For those of us who enjoy cruising, many of us feel as though the bigger the ship, the better the experience. That can be true, but only to an extent. From a passenger’s standpoint, larger ships mean more to do and see, but from a maritime attorney’s stance, a larger ship can spell trouble.
We all know accidents can happen on the high seas, and this year it seems as though the frequency of accident rates has been higher than ever. One would think that newer vessels would come equipped with the latest and most state of the art equipment to protect those onboard from harm, but this isn’t always the case. The bigger the ship, the more potential for tragedy. For one, it can be a lot harder to maintain the vessel and make sure all equipment is running properly. It’s also a lot harder to find a missing person. Even though most ships these days have surveillance videos, and of course, larger ships will have more cameras, it can take hours to sift through footage to locate a missing person or to find an assailant following a crime.
Our attorneys know all about the dark side of cruising, but for passengers, it’s all about the carefree, fun experience. Even informed travelers often let their guard down in the face of a cool margarita or conga line. Which is why it is so critical that cruise lines handle the burden of ensuring the highest standards of maritime safety are met on all ships.
As of right now, the biggest cruise ships in the world are the Oasis and Allure of the Seas – two Royal Caribbean vessels. These ships weigh in at 100,000 tons and have a carrying capacity of over 6,000 passengers. That’s pretty impressive. These ships aren’t usually in the limelight for accidents, which speaks volumes about Royal’s safety features, but neither has been immune to incidents on the high seas.
Two crew members on the Allure of the Seas were arrested last year after attempting to smuggle drugs onboard the ship and a passenger went overboard for reasons that have yet to be determined. Back in 2011, two Oasis of the Seas passengers were hurt in zip lining accidents.
These are just a few of the accidents that can occur onboard such large vessels, but still, the need for bigger and better cruise ships continues. Now, a new ship is in the making. One that will trump both the Oasis and Allure and will accommodate over eight times as many travelers. Will this new ship be a success or a disaster waiting to happen?
Freedom Ship International has a vision. A vision of creating a cruise ship that’s more like a floating city than a vessel. A ship that will exist for the sole purpose of allowing travelers to bask in the tranquility of the ocean breeze. Sounds like fun…or is it?
As we speak, the company is working on getting construction started on the new Freedom Ship, which will have the capacity to hold 50,000 passengers. Yup, you read that right – 50,000! That’s a whole other ball game.
It’s hard enough to keep 6,000 people free from harm on the high seas, so we can only imagine what kind of safety features this new Ultra Mega Ship will feature. Hopefully it’s a whole lot because with that many people to worry about, there are going to be a lot of instances in which a fun time can quickly turn into a tragic nightmare.
Of course, a project of such epic proportions is going to cost a pretty penny – $10 billion dollars to be precise. Freedom only needs to round up about $1 billion to kick off construction, which it’s attempting to secure.
But is this going to be a cruise ship or just a city in the middle of the water? Where will it be located? What laws will it be governed by, if any? Will there be a police force? Will you have to sign a contract of adhesion to go aboard it where you sign away all your rights?
We don’t have all the details yet, but what we do know is that this ship will be over a mile long and will even feature an airport. Well, more like a landing pad, but still, we have to admit that’s pretty cool. Dangerous, but impressive none the less. The ship will also feature homes, business offices, schools, shops, and even a baseball stadium and will allegedly circumnavigate the globe on a continuing basis.
It’s shaping up to be more like a small country than a city, but we’ll see in the coming months what the project will entail. The project was first proposed back in the late 1990s, and got its name from the seemingly “free” style of living it promotes.
Overall, the idea seems grandiose, but will it be able to take off? Who knows. It seems like a little too large of a concept, but the same can be said for critics of the Oasis and Allure when those ships were in the making.
Perhaps this will be the future of cruising, or perhaps not. Either way, one thing can be certain – there will have to be a huge number of security guards, surveillance cameras and other safety equipment onboard to make sure no one gets hurt. There will also have to be a small hospital because with that many people to care for, chances are that someone will need medical assistance at some point and won’t be able to wait until the ship gets to a new port. Waste removal and the impact on the environment will also be big concerns, since cruise ships have already been criticized for pollution in the past.
These are all issues that must still be tackled, but hopefully no one will have to get in contact with a cruise ship lawyer once the vessel is sailing. Hopefully by the time construction ends – if it ever even starts – we’ll have an abundance of maritime safety technology that will keep all those 50,000 people free from harm’s way.
Published on December 3, 2013
Categories: Maritime Matter of the Week