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 »

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Prince George Wharf in Nassau Harbor

Thinking about cruising to the Bahamas? Well, you might want to rethink that decision after hearing about the latest travel warning that’s been issued.

Any maritime lawyer can tell you that some of the ports cruise lines call on are not what you’d call the model of safety. We’ve often discussed how certain destinations in the Caribbean have been wrought with crime and have posed a danger not only for cruise passengers, but for crew members as well. One of these ports is the Bahamas.

For years, the U.S. government has been trying to alert potential travelers as to the dangers of visiting the Bahamas. Crime has been escalating at an alarming rate, causing some cruise lines, like Carnival, to hand out warning letters to its guests when docking in the island nation. Both cruise lines and the U.S. government have also provided travelers with a list of areas in the Bahamas prone to crime so travelers can steer clear of them, and have advised travelers to remain as close to port as possible. But with every warning there seems to be an equal, if not greater ratio of crimes that continue to occur throughout the Bahamas. Despite all the efforts that have been made on the Bahamian government’s part, such as increasing police forces in Nassau, nothing seems to work. Crime rates are higher than ever, which leads us to wonder: If the Bahamian government is taking the crime problem as seriously as they should?

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Robotic bartenders on Quantum of the SeasWe’ve all seen our fair share of sci-fi movies where some kind of creature or artificially intelligent creature is taking over the planet. Though these flicks can sometimes leave us with the tiniest bit of curiosity over whether any of the extraordinary events detailed on the Big Screen can actually occur in real life, in the end, we know it’s just the magic of the movies taking over our thoughts – or is it?

A recent revelation regarding the cruise industry has left us thinking otherwise. And maybe, just maybe, robots might be staking their claim over humans after all. Well, at least where the cruise industry is concerned.

If you’re the kind of reader that cringes at the idea of mechanical beings roaming amongst the living, then look away. But if you’re brave enough to venture into the future of cruise travel with us, then buckle up, you’re in for quite a ride.

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HalloweenIt’s that time of year again. Time to get dressed up and hunt for candy. Time to enjoy friendly tricks for treats. It’s Halloween and there’s plenty of fun to be had, whether you are young or young at heart.

Some of us will be spending the holiday with our kids while some of us may decide to attend a ghoulish party or two. And then there are those of us who will be celebrating Halloween aboard a cruise ship. And, for those of us who have elected to spend the holiday on a ship, you’re in for quite the thrill. Since Halloween happened to fall on a Friday, there are several three and four day cruise sailings that are going to feature special activities for guests, anywhere from costume contests to specialty drinks to pumpkin carving. Many ships even offer trick or treating opportunities for kids. But while it can be easy to get lost in the excitement of the costumes and games, it’s important to remember that Halloween can also be a very dangerous holiday.

Accidents and crimes at sea can take place at any time, but on a day like Halloween, there’s a much greater chance that cruise ship guests can get hurt. Between the large number of people that will be on board a ship this weekend having a good time, the costumes that can cause perpetrators to more easily get away with committing a crime like sexual assault, and the fact that many adult passengers will be drinking (many to an excess), trouble is a lot more likely to strike on a Halloween cruise. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce your chances of getting hurt or becoming the target of a crime. Our maritime lawyers have a few tips that will help you stay as safe as possible.

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Miami waterwaysMiami is known for a lot of things, and boating is definitely one of them. Between the scenic waterways, beautiful shores, and spectacular architecture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy out on the open waters. Unfortunately, as scenic and exciting as a boat ride can be in Miami, it can also be extremely dangerous. The party-going atmosphere the city boasts is great for those looking to have a good time, but often, boaters can get a little carried away.

Alcohol consumption, speeding, and general goofing around can lead to serious – if not fatal – boating accidents. And in Miami, there’s never really a shortage of any of those.

When boat crashes do happen, the victims should always consult a boating accident lawyer for assistance. If the accident was the result of another person’s negligent actions, such as being over the legal alcohol limit while operating the vessel or watercraft, wasn’t paying attention or following the rules of the road, or was boating over the designated speed limit, then victims may have a case.

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HalloweenWho doesn’t love a good treat? Especially those covered in chocolate… or sprinkles…or caramel…well, you get the picture. Halloween is a great holiday for those of us who enjoy unleashing our spirited sides – and those of us with a sweet tooth. Between the outrageous costume ideas, ghoulish parties, and decadent sweets, there’s no limit to what you can do to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve – including a special Halloween cruise vacation.

