Ehline Law Blog about Cruise Ship Law


Mar 2, 2020

Cruise Ship Liability due to Coronavirus

Microscopic view of Corona Virus
COVID-19
COVID-19 A Legal Responsibility for the Cruise Ship Company News of the Coronavirus' spread caused panic across much of the world. On TV screens and throughout the media, much of the focus is on cruise liners. These ships are perhaps uniquely suited spreading the virus to different parts of the globe. The most famous case is the Diamond Princess-- a cruise ship in which the passengers were quarantined for weeks. The ship had been in Asia, and several of its passengers showed symptoms of the virus. The quarantine shut down the liner and allowed for time to check symptoms. CNN reported that staff on the ship are only now able to get off of the vessel. Furthermore, the vessel's stoppage had another effect. Scientists believe that the number of coronavirus cases onboard increased due to the quarantine. This is the opposite of the intended effect. Another case is the vessel MSC Meraviglia, which two ports turned away. The ship eventually returned to Miami harbor. Legal Responsibility of the Cruise Liners There are certain minimum responsibilities that cruise operators promise its patrons. The virus strains each of these. The minimum promise of general health and safety is the most prominent. Firstly, did the cruise operator follow procedure to prevent the spread of disease? Secondly, did it properly train its crew to prevent such an incident from taking place? Furthermore, were the passengers properly informed of the potential danger? Unfortunately, in many of these cases the answer seems to be no. For more info on the spread of Coronavirus and the role of cruise liners, continue reading our site. The Ehline Law Firm APLC is the number one law firm in Southern California regarding cruise ship law and liability. Lastly, contact us 24 / 7 for more about your legal options and how our firm can assist you in your time of need.

