Crewmember Killed In Explosion Aboard Emerald Princess in New Zealand

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Cruise ship in the harborWhen discussing cruise ship safety, many assume that those most at risk individuals are the passengers. While cases of cruise passenger safety are often in the headlines, it’s important to remember that crewmembers are just as vulnerable to the  risk of being physically harmed while at sea. In some cases, based on the nature of their work, crewmembers may in fact be at an increased risk of injury. So, it is necessary to make sure the discussion of maritime personal injury include everyone—regardless of their place on the ship.

After all, personal injury, whether it happens to a passenger or a crewmember, is still a serious situation. And the cruise line, whether as vacation operator or employer, has responsibilities to all onboard to look out for their safety and wellbeing..

A recent story out of New Zealand illustrates how accidents, injuries, and even death can happen when safety is not a priority.

On February 8th, a gas cylinder exploded aboard the Emerald Princess killing a crewmember in the ordeal. According to reports, the event occurred during a stop in Port Chalmers while the ship’s lifeboats were being reinflated.

The explosion was so loud that it could be heard a little over a mile away. In the immediate aftermath, the captain spoke to the passengers over the intercom, keeping everyone informed. No one else was injured during the incident. However, investigations have delayed the ship’s continued voyage.

Are Lifeboats Safe Enough?

In the wake of this event, we send our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. It is always humbling to hear of a death aboard a cruise ship. While rare, these cases are tragic for all those involved.

As Princess Cruises and its parent company Carnival move forward, we hope this might serve as a wake up call. In the past, lifeboats have fallen from ships during routine safety drills, killing and injuring crewmembers in the process. Now, another crewmember has died in connection with a lifeboat. And although the situation is different from previous lifeboat cases, it certainly raises a red flag.

Clearly, there are elements of lifeboat safety that have not been addressed. After all, a method intended to safe lives should not be taking them. And we hope that the investigations into this most recent event will shed some light on what may have been to blame.

If you’ve been injured aboard a cruise, or someone you care about has suffered a similar fate, a maritime lawyer can make all the difference in the world. Navigating your legal situation while you work through the emotional aftermath of such an event can be overwhelming. But, with the right attorney on your side, the process can be a little more manageable.

So if you have questions or are ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.