Maritime Matter of the Week

Princess Cruise Ship Rescues Boaters Adrift In Caribbean Waters


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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.

We’ve all seen and heard the horror stories at sea, but every once in a while you hear a positive story. Each maritime lawyer at our firm has represented many persons who were hurt in boating accidents, cargo ship accidents and cruise ship accidents, and have witnessed incidents in which vessel operators have not offered assistance to those in distress. However, there are times in which lines take charge and help the victims of maritime incidents get the help they need. Recently, Princess Cruises stepped up to bat, offering help to several boaters who had been adrift in the Caribbean.

Authorities have reported that five Jamaican boaters had been drifting on a small boat in the Caribbean for three weeks before being rescued on Monday by a cruise ship. The Island Princess found the boaters and brought them onboard the ship, said Princess Cruises spokeswoman Susanne Ferrull. Ferrull did not disclose the names or ages of the boaters, nor their conditions. The Island Princess departed Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale a week ago and was scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. According to the passengers on the small boat, they had been on their way to a barbecue when their vessel ran out of gas. The boaters asked the cruise workers to give them fuel so they could continue on their way, but the Island Princess’ crewmembers informed them that they do not give away fuel. Instead, the vessel’s authorities brought the boaters onboard and notified officials in Jamaica of what had taken place. The captain of the Island Princess also took the time to notify cruise passengers about the small boat on Monday over the vessel’s loudspeaker.

One passenger who had been sailing onboard the Island Princess recounted the situation, describing the boaters’ situation.

“We noticed the boat slowing down,” said passenger Andy Greenberg, of Omaha, Neb. “We pulled up and the occupants were screaming: ‘No food, no water.'”

Greenberg added that passengers were told that the motor on the victim’s boat had broken down. The Coast Guard was questioned on the incident and declined to comment, saying the matter is currently under investigation. It took roughly 45 minutes for Island Princess crewmembers to get the boaters to safety onboard.

Had the line failed to rescue the boaters, it may have been held responsible for any injuries or fatalities the boaters may have suffered for abandoning distressed maritime accident victims. The vessel did right in stopping to offer aid and bringing the boaters onboard when the alternative of providing them fuel was not a possibility. Claims against cruise lines can be brought for numerous reasons, and refusing to offer aid to accident or injury victims can be a reason for victims to file a negligence claim against a cruise line.

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