Mar 18, 2019

Tips For Passengers Going on an Ocean Cruise

Many hazards confront passengers traveling on these ocean going Greyhounds. Some tragedies at sea don't happen on land, while others do. Passengers can be wounded by: Other passengers. Dangerous Conditions Aboard (Ex: action or inaction by crew members like water on a main deck.) Assaults (Ex: rapes, and robberies.) Another danger that steamer ship crews and passengers risk is external. Ex: attacks by armed pirates on fast-boats. These robbers use assault rifles and even rocket launchers. Since 2003 pirates are an increasing problem for ocean liners and other commercial ventures near places like Somalia.) And this has resulted in robberies of passengers and even deaths off the coast of Somalia.  Tom Hanks made a motion picture about one such attack here: Captain Phillips Trailer – Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener This Maersk Alabama case is nothing compared to the loss of life and critical events that unfold on private floating hotels and their transport shore vessels at sea. See the Below Video Dealing With Cruise Ship Accident Laws As noted in the video, these “floating palaces” have a responsibility to ensure the “duty of safe passage” to passengers. Injured passengers have the right to: File a lawsuit against the owner of the sea vessel Sue, the company that chartered the cruise ship File against the company that sold tickets Sue charterer or operator of the boat. These claims may be subject to specific rules, which affect where and when a passenger can file a lawsuit and the applicable laws Cruise Ship Safety Also, all vessels on the ocean are subject to inspections, and this includes cruise ships. Most cruise vessels are foreign registered. So they carry the other country’s flag. Of special interest, this international registration means they are subject to review according to vessel inspection laws in the country of registration. When these ships board passengers at U.S. ports, the U.S. Coast Guard requires the vessel to meet the standards of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). International regulations must be strictly followed. Typically, these rules are for crew and crewing competency, lifesaving equipment, firefighting, and fire protection. Vessel integrity, ship control, stability, navigation safety, safety management, and environmental protection, are a part of the strictly regulated international regulations. U.S. passenger ships must have licensed individuals and crew. And they must also comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Further, the USCG sets the standards for training and experience. What is the Duty of Care for Cruise Line Passengers? When a ship is departing from U.S. ports, they are considered common carriers, which means they must adhere to the Shipping Act of 1984, 46 U.S.C. § 1702 (6). This act determines that carriers owe passengers a higher duty care in protection from physical harm. So the company remains responsible for ensuring passengers arrive safely at their destination. And this includes the passenger’s safety from assaults, rapes, evil crew members, and other types of criminal behavior. Cruise Ship Disappearances? If there is a report of a missing passenger, the cruise line company must carry out a reasonable rescue search and rescue efforts. So this means that the missing person is not aboard the ship, the vessel must go back and search. In fact, passengers have fallen overboard for a variety of reasons. And some rescues proved successful. And this remains true even after they were missing for hours. So if the cruise line fails to perform a reasonable search and rescue effort, they may be held liable. In fact, they can even be at fault for the disappearance of the passenger. In other words, they failed in performing their duty of care and filing   Cruise Ship Lawsuit - How To? Passengers who have sustained injuries, or have become the victim of a criminal act on-board a cruise ship; have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Damages include medical costs, loss of income, pain, and suffering. The criminal activities taking place on land differ because here, the claim may be governed by the terms on the cruise ship ticket. Cruise ship tickets contain a forum selection clause and a choice of law provision. And of course, it's in the small print on the back of the ticket. This states where passengers must file their lawsuit against the cruise line. And it recites the applicable laws. The cruise line will define that filing claims for injuries that occurred while on the cruise ship to be filed in Los Angeles, California, Seattle, Washington or Miami, Florida. This situs will depend on where the cruise line is based. Failing to follow the rules in these sections of the ticket means no case. The ticket creates a contract between the passenger and the cruise line. Passengers filing a lawsuit against a cruise line, who object to it being heard in a court outside of their home state can petition to have it moved to a local tribunal. But this challenge is usually denied. The ticket outlines that the injured passenger must provide notice of the injury to the cruise line. But this must happen within a specified period. This period is usually six months from the date of the injury. This period is not the same statute of limitations for the filing of a traditional admiralty and maritime claim, which is three years. The cruise ticket may detail that any lawsuits filed against the cruise line must be in Los Angeles, California or Miami Florida. In either state, the court may enforce the time limitation outlined in the ticket (passage contract). So courts normally deny claims filed later than this specified period. How Do Injured Employees get Money? The Jones Act protects ship employees. In other words, the ACT applies to working seamen with shipboard personal injuries or death. The Jones Act protects most cruise ship employees, and especially those who live and work aboard the ship. Under Jones, injured employee seamen become entitled to medical expenses. During convalesce and rehabilitation, living expenses are included. What are the Relevant Jurisdiction Terms and Laws? Many foreign cruise line registrations are in other countries; as such, they fly the flag of that foreign country and abide by their laws. This registration means these laws could apply to incidences that occur on the cruise ship. When a cruise ship leaves a U.S. port, the laws of the state it departed from apply, as well as U.S. federal laws. International treaties may also apply to incidents that occur aboard ship. One of these may be maritime jurisdiction, under 18 U.S. Code Section 7. So a criminal offense committed by or against a United States citizen happens outside the jurisdiction of any other country, U.S. law applies. And this same scheme applies with foreign vessels connected with a U.S. departure and arrival port. California law enforcement and federal law enforcement have particular maritime jurisdiction over some certain offenses at sea.  But a residency rule applies if the suspect was a California resident while aboard. When over half of the passengers boarding a California departing port, some jurisdiction remains. Same goes when the crime might have a ‘substantial effect” within the state of California. Learn more at 633 West 5th Street #2890 Los Angeles, CA 90071. (213) 596-9642. Understanding cruise law is of vital importance for anyone who cares about their safe passage at sea. Other Citations: https://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/06/27/how-safe-is-your-cruise-ship/ https://www.cnn.com/2012/02/10/travel/cruise-industry-safety-drills/index.html

Jan 26, 2019

Cruise Ship Developments in the New Year—Carnival 15-Drink Cap

Cruise ship on blue ocean.
Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents.
Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents. By Michael P. Ehline, Esq. - The International Cruise Victims Association, developments that will be happening in the New Year include: Legislation will come forward during the coming session of Congress. This session will further improve the provisions of CVSSA. European Victim Support —the associate member of the International Cruise Victim Association (ICV), is a European umbrella network for national victim support organizations. And ICV remains the only United States-based member of this 32 national member organization. The Australian Chapter headed by Mark Brimble, together with the Australian Government, are beginning to hold hearings. And these will pertain to the need for legislation that needs to be in place. It is akin to the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. The hearings are in Brisbane, Australia February 1st. They result from a report issued in November of 2010. Said report recommended the Australian Government has hearings. During the hearings, the Australian Chapter Chairman Kendall Carver and Chapter Head Mark Brimble will be testifying. There was a tremendous amount of progress made by the ICV over the past year. It addressed the problems of crimes and accountability on cruise ships. The ICV gets covered by the major media outlets. So look for the International Cruise Victim Association home page under "ICV news." This website is where the media articles and television show information can be found. Someplace worldwide every few days there is a news story featuring the ICV and the members of the association. One of the issues that the ICV condemns Carnival Cruise Lines for is their initiative to promote a limit on drinks that is not much of a limit at all. After all, it reduces the likelihood of crimes to inebriated folks. ICV thinks "limit" of 15 drinks is absurd. It is too much (probably even for an elephant), along with the fact that there is no police protection for passengers and families. So where the ship remains flagged determines passenger safety at sea. Carnival Cruise Lines has initiated a daily drink cap or alcohol package. So passengers can pay for all the beverages on a cruise ship in one single payment. According to a Carnival spokesperson, this package is on 13 drinks Carnival ships. So now you can only have 15 alcoholic beverages within 24 hours, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. the following day. Source: https://www.internationalcruisevictims.org/

Jan 19, 2019

Could Enhanced Cruise Ship Safety Bill Have Stopped the Rape and Murder?

