Port of New Orleans Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer
The Port of New Orleans is experiencing increasing demand from visitors year-round for inland and ocean cruises. It’s one of the world’s busiest ports. More and more people are opting to take Caribbean and River cruises, as well as Harbor and Gulf cruises annually from the Crescent City port. Cruise lines are offering larger and newer ships to meet the growing demand from New Orleans passengers.
The Port of New Orleans boasts handling over 1 million passenger movements annually. Unfortunately, as the cruise experience gains popularity, so does the incidence of accident and injury while aboard a ship.
Currently, the port includes two terminals, located near the famous French Quarter and other tourist areas. When people visit New Orleans and enjoy its amenities, they let the good times roll. According to port officials, 60 percent of cruise passengers spend two or more days enjoying New Orleans before or after they board their ships.
When New Orleans tourists decide to take a cruise, they put their safety and security in other people’s hands. Cruise lines have a legal duty to ensure that the conditions on their ships are safe for their passengers and can be held liable if they fail to meet that responsibility. The Port of New Orleans cruise ship accident lawyers of Louis A. Vucci, P.A. can help you. Contact us at (786) 375-0344 for a free consultation.
Port of New Orleans Cruises
Because of its strategic location, the Port of New Orleans has diverse features that offer a variety of opportunities for a unique cruise that visitors can experience. It is a deepwater port located on the mouth of the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. This allows for large cruise ships, as well as smaller river boats to take passengers on the boat rides of their dreams. Passengers can cruise up the river or out to the open ocean.
Several different cruise lines offer passengers four- or five-night cruises and week-long cruises with destination stops in Florida, Mexico, Central America and a variety of Caribbean Islands. Carnival Cruise Line offers year-round cruises, while Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International offer seasonal cruises to ocean-going passengers.
Some of these ships are enormous and can host thousands of passengers at a time. Ocean cruise vessels have capacities that range from 2,446 to 3,963 passengers. The higher the number of passengers that you are isolated on a boat with, the higher the risk is of disease outbreak or exposure to crime while on board.
Crime rates during vacation cruise ships are steadily increasing. Sexual assault is the most commonly reported crime. Incidents are reported to federal authorities, and they include incidents that take place while on board the cruise ship, as well as onshore at various ports.
Mississippi River Cruises
Passengers can take anywhere from a five-day trip to a three-week cruise up the Mighty Mississippi in several different river cruise lines. American Cruise Lines and the American Queen Steamboat Company both offer year-round, as well as seasonal cruises on the river. River cruise lines utilize vessels with much smaller capacities, ranging from 150 to 436 passengers.
Whether your shore trip is just to Memphis on a river cruise or in Cozumel on a Caribbean cruise, or you stay on the boat, sexual assault is the most commonly reported crime associated with cruise ships. If you have been assaulted while on a cruise, report it immediately to the ship’s authorities.
The Port of New Orleans is immediately near the famous French Quarter of New Orleans and boarding sites are five minutes from tourist areas of the city. They are also within areas where crime may take place. In accordance with federal regulations, terminal operators and cruise lines share responsibility for shoreside and shipboard security of passengers.
Risks Associated with Cruising
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, informs us that incidents or accidents involving passenger injuries and/or fatalities are not a common occurrence considering the number of passenger ships sailing worldwide. However, they do advise passengers to consider the potential risks associated with a cruise vacation. Possible health and safety risks aboard cruise ships, identified by the CDC, include the following:
- Mechanical problems
- High winds and waves
- Natural hazards
- Personal Safety Abroad
Many of these things that can go wrong during your cruise vacation could actually be preventable. Poor maintenance, negligent staff, inadequate vessel safety, lack of sanitation or security, and many other variables can contribute to the likelihood that incidents will occur that cause accident and injury. Discussing an incident with a cruise ship injury lawyer can help you clarify whether an incident should have been prevented and could be due to someone’s negligence.
Risks at the Port of New Orleans
The Port of New Orleans has two terminals to board cruise ships. The Julia Street and the Emato Street Terminals are both located very close to the famed French Quarter, and a unique crime industry here has developed to exploit tourists.
According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Orleans has a higher level of crime than the rest of the nation to comparable rates in similar-sized cities. The crimes they used to estimate the level include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft. Higher rates of crime in this area mean some risks to the passengers preparing to board a vessel.
Cruise lines are obligated to provide a reasonable measure of security to prevent their passengers from becoming victims of crime. This includes adequate lighting and staff, as well as clearly marked areas and adequate fencing or construction.
Cruise Ship Safety Standards
The U.S. Coast Guard requires that cruise ships meet the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This and other international regulations address the following safety concerns:
- Vessel Safety – Ocean-going cruise ships must meet standards for hull structure, watertight integrity, firefighting and structural fire protection, lifesaving equipment, vessel control and navigation safety, and safety management systems.
- Crew Member Competency – Cruise ships are required to be sufficiently and efficiently manned. Crew members are generally responsible for assisting and directing passengers in emergency drills and actual emergencies. Crew Members must aid in instruction for the proper method of donning and adjusting life preservers and ushering passengers aboard the lifeboats.
- Emergency Drills – Ocean cruise ships are required to hold regular fire and lifeboat drills. The drills are intended to give the crew practice and to show the passengers how to act in the event of an emergency at sea. The frequency of the drills depends on the length of the voyage.
- Emergency Signage – Cruise ships are required to post safety notices in clearly visible areas in each passenger cabin or stateroom. The notices are to explain how to recognize the ship’s emergency signals that may be supplemented by announcements. There must also be notices posted about the locations of life preservers with instructions and pictures explaining how to use them as well as the locations of lifeboats that show the path to reach them.
- Sanitation and Cleanliness – The U.S. Public Health Service oversees proper sanitation on cruise vessels for drinking water, food storage, food preparation and handling, and general cleanliness.
- Terminal Security – Cruise lines have a duty to keep their passengers safe from unauthorized weapons and persons by preventing them from boarding the ship. This includes baggage searches or screening, passenger identification, and visitor control.
- Financial Responsibility – Operators of passenger vessels must prove their ability to pay claims arising out of passenger injuries or death for which the ship operator may bear some liability.
- Safety Guides – Cruise ships are required by U.S. law to have a criminal activity prevention and response guide available for passengers. This guide must contain important information such as a description of designated medical and security personnel, and the available law enforcement process. Additionally, most cruise ships that visit U.S. ports are required to report criminal activity aboard the vessel to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Note that even though cruise ships aren’t required by international standards to have medical care available, most do, to meet insurance and commercial standards.
If ocean-going ships take on U.S. passengers at U.S. ports, they are required to follow strict international safety standards. Passengers embarking on voyages should expect a certain level of safety while aboard a cruise ship. If a cruise line does not adhere to these standards, they could be held liable for the injuries caused by their failure to do so.
How Louis A. Vucci, P.A. Can Help You
Our outstanding legal team specializes in the complex field of cruise ship injuries. We are compassionate and empathetic to how you must feel after a traumatic accident out at sea. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case and fight for your rights if your safety was compromised.
Louis A. Vucci, P.A. will work to hold those parties accountable who were responsible for injury or death involving yourself or a loved one while on a cruise and get you the compensation and justice that you deserve after such a traumatic experience. Call us today at (786) 375-0344 or reach us online.