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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The mother of a Tennessee woman who fell overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is alleging the cruise line could have done more to save her daughter, including turning the vessel around to search for her immediately. The victim, finally identified as A’riel Brianna Marion, 21, fell off the Allure of the Seas cruise ship less than 50 miles east of Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 16, just hours after the mega-vessel left Port Everglades on a Caribbean itinerary. The search for Marion was called off, but her body was never recovered.

According to the victim’s mother, Vera Marion, who was also on the seven-day cruise, she had to be hospitalized after hearing her daughter, known to those close to her as ‘Bri,’ fell off the ship. She claims the vessel’s captain should have immediately stopped the ship an initiated a search without hesitation. She believes if a rescue party had been sent out faster, her daughter might have been saved.

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After dealing with the aftermath of the Costa Concordia tragedy, one would think cruise lines are doing their best to prioritize passenger safety. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The recent failing scores of not one, but two main cruise ships have led authorities to wonder what exactly is going on behind the scenes on cruise vessels.

Last week, one of the ships belonging to the upscale Holland America fleet, the Veendam, failed a health inspection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 1,350-passenger vessel scored a 77 out of 100, when the minimum passing score is an 86. The CDC conducts unannounced inspections on cruise ships twice a year, and while it is rare to see a ship fail, the Veendam is one of four cruise ships to fail in the past two years, including Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas and shockingly, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. A smaller vessel also failed a CDC inspection mid September, the Grand Mariner, a Blount Small Ship Adventures, which offers cruise vacations across the United States and Canada.

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Hong Kong residents and officials mourn the deaths of 38 individuals – including four children – who died in a boat accident Monday night. Flags flew at half mast and national leaders observed three minutes of silence Thursday in memoriam of the victims of the ferry collision that has shocked Chinese authorities.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ving led the memorial service at the government headquarters located at the harbor. Monday’s accident has been called the worst maritime accident in 40 years to befall Hong Kong. The accident involved a high-speed ferry, the Sea Smooth, colliding with a pleasure craft called the Lamma IV, which had been carrying about 120 staff and friends of local power company Hong Kong Electric who had been out at sea to observe a fireworks show in commemoration of China’s National Holiday. Upon impact, the Lamma IV’s left rear was torn open, throwing dozens of passengers into the sea. The vessel’s stern flooded within minutes of the accident and trapped passengers underwater as the boat submerged.

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In what authorities are calling the worst maritime accident in 40 years for the area, the death toll on a boating accident that took place in Hong Kong is up to 38 victims, including four children. The incident took place Monday when a ferry collided with a party boat near Lamma Island. Police have arrested seven crewmembers in connection with the tragedy.

According to Police Commissioner Tsang Wai-hung, the crewmembers who were taken into custody are under investigation for negligence because they did not “exercise the care required of them by law.” Vessel operators are required by maritime law to ensure the safety of all passengers. When crew personnel are found to act in a negligent manner or are accused of some form of wrongdoing, the vessel’s operating company may be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that ensue.

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A cruise ship passenger who was sailing to Bermuda last week on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship explained he got a good discount on a Rembrandt painting – a five finger discount to be precise. The American traveler admitted to stealing a copy of the work of art from the ship while on his cruise vacation.

The cruise passenger, Kevin Hudgeons, of Kentucky, was fined $500 on Monday for the theft by a Bermuda judge. He was apprehended on Friday trying to disembark the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star with the painting, but Hudgeons couldn’t evade authorities. The painting was the size of a door and worth well over $13,000. Security cameras on the ship also caught him removing the painting from a wall in the gallery and taking it to his cabin.

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Although Hong Kong has long thrived as Asia’s main transport hub, a fatal ferry boat accident on the National Day holiday may compromise its standing. Reports show that 37 people were killed and dozens were wounded when a ferry boat crashed with another vessel near Lamma Island. The second vessel, a party boat, was transporting a group of Hong Kong Electric company employees and their families who had gone out to see to watch fireworks Monday evening during the holiday’s festivities. The vessel sank only minutes after the impact.

The accident has now called into question whether the city’s bustling harbor is safe. Officials are calling this boat accident the worst maritime accident the area has seen since 1971, when 88 people were killed when a Hong Kong-Macau ferry sank during a typhoon. As one of the world’s busiest ports, Victoria Harbour sees a lot of maritime traffic, including dozens of cargo vessels and personal water crafts, and if unsafe, thousands of lives may be put at risk of dangerous accidents.

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Just one month after Holland America’s Veendam failed a CDC inspection, a Blount Small Ship Adventures ship has followed in its footsteps. The 100-passenger Grand Mariner scored a 75 out of 100 on its inspection September 18.

The CDC reported over 30 health violations on the ship that led to the failing score. Among the issues were the ship’s failure to adequately monitor food temperatures, moldy ice cube trays, and the storage of raw meat with nonmeat items. There was a heavy layer of mold on an ice cube tray’s plastic shield and pink mold on its water supply manifold.

CDC inspectors also reported that ship authorities allowed food ingredient containers, including baking soda, to be left out in the open without lids and were stored in temperatures that exceeded what is considered adequate for preservation, “far exceeding the specified cold holding temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit” at 55 degrees. Furthermore, equipment used in the preparation of food, such as mixers, slicers and food processors, had debris on them, meaning they were not properly washed.

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A UK television documentary that makers claim will shed new light on what goes on behind the scenes onboard a Southampton-based cruise line is garnering the attention of both movie critics and cruise line authorities.

Undercover reporters claim their footage from the Celebrity Eclipse demonstrates low standards are maintained for staff members. They claim the crew was forced to accept poor working conditions that are far below the legal minimum in Britain.

The 30-minute documentary aired Monday, October 1, on the British show “Dispatches,” but before the show aired, cruise line officials said they would take “swift action” should any subpar working conditions be uncovered.

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A new policy adopted by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council will have cruise ship crewmembers undergoing various training exercises regarding lifeboats. Effective immediately, the new policy states that lifeboats will be filled to capacity with crewmembers and will be maneuvered in the water during drills. The CLA states that lifeboat drills will also be taking place now at least once every six months, exceeding international standards.

Previously, some lifeboat exercises had been conducted with minimal crewmembers or even with empty lifeboats. Cruise accidents that occurred during lifeboat training sessions led some cruise lines to lower the number of crew involved so as to lower the chance of injuries if the lifeboats were to drop unexpectedly or become tangled.

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A Florida judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Italian businesses against the Miami-based cruise line company Carnival Corp. over the Costa Concordia tragic cruise ship accident. U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum sided with Carnival, saying that the lawsuit should be filed in Italy, not the U.S.

As many as 1,000 businesses in Giglio, the island where the cruise accident happened, have sought to sue Carnival in United States courts because it is Costa’s parent company. The Concordia capsized on Jan. 13 after hitting a rock, which caused damage to the hull of the ship. A total of 32 people were killed and many others seriously injured both physically and mentally. Authorities are still investigating the accident and are blaming both the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, and several crewmembers for actions that contributed to the accident itself and the injuries and losses thereafter.

Captain Schettino has been blamed for abandoning ship before passengers and crew were safely evacuated and was also accused of manslaughter. Many crewmembers were also alleged to have been disoriented during the evacuation and unfamiliar with emergency procedures in general. A hearing to discuss whether eight negligent crewmembers played a role in the Concordia tragedy has been scheduled for October in Italy. The ship’s owner, Costa Crociere, is also under investigation for allegedly waiting an unacceptable and unreasonable period of time to notify authorities about the accident.

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