Contributors
Charles R. Lipcon

Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years.Read More »

Jason R. Marguiles

Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims.Read More »

Ricardo V. Alsina

Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims.Read More »

Michael A. Winkleman

Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes.Read More »

Articles Posted in Maritime Matter of the Week

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Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, lifeguards, cruise ship acident lawyerOur cruise accident lawyers here at LMAW have come to learn of a tragic accident involving a Disney Cruise Line passenger. According to news reports, the victim, a Disney Wonder passenger, died on February 26 after suffering a drowning accident in Castaway Cay, a private island owned by Disney. The passenger, who was on a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas, is reported to have been a 38-year-old man from New York. He allegedly drowned around 4 p.m. while swimming in the waters off the Cay.

A spokesperson for Disney claims crew members and medical personnel responded to the emergency right away. But at this point, we don’t really have much information to go on as to what could have possibly contributed to the drowning. Bahamian authorities are investigating the incident and explained an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of the accident.

Several factors could be at play here. The man could have been pulled under by a rip tide or he could have even suffered a medical condition while in the water. We will have to wait to see what the investigation reveals, but one thing that has been brought to our attention is the claim that there were no lifeguards on the beach where the accident occurred.

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Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship

Our cruise lawyers here at LMAW have been lucky that, being in Miami, FL, we haven’t had much to deal with in the way of bad winter weather. Unfortunately though, there have been several areas across the United States that have experienced extremely hazardous weather conditions. And these conditions don’t stop at the shore, they extend all the way out to sea.

In fact, we’ve just come to learn that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship carrying Ohio State football fans and coach Urban Meyer was stranded at sea due to heavy fog. The adverse weather closed the Tampa port and resulted in the cruise ship’s delay. The vessel was scheduled to return to port on Monday.

Ohio State football fans were celebrating an annual cancer charity fundraiser on Royal’s Brilliance of the Seas ship. But thanks to the fog, it looks like the cruise lasted a little longer than everyone expected.

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Cruise ship medical emergency, Coast Guard medevac, Norwegian Getaway, Puerto RicoA cruise vacation can be a lot of fun for kids. Between the numerous kids’ lounges and “clubs”, water slides, and endless supply of pizza and ice cream, it’s no wonder that the trend in cruising has undergone a major shift from a mostly adults type of vacation to one that is more family oriented. But unfortunately, the fact that there are a lot more children cruising means that cruise ship safety has to be held at an even higher standard than usual. And, even more unfortunately, it appears as though this need is being overlooked.

So far this year, there have been numerous incidents involving young children on the high seas, including the near-drowning of a four-year-old boy who was sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas last month. Our cruise ship lawyers are, quite frankly, shocked that most major cruise lines have yet to start employing experienced lifeguards on ships, despite the fact that a large number of accidents involving children are occurring. And now, we’ve come to learn of yet another cruise ship medical emergency involving a child.

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Valentine's Day cruise risksIn our last blog, our maritime attorneys here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman talked about how a Valentine’s Day cruise can be a breeding grounds for potentially life-threatening scenarios at sea. While many cruisers embark on a Valentine’s cruise to have a good time with their significant others or even celebrate the single life with their friends, there are several risks that can present themselves on a holiday sailing. Last time, we discussed how scorned travelers can create a threatening situation on a ship. Scorned travelers are individuals who may be suffering from severe heartbreak, loneliness, or any other depressive state of mind. The actions of these passengers can be unpredictable, and can lead to troublesome situations on the high seas, including violence.

However, there are a number of other factors that can create a dangerous environment on a Valentine’s Day sailing besides scorned travelers. Below are some of the main safety threats for passengers cruising on Valentine’s Day and how to best avoid them:

 

Higher likelihood of sexual assault

Many of the individuals who opt for a Valentine’s Day cruise are single women who are just looking to have a good time with their also single girlfriends. Continue reading

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Valentine's Day cruise safetyValentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and for many, love is definitely in the air. Some of you may be celebrating several years of happiness together, while others are enjoying the start of a blossoming relationship. And then there are those of us who are either seeking to find a new connection with that special someone that has yet to come into our lives, or who couldn’t be happier enjoying the single life and use the holiday as a way to commemorate their independent lifestyle.

Though we may all be looking forward to different things this Valentine’s Day, sure enough, there will be a large number of people who will be spending the holiday out at sea on a cruise vacation – and for good reason. After all, few things can compare to watching a glowing sunset from the shores of a tropical beach in the Caribbean, or a sunrise from a private balcony stateroom with your special someone. Indeed, cruise vacations can be quite romantic and a wonderful way to spend a holiday with those whom we love. Unfortunately, though a Valentine’s Day cruise is wrought with an abundant amount of opportunities to experience an unforgettable moment with our significant others, there’s more to the holiday than chocolates, flowers, and being swept off your feet – especially when out in open waters.

Any cruise ship attorney at LMAW well knows that there’s a big downside to cruising on Valentine’s Day, and anyone considering a holiday sailing this week should exercise extra caution. The holiday embodies love and passion, but there’s always another side of the coin. Some travelers may very well be in love – or looking for love – on a Valentine’s Day cruise, but others are looking for trouble.

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Surfing safety, maritime lawyerThe winter swells are picking up on many surf beaches across the country and surfers are taking advantage of the waves—even up north. Surfing can be a fun way to experience the water and beach, but as any maritime lawyer at LMAW can tell you, it also presents unique dangers.

