Cruise Ship Law Blog
Cruise Ship Fires Account For Thousands Of Passenger And Crewmember Deaths Throughout The YearsOctober 31, 2012
Technology Has Improved, So Why Are Fires Still Occurring?
Our cruise ship injury attorneys have handled many types of maritime claims involving accidents, injuries and fatalities on the high seas due to cruise ship operator negligence, disease and crime. While many cruise accidents involve passengers falling overboard, slip and fall injuries and assault, not enough attention has been given to accidents that involve fires.
Throughout the years, fires aboard cruise ships have resulted in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Although these days, vessels take several precautions to prevent fire-related accidents, cruise ships didn’t always come equipped with fire alarms and automatic fire doors, and crewmembers weren’t always properly trained on how to best handle an emergency fire situation.
Over time, cruise ship fire accidents have led to improved safety onboard, but moving forward with technological improvements didn’t come without a price. Thousands of lives have already been lost because of a lack of fire safety standards onboard cruise ships. Yet, while one would think that all vessels would have a way to prevent a fire from spreading aboard a ship in this day and age, cruise fires are still taking place.
The fire aboard the SS Morro Castle in 1934 is historically to date perhaps the worst cruise ship fire accident of all time, and is what sparked new standards in cruise ship fire safety. The luxury vessel was on its way to New York from Havana, Cuba, when the ship caught fire and burnt down. A total of 137 lives were lost due to the fire, which was the result of the building material used on the ship, as well as the vessel’s overall lack of firefighting equipment. The devastating disaster led the cruise industry to improve shipboard fire safety equipment and protocols. However, the Morro cruise tragedy was not the last cruise accident involving a fire.
Here are some of the most tragic cruise ship fire incidents that have taken place over the years since the SS Morro accident that have led to passenger and crewmember injuries and deaths:
- Dec. 22, 1963 – Fire aboard the cruise ship Lakonia leaves 128 people dead.
- Nov. 13, 1965 – Cruise ship fire aboard SS Yarmouth Castle results in 90 fatalities.
- April 7, 1990 – Scandinavian Star fire results in 159 deaths.
- July 20, 1998 – Fire sweeps across the Carnival Ecstasy, leaving 60 people injured.
- May 23, 2003 – SS Norway boiler explosion leads to a fire that killed eight crewmembers and leaves 17 others wounded.
- Feb. 2, 2006 – Over 900 people died when a cruise ship fire overtakes Al-Salaam Bocaccio, resulting in the ship sinking.
- March 23, 2006 – Cruise ship fire aboard the Star Princess leaves 12 people injured and one dead.
- Feb. 22, 2007 – Cruise ship fire aboard Lavina results in 17 fatalities, including three children.
- May 29, 2009 – Fire aboard Vincenzo Florio results in 29 cruise passenger injuries.
- May 31, 2010 – Dockside explosion near the Independence of the Seas leads to a dozen cruise ship passenger injuries.
- Sept. 15, 2011 – Two crewmembers killed and nine others injured following a fire aboard MS Nordlys.
These are just a few maritime accidents that have resulted from cruise ship fires. So we ask ourselves: Why are these cruise ship fire accidents still taking place? Should cruise lines increase the number of firefighting equipment? Are crewmembers still not adequately trained? Are vessels not structurally safe enough? Perhaps it’s a combination of all of these factors, but until cruise companies start making some serious changes, last year’s Nordyls fire is not likely going to be the last.
Although it has been nearly 80 years since the SS Morro tragedy, the need for cruise ship injury attorneys is just as high – if not higher. While the accidents themselves cannot be undone, survivors and families of those who perished can seek justice as well as damages with our cruise attorneys.
Cruise lines have a responsibility to keep crewmembers and passengers safe from harm – and this includes against fires that may break out onboard. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a fire on the high seas, turn to our maritime law firm immediately to file a case and protect your rights. Our firm will work diligently so you can obtain the maximum recovery you deserve.
Call Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. today to schedule a consultation and get started with your cruise ship injury claim today.
PHOTO SOURCE: cruiseshipfires.com