Cruise ship crewmembers are supposed to take reasonable precaution to keep everyone onboard a vessel safe from harm. This includes making sure equipment is functioning properly, spills are cleaned before someone slips and falls, and properly maintaining sanitation.
However, reporters for a news station in West Palm Beach, FL have noticed that far too many cruise ship passengers have become sick as of late with what is known as Norovirus. This dreaded stomach bug has already affected millions of people across the world, causing symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting and ruining many a cruise ship vacation for those who have come down with the illness.
But while cruise ships are the perfect breeding grounds for a bug like Norovirus to spread due to their confined spaces and large number of passengers, the news crews at WPTV-TV in West Palm decided to do a little digging and discovered that it’s not only the passengers who are getting sick, it’s also the people who are serving them.
“I started feeling nausea and the diarrhea came in,” said Jose Nasuti, 70, a cruise ship vacation veteran. However, Nasuti got a little more than he bargained for on his last trip, after coming down with the dreaded Norovirus.
“I lost eight pounds in four days,” explained Nasuti, claiming he picked up the bug while vacationing onboard the Carnival Freedom last year. “I found out three of the six people I went on the cruise with all got sick, all had the same problems.”
But while the virus can spread from person-to-person contact, as well as through contaminated food and silverware, turns out it’s not just the passengers who are spreading the virus, but the ships’ crewmembers as well.
In the past year alone, 14 Norovirus outbreaks were reported onboard cruise ships, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly 230 crewmembers reported having the virus.
Reports show that a butcher on the Carnival Freedom got sick with the stomach bug last June and didn’t tell the onboard doctor until the next day. He allegedly continued working while having the symptoms and may have been responsible for hundreds of passengers becoming sick as well.
According to the CDC, cruise ship workers are required to report any illness right away and when the crewmember that is sick is a food worker, they are supposed to be placed in isolation for at least two days.
However, as our cruise ship attorneys have seen time and time again, this doesn’t always happen.
WPTV investigated about cruise 170 ships coming in and out of U.S. ports. Of those, 59 had crewmembers that failed to properly report the illness.
One café attendant onboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas reportedly worked the day she was sick and “broke medical isolation” to go to the laundry room and to the ship’s cafe.
On another Royal Caribbean vessel, the Freedom of the Seas, another worker charged with cleaning the vessel reportedly had diarrhea and stomach cramps but continued working and did not report the illness until 12 hours after symptoms began.
Cruise ship workers who violate the laws that are in place to protect everyone onboard are subject to disciplinary action, but as the report showed, this rarely takes place.
Luckily though, anyone who has become sick or injured while onboard a cruise vessel has the right to seek legal assistance to file a case. The experienced cruise ship attorneys at our firm, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have represented hundreds of passengers who have fallen victim to crewmember negligence and will fight to protect the rights of anyone who has gotten sick or hurt because of a cruise line’s failure to abide by proper safety protocols.
If you or someone you know came down with Norovirus or suffered another illness or injury accident onboard a cruise vessel, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and see about filing a case against the negligent line to obtain damages for your pain and suffering.