Sexual Assault on Cruise Ships- A Growing Concern

Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2021 at 10:00 am    

Just before news of the Covid-19 pandemic began to hit the airwaves in early 2020, data released at the end of 2019 painted a disturbing picture of sexual assault in the cruise line industry. Covid-19 coverage then dominated cruise ship headlines for much of the remaining year. However, as the industry begins creating plans for the future, passengers may want to revisit this shocking 2019 data and consider how it may impact their travel plans.

In December of 2019, reports began to emerge that FBI data showed 35 reported sexual assaults aboard cruise ships between July and September of 2019. While the number may not sound significant at face value, take into account that those 35 sexual assaults represent a 35 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 67 percent increase year-over-year. These numbers also represent only those sexual assaults that ended up being reported to authorities. While other crimes are also committed at sea, sexual assaults make up the largest proportion of reported crimes. Forbes reports that of the 46 reported crimes during that July and September period, 35 were sexual assault complaints.

International outlets have also picked up on the cruise ship and sexual assault trend. Some reports claim that large quantities of alcohol combined with little to no independent police presence onboard ships are a recipe for sexual violence. Girls and young women vulnerable to sexual abuse may find themselves put in a frightening situation in an environment where they may not know who to turn to for help. This is especially true in cases where the sexual assault was perpetrated by a member of the crew or a security member.

Investigation Complications

To add insult to injury for many victims of sexual assault aboard cruise lines, investigating these crimes can be challenging. Jurisdiction can enter muddy waters depending on where the crime was committed. Authorities may need to engage in international negotiations with other countries and law enforcement in foreign ports. This complex process can become extremely frustrating and taxing for victims still trying to cope with the trauma of a sexual assault.

Fighting Back

For several years media outlets have been talking about the problem of sexual assault aboard cruise ships. The public may not have been fully aware of the scope of the problem because of the way crimes aboard cruise ships were originally reported and categorized. Since these reporting standards were changed in 2016, it is easier to recognize that sexual assaults on cruise lines are becoming a growing and widespread problem. Just as sexual assault numbers peaked in 2019, the cruise industry was hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and priorities shifted to infectious disease control. Plans for tackling or addressing sexual assaults are left to media statements declaring “passenger safety is a top priority.”

The Legal Team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. Can Help

A cruise ship excursion should be a dream vacation, not a nightmare at sea. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted aboard a cruise ship, you don’t have to remain a silent victim. The legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. can offer you compassionate support and a legal outlet to seek justice.

Contact our experienced legal team today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We will treat your situation with sensitivity and show you the compassion and dignity that you deserve. Call (786) 375-0344 to schedule your consultation today.


Cruise Ship Collides with Crane 

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2021 at 1:02 am    

Although the cruise line industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still ships sailing the high seas, especially in other parts of the world. For adventurous travelers, the chance to see new parts of the world and explore other countries is alluring right now. With so few vessels at sea at the moment, you’d think that significant accidents would be at a minimum. However, already this year, a cruise ship crashed into the port of Savona while it was trying to execute a docking maneuver. The ship collided with a cargo crane, causing damage to the crane and one of the vessel’s lifeboats. A section of the port side of the vessel also detached from the ship and crashed into the ocean.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is still currently underway but weather conditions at the time were clear. No injuries have been reported from the incident, but accidents such as these in calm and clear weather should make passengers pause and re-evaluate the safety of these mammoth pleasure ships. Between 2005 and 2016, there were 448 major cruise ship disasters. Between 2005 and 2013, 66 of 131 passenger ships were reported to have run aground. Cruise ship accidents are not as uncommon as people think.

While weather conditions and mechanical failures are sometimes to blame, in many cases, accidents come down to negligence and captain error. This was the case in 2012 when the Costa Concordia ran aground just off the Italian coast. That accident killed 32 people. The captain was eventually found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison for taking the cruise liner too close to the shore, then abandoning the ship while passengers and crew members were still on board.

Do Injured Passengers Have Rights?

