Just a few weeks after Holland America’s Veendam failed a surprise CDC inspection, another cruise liner is struggling with its own health issues. Four crewmembers onboard MSC’s Orchestra liner had to seek medical attention after a bacterial meningitis outbreak left them ill. According to officials, the Italian cruise ship’s workers all had to be hospitalized and one remains in critical condition.
The four crewmembers were admitted to a hospital in the Tuscan port of Livorno Sunday when the cruise ship’s itinerary came to an end. Two of the sick crewmembers had to be placed in the hospital’s intensive care unit, a 32-year-old Indonesian, who was admitted in critical condition, and a 47-year-old Italian man. The two other crewmembers who were sick were placed in the hospital’s infectious diseases unit. Cruise lines, by law, do not disclose the name of those onboard their vessels who are injured or require hospitalization.
The ship left rather quickly to embark on a new itinerary late Sunday, leaving many to wonder if there was even enough time for the ship’s officials to decontaminate the vessel to protect others – both crewmembers and passengers – from contracting the illness as well. Any crewmembers who work onboard cruises ships have a right to be kept safe and must be taken to get the appropriate medical care should an illness or cruise ship injury befall them. When this doesn’t happen, the cruise ship’s operators may be held liable for any ensuing health problems and the individual may seek the help of a crew accident lawyer.
In the United States, crewmembers – also referred to as seafarers – have a right under national law to have their medical care paid for, as well as food and shelter. In addition, all seafarers may also have rights under United States law to receive money damages and lost wages for any injuries or disabilities that stemmed from a cruise ship-related accident or health emergency.
Any crewmembers who have not gotten the attention they deserve after being stricken with an illness or injuring themselves onboard the vessel may file a seaman’s claim to protect their rights. A cruise ship crewmember is considered a “seaman” if said person aids in the navigation of the vessel or contributes to the mission of the vessel. The individual must also spend at least 35 percent of their time working on a vessel rather than working on land for their employer. If a vessel is not involved in the individual’s work, then they are not considered a seaman.
If you meet the qualifications to be considered a seaman and suffered an illness onboard your cruise ship or an injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. In order to increase your chances that the best possible outcome for your claim is attained, you need an experienced and extremely knowledgeable attorney working on your case who practices admiralty and maritime law. Here at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., we dedicate our time to protecting the rights of those who have sustained injuries or losses at sea and work hard to obtain a successful recovery for all whom we represent. As a seafarer, you have rights, so if you were sick or experienced a cruise ship injury, don’t hesitate to contact us for help immediately so we can file a claim on your behalf to secure you the damages you deserve.