A few days ago, our maritime accident lawyers reported on a tragic overboard accident on a Royal Caribbean Ship. The victim, a 26-year-old Canadian man, allegedly jumped off the Adventurer of the Seas, one of the largest ships in the Royal fleet, while the vessel was approaching the coast of Puerto Rico over the weekend. The ship’s captain immediately notified maritime authorities when word of the accident got out, but the man could not be saved. His body was recovered last Sunday, and the real reason behind this terrible accident appears to have vanished with him.
While overboard accidents happen more often than the public ever gets to know about, just days after this horrible loss, another Royal Caribbean cruise ship passenger fell overboard. Two disappearances in less than a week isn’t exactly the best way for a cruise line to kick off the New Year. What’s going on with Royal?
This latest accident occurred on Tuesday, when a 65-year-old man, also a Canadian resident, disappeared. The victim was sailing aboard the Independence of the Seas when his wife reported him missing as the vessel was approaching Grand Cayman. The victim’s wife said both of them went to bed at around 1 a.m. but when she woke up at around 8 a.m., her husband was not in the cabin. After searching on her own for her husband, she decided to report the disappearance to cruise authorities. Sadly, the search for the missing man was called off and his body was never recovered.
Police suspect the victim may have fallen off the ship. But how exactly could someone just fall off a ship? This opens up a whole new set of questions for authorities. Was there any foul play involved? Was the man intoxicated? And moreover, where were the ship’s crew members while all this was happening?
All cruise ships have surveillance systems on their fleets, albeit some better than others. We don’t know where exactly this passenger fell from, whether from his cabin or from another deck, so we can’t say with certainty that crew members were not monitoring the area. However, if the accident did in fact occur in a public area, such as the Lido Deck, there should have been a few crew members present to keep an eye out for signs of danger.
Though cruise ship rails are designed to be at least three feet high, it is not impossible to fall overboard, especially when intoxicated. Many overboard accidents have occurred when victims were intoxicated, including an accident involving one of our clients, Sarah Kirby, who fell off a Carnival ship last year after being overserved alcohol by one of the ship’s bartenders.
There is a very real possibility the passenger was intoxicated and there was no one around to help him maintain his balance or guide him back to his room. There’s also the possibility of foul play. But on a ship as large as the Independence of the Seas, these are questions that the ship’s surveillance footage should have already answered. Is Royal hiding something?
There have been over 200 overboard accidents and cruise ship disappearances in the past decade. When will this stop? We were hoping 2014 would be the start of a brand new, safer cruise season, but it looks like old habits die hard.