Yes. Passengers injured in cruise ship accidents where negligence is involved may be able to recover compensation for their injuries and mental anguish. Unfortunately, many passengers are not aware that they have rights and just feel lucky if the cruise line provides them with a voucher for a new trip. If you’ve been injured, you deserve more than just a coupon.

Talking with an attorney that has specific experience handling cruise line accident cases is the best way to assess what your claim is worth. Holding giant cruise line companies accountable for their negligence is not easy. It takes dedication and the right resources. At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve a positive outcome while sending a message to the cruise line industry that negligence at sea is never acceptable.

Injured in a Cruise Ship Accident? Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. Today

If you’ve been injured in a cruise line accident, contact the law firm of Louis A. Vucci P.A. today to discuss your situation. We have a solid reputation for helping victims recover compensation for their injuries. The case evaluation is free and confidential. Call today at (786) 375-0344 to get started.

 


Beware of Norovirus Before Your Next Cruise

Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 4:25 pm    

Cruises are a popular way to travel because they’re relatively stress-free. You can just sit back, sip on a daiquiri, and enjoy watching the endless hypnotic movement of the ocean’s tide from the ship’s deck.

Thirty million passengers are expected to travel by cruise in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. However, despite all of the fun that a cruise ship promises, there are some drawbacks.

Hundreds of passengers contracted the norovirus stomach flu while traveling on the Royal Caribbean International’s ship, Oasis of the Seas, in January 2019. And it’s not hard to imagine why so many people got sick.

Thousands of people are touching the same handrails, buffet utensils, bathroom door handles and elevator buttons. Once someone is infected with this hyper-contagious stomach flu, it’s easy to pass it on. People with the virus can shed billions of norovirus particles, and it only takes a few of those particles to infect another person.

The Oasis of the Seas’ contained quarters was the perfect recipe for the norovirus to spread rapidly, infecting 561 of 6,285 passengers and 31 of 2,169 crewmembers.

Known as the “cruise ship virus,” norovirus accounts for 90 percent of diarrheal outbreaks on cruise ships. It’s not only the close living quarters that breed this fast-spreading illness, but it’s also coming and going of passengers on and off the ship.

When passengers go ashore, they can become infected with the illness and bring it back to the cruise ship. In addition, the norovirus doesn’t leave the ship with the passengers. The norovirus can contaminate surfaces on the cruise ship and infect a new round of passengers.

The norovirus can persist on surfaces and is resistant to common disinfectants. So even after passengers leave, and crewmembers disinfect the ship, the virus can remain and infect the new oncoming passengers.

The Oasis of the Seas was set to embark on a journey to Mexico and then through the Caribbean Sea to Haiti and Jamaica. However, because of the rapid spread of the norovirus, passengers were not allowed off of the ship in Jamaica for fear of future infection.

The Oasis of the Seas returned to Port Canaveral, Florida a day earlier than scheduled because the norovirus was spreading so rapidly on the ship. Hundreds of vacations were ruined for those who contracted the norovirus and the remaining were cut short for those who didn’t contract the virus.

This was a real blow, especially financially, for those passengers who had planned and saved for months in advance for a tropical getaway.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) runs the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to help curb the spread of the norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses. The VSP also performs unannounced operation sanitation inspections to make sure the ship is in tiptop shape.

The VSP inspects ships with more than 13 people and a foreign itinerary including ports in the United States in and provides a service for passengers to look at a cruise’s inspection score before booking a trip. The top score is 100, which is excellent. Any score below 85 is considered unsatisfactory.

Passengers can also investigate a cruise ship before booking travel to check for any recent outbreaks. The VSP requires cruise lines that are sailing from a foreign port to an American port to document if any outbreaks occurred on the ship within 24 hours before the ship docks at its port.

But remember, just because a ship has a good score doesn’t mean you won’t be infected with the norovirus illness. There have been reports of the norovirus on ships that had near-perfect scores.

Passengers should always take appropriate measures to keep from getting sick. First, passengers should wash their hands frequently, especially before and after eating. Passengers should try to keep their hands away from their mouths and should stay away from any food or water that could be contaminated.

