As summer approaches, it’s likely that an increasing number of individuals will set their sights on a dream cruise vacation to one of many beautiful destinations around the world. It’s easy to understand why cruises have become so popular. With so much to see and do, both on and off the ship, it’s one vacation that can keep you and your traveling companions happy and entertained, from start to finish. Regardless of who you are traveling with or where you are going, a cruise offers a little something for everyone.
So it only makes sense that so many travelers choose to enjoy their time in this way. In fact, for individuals traveling solo, a cruise is often the perfect, hassle free way to visit a destination in the company of others. However, traveling alone does present its own set of concerns. A recent story out of Australia reminds us of this.
On Friday, May 5th, a passenger aboard the Golden Princess was reported missing. The ship’s crew reported last seeing the man on May 1st. At that time, the Princess Cruise Line vessel was in the South Pacific. After the report, the entire ship was searched for the 61-year-old American man who had been traveling alone. Unfortunately, when the search did not turn up any positive results, The Maritime Safety Authority chose to treat this situation as a man overboard case.
According to reports, the cruise line has been in contact with the man’s family and are working with them during this difficult time. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family as they navigate these rough waters.
Overboard Cases Can Be Prevented
In the wake of this accident, we cannot help but to wonder how a passenger could be missing for four days, without the cruise line taking note? Certainly, traveling alone does present its own set of safety concerns, one of which being that there is no one to check on you throughout the cruise. However, this does not justify the fact that approximately 96 hours passed between when the man was last seen and when he was reported missing.
Notably, Federal Laws requires cruise lines to implement overboard sensors designed to alert the cruise ship of precisely this type of incident. Cruise lines have frequently said that adequate technology does not exist, but this claim is difficult to believe given technological advances of just the past decade.
We feel that this reveals a broken link in the process by which cruise lines handle overboard cases. For years, we have discussed the issue surrounding the overboard sensors that are either not even there, or not as effective as they should be. This tragedy support the claim that cruise lines have a responsibility to improve security to help save lives. Additionally, there seems to be an opportunity for the cruise lines to keep a closer eye on CCTV footage, in the likelihood that it reveals an accident aboard the ship that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Our law firm has handled virtually all of the recent high profile overboard cases, so we are intimately familiar with the unique issues presented in these cases. When an individual goes overboard, time is of the essence. The sooner a rescue team can begin a search, the better chance there is of recovering the missing person, alive and in one piece. However, as the hours and days tick by, this is less and less possible. After all, the ocean currents and the individual’s physical abilities have a large role in determining the window of time during which a successful rescue can occur. With so many variables in the water, the best way to address this is to prevent overboards to begin with.
This means that the cruise lines will need to do their part to increase safety and security measures aboard the ship, so that these kinds of cases will not continue to happen in the future.
If someone you love has been reported missing from their cruise ship, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take. We are here to let you know that a maritime attorney on our team is here to help. We have experience with overboard accidents and understand what is at stake, for you and for your loved one. So you do not have to face your legal situation alone.
When you’re ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.