Ship at sea
Cruise ship
Cruise Worker Accused of Raping and Attempting to Throw A Passenger Overboard Cruise ship A cruise ship worker stands accused of raping, beating and trying to throw a passenger overboard Friday morning. Many of our readers already know the chatter on the Hill. And that is that the industry can easily target potential sponsors of the enhanced Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. Some pundits say they can be bribed for perhaps as little as $25,000 in campaign contributions. In other words, they could vote "no" to upset much-needed legislation. In other words, in exchange for advertising money, many politicians will refuse to protect U.S. passengers. Does this prove money can buy anything? We will keep digging up facts on donations and vote shifting. Afterward, we will report back. At any rate, you can decide. In any event, on 2/11/14, Rep Corrine Brown argued with Rep John Garamendi over issues like whether the cruise industry should be forced to install man overboard systems. After all, they have been required by law to do so since 2010 under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. Where are the Teeth? Since there were no enforcement provisions with teeth, the cruise industry has refused to implement many provisions of the 2010 Cruise Ship Safety Act. Only one organization, ICV, or the International Cruise Victims is doing the legwork to fix the problems with the last bill. But they are an anomaly. These laws need enforcement provisions. In other words, they lack teeth. Teeth mean a fine or a penalty. Right now it is a waste of time to pass laws that are ignored with impunity. Since there were no enforcement provisions with teeth, the cruise industry is just not implementing many of the provisions of the 2010 Cruise Ship Safety Act. Only one organization, ICV, or the International Cruise Victims is doing the legwork to fix the problems with the last bill. But they are an all-volunteer crew of victims who, on their dime, lobby DC. DC and the Downtrodden Victims. I was fortunate enough to have lobbied with these downtrodden souls on the last round of tromping through the halls of Congress seeking support. But let's face it, the cruise industry has billions, and victims on their own, cannot pay $25,000 to a re-election campaign for some politician, or many. Those are the grim, cold facts. In any event, Garamendi called for enforcement of protections that are already required under U.S. Laws, but not enforced. And Brown went so far as to accuse Garamendi of "grandstanding." Is Lost At Sea a Consequence of No Man Overboard System? Many of us attorneys at Ehline Law have suspected that a percentage of these "lost at sea" cases arose from a crew or a crew-member or passenger raping someone. Why? Because with no man overboard system the rapist would toss a person overboard, leaving no trace. Cruise lines are notorious for failing to turn over digital and video images of crimes aboard cruises. Even when the FBI demands them, the cruise lines have pushed back. But why? Throwing a Body Over the Side Covers Up Crimes. So it is a no-brainer that a criminal eliminating a body overboard would quickly cover up a crime. In any event, the 2010 Bill required all cruise ships to install "man overboard systems." It is now 2014 and still nothing. But the cruise industry seems to be putting out two stories. This regard why the lines never recognized the four-year-old law. (Read more here.) Garamendi went on to retort: “I think it’s time for the consumers, millions of them, who are getting on these ships to know what they’re getting into,”. He is the ranking member of the subcommittee overseeing maritime transportation. “To know the history, the good and the bad, of an individual ship” he said. Rape on a cruise ship On the heels of the legislation above failing, another cruise member was arrested Sunday and has been identified as Ketut Pujayasa, age 28, a worker from Indonesia. And of course, he was attempting to toss a severely brutalized rape victim overboard. Sound familiar? The incident occurred on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam early Friday morning in the international waters off of the coast of Roatan, Honduras, authorities said. The MS Nieuw Amsterdam cruise liner departed from Fort Lauderdale on February 9th. From there on it was a seven-day western Caribbean charter cruise. The attack victim was a female. Her attacker was "Pujayasa." What are the Victim's Allegations? The raped woman said she was attacked in her stateroom. As a matter of fact, the cruise ship employee attempted to throw her from her balcony. So we can see there is an understanding by this employee that disposing of the woman is key to avoiding jail. In any event, all these facts appear in the criminal complaint. The woman said that she escaped from the cruise worker. After that, she was helped by another passenger. Pujayasa was taken into custody when the ship returned to port at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL Pujayasa was charged with aggravated assault and attempt to commit murder He told investigators that he attacked the woman because she had "disrespected" him He said he left the woman’s stateroom, but then later turned himself in. So there you go. The man performed an honor killing and used disrespect as a basis to justify. Whatever you want to call it, these are ideas from backward cultures. In a news release, Holland America Cruise Line stated that they are working with authorities.  And they said they want to understand how the incident occurred. Also, the promised they will take additional measures to ensure this type of event does not happen ever again. Holland American Cruise Line CEO Stein Kruse said that at Holland American Line our highest priority is the safety of our guests. He stated that in the 140-year history of the cruise line to his knowledge there has never been an incident like this occur on one of the ships. Of course, he said that. What else would he say? But the facts are: "we have a history of covering up crimes, flying criminally accused employees back to their home countries so U.S. authorities cannot arrest them, etc." This fact is just so sad and laughable from our perspective. Regulating the politically connected cruise ship industry has long been possible. But due to the fact these ships sail under foreign flags not from U.S. territories, international maritime law applies. Also, contract law has made prosecuting a negligence claim against them much more difficult than land-based cases. Considering that most cruise ship passengers are North American, it stands to reason that most crimes are against them. But thanks to ICV, the cruise industry is finding itself under increased scrutiny from sages like Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) who is at the front with Matsui. Is The Hole In Security a Basis for Cruise Ship's Liability? Cruise lines know they are strictly liable. But they hold all the cards. If their employee tosses a body over the side, do you think they will be so happy to turn over the videotape? Think about it. That could cost the cruise lines millions of dollars. The bottom line is that criminals know there is a hole in the security of ships. And that makes raping and tossing a drunk or passed out victim quite easy. Cruise lines recruit low pay help, often from countries that culturally teach an uncovered woman is a harlot or dhimmi to be raped and used. For example, the defendant, in this case, hails from a country, Indonesia, where many men think that failure to wear a hijab is an "invitation to be raped." (view source.) So imagine a person seeing Western women in bikinis for the first time, who is not properly vetted in accepting that Western culture is different, etc., working aboard one of these ships. Background Checks are a Joke. There is often no way to conduct proper background checks on criminals. Is there even a computer background database in Syria? NO. What about Somalia or Ethiopia. No! What we do know is that many of the countries cruise ship employees hail from have no national system. And we also know that these countries are often archaic, male-dominated societies bound by religious dogma. So many things like rape, aren't even a crime unless there are three male witnesses, etc. Imagine these people getting aboard the ship as employees and them seeing a blonde woman in a bikini. So now what a Westerner would consider a predator has boarded. Next, this person learns its layout. After that, they discover strategies and tactics from fellow countrymen on how to get away with rape and murder. All that is left is a method on how to dispose of a body. Think like a lawyer. Follow the bodies. Cruise Lines Should Not Hire From Countries That Don't Respect Female Equality? In my opinion, cruise lines are not doing enough to vet male employees. This cultural difference is precisely the issue in many cases. So this hypothetical and others can easily take place. In fact, the cruise lines are tripping over a dollar to save a dime. Cruise lines like to hire people who think $2 thousand a month is a lot of money. So they are their own worst enemy. They already can skirt U.S. tax laws. But the least they could do is install man overboard systems. That way they could make it harder for the criminally minded to get away with rape and murder "without a trace."

