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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A passenger onboard a Holland America Line cruise ship was evacuated by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Saturday morning after suffering a medical emergency while on the vessel. An RCAF Search and Rescue helicopter arrived to help the passenger roughly 30 km off Brooks Peninsula, northwest of Vancouver Island.

After Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria received a call for help from the Oosterdam cruise ship just before 8 a.m., a Cormorant helicopter left its base at 19 Wing, Comox to airlift the sick passenger to the nearest hospital. The rescue crew promptly arrived over the ship at approximately 8:30 that morning.

The emergency crew was met with strong winds of almost 75 km per hour once it neared the area, which forced the helicopter to resort to hoisting the ill passenger off the ship. The helicopter had to fly backwards in order to compensate for the turbulence, but managed to lower two Search and Rescue Technicians from a height of 140 feet to the deck in order to reach the passenger. The patient was then placed into a rescue basket and raised up to the helicopter. The crew then rushed the passenger to Victoria General Hospital, where he was determined to be in stable condition.

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Court-appointed experts are saying the captain of the Costa cruise ship that capsized in Italy was primarily to blame, but have now expressed the belief that the crew and ship owner are also at fault for several mistakes that contributed to the disaster, which resulted in 32 fatalities toward the beginning of the year.

The Costa Concordia, part of the Carnival Corporation fleet, ran aground and capsized Jan. 13 off the Tuscan island of Giglio after Capt. Francesco Schettino took it off course. Schettino was accused of causing the cruise accident, in addition to abandoning the ship before passengers had evacuated and was even blamed with manslaughter.

Eight others are now also under investigation in Italy, with the court in Grosseto ordering an investigation into the incident to determine if any of the suspects should be put on trial. A hearing over the matter has been scheduled for October.

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NEW YORK – A boater who was accused of a fatal speedboat accident has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide, marking the first time in New York that the charge has been levied against a boat operator.

According to prosecutors, Brian Andreski had been operating his 25-foot speedboat while under the influence of alcohol on the morning of June 23 when he crashed into a fishing vessel, killing victim Christopher Mannino.

Andreski pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday and in an unlikely turn of events, the state’s aggravated vehicular homicide law, which was adopted in 2007, was applied to the case. The law is usually reserved for motor vehicle drivers whose blood alcohol level is at least 0.18 percent at the time of a crash, if the driver has a suspended or a revoked license or when more than one person is killed or sustains a serious injury.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, who presided over the case, explained that applying the statute to a boating accident was “novel,” but because of the severity of the incident, the law applied to the case.

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GIZO, Solomon Islands – Several apologies were issued to a group of yachters after a boat collision in Gizo where four tourists were shaken up and one yachter was injured.

The watercraft accident took place last Friday, when two cruising yachts that were participating in a rally booked a dive with Dive Gizo for four yachts in total. As they were being transferred by Dive Gizo, the boat ran over another water craft, causing it to sink. The four tourists were alarmed and sustained bruises. One tourist sustained head and back injuries.

According to Hans Mergozzi , the owner of Sanbis Resort and Solomon Connect Ltd, the tourists were part of a group from the Island Cruising Association, which has over 1,400 yacht members. He expressed regret over the incident, not just because of the boat accident, but because some of the tourists were scared off by Dive Gizo owner, Danny Kennedy.

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ALASKA – Authorities have recovered the bodies of two victims who were involved in a boating accident in Goodnews Bay on Friday. A third passenger, who was the sister-in-law to both of the deceased, has yet to be recovered but investigators continue to search.

According to Alaska State Troopers, Rick Ross, 57, Sam Pavala, 49 and Angela Chingliak were returning to Goodnews from the Coastal Villages Seafood plant in Platinum with donated food when tragedy struck.

The three boaters were on their way home, traveling in a vessel approximately 20 feet long with an inboard V-8 when authorities believe a strong west wind and tide overtook them. One of the passengers made a cell phone call to a family member, explaining that the boat was going down, but no further information regarding the cause of the incident was revealed.

The bodies of Ross and Pavala were recovered but as of Monday afternoon, Chingliak’s body had not been found. Emergency crews tried to resuscitate the men but were unsuccessful. Ross and Pavala were married to two of Chingliak’s sisters.

