Nothing new to report on the 6-year-old boy that drowned on a Carnival Cruise ship this weekend, except that authorities are ruling the tragedy an accident. Meanwhile, Carnival has extended its “heartfelt” sympathies to the mother and father of the young victim, saying:
“Carnival extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family during this very difficult time. The company’s careteam is providing assistance and support.”
Ok, so given the number of cruise ship accidents that have occurred over the past several months (more so than usual), and given that Carnival and Carnival Corp.-owned vessels were involved, one would think the world’s largest cruise company would make a huge effort to help the victim’s family cope through this extremely difficult situation.
But what exactly has Carnival done for the family of the young boy? Absolutely nothing.
After losing a loved one, especially a child, families need a lot of support. Verbal recognition of the tragedy, quite frankly, just isn’t good enough. This accident should have never happened to begin with. There should have been TRAINED LIFEGUARDS onboard the ship monitoring the pool area to make sure no one got hurt. Unfortunately though, cruise lines are not required to have lifeguards onboard and they are taking that as a free pass NOT to do so in the future.
But with so many drowning accidents (a near-drowning of a 4-year-old boy and last month’s death of 1985 MOVE Bombing survivor Michael Ward, isn’t it high time the cruise industry went ahead and put a sufficient number of trained lifeguards on duty to be present at their pool areas when they are in use?
The answer seems obvious and quite simple, but not for the cruise industry. It would cost Carnival Cruise Line money to hire lifeguards and then if there were a drowning they could no longer say, “passengers swim at their own risk”, so rather than spend the money and try to make ship’s safer they do what they always do. Blame the victim and the family.
It’s time the industry started doing something that benefits the passenger’s well-being, not their fun level. Far too many people have gotten hurt on cruise ships and far too many accidents have occurred because a line was negligent in improving safety protocols.
Take the Carnival Triumph fire last February. The fire knocked out the power on the entire ship, which wouldn’t have happened if the vessel had an emergency backup generator. So then why didn’t Carnival have backup generators on their ships? Because they cost money and are seldom needed? When it comes to the safety of guests onboard, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Just imagine if land based hotels, trains, and airlines could get away with that kind of mentality.
Over 3,000 people were left stranded in the middle of the ocean following the Triumph fire with little to eat, no air conditioning and no working toilets. They endured these horrific conditions for five long days. This is yet another accident that should have never happened. And even if the accident did happen, the power should have never gone off because all cruise ships should have emergency systems in place. Not just one backup, but several.
You would think the cruise industry would learn from its mistakes, but it doesn’t and wont until it is forced to by further drops in ticket sales or mandatory regulations by all the countries where these vessels call into port. How many more accidents are going to happen before a real step toward safety improvements is taken?
Back in May, Carnival promised it would commence a multimillion-dollar effort to make its ships safer for those onboard, but we have yet to see any of these improvements. What we have seen are more entertainment options.
In the meantime, it’s up to passengers to try and at least be aware of the dangers they might face on a cruise and learn what they can do to protect themselves from harm. Bringing walkie talkies onboard to communicate with loved ones, establishing meeting points, stay away from isolated areas, make sure you keep an eye on your children at all times, especially while in the pool area, don’t leave your drinks unattended and if you do then don’t drink it you might end up a rape victim, these are just a few things that you need to do while on a Carnival Cruise to reduce your risk of becoming another unfortunate victim of the FUN SHIPS .
Your other option sail another line and continue to hold our breath, and make a wish that the cruise industry will get it together and make the improvements it has claimed so many times in the past it would make.
Our maritime attorneys here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. extend our sympathies to the family of this poor boy and hope Carnival will come to their senses and make a greater effort to ease their pain and take steps to make sure this kind of preventable tragedy does not happen again.