Several vessels, including three cruise ships, were trapped off the coast of Texas last month from oil spills that prevented those routes to be used for travel. In South Korea, a ferry carrying 425 high school students sunk, killing more than 200 with 90 or more still missing. U.S. News and World Reports even sites the top worst eight cruise line accidents ranging in scope from engine fires, to pirate takeovers, to norovirus outbreaks, to running aground, to taking off from ports without heat, water or fuel. Let’s face it, cruises and vessels like ferries offer an opportunity to see the world by water, even if it just on a daily commute. While cruising or ferry trips are not for everyone, those who do take part revel in the distinction enjoy opportunity others can only read about. But, as we know from recent events, even the best of travel intentions can become disastrous.
In April, the sad news of a Korean ferry accident that claimed the lives of several high school students on a field trip dominated the news. Investigations continue regarding crew members possibly destroying evidence, to how the first emergency call was mishandled, to reports of intoxication while operating the ferry. The students had faith and trust in the authority of the ferry operators, and did what they were told which was to “sit tight” until further instruction. Did this instruction prove fatal? What types of precautions can you taken when you or your child have plans to ride a ferry or cruise ship, whether the trip be temporary, permanent or part of an every day routine or vacation travel?
A website about cruise and safety hosted by Cruise Ships International makes it their goal to offer insight, resources, and tips for those who plan to cruise for adventure or pleasure. Cruise chips must comply with international and federal regulations, and undergo inspections for several factors promoting the health and safety of crew and passengers. Cruise operators must be trained and comply with rescue and medical emergency situations. While we take these items for granted, just the way we do when we board a plane, being aware of the following items may prove beneficial:
- Are signs posted for emergencies with instructions on what to do if disembarking must occur?
- Are life vests and rescue boats visible and at the ready?
- Does the crew appear attentive—or distracted?
- Have you done research on the ferry operations company or cruise line company?
- Are there incidents that could have been prevented?
- What are their screening processes for employees and operators?
While some of those points may seem like overkill, nothing is more important than the life of you or a loved family member. At times, we do need to be extra careful. Even still, negligence of another can cause our fate. It is no doubt that the questions will continue for a very long time regarding the Korean Ferry accident, as well as many others that have occurred over the years. For family and friends, the end is not in sight, and the pain continues.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed as s result of negligence or inappropriate action on a ferry, boat, or cruise line, your first step will be to enlist the assistance of a Manhattan law firm, renowned for settling personal injury cases with your best interests in mind.