Jan 18, 2019

Safety Measures to Take on Cruise Ships for Self Protection

The top cruise ship law firm in Southern California
Helping People Defend Themselves People think of a cruise line as a significant way to escape. In many cases, it is not. Instead, there are multiple cases where cruise patrons are assaulted-- or worse. Also, there are many cases of passengers getting sick from mediocre food. Furthermore, in other cases, the vessel strands the passengers for hours if not days. All of these landmines combine for a terrible experience for cruise ship passengers. Consumers have a chance to fight back and make their experience a better one. Doing so will also make things smoother for future riders. The top cruise ship law firm in Southern California There are many examples of the danger from these cruises. The January 2012 Costa Concordia cruise liner crash in Italy is just one example. There are over 16 million people using cruise ships each year. Unfortunately many find that the companies cut corners where they shouldn't. The International Cruise Victims or ICV argues that the true statistics behind cruise injuries and other issues are covered up. There are several things that cruise passengers can do to stay safe. Be Prepared Do Your Research. This step isn't always perfect, but it's a good start. See which lines have the best and worst reputation. So this is a good jumping off point to see how your family will be treated on board. Sometimes the Coast Guard has stats about the liners. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings. Just because you're on a beautiful ship doesn't mean you're automatically safe. Furthermore, many assaults on ships occur because the passenger lets their guard down. Understand where you are and what could happen to you. Scope out ways to escape if needed. Life Jackets and Safety Drills. Make sure to prepare in case of an emergency. Know where your life jacket is at all times. Keep it near you. Be prepared in the event of a crash. Keep Important Info Near. Also, this should go without saying. Keep your passport, travel agent info, and others close by. Don't go too far without things you might need in case the ship faces issues. If you want to find out more about safety on liners, keep reading our site. Ehline Law believes it is the finest cruise ship liability company in California. Furthermore, our team fought and won hundreds of such cases. 

