Last week, on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, a group of 10 cruise ship passengers experienced an unexpected and terrifying event, when their excursion boat began to sink. The passengers, who were from Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas and Celebrity Equinox, were en-route to a scuba diving trip, off of the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.
According to reports, the dive boat displayed signs of trouble early on, taking 10 minutes longer than the others to arrive at the diving site. Before long, water began rushing into the boat. Despite the dive leaders making an effort to counter balance the weight of the ship by throwing off their dive belts and encouraging passengers to come to the front of the ship, nothing could stop the water from rising.
One passenger estimated that in under a minute, the boat was almost entirely submerged. Passengers were forced to jump into the water to wait for help. Later, a rescue boat from the dive company, Sand Dollar Sports, arrived to rescue passengers.
We are frequently contacted about tragic events occurring on foreign shore excursions. The safety and quality standards in foreign ports of call are very often substandard to the United States. Because the shore excursions are sold by the cruise line and marketed aboard the ship as safe – many passengers are lulled into a false sense of security, believing that the foreign shore excursion is being run or supervised by the cruise line; however, that is often not the case. Nevertheless, our firm has been successful in the past in holding the cruise line accountable for its statements and representations to its passengers regarding shore excursions as well as the cruise lines own negligence contributing to tragic accidents.
The Second Excursion Accident Since December
This incident comes just weeks after the tragic tour bus crash near the Mayan ruins, which left several dead and many more injured. Although none of the dive passengers were seriously injured, the memory of the bus crash is a stark reminder that this situation could have ended much worse. While we are grateful that this accident did not take any innocent lives, it raises deeper concern over the safety of shore excursion options on cruise ships.
After all, for many, the shore excursion is one of the most exciting aspects of cruise travel. It is through these opportunities that guests are able to explore the ports of call in their itinerary. As a result, these excursions should be safe and the operators of these tours should be well screened to ensure that cruise passengers are not being put in harm’s way.
In the wake of this accident, we cannot help but wonder what signs were missed when the damaged boat was readied to carry passengers to the dive site? And, conversely, if the tour operator had any reason to believe one of their boats was not fit to carry passengers safely to and from their destination, other arrangements should have been made.
In any case, this entire situation could have been avoided, saving the 10 passengers many moments of fear and anxiety when things began to take a rapid downward spiral.
Let LMAW, PA Take Your Shore Excursion Case
At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we understand, and can see from recent example, that not all shore excursion accidents end with everyone being safely brought back to their cruise. If you have suffered an accident or injury during a shore excursion, you may know just how challenging it can be to get the justice you deserve.
That is why we are here to help. With over 100 years of combined experience in maritime law, our maritime lawyers are prepared to fight for you, until your case comes to a satisfying resolution. No shore excursion should ever place you in danger. So if you have questions about your case and are ready for sound legal guidance, do not hesitate to contact us.