Are cruise ships safe? That’s a question each maritime injury lawyer at our firm is often asked. As a general rule, the answer is yes, cruises are safe! Cruising is one of the most popular – and convenient – ways to travel for a host of reasons. But unfortunately people have come to have false expectations regarding cruise safety. Most people think: Not only do you have everything you could possibly need at your fingertips, including food, alcohol and entertainment, but you also don’t have to worry about transportation to and from a hotel to a site or driving intoxicated, or any kind of accident… right? WRONG.
Though many would like to believe cruise travel is safe, in many ways, it can be dangerous. Though crime rates in popular cruise destination ports like Roatan Island, the Bahamas and Belize are increasing at alarming rates, the lack of safety is most often a result of the cruise industry’s failure to incorporate innovative equipment and policies that would prevent accidents and crimes from happening in the first place.
In Part 1 of our blog, we discussed two of the world’s most highly publicized cruise accidents: the Costa Concordia tragedy in 2012 and the Carnival Triumph fire of 2013. Though not the first two cruise accidents in history, these two incidents received so much media attention, it lead to the stark realization that there’s a whole world of safety violations and seemingly negligent practices within the cruise industry that the public rarely gets to see.
Not only have cruise lines failed to adopt state-of-the-art technology that would aid in the detection of accidents and crimes, but lines have also failed to properly train crew members on how to effectively handle emergency situations. Moreover, when an accident or crime does occur, cruise lines literally do everything they can to avoid compensating passengers for their pain and suffering and financial hardships.
A new cruise accident has once again highlighted this consistent lack of shipboard safety and lack of passenger rights consideration across the industry. A few days ago, another Costa ship, the Costa Deliziosa, suffered a power failure and blackout in Valencia, Spain, which caused the vessel’s electrical systems to shut down. Though power and main services were restored after a few hours, we have to admit, we were on the edges of our seats for quite a while. Given Costa’s accident history – and Carnival Corp.’s in general – we were a bit skeptical about the ship being repaired within a prudent amount of time. However, we were not only pleasantly surprised to learn that ship was quickly repaired, but that Costa made the decision to keep the ship in Spain until the repairs were made, instead of attempting to sail back and risk further damage to the vessel, which could potentially leaving passengers stranded at sea, similar to the Triumph incident.