Jan 16, 2019

Six Year Old Drowns on Carnival Cruise

A Preventable Tragedy According to a statement from Carnival Cruise Lines, a six-year-old boy drowned on the last day of a four-day Caribbean cruise at one of the ship's pools, while with his family. These pool injury cases are typical of the cases we take at Ehline Law Firm. I felt obligated to shed some light on the potential claims possible by the surviving family. The Facts: After arriving at a port in Miami, the Miami-Dade Police Department identified the boy as Qwentyn Hunter of Winter Garden, Florida. According to Miami-Dade investigators, Hunter was swimming with his ten-year-old brother when the incident occurred. Passengers around the pool immediately pulled him out and began CPR. Police have said that foul play is not suspected, but the six-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. Victory ship passenger Shaina Shaw stated that she along with several other passengers helped in pulling the boy out of the pool. Shaw said the boy had been playing with his mother, father and older brother in the shallow end of the pool. No Guards at the Pool? What? Another passenger identified as Deshaun Christian said people were listening to music and dancing when the incident occurred. Christian said that it was frightening and people were trying to help the child. The Carnival Cruise ship Victory left from the Port of Miami on Thursday and returned to port on Monday. Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Joyce Oliva stated the cruise line company does not have lifeguards on duty at the pools aboard their vessels. She said that adults must accompany children under 13 when swimming in the ship's pools. What is The Law? Here, the case will be handled under international admiralty-maritime law, treaty, and contract. Typically one would retain a cruise ship attorney in Florida when suing Carnival to learn all the nuances and time restrictions. Suffice it to say; a cruise ship lawsuit is an animal all its own. If you want to sue a cruise line, you have to look at the passage contract Typically a passenger or the survivor would have no more than six months to send a written claim to the Cruise Line Corporation listed in the passage contract. Once that is done, you may be able to bring a lawsuit in either Federal or State court. If you sue in California, it would be pursued under ordinary negligence principles. Assuming that was the case here, the Christian family would argue that a reasonable cruise line would have additional security to enforce swimming pool safety. This should be the case regardless of whether they ply passengers, including parents, with alcohol until they can’t walk. Also, there were distractions like loud music and dancing near the pool. Since children were present, the cruise lines should have had lifeguard type protection in any event. Additionally, cruise ships are common carriers under customary California negligence law. Heightened Duty of Care? This rule means that cruise ships and their controllers are subject to a heightened duty of care beyond just the standard, the regular duty of care an average person submits. For example, a teacher is in a superior position to a child and has a "special duty" of care not to molest a child. A lawyer has a special duty of attention not to reveal client secrets and so on. That being the case, the cruise ship had a special duty of care akin to strict liability. This means a cruise ship would have no defenses available and the case would be about damages. Damages for Death? The surviving family members will base their damages claims upon the financial resources the child would have contributed to them, and the loss of love, affection and everything else that comes with losing someone in such a tragic way. But DOSHA offers cruise lines even further protection from responsibility for their misfeasance, nonfeasance, and malfeasance. In fact, if a child is killed, since they are not a wage earner, the parents are severely limited in their recovery. This is because they may not even be able to claim damages. The problem is that most parents are clueless as to these laws before they board. Would you let your child on a cruise if you knew about this scandalous nonsense? The bottom line: a cruise line can attract children to a nuisance like an unsecured pool and escape paying. But Ehline has successfully argued that a cruise line cannot submit to state law and hide behind treaties and maritime law. So the risks for both sides can come into play, instead of all the cards. Ehline would argue that the cruise lines submitted to California law. DOSHA law, effective from the 1920s applying to fisherman, and should not apply here. How the judge rules are usually based upon who makes the best argument. DOSHA Claims. As for adults, the problem is that if the court rules for the cruise lines, the unwary victim does not recover pain, suffering, grief, or mourning if the decedent passed away outside of the territorial waters of the U.S. DOSHA provides only limited financial damages, such as lost wages. When the cruise lines choose the jurisdiction and venue, they must submit to the rules of the case. That is why a lawyer who gets this stuff is so critical to moving the case forward favorably. The stories I hear from victims of cruise ship injuries are utterly wretched. I look forward to lobbying in DC for more cruise ship legislation. Cruise lines create a party-like environment of intoxication on a moving ship that rocks back and forth. Drunk people often fall about all the time! Life Jackets. This family could certainly argue that the children should have been given life jackets and that lifeguards should have been provided. The cruise line may counter that the parents are responsible for failing to supervise, but again, the last duty of care was with the cruise ship. I would fight hard for this family. Sexual Attacks For years, women and even children have been sexually assaulted onboard cruise ships but often the cruise industry has failed to report the crime and in fact, actively assisted in covering up assaults by cruise ship employees. Even FBI investigations don't always lead to a conclusion That leaves it to attorneys like me ensuring that justice prevails. To learn more about cruise ship passenger’s rights, contact Ehline Law Firm and Support the Strengthened Cruise Ship Bill of Rights. Citations: Formal Safety and Cruise Ship Drowning: Facts About Life Jackets and Personal Floatation Devices: https://www.pfdma.org/local/downloads/documents/pfdmabrochure.pdf  

