job, but many Miami cruise ship lawyers have testified over the years regarding the dangers within the industry.
Serious accidents happen every single week (and we’ve been representing hurt cruise ship victims for 25 years)!
We know what happens – our lawyers get calls and emails from passengers describing their injuries – broken bones, wrenched backs, concussions, internal injuries – and much more.
Crime and serious accidents have always on the radar, but it’s a wonder that it’s getting attention now. Perhaps its due to the much reported and televised accidents with Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean over the last 2 years.
The “Poop Cruise” from Carnival was a wake up call. Passengers going overboard is always ripe for a catchy news story. Drowning and near drownings of passengers (especially children) are massive ‘wake up calls’ for an industry that’s managed to stay under the radar.
Investigating cruise ship crimes is difficult
Yes, it is. Cruise ships have made it difficult to investigate crime, accidents, injuries and more. Facing lawsuits from passengers is not good for business. Most cruise lines are public companies who face tremendous pressure to increase ‘the bottom line.’
Bigger boats, more amenities, more fun does not mix well with safety regulations, adding lifeguards or creating procedures for reporting, investigating and cooperating with investigations by the Coast Guard, passengers or law firms.
Perhaps new regulations could push this along? Perhaps. Our firm would certainly encourage the general public – many of whom enjoy cruising – to make their voices heard for stronger safety regulations (whether forced by Congress or volunteered by the cruise lines themselves).
Thousands of passengers are injured each year. With increasing public awareness of the dangers involved in cruising, maybe there will be changes. We can hope.
More from cruise ship injury lawyers
If you have more questions, concerns or just want to contact the cruise ship injury lawyers at Waks and Barnett, P.A. in Miami, please contact us at 800-905-2891.