The New Year is a time for reflecting on everything that has taken place in the previous months. Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our cruise ship injury lawyers would like to take a few moments to look back on the many accidents that have taken place both at sea and in port across the world. Although time may pass and 2013 brings with it hopes of improved maritime safety standards, we cannot turn our backs nor forget the tragedies that have befallen the industry in 2012.
Perhaps the worst cruise ship accident that took place this year was the Costa Concordia capsizing. The Concordia capsized off the coast of Giglio, an Italian island, on January 13 after the vessel’s captain, Francesco Schettino, ordered a maneuver known as a “salute” to be performed. The ship came too close to shore and crashed into some rocks, damaging its hull and causing it to capsize. A total of 32 people were killed in the tragedy and captain, along with several crewmembers, are still under criminal investigation for their role in the incident.
Another tragic incident took place on August 16 onboard another Carnival Corp.-owned vessel. A 15-year-old girl was violently raped by several teen boys and a 31-year-old man onboard the Carnival Sensation. Although the assailant, Casey Dickerson, was arrested and charged, the young victim’s life will forever be changed because of the incidents on the ship. Dickerson had access to two cabins on the vessel after he and his wife complained about noise in their first cabin. Carnival gave the couple keys to a new room, but Dickerson discovered he still had access to the other. After meeting the young girl, he and the teen boys took her back to the stateroom, at which time they took turns raping her.
Aside from these terrible incidents, there were also a series of cruise ship passenger disappearances, assaults, crimes, miscellaneous injuries, and a string of Norovirus outbreaks. It is important for anyone who has experienced a cruise ship injury or who has lost someone they love at sea to understand they have rights. Victims may be entitled to compensation following the accidents and incidents, especially because the majority of the time, the tragedies are the result of the cruise line operators’ own negligence. Cruise vessel authorities are responsible for protecting all who are onboard from harm, and when that safety is compromised, they may be found liable for any resulting injuries or mental anguish. The attorneys at Lipcon have witnessed too many people get hurt in 2012 and hope the cruise industry will make significant changes with the New Year to improve maritime safety for all passengers and crewmembers so the number of negligence-related accidents can diminish.
Costa Concordia: theatlantic.com
Casey Dickerson – orlandosentinel.com