Jan 12, 2019

Recent Court Case and Cruise Ship Liability Problems for Passengers

Cruise ship on the blue ocean.
Is cruise ship going aground?
Is cruise ship going aground? Surprisingly cruise ships and the cruise ship companies have been exempt from certain types of negligence like those that occur in hospital settings resulting in patients or their families being entitled to recover compensation. The compensation is generally for medical expenses and pain and suffering. But cruise ship companies have been an exception for medical malpractice lawsuits. A recent decision by the Florida 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may change the way cruise ship lawsuits are decided. What Is the Court's Ruling? The Florida 11th Court of Appeals ruled that the exemption for medical malpractice lawsuits was outdated involving cruise ships. The case involved an 82-year-old-year-old man, a New York resident that fell and stuck his head in Bermuda in 2011 while on a Royal Caribbean cruise. The nurse attending the man aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship told the man to rest. The family of the man claims the nurse did not suggest the man have a diagnostic scan done. And it took hours before the ship’s doctor saw the man. During that period his condition became worse. The lawsuit states the man had internal bleeding in the skull by the time the doctor saw him and succumbed to the head injury. The Royal Caribbean medical staff wore the same uniforms as other ship employees, and the medical staff was advertised as craft employees, and in promotional material, they were paid a tribute. What the New Court Ruling Could Mean If the decision of the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals is upheld, then it is possible for plaintiff’s alleging malpractice occurred on cruise ships to have their cases heard in court in the state of Florida (Read more.) In a statement by a Royal Caribbean representative, it claims rules remain on the books. They disagree with the new ruling by the Court of Appeals. This rule is based on the factor cruise lines offer vacations. A vacation is not primarily to provide health care for passengers so they argue. Common Defense Used in Medical Cases Defense in medical malpractice lawsuits occurring aboard cruise ships has commonly been rendered not the best in rulings by courts. In other words, the medical care provided to passengers on a boat is different than the scope of attention to be paid on land. Meaning, according to this type of ruling, passengers should not expect to receive the same standard of care onboard a luxury liner as they do from their private physicians. What About the Missing Passengers? While health care onboard cruise ships is a concern and the new ruling by the Court of Appeals could make a difference in how future cases are looked at by courts, another problem that has grown from this, is the incidence of missing passengers. These are passengers and crew members that have fallen overboard ships, since as early as 2000. According to CruiseJunkie.com, there have been: 244 passengers and crew that have fallen overboard; and, Approximately 20 passengers annually that have gone missing from the ships. What Do The Cruise Ship Lawyers have to Say? Our attorneys believe that no matter where doctors and nurses work they do have a solemn duty. This includes the best possible care on cruise ships. Contact the maritime law firm here, or call toll free at (213) 596-9642 to learn what your legal options are and the best way to proceed.

Jan 10, 2019

Are MOB's Preventable?

