Crewmember S.O.S., Cruise Ship Law

MSC Crewmember Dies of Meningitis Infection; Will His Family Receive Compensation?


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Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

A crewmember who was one of four MSC Orchestra cruise ship workers that became ill with bacterial meningitis has died as a result of the infection. Ermandiasa I Gede, a 32-year-old Indonesian crewmember, died Tuesday Oct. 16 just nine days after he and three other crew contracted meningitis and were hospitalized in Livorno, Italy.

MSC issued a statement regarding the seafarer illness incident, explaining the company has looked into the matter and is monitoring the condition of the other three cruise ship workers.

“The company is closely following the condition of these [three] crew members,” said the statement. “One of them left the hospital today and went back home, having almost completely recovered. The other two are still recovering in hospital, in Livorno and their condition is gradually improving.”

However, the cruise line might not be disclosing the full extent of the crew’s condition, perhaps out of fear that one of the ill seamen might file a seafarer claim with a maritime lawyer. One of the ill crewmembers, a 47-year-old Italian waiter whose “condition has improved markedly in recent days,” is currently on life support. The other two crewmembers, a 26-year-old Brazilian and 32-year-old Filipino, are gradually recovering from the illness.

The illness the crewmembers are suffering from is known as meningococcal meningitis, an extremely serious bacterial infection which attacks the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the illness is transmitted when someone comes into close contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions or saliva. The U.S. Customer Care team for MSC revealed that the specific strand of meningitis the crew became sick with is known as Neisseria.

The MSC Orchestra cruise ship was carrying 2,718 passengers and 967 other crewmembers when the meningitis outbreak occurred. MSC said all who were onboard were given an antibiotic called Ciprofloxacin and those who had disembarked the ship the week before the outbreak were advised to seek medical attention. The cruise line contends that the ship has been certified as free from meningitis contamination.

“Port health authorities from three separate countries (Italy, France, and Spain) have visited the ship since Sunday 7 October and each one has confirmed that MSC Orchestra is safe to carry on with her planned itinerary. This means that the ship complies with all international maritime health and safety regulations,” read an email statement by the cruise line to Cruise Critic.

Since the safety and health of all passengers and crewmembers onboard a cruise ship are the direct responsibility of the line itself, the sick crew should contact a maritime lawyer to discuss their options and see about filing a seafarer claim. If you or someone you know became ill while working onboard a cruise ship, turn to our maritime law firm for immediate assistance in filing a seaman’s claim. Our crew accident lawyers have over 165 years of combined experience in protecting the rights of seafarers and our firm has been named Top Law Firm Protecting Seafarer Rights. Each maritime attorney at our firm works diligently to secure crewmembers the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering, including money damages and medical benefits. Call our cruise ship accident attorneys to get started on your crew claim today.

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