Many believe cruise vacations are all about having fun and leaving worries behind. Rightfully, they should be. Unfortunately, as our cruise accident lawyers here at LM&W know all too well, that’s not always the case. There have been over 240 overboard accidents reported in the last 20 years alone, and now, it appears as though there may be one more to add to that harrowing statistic.
According to a recent post on CruiseJunkie, a website created by Sociology Professor and cruise expert Ross Klein and devoted to informing the public about cruise and maritime accidents, crimes, and other important statistics, there have been reports that a passenger has gone overboard from the Carnival Glory cruise ship.
The post explains that the passenger went overboard sometime in the early hours of Sunday, March 8, while the Carnival Glory was sailing to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. According to passenger accounts, crews reviewed the ship’s surveillance footage and the vessel did not make its scheduled call on the Bahamian port. Instead, the CruiseJunkie post explains the ship “did circles” around the area, and was joined by another Carnival vessel in a search for the missing passenger.
The CruiseJunkie post goes on to say that CNN made a similar report on the matter, explaining that a 21-year-old male Carnival Glory passenger was reported missing and after authorities reviewed the footage, the victim was confirmed to have gone overboard. The CNN article went on to say that the vessel has turned around to return to the area where the victim was last seen on the footage, and that a search and rescue mission will then been initiated. Coast Guard officials were reportedly notified of the accident.
We don’t know much else concerning the overboard accident, but there are several thoughts running through our minds. What area on the ship did the victim go overboard? If the passenger went overboard from a common area (like the Lido deck), were there any crew members around? Was foul play a factor in the overboard accident? How much time elapsed between the moment the crew realized the passenger was missing to the time the ship was turned around? Could something have been done to prevent this tragedy?
We can speculate a million possible factors that could have played a role in the accident, but the one thing we know is that there are numerous actions cruise lines can take to prevent the likelihood of someone falling overboard. Installing overboard detection systems is on the top of that list, as is ensuring common areas are always fully staffed so that at the first sign of trouble or an unusual situation, help can be provided.
As we noted, over 240 man overboard accidents have been reported within the cruise industry in the last 20 years, one of the most recent involving an Oasis of the Seas passenger. It never ceases to shock us when we hear of a cruise passenger falling overboard, but what really struck us about this particular incident was the fact that allegedly, the Oasis crew didn’t even realize that the passenger had fallen overboard! Miraculously, he was rescued – by the Disney Magic!
It is extremely rare for an overboard victim to survive, and the more time that passes before a search is initiated, the less likely their survival becomes. Given the high rate of cruise ship overboard accidents that have transpired throughout the years, it is baffling that cruise lines have not taken the necessary measures to improve onboard safety for passengers – especially in regards to installing man overboard detection systems. There are a host of safety enhancements (like man overboard detection technology) at the cruise lines’ disposal at this very moment, yet, they are not being used and the accident rate continues to increase.
Our prayers are with the victim and his loved ones. Hopefully this tragedy will serve as the much needed wakeup call for the cruise industry as a whole to review current shipboard safety features and provide enhancements wherever possible.