Last Friday, on June 8 at roughly 3:30PM UTC, Pinar Del Rio — a passenger ro-ro ship (i.e., a large-capacity ferry for vehicles and passengers) operated by Balearia, a Spanish ferry company — was involved in a ship grounding accident. According to reports, the vessel was pulling into San Antoni port in Ibiza and was intending to dock at the ferry terminal, when it ran aground on the rocks in the breakwater, close to the harbor entrance.
Over the course of two hours, rescue boats were launched, and all 175 passengers on-board were evacuated and transported to shore. As of this time, no injuries have been officially reported, but Balearia has already announced that it will investigate the accident in order to determine how the accident was caused.
We are pleased to hear that — in the present case — there were no reported injuries. In similar cases, however, ship grounding accidents may lead to a substantial number of injuries (or even deaths). Recent studies on passenger ship accidents reveal that grounding accidents are among the most common, accounting for roughly 30 percent of the total. As such, it is critical that all parties, from crew to rescue personnel, perform their duties in accordance with the accepted standard of care.
In this case, the ship run aground in the middle of the day, in weather and traffic conditions that would not be considered “out of the ordinary.” If a passenger was seriously injured, a claim might reasonably be filed against the ferry company — Balearia — given that the circumstances seem to indicate that the vessel was negligently operated, thus leading to the accident.
Vessels Must Be Handled By Skilled Operators
Balearia is launching an investigation into the cause of the ferry grounding accident here, which may reveal negligence on the part of crew (or even harbor personnel). All vessels — whether passenger ferries or cruise ships — must be staffed by trained crew who can navigate the route without exposing passengers to an unreasonable risk of injury. Grounding accidents are particularly noteworthy, as they can usually be avoided when sufficient care is exercised by crew.
Failure to operate the vessel in such a way as to navigate around an otherwise avoidable grounding accident can give rise to substantial injury claims against the operator. Other parties may also be blameworthy for their role in the accident, depending on the circumstances. Severe grounding accidents can lead to hull damage and breach, which may result in total loss of the ship. If rescue efforts are not performed swiftly, the delay may exacerbate existing injuries and lead to additional casualties due to drowning.
We Can Assist You
If you have been injured in an accident involving a cruise ship or passenger ferry, whether in a collision incident at the shore or with another vessel at-sea, then you may be entitled to damages to compensate you for your various injuries (depending on the circumstances of the accident).
Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our team of attorneys have over a century of combined experience litigating maritime and admiralty claims, particularly those that involve cruise ships and passenger ferries. Though our offices are located in the state of Florida, our attorneys have obtained favorable verdicts in courts throughout the world — we are more than capable of litigating a claim that arises in international waters, such as the Ibiza ferry accident at-issue here.
Interested in speaking with one of our maritime lawyers about your claim? We encourage you to contact us for a thorough evaluation of your claims, as well as insight on how best to proceed with litigation.