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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In an important case, Carnival Cruise Line may be held responsible, at least in part, for the death of child who was killed in the Virgin Islands as a result of gang warfare crossfire after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a dismissed case and allowed the family’s claim to go forward.

Liz Marie Perez Chaparro, 14, was fatally shot while in St. Thomas during a July 2010 cruise vacation that was meant to be a celebration of her 15th birthday and her parents’ 23rd anniversary. According to the family, a Carnival employee told them to visit Coki Beach while in St. Thomas, which put them in the path of a funeral service for a gang member. Chaparro was riding an open-air bus back to the ship with her parents and brother when gang warfare erupted.

Chaparro took a stray bullet to the chest and died from her wounds. She was one of two killed in the incident. Her family filed a lawsuit against Carnival for negligence and emotional distress. They claim that the self proclaimed “Fun Ship” should have warned them of the potential for gang violence in the area before recommending them to visit this area.

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Accidents that take place on the high seas can lead to disastrous consequences, including life-changing injuries and even death. When out on a cruise ship, groups often separate, making it easier to become the victim of assault, sexual crimes or even sustain severe injuries due to a cruise line’s negligence. While any type of cruise ship accident should be documented as soon as it occurs, it is not always possible for victims and their loved ones to get the help they need – until now.

Our maritime law firm knows that staying safe out at sea is imperative, especially when having to deal with cruise authorities that have interest in covering up incidents rather than bringing them to light. For this reason, we have officially launched a new Smart Phone app that will make reporting cruise ship accidents much easier. The application, known as “Cruise Ship Lawyer” is available for both iPhone and Android download and contains innovative features that will help those involved in an accident aboard a cruise ship quickly and easily document the incident, as well as seek legal assistance for their injuries.

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Following a fatal boat accident near Biloxi, the Coast Guard has launched an investigation to determine whether the incident was caused by a dredge pipe that is being used to replenish Deer Island.

The incident happened while the boater, Mark Barhanovich, was near the pipe. Barhanovich’s vessel hit something while out at sea which caused his outboard motor to flip into the boat, where the propeller hit his back. It took about an hour and a half for Barhanovich to get to land and seek medical care and he died while on the way to Ocean Springs Hospital.

According to the Coast Guard, the plastic pipe may have contributed to the incident. The pipe runs roughly three-quarters of a mile between the island and a barge anchored in the Mississippi Sound. At times the pipe floats while at others it is submerged, depending on whether it is pumping dredged sand.

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Less than one week after a 21-year-old woman from Tennessee went missing from the Royal Caribbean mega-ship Allure of the Seas, another individual has gone overboard from a vessel in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, and this time the victim is a crewmember.

Several newspapers in Italy are reporting that due to strong winds and rough seas, a crewmember from the Serenade of the Seas went over the side of the ship while it was just over 40 miles off the coast of Italy, near the city of Ancona, as the cruise traversed a Mediterranean itinerary.

The crewmember allegedly went overboard from deck 11 around 4:30 a.m. local time Thursday while the ship was in Croatian territorial waters. The captain launched a search for the missing crewmember that went on for about eight hours as well as notified coast guard authorities for assistance. Reports say that both the Italian Coast Guard and the Croatian Coast Guard are now involved in the investigation. Two patrol boats from Ancona and Civitanova Marche were also sent to the area to assist in the rescue mission and two cargo ships sailing near the area, the Ever Useful and Ulusoy 10, were diverted to help with the search as well.

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Holland America’s Veendam vessel has reported that several passengers fell ill with a gastrointestinal disease similar to the Norovirus, but that the situation has been contained and those who became sick are recovering.

The Veendam began its voyage in Montreal, with stops in Quebec City and Charlottetown, before anchoring in Sydney. While in Sydney Harbour Wednesday, the cruise ship’s authorities reported that as many as 21 passengers and crew fell ill over the past few days, but as of Wednesday night, the number of individuals who were sick was down to five.

Holland America spokesman, Erik Elvejord, confirmed that the passengers and crew were stricken with a gastrointestinal illness and explained the line has dealt with similar cruise ship sicknesses in the past and successfully contained the spread of the virus.

“Normally when we see this sort of thing, you can see a pattern and things have sort of flattened out on us and we haven’t had too many cases in the last day and a half, which is a good sign,” Elvejord said.” That just means the efforts and folks on board are washing their hands and being extra careful and it helps for everybody on board.”

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While Costa Concordia lawsuits are still in motion both in the United States and in Italy, one artist has decided to bring the cruise ship tragedy all the way to New York City with a rendition of the accident.

