As reported by USA Today, tourists are paying as little as $12.00 per person to take guided tours of the Costa Concordia wreck site. It was reported last week that the stranded ship will stay where it is until at least next spring, which is an enlargement of time over previous estimates. The tourism boost for the small island off whose coast the Costa Concordia lies stranded and wrecked is a peculiar reaction to one of the worst maritime disasters in modern history. It is also difficult to reconcile that Costa bookings are up sharply since the accident. Carnival Cruise Lines, the parent company, did suffer a “significant loss” in its second quarter earnings immediately after the accident, but that’s being offset by the current surge in interest. The evacuation of passengers in grave danger was delayed for more than an hour after the crash. At that time, Captain Schettino had abandoned ship and was telling authorities he was assisting in the evacuation, which was apparently not true. He will stand trial on charges of abandoning ship and manslaughter, but the trial is not expected to begin this year.
The accident has brought worldwide attention to boating safety and the types of issues that our firm deals with every day. Cruise ship accidents and injuries are common. Just last month, some of the 36 passengers on a tour bus operated by a subcontractor for Royal Caribbean suffered injuries when the bus lost control on a steep incline and crashed. Our firm is representing a number of those litigants, as well. The cruise lines’ responsibility to protect the safety of passengers extends not only to the ship, but also to shore excursions which are marketed as a part of the cruise.
The Costa Concordia accident is an obvious and egregious example of what can happen when cruise ship safety procedures are not adhered to. However, there are thousands of other incidents that don’t get press. When safety procedures and training protocols are not followed, and/or breaches of policy are permitted, passengers or crew pay the price in injuries and accidents that are the fault of the ship operator. Other times, a medical emergency or a serious accident takes place, but the ship operator delays or otherwise fails to provide reasonable care to the injured.
If you are injured at sea, it is important to contact a cruise accident attorney as soon as possible. Because the cruise ship industry, and other boat and ship owners will be contacting their lawyers to start building their case against you.
Photo: USA Today