Employee of Carnival Cruises questioned in rape

It has recently been reported that an employee of Carnival Cruises has been detained in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the rape of another employee on board the ship.  According to authorities the alleged rape happened in a cabin when the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The unidentified man has not been charged.

File Luxury cruise liners―Island Sky and Seaborne Sojourn― make maiden calls at Island as part of international itinerary Credit : Abu Dhabi Ports

 

Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz said the woman is a cruise ship employee from Australia. Puerto Rico police had identified her as a tourist.

In 2000, two crew members of Carnival Cruise Lines were charged in federal court with rape involving two women while the ship Elation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Cruise Lines love to promote their industry as all fun and games.  The reality, however, can be a lot harsher.  Violent incidents can occur with a degree of regularity.  The employees are often from foreign countries and the massive cruise ships can present opportunities for criminal conduct.  Victims of this type of misconduct may have legal rights against the cruise line.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Our website is located at TheBenLawFirm.com.  We can be reached by telephone at (954) 961-2055 or by email at Andy@TheBenLawFirm.com.

 

 

FBI closes investigative file in cruise ship death

Relaxing on Balconies on Cruise ship
Relaxing on Balconies on Cruise ship

The FBI concluded its investigation into the death of a woman who fell from a cruise ship because there was not sufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed.

The FBI said the agency had been looking into what happened on Christmas night 2008 when a 36-year-old woman allegedly fell from a balcony of the Miami-based Norwegian
“Pearl.”

The woman and her husband, were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. The Cost Guard conducted a search but her body was never recovered.

Various incidents have occurred in the past where passengers have either fallen or even forced overboard from balconies on cruise ships. Obviously, under these circumstances, it is very difficult to investigate given these tragedies to determine the cause. Occasionally, in the past, cruise lines do not immediately initiate a criminal investigation which it makes it even more difficult to determine what happened. Many of the larger cruise ships have thousands of people and violent crimes can happen. If something does happen, you should report these right away to the ship’s security officer. If the crime is significant, and you are not satisfied with the way the ship handled the claim, you should contact the appropriate legal authority.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Medical emergency on a cruise, you may be walking the plank.

2a61c3c730a47b2993bb8763718ecce21-617x411[1]-thumb-333x221-47007Cruiseline passengers seriously injured or stricken with illnesses may find themselves going from the frying pan to the fire.

One recent incident involved a Royal Caribbean passenger who suffered a heart attack during a cruise, and was unceremoniously dropped off at St. Kitts and taken to a substandard hospital on the island. Royal Carribean maintained it did the proper thing, but his wife says the hospital was a dump and unfit to treat a man with his condition.

The wife states that facility was dirty and was not equipped to provide the medical services necessary to treat a heart attack victim. The passenger required the insertion of cardiac stent which was delayed because of the ship’s decision to drop him off at the remote Carribean island. The delay in treatment caused additional damage to the patient’s heart which could have been presented had he been promptly taken to a modern facility equipped to handle this type of procedure.

One thing passengers can do to mitigate the risk of being in the third world during a medical emergency is to purchase travel health insurance with medical evacuation coverage. In the event disaster strikes, like the gentleman who suffered a heart attack on board the cruise, at least you have the resources to get you to the nearest appropriate medical facility as quickly as possible. This cost of this coverage is very reasonable and if you are going to be some place where the medical facilities are less than optimal, it makes good sense.

Carnival passengers must sue cruise line in South Florida

imagesCA5N0G3E-thumb-333x221-21292An Indiana appeals court has upheld the South Florida “small print” venue provision buried in a Carnival Cruise Lines’ ticket. A woman filed suit against Carnival in her home state of Indiana alleging that as a cruise passenger she became ill because the Carnival ship she was on was going too fast.

Doris Beard sued Carnival claiming “due to the speed of the ship I became very sick, my body swayed terrible on the ship I had bleeding, which I had not has [sic] in three years. The ship was moving so fast everyone on board became sick, even the workers,” according to a court document.

Carnival’s attorneys requested that the case be dismissed based on the “small print” venue clause in its ticket, contending that lawsuits against the company by passengers are required to be filed South Florida, where the cruise line is based.

Although the cruise line’s motion was denied by the Indiana small claims court, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision finding that the small claims court “erred.” The end result is that the woman can re-file her lawsuit in South Florida, assuming that she is still within the one-year statute of limitations.

Most cruise lines, particularly those based in South Florida departing from the Port of Miami or Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, have provisions for venue and the statute of limitations printed in their tickets. Frequently, this language is buried somewhere in the middle of the ticket in fine print with language straight out a law school text book.

“Venue” is the legal term for where a lawsuit must be filed and a “Statute of Limitations” deals with the time period in which a passenger must file suit. Carnival’s ticket limits venue to the federal court in South Florida and has a one year statute of limitations. The courts have enforced these provisions, which can be quite onerous for a passenger seeking legal redress against Carnival for injuries or damages, particularly when they are living out of the South Florida area. This impediment is the intended effect of incorporating this language in small print buried somewhere in the ticket.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Cruise ship disabled in Antartica

s10-thumb-333x200-14830According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators an expedition cruise ship visiting Antarctica with Americans on board was damaged on Monday after striking an uncharted rock. The “Polar Star” struck the large rock while at anchor just north of Detaille Island at the Antarctic Peninsula.

Following the collision, the “Polar Star,” was able to free itself from the rock. There were 80 passengers are on board the vessel including 32 Americans, 9 Canadians and 8 Australians. Fortunately, no passengers were injured.