This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, which is pretty ideal for cruise lovers. There are tons of three and four day holiday getaways, and best of all, many cruise lines feature themed Halloween parties and even let guests dress up. If you’re into cruising, then this is definitely your kind of treat.

But while it’s easy to get lost in the spirit of the holiday and the endless festivities on board a theme-cruise, it’s important to remember that it’s also easy to become a target of cruise ship crime – especially sexual assault.

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cruise passenger evacuationAccidents can happen anywhere you go, be it land or sea. But at least on land, if you suffer an injury, help is available much more readily. It’s a lot easier for victims to obtain medical assistance or even assistance from nearby persons when an accident happens on dry land as opposed to at sea because persons on a vessel are isolated. Telephone and other communication services may not be working, which means emergency crews may not be reached until hours later. Even if they are reached quickly, a vessel may be out at sea in the middle of nowhere, and it can take several hours for an emergency team to reach the victim. Furthermore, not every vessel is equipped with onboard medical facilities. On land, victims who are injured can be transported to a number of hospitals or clinics, but that’s not the case at sea.

And on top of the fact that obtaining medical treatment and help for an offshore injury is much more difficult than for those who suffer an accident on land, the types of injuries victims can suffer vary greatly as well. So what are these kinds of injuries and what types of accidents can cause them? Let’s take a look.

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BelizeThough the threat of Ebola remains unclear on land in the United States, the horrific virus continues to cause problems for the cruise industry. Last week, the industry dealt with a mass panic aboard the Carnival Magic, aka the “Ebola Cruise”, caused by a Dallas hospital lab worker’s less than sound decision to board the ship (carrying over 2,000 people) after potentially being exposed to the virus at her job. (Thankfully, she tested negative for Ebola!) And now, the popular cruise port of Belize is reportedly giving cruise lines a bit of a headache after the island nation has decided to impose new and understandably strict measures for screening cruise passengers for Ebola.

According to an article from 7 News Belize, the nation’s Ministry of Immigration announced it will soon require cruise passengers to undergo screenings for Ebola at the Belize Harbor. However, rumor has it that the two cruise industry tycoons, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, have supposedly “threatened to pull scheduled cruises” from Belize as a result. What could possibly be the problem here?

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Ebola_virus_emIt seems like all anyone can talk about these days is Ebola. Sure, we can understand why. I mean, we are in the midst of the largest Ebola outbreak in history. And, there have been a number of Ebola-related cases (one of them fatal) in the United States. Let’s not forget the fact that Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses on the planet. Even for the very, very lucky few who recover from Ebola, the virus can still cause lifetime complications with health.

Naturally, it’s safe to say everyone’s pretty shaken up right now and worried about Ebola. The same goes for each maritime attorney at our firm. But while over 5,000 people have already gotten sick (mostly in West Africa), the fear and threat of becoming infected with Ebola is exponentially higher for travelers. There is no world-wide travel ban, which means that an infected person may board a plane, Greyhound bus, or even a cruise ship. Steps are being taken to prevent travel of those who might be infected. Still too early to know if this can help or not.

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Carnival MagicA few days ago, our maritime lawyers reported on the so-called Ebola Cruise, aka, the Carnival Magic. One of the passengers on board had worked at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas as a lab worker, where a patient died of Ebola, and made the not-so-wise decision to go on a cruise, potentially putting thousands of people at risk for infection.

Well, the ship has now returned to its homeport of Galveston, Texas. According to reports, the passenger eventually tested negative for the virus, but that doesn’t mean that what happened is okay or that something similar won’t happen again. And it sure doesn’t mean we should all just sit back, throw our feet up and call it case closed.

If a health care employee did not have the common sense to steer clear from others, knowing well that she had worked in the hospital where there was, in fact, an Ebola case, who’s to stop others from doing the same? Furthermore, who’s going to ensure cruise lines quarantine passengers (or crew members) displaying symptoms?

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Miami waterwaysBecause our blog is generally about people getting badly injured at sea, we thought it would be nice to mix it up a bit and focus on something positive about the water!

Miami is known for many things, including spectacular weather, incredible cuisine, and not to mention, fantastic nightlife. But perhaps one of the city’s greatest appeals is its seemingly endless number of waterways that make for amazing recreational boating trips. Eager water lovers can enjoy one of the city’s numerous bays, rivers, or even set off for a scenic cruise across the Atlantic Ocean.  So what are some of the best spots for boaters in Miami? Read on to find out some of our top choices. Continue reading