When you set out on a cruise vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is your ship running into treacherous weather. After all, a storm at sea can easily take your relaxing vacation and turn it into a nightmare. So, it is in everyone’s best interest if you can avoid that situation. In the past, there have been instances of cruise lines making poor choices that caused ships to sail directly into the path of an oncoming storm. This is incredibly dangerous as it places countless innocent lives at risk of accident or injury claims.
As a result, when you hear of a storm in the works, you will want to know that your cruise line is taking the appropriate steps to move you and your vessel out of harm’s way. A recent story out of the Miami Herald reminds us of the importance of this.
Tropical Storms Make Uneasy Seas
This week, Carnival rerouted numerous ships as a result of tropical storms in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday June 19th, Tropical Storm Bret formed on the coast of South America. The next day, June 20th, it had dissipated into a tropical wave, but the remnants of the storm continued to move northwest. This directly impacted weather conditions in the Caribbean.
In order to try to avoid the dangerous weather and seas associated with the storms, Carnival Cruise Lines decided to have their Carnival Vista, which was meant to stop in Curacao on Wednesday, skip that point on the itinerary and continue forward with the schedule.
Additional weather accommodations were made due to Tropical Storm Cindy, which formed on Tuesday, June 20th, off of the Louisiana coast, and threatened to bring heavy winds and rain to the Gulf of Mexico. The Carnival Valor was rerouted to stop in Cozumel, while the Carnival Triumph spent Tuesday at sea.
“It is imperative for cruise lines to be constantly cognizant of weather patterns and to make adjustments to cruise itineraries in order to keep passengers out of dangerous weather situations,” says our maritime lawyer, Jason Margulies. A cruise line’s dismissal of the dangers of bad weather could be devastating – “We have handled several cases where people were injured or killed as a result of cruise ships sailing right into storms well after they knew or should have known of the dangers,” recalls Margulies.
Royal Caribbean has reportedly just hired meteorologist, James Van Fleet, to advise all captains about weather conditions and to develop forecasts for the cruise line. “This is a move that should be followed by all of the other cruise lines – because the stakes are so high and the consequences for not doing so could be enormous,” says Jason Margulies. While there are weather routing services that should be the minimum standard adhered to by cargo shipping companies – Mr. Margulies advises that “cruise lines should be held to a higher standard in taking precautions based on the weather, because they transport passengers who are generally considered to be unaware of the unique dangers associated with maritime travel.”
Although it is certainly disappointing to have a cruise line change an itinerary, especially one that you have been anticipating for a long time, it is always far better to know that you are out of harm’s way, than to stick to a plan that could be detrimental in the long-run.
Some might say that this rerouting was unnecessary. However, as a maritime law firm, we can confidently say that it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Let LMAW Help You
That said, there are some instances that happen even with the best planning. Accident and injury at sea is possible in even the calmest weather. And when it does, you should know that you do not have to face your legal battle alone. A maritime lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is ready to assist you with your maritime legal matter.
So when you are ready to move forward into the future, without the burden of your legal situation overhead, do not hesitate to contact us.