A week ago, the cruise ship Costa Concordia hit a reef and capsized near a Tuscan island in Italy. Investigations into the accident are ongoing, as are searches for possible survivors. Eleven deaths have been confirmed and more are expected. The serious accident has shone a spotlight on cruise ship safety, something which is sure to affect Miami, which is currently one of the biggest ports of call and one of the most popular cruise ship departure points in the US.
A congressional committee, the House Transportation Committee’s Coast Guard subcommittee, will consider cruise ship crew training regulations, cruise ship standards, and other issues in order to potentially prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. Early review of the cruise ship incident by the committee suggests that the tragedy in Italy was preventable, according to a spokesperson for the committee.
Miami personal injuries aboard cruise lines are not too common, but each year serious accidents and deaths do occur on cruise lines. Each year, Miami slip and fall injuries, assaults, brain injuries, fatalities, and other serious incidents do occur on cruise ships. To address these issues, a law was passed in the US in 2010 to increase security and reporting requirements on cruise passenger ships. Ships currently undergo inspections twice a year and according to the US Coast Guard operate safely.
One issue which may be considered is whether larger cruise ships pose a greater danger to passengers. Some experts argue that the increasing size of ships puts them at greater risk of accidents and therefore puts passengers at greater risk of Miami brain injuries, fatalities, and other types of injuries. However, other experts, including experts from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, claim that safety standards and technologies have improved as cruise ships have increased in size, keeping the passenger ships safe. Concordia, for example, has carried more than 120 million passengers and crew on its ships in the past ten years and during that time has only reported 50 cruise-ship related deaths. Certainly, cruise ship accidents are less common than Miami car accidents, but they are nevertheless preventable accidents that cause devastation to many lives, as the stories out of Italy this past week have shown.
The incident in Italy has also prompted some concern among those who enjoy cruise ship vacations and among the cruise ship industry. According to experts, there are several things that cruise ship passengers can do to improve their own safety on cruise ship vacations. For example, travelers can research cruise ship safety standards and cruise ship safety concerns before traveling. This will not always prevent an incident – Concordia had a very good safety record before last week’s high-profile accident – but ensuring that a cruise ship line does not have a history of safety problems is a wise step to take. Once on board, it is a good idea to listen carefully to safety demonstrations and to find out about safety devices and procedures. In the event of an accident, you will know where to go and what needs to be done to avoid injury as much as possible.
If you have been injured on board a cruise ship leaving South Florida or docked in South Florida, arrange for a free consultation with the Flaxman Law Group to discuss your case. You may be entitled to more compensation that you realize to cover medical costs, transportation costs home, and other costs related to the accident. The initial consultation with the Flaxman Law Group is free and comes with no obligation, so call today to discuss your legal options.