The initial damage assessment revealed that the ship’s outer hull was breached from the collision, but the inner hull was unharmed. The 4,998-ton “Polar Star” is now sailing north along the Antarctic Peninsula under its own power, with the hopes of returning to its home port of Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship’s captain reports there was no apparent oil spill outside the ship, but booms have been deployed as a precaution.”

Although more than a century has passed since the “Titanic” struck that infamous iceberg in the North Atlantic, a cruise ship’s safe return to its home port is not always a certainty. Less than two months earlier another cruise ship visiting Antarctica, the “Clelia II,” was damaged by large waves.

Although both the “Polar Star” and the “Clelia II” were based out of Argentina, there have been several incidents of cruise ships limping back to Port Everglades and the Port of Miami, both located in South Florida. Cruise ship mishaps can involve more than just a ruined vacation or inconvenience, they can also result in injury or death That is why some one considering a cruise should check out the ship’s safety record, particularly in light of the intended itinerary.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Cruiselines sugarcoating passengers missing at sea?

images[11]-thumb-333x444-14105Every year it seems like we hear about someone “disappearing” at sea while on a cruise. More often than not, there are no witnesses to what happened and the cruise ships label the disappearances as “mysterious circumstances.” The cruise lines may spin these situations as a simple case of a drunk passenger deciding to jump.

According to Canadian college professor, Ross Klein, in 2008 there were 12 passengers or crewmen have gone overboard from cruise ships or ferries. Since no central government agency maintains records of cruise ship disappearances or deaths or falls from cruise ships, Professor Klein derived his data from various news outlets.

“They’re (the cruise lines) trying to sell a vacation product and this isn’t good news . . . .They tout cruising as the safest mode of transportation anywhere in the world. People go on them expecting to be safe, and these incidents contradict that perception,” states Professor Klein.

Every cruise ship has barriers designed to prevent passengers from falling overboard. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine some one falling off a cruise ship without being drunk or disregarding their safety. Nevertheless the cruise ships have the legal responsibility to take reasonable precautions to prevent this type of foreseeable occurrence.

Although falling overboard would seem to involve some comparative negligence on the part of the passenger, the cruise ships frequently over serve alcohol to their passengers without limits. Alcohol is a big money maker for the cruise lines. As a result of over-imbibing, passengers tend to fall on the decks of cruise ships and some even overboard. Accordingly, there may be some liability on the cruise lines for falls on and off the ship even though the passenger may have been intoxicated.

“It’s drink and drink and drink,” says Charles Harris, former chief of security for Carnival Cruises, a critic of cruise industry secrecy. “We’ll take your money, and if you fall overboard, we don’t worry about it.”

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Cruise Ship Crime Control

prisonbarge-thumb-333x135-12425You may have read or seen those stories about cruise ship passengers disappearing or falling overboard or even being assaulted by crew members. Although the cruise industry has tried to play these stories down, we still hear about them.

The often overlooked fact is that cruise ships are literally floating population centers comprised of various people in different states of inebriation. Kendall Carver whose adult daughter mysteriously disappeared from a Celebrity cruise ship in 2004 says: “It’s like a town serving unlimited drinks with no police.”

Until recently, the United States government exercised little control over what happened on cruise ships, but with the spate of bad publicity things are starting to change.

In 2011, the FBI will finally get the jurisdiction it needs to investigate crimes that occur on ships which have docked at U.S. ports. Mediterranean cruises for example, are outside the purview of the FBI.

The new law, the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act of 2010, mandates the following:

* Peep holes and security latches on all passenger and crew doors

* Electronic video surveillance that documents crimes to be made available to law enforcement

* Passenger security guides with information on reporting crimes to U.S. law enforcement

* Limits on crew access to passenger cabins

* Staff with knowledge and equipment to perform rape exams

* Free and immediate access to law enforcement

* Prompt reporting of crimes, which must be contained in a log

The Sun-Sentinel reports reports that from December 2007 to October 2008, there were 363 incidents, mostly on board Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruises, whose vessels largely depart from the Port of Miami or Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The new law, which was enacted over the strenuous objection of the cruise industry lobby, heralds the much needed realization that our government needs to do more to protect American citizens from becoming crime victims aboard cruise ships.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

New Cruise Ship Law regarding Sexual Assault

DEN-Copenhagen-AIDAbella_cruise_ship_in_port-thumb-333x217-thumb-333x217In the past, women who have been sexually assaulted while on a cruise were not provided virtually any medical treatment or forensic services while on board the ship.

Recently more attention has been focused on sexual assault and other crimes committed against women on cruise ships. Various victims advocacy groups have contended that cruise ship crimes are a significant problem and have pushed Congress for better laws governing these types of crimes.

Congress recently enacted the “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.” This act requires the cruise ships to provide women with access to national sexual assault hotlines if they are claiming that they have been the victim of a sexual assault. These women would also be entitled to a sexual assault forensic exam and medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Cruise ships will also be required to install peep holes and security latches on cabin doors. The cruise lines will also be required to report these incidents to the FBI.

The practical effect of this legislation will be to help reduce the chances that a victim of sexual assault will contract a disease from the incident and increase the chance that the perpetrator will be apprehended. Previously, when a women claimed she was assaulted, the cruise ships did not have any kits available to preserve the forensic evidence and this made it much more difficult for allegations of assault to be proved.

The “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act” is a welcome change. Cruise ships, instead of being primarily concerned with avoiding civil liability to the victims of assault, must now address their medical needs and take reasonable steps to preserve the evidence and report the crime.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.