For many people, the attraction of a cruise vacation isn’t just time aboard the ship, but the opportunity to take day trips and excursions to the various places where the ship pulls into port. Today, many ports are designed to accommodate the significant size of monstrous cruise ships, but not all. In several popular ports around the world, it’s still necessary to transport passengers from giant cruise ship to excursion by tender boat.
A tender boat, or simply called a tender, is a smaller ship that is used to transport people and goods between ship and land. Sometimes a tender boat is the size of a ferry and can fit one hundred or more people, but in other locations, you shouldn’t be surprised to find a small dinghy is taking you to shore. Tender boats offer ease and efficiency to both passengers and the cruise line, but these small ships are also another instance when passengers are frequently injured.
Injuries Aboard a Tender Boat
What could possibly happen in the few minutes it takes for passengers to board a tender boat, ride to shore, and disembark on land? It turns out there is significant potential for accident and injury both due to recklessness and negligence of the cruise and tender boat owners or passengers.
In 2015, a passenger aboard the Queen Elizabeth, a Cunard cruise ship that embarks on epic around the world excursions, fell from the tender boat as she tried to board the cruise ship. Despite efforts by the cruise and tender operators and the medical team on the Queen Elizabeth, she died in the accident.
There are other reports of accidents involving large swells, broken or damaged gangway ramps, and faulty driving that resulted in passenger injuries, and worse. A few years earlier, a woman broke her tibia as the tender boat suddenly moved away from the cruise ship, causing her to slip, and her leg to become wedged between the gangway and boat. Other causes of injury include slippery and slick decks or gangway ramps, improper training or execution in how to assist passengers from boat to ship, and misinforming passengers on proper procedure.
As in all instances, suing a cruise line for injuries aboard a tender boat requires a showing that the cruise company was a responsible party. In some situations, liability can be more difficult to prove, but there are certain situations that can rest with the cruise line: when the tender boat isn’t secured to the cruise ship properly, cruise employees do not properly assist passengers, or the tender boats are also owned and operated by the cruise line.
Relationship Between the Tender Boat and Cruise Line
Legal recourse for a passenger injured aboard or disembarking from a tender boat can be complicated – as if suing a cruise line wasn’t difficult enough. The additional complexities typically arise because of the relationship between the tender boat operators and cruise lines, which are frequently owned by separate and distinct entities.
It’s common for cruise companies, of all sizes, to hire a local operator to tender passengers from cruise ship to shore. These local tender companies might be private operators that run an entire business from moving people and goods back and forth from ships, or some port facilities provide this service to entice cruise lines to dock there. The separate ownership of the cruise line and that of the local tender causes problems for passengers that trip, slip, fall, or are otherwise hurt aboard a tender boat because the cruise line has further excuse to contest liability.
Suing A Cruise Line For Your Pain And Suffering
If you are suing a cruise line for mishandling or negligence involving the use of a tender boat, a cruise accident attorney can help. These attorneys, such as those at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, are focused and knowledgeable in this narrow area of the law, including related areas of practice, such as maritime law and personal injury.
To speak with a cruise accident attorney at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers and advance your lawsuit, call 1-866-597-4529, reach our Miami office locally at (305)-441-0440, or contact our legal team electronically at [email protected] or via SKYPE.