Couple Found Dead On Board Holland America’s MS Ryndam
[youtube id=”OXKYhdz0aJc” align=”center” mode=”lazyload” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”500″]
An Ohio couple in their 50s were found dead in their cabin by crew members. According to reports, it appears to have been a murder-suicide on Holland America’s MS Ryndam. The bodies were discovered while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the FBI has taken over the investigation from local police.
Dying onboard a cruise ship is a very rare occurrence. According to the the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade association of cruise lines industry, from 2005 to 2011 only 16 people died in cruise ship related accidents, out of over 100 million passengers. However, in 2012 the number doubled when the Costa Concordia ran aground with confirmed 32 dead.
There currently is no public data base, or reporting requirement for the cruise lines to verify the fatalities numbers provided by the CLIA or the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) other than the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), which was passed in 2010. The CVSSA is designed to enhance passenger safety and creates reporting requirements for the cruise industry. It requires that both passengers and crew have the means and assistance to confidentially contact law enforcement and/or a lawyer by a private telephone line, and/or an internet-accessible computer terminal. The law also requires cruise lines to record and log all complaints of crime and log any alleged theft over $1,000. Unfortunately, this law only applies to cruises to or from a U.S. port.
Cruise Ship Related Fatalities Are Much More Common Than We Think
Skeptics and industry observers believe that the actual number of fatalities aboard cruise ships is far greater than those reported by the CLIA. For example, professor Ross Klein of Memorial University Newfoundland, who runs the independent website Cruise Junkie, and serves as an industry watchdog, has published reports of 644 incidents for the same period.
Passengers and their families who may believe that they have a potential claim against a cruise line for the injury or accidental death should contact a lawyer who is experienced in holding the cruise industry accountable. Most cruise lines require that claims be reported in writing as a condition precedent to filing a lawsuit.
In most cases, a passenger accident law suit against a cruise line must be filed within one year of the date of the incident in United States Federal Court. The world’s largest cruise lines; Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian, require that case be filed in the federal courthouse in Miami, which is located near the Port of Miami and within a few miles of their corporate headquarters.