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Cruise Ship Law Blog


Captain Dissatisfied With St. John’s Port Conditions

November 26, 2012

The captain of the Celebrity Eclipse is not very happy with port authorities and shipping agents in St. John’s, Antigua. Passengers were almost in need of a cruise ship accident lawyer after the vessel nearly hit bottom while docking. The incident took place on Thursday, Nov. 22, when the captain noticed that there was only one walkway available on the Heritage Quay South Pier, where the vessel had been advised to dock. Captain Dimitrios Manetas said that a single walkway was insufficient to disembark guests and crewmembers, so a decision was made after speaking with the pilot to dock at Nevis Street Pier instead. However, more issues came to pass, which prompted the captain to write a letter to the Antigua Port Authority, Antigua Pilot Association and ship agent Bennett Bryson & Co.

“Further to our meeting today (Thursday) upon docking, it is clear, by your own admission, that there had been lack of preparation and organization between the Port Authority, pilots and agents to receive Celebrity Eclipse in port of St John’s,” wrote captain Manetas. “It should be noted that due to this disorganization, the vessel could have damaged the hull and compromised the safety of guests and crew onboard; such last minute changes result in delaying the ship docking and causing dissatisfaction amongst our guests.”

The captain was also dissatisfied with the action of the pilot. Pilots are in charge of advising ship officers of any adverse conditions at the port in which the vessel is expected to dock. They are trained marines and often former captains themselves, licensed by the ports to report conditions including tides and sand bars.

“When we were approaching Nevis Street Pier, the pilot informed us that there was enough water forward of the ship, and that we could proceed more ahead in order to fit both mid-ship gangways on the pier,” wrote captain Manetas. “After docking was completed, sounding was performed around the vessel to verify under keel clearance, which was found to be 20 cm under the bulbous bow.”

Although the captain was able to safely dock the vessel, as he noted in his letter, passengers and crewmembers could have been injured. Although many cruise ship accidents are the result of the vessel’s operators, this time, the port could have been blamed had any injuries been sustained.

When an accident occurs onboard a vessel or in port, victims are entitled to seek legal help with a cruise ship accident lawyer. At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we are dedicated to representing victims of maritime incidents and work diligently to protect their rights. If you or a loved one were involved in a cruise ship accident, turn to us for assistance in filing a claim. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, and our attorneys will endeavor to help you obtain your rightful damages. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your options.


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