Cruise ship on blue ocean.
Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents.
Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents. As some of our readers are aware, I just returned from Washington DC lobbying Congress to force the cruise lines to abide by existing law. What do I mean? Well, existing law requires that cruise lines doing business in the US, have a man overboard, or "MOB" system to warn and even prevent MOB's and their tragic aftermaths. So first, I must say, when I saw this story on the news the other day, I was floored. What Was The Latest Man Overboard Case? The FBI is now investigating the death of a senior woman aboard a cruise ship in route to San Diego. The woman boarded a Holland America cruise ship at San Francisco with other passengers for a seven day Mexico cruise. The vessel has been identified as the MSVeendam, though authorities have not released the identity of the senior woman. According to officials at the time the woman went overboard, there were approximately 2,000 passengers and crew members aboard the MS Veedam. Many of the passengers were celebrating the New Year. One passenger, Patricia English said that she knew something was seriously wrong when she could hear the ship stopping and turning about. She said she also listened to a loud alarm and saw a bright flare. Gary Schmidt, another passenger, said that he heard an announcement. That shocked him, with the captain of the ship saying “man overboard, crew members go to your stations." According to English, there were other announcements, including one that told passengers to move away from the lifeboats. Alarm This alarm was because they were going to put some of them into the water to look for the person who had gone overboard they hollered that. Then the captain told passengers to return to their cabins so that a head count could be taken, according to Schmidt. At the time the senior woman went overboard, the ship was about 300 miles southwest of San Diego. Another passenger saw the woman who was only identified as an 88-year-old Canadian climb out on her balcony and leaned over the rail. The passenger who saw the event did not want to be identified. But she wanted to tell what she saw after the San Diego Medical Examiner ruled the 88-year-old woman’s death a suicide. But the witness passenger said the woman had leaned over the rail to jump, but then she turned around to go back inside. Except she suddenly slipped and fell from the balcony. So I am not concerned with the medical examiner. The witness seems to say that the woman quietly slipped when she was returning from the railing. In any event, the woman was found by rescuers and pulled from the water. But they had found her too late to revive her. According to the passengers, the ship continued to San Diego, which was approximately another two hours. According to Holland America officials, they are assisting the family of the 88-year-old Canadian woman during this challenging time. We presume there was no warning system in place, as there was no mention of it in the article. Typically, the witness will alert someone on the ship, and then the captain will alert the crew, and halt the cruise. But an early warning MOB system shaves precious minutes from this procedure, and it is the law. Why Don't Cruise Lines Have MOB's Installed When the Law Says They Must? Great question. Well, based on our research, the cruise lines believe that the technology does not exist, or that it is "tested," whatever that means. No really, here are their quotes. We will let you decide if they are being honest or not. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act calls for ships to be outfitted with technology that can become used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard, to the extent that such technology is available. The law went into effect three years ago, he says, and yet the systems are not in place. “I don’t think the technology exists,” Maltzman says. “There are exterior cameras on ships, and in some instances, they have documented situations when someone has jumped overboard or fallen overboard. I think it is going to be difficult to have an electronic device that’s going to figure out every time that happens and not be triggered when a seagull flies by the detector or a large wave splashes up the side of the ship.” [Emphasis.] (Source ABA Journal.) One can see above, a cruise ship industry defense attorney, Mr. Maltzman, says he does not even know if the technology exists. Let's put this in perspective. The law requiring MOB safety systems was passed in 2010, and it is now 2014, and there is still no MOB system in place on most cruise ships who do business in the USA. And once again, in a prestigious ABA Journal article, Maltzman says “I don’t think the technology exists.” But wait, there's more to this tale. Contrary to the Above Comments by a Prominent Cruise Industry Defense Attorney, At Least One Major Cruise Industry Advocacy Group ADMITS that MOB Technology Exists, But They Are "Conducting Trials." In an excellent article located here: The Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement, “..the industry continues to evaluate, test and conduct trials…” to figure out which one works best at sea. [Emphasis.] Rather than try and figure out who is telling the truth, let's look at what readily available public information says regarding the availability of Man Overboard Detection Systems in the U.S. for large vessels. A little clue first. The technology has existed for a long time. The Inventor of the Man Overboard Detection System Says The Technology Has Existed for Years and IS Already in Use On Many Other Vessels This information will probably blow your mind. But all the above statements [most people might call these lies] by vaunted cruise industry representatives are blown out of the water (excuse the pun), by the stunning comments of a former Coast Guard engineer. ...former Coast Guard Engineer Dave Leone said, the technology has been around for years. He developed it. "This is instant, the moment it senses mass coming down it sets off the alarm instantly,” said Leone. Leone said each one of the overboard sensors he developed in 2010 is equipped with two lasers and sets off an alarm when someone falls into the water. “I'm baffled by it,” [referring to the excuses made by the industry as to why it is not in place] said Leone. [Emphasis.] (Source.) Vote with Your Feet You can vote with your feet if you are in the same disbelief as me. The Ehline Law Firm represents and advocates on behalf of cruise victims, and we want to shout out to Eric Rappe and Kendall Carver for their steadfast commitment to fighting for the rights of the oppressed and voiceless cruise victims. In closing, I know for a fact, that many other things can be done to keep people from falling overboard. Higher guard rails and balcony rails, proper no-slip floors, taking ownership of the fact the passengers, many of them are being fed unlimited, and free-flowing amounts alcohol, etc. Last but not least, we can never forget that real people harmed by the cruise industry's failures. I wrote this in memory of Mr. Rappe. The FBI's responsibilities include why the MOB systems are inactive. Sources: An elderly passenger on cruise ship falls overboard: Man Overboard Maritime Early Detection Systems (MEDSTM): On-Water Visibility Study: Determining the most visible color that can be worn by floating subjects: 