If you notice someone is ill, you should leave the area and alert a crewmember. Passengers should stay in their room if an illness is reported and wait for the area to be sanitized. Yes, it takes away some of the fun of the cruise ship, but if you’re already on board, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Also, before you board a cruise ship, take the time to look at the cruise line’s medical accommodations. Cruise ships are required to have at least one medical professional available at all times. All ships that hold 250 or more passengers have overnight accommodations.

If the ship comes to an American port, then an examination room, an intensive care room, and lab processing equipment are also required. But there are some major drawbacks to being out at sea without an actual hospital nearby.

First, the cruise ship doctors are not usually specialists. So, if you should need special care, there’s a good likelihood that you won’t be able to receive it. Before you book a cruise, you should call your healthcare insurer to find out if you are covered for offshore medical issues.

Also, it might be smart to purchase travel insurance. If you become seriously ill, you may need an emergency medical evacuation, which can be very costly. Remember that you can purchase insurance from an independent company instead of the cruise line itself and possibly save some money.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. For Help If You’ve Experienced A Cruise Ship Accident

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we were disappointed to find out about the hundreds of norovirus cases on the Oasis of the Seas. We believe that cruise lines should take all of the precautions necessary to prevent all types of illness while they are at sea.

Contact us today if you or someone you know contracted an illness while at sea on a cruise ship. You may be entitled to compensation for the physical, emotional, or financial losses you experienced while being on a cruise ship. Please contact us at (786) 375-0344 today for a free and confidential consultation. You also can reach out to us online.


Cruise ships’ spa services are getting more high-end

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 2:04 pm    

Cruise ship spa services have now modernized with ships like Bermudian, Florida-based shipping line Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s Breakaway ship’s Mandara Spa providing not only standard spa services like massages, manicures, and facials but also high-end and top-of-the-line cosmetic and/or medical procedures like teeth whitening, acupuncture, and injectables, like Botox and Restylane.

While a majority of spa patrons on cruise ships remain the elderly passengers looking for some pain relief, with services on the higher-end available, customers will use them to some degree. Doctors generally recommend that things like Botox be handled by dermatologists or other medical professionals as a reaction or bad treatment, which is more likely at the hands of spa workers with only five days of training, would need to be remedied as soon as possible. When far out to sea, this is often not possible and some side effects of Botox gone wrong include: “allergic reactions, vascular reactions, blindness, and low-grade chronic infections”.

Getting injured or contracting an illness while on a cruise can be dangerous, as victims may find themselves waiting for hours before they receive the needed medical attention. If you would like to sue for your personal injury accident on a cruise ship, call our attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A. by dialing (786) 375-0344.


Carnival passenger sues Carnival Cruise Line for slip and fall

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2016 at 5:48 pm    

Texas resident Norma Herrera filed a lawsuit on Monday, December 28 against Doral, Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the negligence of the cruise staff directly caused her fall and the subsequent injuries she sustained on Dec. 29, 2013.

According to the legal complaint, Herrera was exiting a bathroom on the Carnival Magic, a Dream-class cruise ship, when she slipped on a puddle of water on the deck and fell to the floor. Herrera said the positioning of the dangerous water, plus the fact that the cruise ship’s crew should have been aware of the issue and taken the proper precautions, contributed to the fall that resulted in injuries to her head, ankle, leg, and shoulder.

If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship in an accident that could have and should have been avoided, contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. today to speak to a cruise ship injuries attorney about your legal options before moving forward. Call us at (786) 375-0344.


$21.5M verdict overturned in cruise ship injury case

Posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2016 at 1:35 pm    

On Tuesday, January 5, United States District Judge Barbara Rothstein overturned a $21.5 million verdict in favor of Springfield, Illinois resident James Hausman, who claimed he was injured during an around-the-world cruise aboard Seattle-based Holland America Line in 2011. Judge Rothstein reconsidered the settlement after Hausman’s former personal assistant, Amy Mizeur, told the court he intentionally deleted email exchanges that could have put his case in jeopardy.

Rothstein found Mizeur’s statement that Hausman deleted emails that should have been handed over to Holland America’s attorneys before the trial credible, noting that “as a witness, [Hausman] came across evasive and untrustworthy” and that he “also seemed to capitalize on his alleged brain injury when it was convenient for him.”