Unfortunately, strong surf can often be lead to a greater number of accidents. And while surf lore might make the uninitiated think that sharks are the biggest danger out on the water, the reality is that shark attacks constitute a negligible number of the surfing accidents that occur every year. More likely contributors are collisions between surfers and swimmers, and hard falls onto reefs and sandbars. Falls and collisions can lead to injuries ranging from lacerations to broken bones to paralysis and death. Being aware of your surroundings and surfing within your abilities can help prevent tragedy.

In many locations across the country, surfers have to check more than just the weather report. Some beaches are closed to surfing at certain times of year to protect swimmers and some beaches even require surfers to use a leash. Failure to observe these rules will not just merit reprimanding by the life guard, but might also result in legal repercussions.

So, what can surfers do to make the water safe for everyone? Continue reading

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4-year-old boy nearly drowns in Oasis of the Seas cruise ship wave poolOur firm has been chosen to represent the family of a young boy who was involved a near-drowning accident aboard Oasis of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Our cruise ship accident lawyers first reported on the matter last month after learning about the details of the incident. The near-drowning cruise ship accident occurred roughly an hour after Oasis of the Seas departed Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary. The victim, a 4-year-old boy from Italy, was in the ship’s wave pool when he was swept under a wave. He was reported to have been submerged for around six minutes before a fellow passenger realized he was under water. The passenger then pulled the boy out of the pool, but he was unresponsive at the time and did not have a pulse.

Fortunately, there were a number of passengers on the ship who were trained in lifesaving medical procedures, and successfully performed CPR on the boy. The vessel also changed course back toward land so the boy could obtain further and more extensive medical care. He was transported to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, where his condition was listed as critical, and he was placed in a medically-induced coma for several days.

This, sadly, is just one of several accidents that have transpired throughout the years aboard cruise ship pools – and one that may have been prevented had there been a trained lifeguard monitoring the pool. Though ships these days come well-equipped with the latest and greatest entertainment options and technology innovations, few cruise lines actually employ lifeguards to protect the safety of their passengers and they aren’t even required to. There is currently no maritime law that mandates cruise lines to hire lifeguards. Instead, passengers are expected to swim at their own risk – a pretty big risk considering the fact that cruise ships in this day and age are built to hold well over 3,000 passengers.

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Cruise ship travel in VeniceOur cruise ship lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have written about the environmental impact of the cruise industry and the lack of transparency of the industry in reporting pollution and waste management on board cruise ships many times before. The problem has become so serious that certain countries have gone as far as to ban cruise ships from docking or to limit the places and beaches where cruise ships can dock.

In 2014, Venice banned large cruise ships from travelling in Saint Mark’s basin and in the Giudecca Canal. The decision was made to protect Venice and the environment from damage that these large ships can cause. The ban was put into effect as a result of the Costa Concordia disaster. Fox News reports that celebrities, including Michael Douglas and Cate Blanchett supported the ban, citing the fact that large cruise ships can increase the risk of flooding in Venice. The city is already subject to serious flooding on a regular basis.

Yet, recent news reports reveal that Venice has had a change of heart about the ban. Tourism groups rallied to support a ban—but only after alternate canals and infrastructure has been put in place to properly re-route cruise vessels. The Contorta Sant’Angelo Channel, when completed, will afford larger cruise ships a safer passage through Venice.

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jones act, jones act lawyer, tugboat accidentTugboats are considered the workhorses of the sea. They might be small, but their powerful engines allow them to pull larger ships and perform other crucial duties, like breaking up sea ice to allow the passage of other boats. Yet, crews aboard tugboats are subject to additional risks because they often have to pull around larger vessels that are unable to maneuver on their own. Sometimes these larger vessels carry hazardous materials, like oil or chemicals. Tugboat accidents occur when the boats capsize, experience breakdowns, collisions, and when equipment on board the ships causes injuries.

A tugboat accident recently reached national news, when a vessel in East China carrying an international crew capsized in the Fubei Channel in Jiangsu Provence. The New York Times reports that 22 people died in the accident. The rescue operation was made difficult due to swift currents in the channel. The vessel was eventually pulled to the surface and investigators were able to search inside. Four Singaporeans, an Indian, an Indonesian, a Japanese, and a Malasian are among the casualties.

The tugboat had been recently constructed and was on a test voyage when the accident took place. One survivor explained that the ship filled with water within 20 seconds, making it difficult for people to escape the sinking vessel. Government officials explain that the ship was undergoing testing without completing required procedures that included reporting on the condition of the tugboat, as required by current regulations.

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Seven Seas Mariner, RegentIn Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, the keel was laid for what is touted to be the most luxurious cruise ship in history. The 750-passenger Regent ship will be an all-suite luxury vessel unlike anything that has come before.

The keel laying ceremony was the epitome of opulence. Master sommelier, Michela Cimatoribus popped the cork on a magnum bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée, which triggered a laser, which then cut the first piece of steel for the Seven Seas Explorer ship. During the ceremony, a Rolls Royce Phantom also delivered three symbolic coins to commemorate the commencement of construction. The coins were welded into the construction of the vessel. The archbishop of Genoa also blessed the metal.

The ship will offer passengers more space and privacy than any other ship before it. Additionally, its Regent Suite is billed to be the most opulent suite on board a cruise ship. At 3,875 square feet, its master bedroom features a wall of windows overlooking the ocean, and a private onsite spa. The room will reportedly cost passengers $65,000.

But perhaps the best news our maritime attorneys have heard about the ship thus far is the fact that it will employ cutting-edge environmental protection measures. Just the other day, we talked about how several major cruise lines are avoiding environmental safety protocols and polluting marine habitats and the air with harmful substances, chemicals, and wastewater.

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