Sometimes, the accident is mere an accident, happening because of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances such as sudden and unpredictable weather changes. However, as each maritime lawyer at our firm, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. well know, most accidents on the high seas tend to be the result of someone’s negligent or wrongful actions.
Sometimes accidents happen onboard a ship, such as a slip and fall on a slippery floor that crew members neglected to clean up, while others can happen in port. Some of these incidents result in injuries, which is why is it critical for victims to contact a skilled cruise ship accident lawyer to determine if they are eligible for compensation. But with so many accidents befalling the cruise industry in the past two years, starting with the tragic Costa Concordia capsizing back in January, 2012, it seems as though cruise lines just aren’t learning their lesson in passenger safety.
Cruise Critic has reported that a Viking Cruises ship was involved in an accident on the Rhine near Duisburg, Germany on Saturday. But this wasn’t just a random accident caused by an equipment malfunction, this accident was a serious collision that occurred between the vessel and a cargo ship.
The Viking Bragi was on its last leg of a 14-day itinerary when it crashed into a retaining wall along the Rhine River’s edge. But that’s not all, the collision caused a subsequent crash when the Bragi was rear ended by a small cargo ship. A minor bump, but nonetheless, a crash.
Several Viking passengers were injured and most suffered minor cuts, but according to Viking Cruises officials, none of the victims required medical attention….or so they think.
This wouldn’t be the first time a cruise ship accident results in passenger injuries and it definitely wouldn’t be the first time a line reports non-serious injuries, when in reality, the victim was badly hurt. Cruise lines can be held at the very least partially liable for any injuries suffered while onboard the vessel if the accident was the result of someone’s negligence, and may be ordered to pay restitution for victims and their loved ones as well as a general fine. Since cruise lines don’t want the negative attention and don’t want to lose any money in compensation to injured guests, they often downplay accidents and injuries or may even deliberately choose not to report an accident so word of the line’s negligence doesn’t spread.
Our cruise ship lawyers can’t think of a more negligent act than allowing a vessel to crash. It is simply inexcusable. Captains and crew members are (or at least should be) extensively trained to navigate waters, no matter how choppy and no matter how narrow a waterway. There is no excuse for a collision to occur and no excuse for passenger injuries.
Unfortunately though, the attorneys at our firm know that the cruise industry is all about saving money. Money that should be spent on improved crew member training sessions and passenger safety options. Cruise accidents and injuries just keep on happening, despite the media coverage of each previous incident. And now that the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2013 has been launched, which requires cruise lines to disclose accident and crime incident information to consumers, not just the FBI or the Coast Guard, the industry is now under the scrutiny of the very watchful public eye.
Though it must be said that it is nearly impossible for the cruise industry to ever attain a perfect no accident record, it’s appalling to think that following the Costa Concordia crash in 2012 and the infamous Carnival Triumph cruise fire back in February that lines can STILL allow negligent actions to go unpunished.
Luckily, this particular Viking Cruises accident didn’t result in THAT much damage to the ship or passengers. But we wouldn’t be surprised if down the line, one of the injured passengers claims they suffered much more extensive injuries and the line failed to offer them the proper medical attention they needed.
Viking Cruises has been in the news quite a bit recently. This accident marks the fifth Viking Cruises accident in just a little over a month and the second in one week’s time. Yet, the company ironically still claims that it has an “award-wining nautical team” and all accidents are “purely coincidental.”
Sure, Viking, we believe you…NOT!
The first incident may be an accident and may be forgivable, and even a subsequent accident a few months down the line may not be all that much cause for concern. But FIVE cruise ship accidents in one month, two of which happened in the same week? Come on, do you really expect us to believe these incidents are “coincidental”?
Sounds more like these accidents are the direct result of A) a negligent crew or B) a negligent cruise company in general. Whatever the reason, it is simply unacceptable for this many accidents to occur within one cruise line. Viking may claim to be the largest river cruise ship company in the world, but that’s no excuse for the increase in accidents.
Hopefully fifth time’s the charm for Viking Cruises and the company FINALLY learns how to avoid a crash. Otherwise, passengers booked on Viking ships may want to consider obtaining travel insurance and may want to keep a cruise ship injury lawyer’s number handy in case of another incident.
Published on October 7, 2013