Rothstein added that Hausman “was confused or claimed memory loss when confronted with a question or exhibit that appeared to undermine his claims, and yet was animated or full of information when his testimony supported his case.”

If you have suffered an injury during what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation aboard a cruise ship, our legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A., is prepared to help you pursue compensation for your suffering. To discuss your situation with our injury attorneys today, call (786) 375-0344.


Celebrity Cruises Tortola excursion ends in two deaths, sixteen injuries

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2015 at 6:35 pm    

Two passengers of Miami, Florida-based Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit lost their lives while sixteen others sustained injuries, two of them critical, after the tour bus they were riding in crashed on Sunday, December 6 in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Reports noted that the excursion bus apparently lost control near Round Hill on the Cane Garden Bay Hill.

A statement quoting the Office of Premier of the British Virgin Islands Orlando Smith said that the Royal Virgin Islands police force, the Royal Island fire and rescue department, emergency medical responders, members of the British Virgin Island Tourist Board, and cruise ship personnel from the Celebrity Summit cruise line responded to the scene of the accident. The victims were transported to Peebles Hospital for treatment.

Celebrity Cruises said of the incident that “the bus was independently operated, and not part of any Celebrity-sponsored shore excursion…We will refer questions about the accident and its investigation to local authorities.”


Royal Caribbean ship returns to Bermuda due to injured passenger

Posted on Monday, September 14th, 2015 at 6:23 pm    

The 1,112-foot Liberty of the Seas, a Miami, Florida-based Royal Caribbean International vessel, was forced to return to port in Bermuda just hours after the ship left that same port when a 74-year-old passenger was injured.

According to the Department of Marine and Ports website, Meyer’s Agency got in touch with the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre to inform them that the Liberty of the Seas would be returning to Bermuda.

According to a spokesman, the ship had already travelled 60 miles south towards St. Maarten when the injured woman, who had hurt her hip, told cruise officials that she needed to be hospitalized for her injuries.

Cruise ship passengers run the risk of being involved in an emergency situation while onboard a cruise ship. Not only can passengers be injured, but they can be the unfortunate victim of an assault or attack. If you have been injured on a cruise ship accident or assault, get in touch with our attorneys at Louis A. Vucci P.A., by calling our offices today at (786) 375-0344.


Fire injures crew member on Freedom of the Seas cruise ship

Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 9:16 pm    

As the Freedom of the Seas cruise liner was approaching one of its destination ports in Jamaica on Wednesday morning, a fire was reported to have broken out in the mechanical section of the ship. Though no passengers are reported to have been injured, one crew member sustained first-degree burns during the incident.

Once the fire was discovered, the fire was contained and extinguished with the fire suppression system on board the vessel. In what is being termed as “an abundance of caution,” the captain ordered the ship’s passengers to their designated emergency stations soon after the fire was discovered.

When the Freedom of the Seas returns to port in the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard will inspect the cruise liner. The ship is owned and operated out of Miami by Royal Caribbean International.


Wounded cruise ship passenger safely rescued

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 6:31 pm    

A 53-year-old man who was injured aboard the Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess was evacuated from the ship 9 miles off Galveston, Texas last Sunday, March 22.

The captain of the Emerald Princess contacted the Coast Guard at around 8:30 p.m. that day, informing them of a passenger that needed emergency medical attention to address a partially severed digit. The man, apparently, had a door closed on his thumb, almost completely detaching it.

Petty Officer Third Class Gerald Goss, a machinery technician who was aboard the emergency response boat, said they encountered no problems when transporting the victim and that the rescue “was a very smooth transfer.”

Cruise lines need to make especially sure that they take precautions to ensure that their passengers are safe due to the isolation of the ship. When cruise ship owners or staff fail to maintain the equipment or properly safeguard their stations, they put lives at risk. If you were injured on a cruise ship due to the negligence of others, do not hesitate to call our attorneys at The Vucci Law Group, P.A. by dialing (786) 375-0344 so we can provide you with legal help regarding your situation.