Articles Tagged with “Cruise Safety”

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During a Valentine’s Day Cruise on the Holland America Line cruise ship “MS Nieuw Amsterdam”, cruise employee, Ketut Pujayasa, 28, who is an Indonesian citizen, savagely raped, beat and attempted to kill an innocent 31-year-old female cruise passenger.

As is often the method used by cruise employees who sexually assault female passengers, Pujayasa gained access to the passenger’s stateroom using a master key issued to many crewmembers, which give access to every single stateroom throughout the ship. Once inside, he hid on the balcony of the room. Moments later, the passenger returned to her room, where she was jumped on by the crewmember. According to the latest reports, he beat her with a laptop, and a curling iron. Once he thought he had physically won his victim over, he used the curling iron’s cord and the phone’s cord to choke the woman. Fighting for her life, she was able to loosen the grasp of her assailant by kicking his exposed genitals.

Ketut Pujayasa mugshot.jpgAt that time, Pujayasa told the FBI that he attempted to kill his agonizing victim by throwing her over the railing of the stateroom’s balcony. That is when knocks on the room’s door scared him away and he escaped by climbing out of the room, into another balcony. The victim ran out of her room half naked, with the cord of the curling iron still wrapped around her neck and body.

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Since 2010 and the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, the cruise industry has a duty to report 8 crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They include: Homicide, suspicious death, missing U.S. National, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury, firing or tampering with the vessel, theft of money or property in excess of $10,000, and sexual crimes. Once the crimes are reported, the Coast Guard publishes the statistics on its website after the investigations are closed.

carnival-triumph-disabled.jpgOn December 20, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published its review of the first 3 years of compliance by the cruise ship industry of the new regulations imposed by the CVSSA. Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation gave a sombering overview: “I’ll give the cruise ships some credit, because of the first bill we passed they raised the level of their railings . . . They’ve done a pretty good job on that, but when it comes to crime, no they have not.”

In its report, with respect to CVSSA crime-reporting requirements, the GAO noted that the FBI and the USCG have implemented these provisions as required. The crimes that occur on cruise ships and that fall within one of the 8 crimes listed above have been published when they are no longer under investigation. However, the GAO noted instrinseque limitations on how the statistics would provide any measure of usefuleness to prospective cruise passengers. Specifically, the GAO raised three specific areas of concern:

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Over the weekend, a 6-year-old child, who was on a 4-day cruise with his family, drowned in the swimming pool of the Carnival Cruise ship. The young child was playing with his 10-year-old brother when the incident happened at approximately 4:45 pm while the pool was open to passengers.

The Victory returned to Miami on Monday morning, and the pool was closed off to passengers with police crime scene tape. Very limited information has been made available to members of the public other than Miami-Dade Police, which is investigating the matter, has released the name of the child, Qwentyn Hunter.

Clip_20.jpgAccording to witnesses, a person yelled over a microphone to rescue a child from the pool who was seen submerged underwater. As soon as he was taken out of the pool, chest compressions and CPR was performed, but unfortunately the boy never regained consciousness.

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According to the following report filed by Orlando local station WKMG-Channel 6 last night, Disney Cruise Line knowingly delayed to report a sexual molestation crime to local police last summer. Rather than possibly be sitting in jail awaiting trial right now, the crewmember was allowed to fly back to his home country of India with a clean criminal record. Below is the chilling story reported by WKMG reporter Tony Pipitone.

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This report would be only chilling if it was not customary for crimes in general and sexual crimes in particular to be unreported or widely under-reported. Since the passage in 2010 of a mandatory reporting law of crimes occurring on cruise ships, the number of crimes has inexplicably decreased. One could leap to the conclusion that cruise ships are becoming safer and safer with time, but that would be the wrong assumption. In reality, when a crime occurs on a cruise ship, the cruise line has sole discretion to categorize an incident as criminal in nature. No one doubts that crimes aboard cruise ships is not the best publicity. Especially sexual molestations on minor children aboard a Disney cruise! So the cruise line must find a way to minimize and lessen the number of crimes it reports to the competent authorities. So a cruise line will categorize a crime as a non-criminal event and bypass the reporting laws.

