Carnival Cruise passengers aboard the Carnival Glory witnessed the horrifying death of 65-year-old Carol Ann Dimas of San Jose, California, a passenger who either fell or jumped from the ship last week shortly after the Glory left the port of Roatan, Honduras.
Three passengers actually saw the woman fall overboard and immediately attempted to contact the ship’s customer service desk. According to the witnesses, it took multiple attempts to reach someone at the service desk. When they finally were able to make contact, the crew members hardly spoke English and then it took nearly an hour for the ship to stop and turn around to search for the woman.
According to passenger witness Dawn Terry, “There was nothing being done to help that woman whatsoever. It was down to the passengers. As passengers, we were asked to look out for her. There was no crew evident anywhere. Whenever we tried to use the phone to call in the emergency, you couldn’t get through. You just could not get through.”
CBS4 News in Miami obtained the following response from Carnival’s lawyers:
August 20, 2015 – Just before 5pm EDT on August 19, shortly after the cruise ship Carnival Glory had departed Roatan, Honduras, a 65-year-old female guest was reported overboard. Upon receiving notification from witnesses, the ship’s command immediately turned the vessel around to initiate search and rescue procedures and also notified the U.S. Coast Guard and Honduran authorities. The woman’s body was subsequently recovered by the ship’s crew and brought back on board the vessel. Carnival’s Care Team is presently providing support to the individual’s traveling companions.
Carnival then offered each passenger a $50 on-board credit and a 25% discount on a future cruise for the inconvenience.
If Ms. Terry’s observations are accurate, Carnival’s man-overboard response is horribly inadequate, especially in light of previous similar incidents, particularly the one involving a Virginia Tech student who fell overboard on the Glory just last March; moreover, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires the implementation of technology to detect passengers falling overboard.
Essential Image-Capture Technology Systems
There exists today the means for capturing images of passengers who either jump or fall off cruise ships; that technology utilizes image-capture or detection systems, or a combination of both.
Image-capture technology systems are essentially closed circuit television cameras with thermal detection that are mounted around the ship and have proved accurate and reliable in the maritime environment for many years.
Since the statute does not specify which systems must be employed, there has been considerable resistance by the cruise industry to install them. However, I believe the primary reason they are not being utilized by cruise lines like Carnival is simply cost. According to the United States Federal Register, the cost of installing man-overboard (“MOB”) technology ranges from $62,500 to $700,000 per ship, or on average $108,583 per ship.
The United States Coast Guard believes that there are currently 147 cruise ships that would be required to have MOB technology installed. Using the $108,583 cost per ship for 147 ships, simply installing such systems would cost the cruise lines a combined total of nearly $16 million. Further, due to the severe weather conditions encountered by cruise ships at sea, there would be ongoing maintenance, inspection, and repair costs on an annual basis that are estimated to be approximately 5% of the cost of installation, or about $800,000 per year.
The failure of cruise lines like Carnival to implement MOB technology in light of the law and the ongoing foreseeable and preventable deaths of passengers is a glaring example of simply putting profits ahead of passenger safety.
Consult with an Experienced Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer Today
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