The remains of the Concordia are still off the coast of Italy, and officials say it may take roughly a year to remove it, but the Jan. 13 wreck, which left 32 people dead and countless others injured, has been a source of inspiration for artist Thomas Hirschhorn, who has created a replica of the cruise ship accident in his own vision.

Hirschhorn, whose memorable cardboard cave installation “Cavemanman” became one of the most well-known in Chelsea’s history, has installed a banquet hall inside Chelsea’s Gladstone Gallery, tipped on its side to simulate the way the Concordia capsized. The show, which is open to the public through October 20, is inspired by photos of the inside of the ship viewed by Hirschhorn.

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The Costa Concordia tragedy in January has been a source of controversy and concern for both surviving victims and the loved ones of those who perished in the capsizing of the vessel after it ran aground. While those involved in the cruise ship accident may be entitled to a large settlement due to the liabilities associated with the Captain’s actions, a recent CNN discussion of the accident may lead surviving victims and their families to believe they may not qualify for the full compensation the rightfully deserve.

The EU has proposed a regulation that would make the Athens Convention of 1974 applicable to all members, including Italy, where the Concordia cruise ship accident took place. The Athens Convention established a system that governs the liability of cruise ship operators from personal injuries and property damage that are sustained by passengers.

As part of the Athens Convention, the carrier in question is allowed to limit its liability for personal injury accidents with passengers or fatalities, but the carrier loses its right to limit liability when the damage resulted from an intent to purposefully cause damage or where a reckless action took place, where the person responsible was aware that such damage would likely result – and in the Concordia case, the captain is being accused of negligence and abandoning ship before passengers were safe. When personal injuries or death result, the liability is limited at 46,666 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per carriage, which is about $70,000. The 2002 Protocol, when it goes into effect on Dec. 31, 2012, will introduce compulsory insurance to raise the limits of liability to 250,000 SDR per passenger.

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After an exhausting search for a cruise passenger who went overboard from a Royal Caribbean vessel, the Coast Guard has decided to call off its rescue mission Tuesday. The missing cruise passenger, a 21-year-old woman from Bartlett, Tennessee, fell from Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Allure of the Seas, Sunday on the inaugural night of a 7-night itinerary that departed from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s always unfortunate when we have to suspend a search, because our main focus is to locate the individual and return her safely to her family,” said Capt. Todd Lutz.

The Coast Guard searched over 2,300 square miles, but the victim’s body was not recovered. Her identity continues to remain a mystery even in her hometown. According to a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, the cruise line does not release names of guests or those whom are travelling aboard the ship and the Coast Guard has not revealed her identity either.

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Venice, Italy is one of the most popular ports that cruise lines visit, but travelers should exercise caution if in the area this week. City locals are protesting large cruise ships that pass through their home town and things might get ugly for visitors.

Several cruise ships were stopped from leaving the port Sunday as scheduled after nearly 70 small boats took to the waters in an effort to have larger ships banned from visiting Venice. Authorities say the 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, 1,712-passenger MSC Opera and 2,536-passenger MSC Musica were delayed from leaving Venice for several hours. Organized by the No Grandi Navi (No Big Ships) group, the protestors claim the larger vessels have a negative impact on the environment. In addition to the boats, the protest also involved several hundred residents on land voicing their concerns.

The size of some of the larger vessels are disproportionate to the size of the city, argue the protestors. They worry that the close proximity of the cruise ships to central Venice while sailing into port might cause damage to the lagoon city’s foundations and its historical structures. While this isn’t the first time the group has protested, the recent Costa Concordia disaster has exacerbated the situation. The Concordia ran aground and capsized Jan. 13 off the Tuscan island of Giglio after the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, took it off course. The tragic cruise accident led to numerous injuries as well as the deaths of 32 people.

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After being accused of ignoring signals by a distressed boating accident victim, Princess Cruises alleges it has new evidence that corroborates its original claim that it was not involved in the incident.

The cruise line was accused by the sole survivor of a small Panamanian fishing skiff of ignoring his distressed signals, even though passengers aboard Princess allegedly alerted ship authorities. However, Princess hired a photographic expert, who determined that the small finishing boat that had been photographed from the deck of the Star Princess with people waving what appeared to be rags was not the boat in question, which was named the Fifty Cent.

“We have discovered some recent video that we believe conclusively proves that our ship, Star Princess, was not the cruise ship spotted by the Fifty Cent boat that was adrift in the Pacific Ocean,” says Julie Benson, Vice President, Public Relations of Princess Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp.

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