Cruise Ship Ropes Snap Leading To Gangway Collapse

Gangway Disaster in Belgium When Cruise Ship Ropes Snap

Recently, in the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium, the newest Norwegian Cruise Line ship called the Prima was disconnected from the pier when the Mooring ropes snapped. Apparently this happened because of unexpectedly high winds, although it is widely understood that Mooring ropes are supposed to be able to withstand atypical weather events. When the NCL ship broke free from the dock, it caused the gangway to collapse into the water below. Fortunately nobody was on the gangway, however, footage capturing the event shows just how fragile, dangerous, and vulnerable gangways are to external conditions such as winds and turbulent seas. As a maritime attorney who has represented injured cruise ship passengers for multiple decades, I can attest that one of the most frequent sources of cruise-related injuries stem from gangways. 

Why is the Gangway So Dangerous?

Gangways are the bridges or platforms that connect vessels to land. They are what passengers walk across when disembarking or boarding the ship. Oftentimes, the gangways used by major cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean are collapsible metal bridges or stairways which extend from the vessel over open waters and onto the port. These gangways are both frequently under maintained and difficult to traverse. 

With the combination of a large number of anxious passengers narrowly walking across, the swaying of the wind, and the wet surfaces from the ocean, gangways are an extremely difficult medium to navigate and have resulted in thousands of injuries and deaths.

Some Tips For The Next Gangway You Cross

My advice when it comes to gangways, as a personal injury attorney, is to not wear flip flops, use the rails, and walk slowly. Even if you follow these tips, however, there are still other factors such as the surrounding passengers or heavy winds and rain which might make the short trip across feel like a mile in length. Becareful, and if you or somebody you know happens to get injured while crossing a gangway, contact our offices so we can begin fighting for their compensation. Cruise lines have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their passengers both on and off the cruise ship, which applies to gangway injuries. Therefore, if somebody has been injured on a gangway, it is very likely that it was the cruise ship’s fault for endangering passengers.