Jan 4, 2019

Another Terrible Rape at Sea

A woman in fear of an assault
Why Are There So Many Rapes on Cruise Liners? One of the sad constants of the last several decades is an assault on cruise ships. There are multiple issues of fights and injury on these vessels. There are a variety of causes. Some boil down to a lack of regulation. In others, inadequate attention from the cruise company itself. Take for example a horrible rape case on a cruise line. The recent attack is a reminder of the dangers on these vessels. It also shows the lack of action from those big corporations. A woman in fear of an assault Take for example an attack in 2014. This crime occurred on a Holland America cruise in the Caribbean. Ketut Pejayasa attacked the Michigan woman. He now serves 30 years in federal prison for attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault. He tried to throw the woman overboard. The attacker choked the woman until she was unconscious and raped her. Blood covered her body. She had multiple broken bones in her back and face. She needed an air ambulance back to Florida. The New York Times reported on an unfortunate reality. Such cases are all too usual. There is a normalization of this type of behavior on cruise lines. Furthermore, there is little to no action from the big cruise companies. Fighting the Terrible Trend Such a case might be reasonable now but doesn't have to be. Furthermore, it is up to each consumer to fight back. We all have the power to change the way that the industry runs itself. Passengers do not have to put up with poor service, or worse. Criminal actions are unacceptable. We all have a part to play in making our ships safer. Injured parties fight back through legal means. If a person needs a lawyer for a cruise ship injury, they contact a skilled expert. Ehline Law studied many such cases and represented clients in court. We win because we get the issues around the fact. Our lead attorney, Michael Ehline, also works as a lobbyist in Washington fighting for passengers' rights. Contact us for more information.

Jan 3, 2019

Fighting To Force the Coast Guard to Serve Cruise Passengers

Michael Ehline at congress.
Michael Ehline lobbies Congress for safe transportation.
Removing Loopholes to Protect Cruise Ship Passengers Protecting cruise liner passengers should be the top priority of all cruise lines. Unfortunately, recent cases show this is not always the case. By advocating for passengers, we are one step closer to a more just system. Michael Ehline lobbies Congress for safe transportation. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act was an essential part of that puzzle. Still, there are substantial concerns about its implementation. All of these are good questions for the public. How the government uses the law is another questions. The Act intended to solve many problems. We still have far more work ahead of us. Our lead attorney, Michael Ehline, tirelessly pursues better regulation. He lobbied in Washington for consumer-friendly revisions to existing laws and statutes. Each one of these raises their issues. We here at Ehline Law have a chance to make a difference. Our team is at the ready for the consumer. Removing Cruise Ship Company Loopholes Some of the major concerns include the fact that medical staff must follow protocols after all medical cases, and not just sexual assault. A "man overboard" warning system needs to go on all cruise ships. Regulations allow a "foreign vessel loophole" for other nations' vessels to skirt our laws. Acoustic sounding devices are a deterrent against terrorism that should be on all new ships. Thus, the Coast Guard has a responsibility in certifying Victim's Advocates for cruise lines. This certification ensures that victims get informed of their rights. Their testimony should also be confidential and allow them to contact law enforcement rather than leaving it in the hands of the cruise line. These are all parts of the picture. The vast majority of Americans blame the cruise industry itself for many of these issues. We understand this issue personally. However, the above concerns are ongoing. It remains unfair that foreign companies worth billions use a loophole to flag a ship to skirt regulations. All of these are unfair to American companies. Thus, it also works against the concerns of anyone on these vessels. It is critical paying attention to how these laws are brought about. Furthermore, we get the worries of these people. Furthermore, it raises concerns about the Coast Guard's enforcement of foreign licensed cruise line companies which do not pay taxes in the United States. Also, we understand that these regulations require changes, especially with a new President at the helm. We'll be one of the cruise ship advocates for smarter, stronger protections.