Late last month, a French national by the name of Alain Jan, was removed from a Costa cruise as it sailed toward the Vanilla islands. According to reports, the vessel was to call in five remote islands in the Indian Ocean. However, two days into the cruise, the captain alerted passengers that the three scheduled stops in Madagascar would not be made due to an outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague on the islands.
At that time, Jan reasoned that the stops were cancelled for health reasons. But when additional stops in Madagascar and Mauritius were also cancelled, he reached a breaking point. Despite the fact that the cruise offered passengers a credit of roughly $175 to be spent on the ship, Jan felt betrayed by the cancellations and claimed he was trapped on a floating prison. Angered by the altered itinerary, which he claims the cruise line was aware of well in advance, he rallied other passengers for a mutiny in one of the ship’s restaurants that night, banging fists on tables to make the crew members aware of their dissatisfaction.
As a result, the captain called local authorities, who escorted Jan and his wife from the ship. They spent two nights in Seychelles before being flown home.
Could the Cancellations Have Been Avoided?
Costa maintains that despite their attempt to “make every effort” to remain on schedule, it was the local authorities who insisted their passengers remain aboard the ship, due to the potential health concerns on land. Although the schedule changes created some frustration for the passengers, Costa believed it was a safer choice to abide by the authorities’ request than to risk endangering anyone on board.
This is an unusual situation, as it is rare to hear of a passenger so dissatisfied with a cruise’s schedule change that he attempts to create a mutiny on a ship. However, it sheds light on the potential breakdown in communication between crewmembers and passengers.
Did the captain know of the potential schedule changes before he alerted the passengers? If so, was there the possibility for him to make these changes known earlier in the trip, or potentially before the trip departed?
Although we do not know the specifics of the situation, we understand how disappointing it can be for passengers to discover, mid-way through their cruise, that the stops they expected to be making would no longer be possible. Although these kinds of schedule changes certainly do not warrant a mutiny, we know that accepting something that feels so far out of your control can be a challenge. If at all possible, the cruise line would be wise to give passengers as much forward notice of these changes as possible.
We Understand Your Struggle
Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of the attempted mutiny at sea. However, we know that the unexpected can happen and far too often, passengers and crewmembers are injured or worse as a result of cruise line negligence.
So if you or someone you love has suffered an accident or injury aboard a cruise, you can rest assured that we are here to help. Speaking with a maritime lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. can help you understand your rights so that you are prepared to face the cruise line head on.
Ready to take the next step towards a future, free from your legal burden? Then do not hesitate to contact us.