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The family of a deceased Orient Queen 2 crewmember will be requiring the assistance of a cruise accident lawyer following a tragic accident.

The victim, a 45-year-old Lebanese crewmember, died yesterday after being electrocuted in Cypriot waters. Immediately following the accident, the crewmember was airlifted to Paphos General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), a call came in around 2:30 p.m. from the cruise ship Orient Queen 2 explaining that a crewmember had been electrocuted. The Orient Queen 2 was sailing 33 nautical miles north-west of Akamas when the accident took place and was on a Beirut-Rhodes itinerary.

Although the ship’s medical team tried to offer the crewmember assistance, it failed to help him regain consciousness. While cruise ships have medically trained professionals onboard, they lack the resources – and often the skills – required for serious accidents such as this one. Not all medics aboard cruise ships are available in a timely manner and by the time they even reach victims, it can be too late.

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The Star Princess cruise ship halted its Alaska sailing Monday to offer assistance to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as it worked to rescue two British Columbia men whose sailboat drifted off the Queen Charlotte Islands.

While rescuers initially believed the ship would break the wind and calm the waves, ultimately aiding in the rescue process, it actually made things worse for the victims at sea.
Sgt. Robin Richardson, a rescue diver with RCAF, recounted the experience to the Vancouver Province, explaining that the sailboat had been swaying from side to side due to a storm and was “moving wildly” in the waters.

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A crewmember onboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas was injured last week after the ship hit a cable while en route to the port of Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands during a Transatlantic sailing. According to a Cruise Critic interview with Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez, the incident occurred just after 8 a.m. local time on September 6. The crewmember had been standing outside when the ship hit a cable that extends between Bordoy and Eysturoy Islands and was struck by a piece of falling debris.

The victim was treated for the wounds, but was later taken to an area hospital for further care, along with a member of the line’s Care Team. The ship, which was in the midst of a 16-night Transatlantic sailing that departed Harwich, England on August 31, sustained damage to the mast and other areas, but Martinez assures that the Jewel of the Seas would not be heavily impacted and contends the damage “in no way affects the seaworthiness of the ship.”

The itinerary was to conclude in Boston on September 16 and is currently on schedule.

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JUNEAU, Alaska – A Norovirus outbreak aboard a Princess Cruises ship has garnered the attention of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two CDC officials boarded the Dawn Princess Friday while it was docked in Juneau to investigate the outbreak. The Dawn Princess was sailing across Asia on an extended itinerary when the Norovirus outbreak occurred. The CDC reported that 114 passengers and 11 crew members contracted the illness during the voyage.

Norovirus is an illness that affects the intestines and commonly leads to gastroenteritis, also known as the “stomach flu.” It is transmitted by person to person contact, through contaminated food or water, or by touching surfaces that are contaminated with the virus. Symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

According to the CDC, Norovirus is extremely contagious, causing approximately 21 million illnesses a year in the United States alone and leading to roughly 800 deaths. There is no specific treatment for the illness, but infected persons should remain well hydrated to fight off the virus as quickly as possible.

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Five years ago, the unthinkable happened to a family vacationing in Pompano Beach, Florida. Amber May White, then 15-years-old, and her sister Crystal, 17, went parasailing but their fun quickly turned to tragedy as a storm passed over the beach.

As the girls became engulfed by increasing winds, they yelled to the boater to stop the vessel and bring them down, but the boat kept going. Horrifically, the tow line snapped shortly after and the parasail untethered. The winds then sent the girls hurling into the roof of a hotel. Amber May died of her injuries, while her sister survived, but sustained permanent brain damage.

Devastated, the girls’ mother, Shannon Kraus, filed a negligence lawsuit against the parasail operator and reached a settlement out of court. But while we would like to think parasailing accidents are few and far between, almost five years to the day another accident took place eerily similar to that of the girls’ and close to the site of the original incident. This time, the accident involved 28-year-old Kathleen Miskell, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, who was parasailing in tandem with her husband when she suddenly slipped out of the harness that attached her to the chute. Miskell fell 150 feet to the water and was killed.

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