The other way cruise lines have hidden the true frequency of crimes on their ship is by threatening victims. We have reported on several occasions that alcohol consumption aboard cruise ships is on the rise. Invariably, more alcohol being consumed translates in more fights and physical assaults. When the victim of an assault comes forward, the security officers will offer the victim to report the incident to the local authorities and press charges against the assailant at the next port. But the caveat is that, in order to do so, the victim must disembark the ship (sometimes with their entire party) and return home without further assistance from the cruise line. Faced with additional aggravations and a very deterring option, most victims choose to remain on the ship, and the crime goes unreported.

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You are on your cruise, walking around and enjoying the amenities. Then, all of a sudden, without warning, you are on the ground. You realize you have slipped and fallen, seriously injuring yourself. However, just because you are injured, don’t expect the cruise line to take responsibility for its negligence and compensate you.

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere on cruise ship. Such accidents can be caused by any number of reasons: a foreign substance on the ground, wet floor from mopping, a spill that was not properly detected and cleaned up, lack of anti-slip or anti-skid material on the flooring, defective or missing treads on stairs, lack of warning of a dangerous condition, or even insufficient lighting.

deck cruise ship.jpgUnder the law, a cruise line owes its passengers a duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances.” That is, the cruise line must take reasonable measure to ensure that the floors are free from foreign substances, spills promptly and timely cleaned up, physical or verbal warnings provided and ensure that the floor is otherwise maintained in a safe, clean, and dry condition. This duty requires a cruise line to take affirmative steps, such as have a reasonable inspection process in place, to timely detect and correct a dangerous condition.

To be found liable, a cruise line must have actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition to allow the cruise line an opportunity to correct it. That means the cruise either knew about the condition or the situation existed for a sufficient period of time that the cruise line should have discovered it.

The cruise line will undoubtedly argue that fall was your fault. It is standard for the cruise line to blame the passenger and claim that any dangerous condition was an “open and obvious” condition which you should have seen and avoided. The cruise line will also argue that it had no notice of the dangerous condition or it did not exist for a sufficient time to enable it an opportunity to detect it.

So, what do you do if you fall while on a cruise ship?
Take stock of the situation. Look around and determine what caused you to fall: Was there a foreign substance on the floor? Are your clothes or shoes wet? If there is a foreign substance, how big is it, what color is it (water, soda, coffee)? Can you tell the cause of the foreign substance (is there a leaking beverage machine, is there melting ice, was it a high traffic area where a fellow passenger could have spilled something)? Where there any warning signs in place? Where there any mats or other non-skip material in place?

The second most important thing you must do next is gather evidence. Concretely, this means: Get the names of any witnesses; if there are any crew-members present get their name and/or position; take photographs of the scene.

You must make sure that you (or if you can’t, someone you are traveling with) reports the situation to the cruise line. The cruise line will give you a passenger statement form to complete. Be sure to indicate that your fall was a result of an accident and state the cause of the accident. For example: the floor was wet and I slipped, there were no warning signs present, etc. Once completed, demand a copy of your statement and medical records (if you were seen in the infirmary).

Next, demand the cruise line preserve surveillance footage. Cruise lines have security cameras throughout the vessel and will have likely captured your accident. This is important evidence which can help establish the cause of your accident, the length of time the dangerous condition existed, and the failure of the cruise line to take reasonable steps to detect and correct the dangerous condition. Remember to make this demand in writing.

These simple steps can help ensure the cruise line is held responsible for your injuries and that you are fully compensated.
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One hundred days have passed since the tragic events of the Costa Concordia which saw the confirmed death of 30 cruise passengers and the disappearance of 2 additional passengers whose bodies have yet to be found.

It took more than 100 days for the cruise industry to agree on three new safety measures. The announcement of the new policies by the cruise industry through Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC) is all over the print and digital media and looks more to be a public relations coup than addressing the true concerns and lessons that were learned from the events that led to the sinking and grounding of the Costa Concordia.

The first measure proclaims that cruise ships will now have more lifejackets aboard than are required by law; Limiting access to a ship’s bridge at potentially dangerous times; and requiring cruise ship routes to be planned in advance and shared with all members of the bridge team.

The second and third measures are directly addressing errors which may have contributed to the Costa Concordia’s demise. Last January, Captain Schettino had invited a female passenger to the ship’s bridge, which according to witnesses, distracted not only the Captain, but the rest of the bridge team.

One should wonder why it took over 100 days for the cruise industry to figure out that bringing passengers to the bridge of a ship when the captain and the bridge team are maneuvering the ship is a terrible idea. The third measure is equally baffling. Why did it take until April of 2012 to require a bridge team to agree the ship’s route before the ship sails and stick to the route? What has happened to common sense?
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