Caribbean Fantasy fire leaves our Maritime Lawyer Wondering How Safety Can Be Improved

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Empty Ferry Boat Parking BayWhen taking a cruise, there are many precautions you can take to ensure that you and your loved ones will have as safe of an experience as possible. Making sure that everyone is in good health and traveling with their necessary prescriptions is helpful, as is going over safety procedures in case of emergency. But even after you have prepared and educated yourself to the best of your ability, there are some circumstances that are simply out of your control.

As a seasoned maritime law firm, we know that cruise ship accidents happen more often than anyone would like. While most voyages do go off without a hitch, it only takes one negative experience to remind us just how precarious life can be.

One of the worst things that can take place aboard a cruise ship is a fire. A recent story out of Puerto Rico sheds light on how easily it can happen, how hard they are to get under control, and leaves us wondering why in today’s day and age these events have not yet become a thing of the past.

Fire on the Caribbean Fantasy

On Wednesday, August 17, 2016, a ship carrying 512 people and seven pets caught fire off of the Puerto Rican coast. The ship, the Caribbean Fantasy, typically ferries passengers between San Juan and the Dominican Republic.

According to mechanics onboard during the blaze, the fire began in the control room. A hose containing fuel unexpectedly burst open and caught on fire around 7:15am. The crew reportedly attempted to extinguish the blaze for hours, before sounding the alarm to evacuate passengers to safety.

Around 24 passengers sustained injuries that included smoke inhalation and broken bones, as passengers rushed to exit the ship and escape the flames. Four of the injured were children. Other injuries ranged from dehydration and high blood pressure to respiratory problems due to the smoke. Around 105 passengers were treated on the scene, while two dozen were hospitalized.

While, ultimately, everyone on board was evacuated to safety and given proper medical treatment, we are concerned over the frequency of cruise ship fires. Just a few weeks ago, we reported on another fire, this one in Peru. These events lead us to wonder just why so many cruise ships, and cruise ship passengers, must battle flames during their voyages?

Can Cruise Lines Do More?

If fuel lines continue to be problematic logic dictates that that cruise lines should investigate ways to decrease the potential for them to put passengers in harm’s way. After all, each passenger is placing a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of their chosen cruise line and it is important for these companies to understand just how much responsibility they have. While we understand that accidents can happen even with the best preparation, in most cases after the fact investigations have shown that clearly there is room for improvement.

In this case, many passengers were families and children. This is especially tragic, as we can only imagine the fear and stress that each individual experienced while attempting to evacuate the ship. However, our attorneys are skilled at navigating maritime claims of all types. So if you or a family member has recently been injured aboard a cruise, you may want to consider speaking with a maritime lawyer.

Our experienced team would be more than happy to listen to your story and discuss your possible case. Feel free to contact the office today.