Articles Posted in Tourism Safety

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Ft Lauderdale beach safety sign.jpgSunbathers beware! The beach seems like the perfect place to kick back, relax, and maybe even take a snooze under the sun. But for some vacationers, being run over by a lifeguard truck can quickly change that relaxing mood.

The latest victim was a school teacher from North Carolina visiting Fort Lauderdale.

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A bizarre and tragic incident left an expectant mother and her unborn baby dead at a Fort Lauderdale hotel’s poolside cabana.

The 27-year-old woman visiting from Massachusetts had just entered the cabana when a car plowed into it, killing her instantly. The car’s driver reportedly lost control, hit a curb, crossed a sidewalk and continued 20 feet into the cabana. The driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was reported to be in stable condition.

An investigation is underway and charges against the driver are pending toxicology tests. A Breathalyzer and blood test were not performed immediately following the incident because the driver was injured. A myriad of legal issues could come into play, from driver negligence causing catastrophic injuries to premises liability and resort tort litigation.

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Cruise ship Lifeboat.jpg
That’s the question many skeptical vacationers are asking themselves these days, with all the cruise ship safety issues surfacing this year. From norovirus to shipwreck and onboard fire, the cruise industry is now under tough scrutiny.

This week, its leaders gather in Miami for the 28th annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference, along with 1,000 exhibiting companies and around 11,000 attendees from 110 countries.

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Resort torts continue in the cruise industry…

Not a Vacation CELEBRATION

The FBI is investigating a passenger reported missing from a Celebration Cruise Line ship, The Sun Sentinel reported. She was last seen in the ship’s casino around 1 a.m. and was reported missing by her boyfriend at 8 a.m. The ship was in international waters at the time, after leaving the Grand Bahamas Island port at 6 p.m. the night before. The card-swiping system that records passengers’ whereabouts indicated that she was last registered as being on board.

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A lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit court Tuesday against Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines Inc. and its Costa subsidiary seeks $528 million in damages resulting from the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.

The lawsuit names 39 plaintiffs who experienced the shipwreck in the Mediterranean last month in which 17 people have been confirmed dead and 15 are still missing. The damages sought include $78 million in compensatory damages and $450 in punitive damages, reports the Miami Herald.

On the same day, Costa announced that it would compensate passengers 11,000 euros plus reimbursement for cruise ticket costs and extra travel expenses. The deadline for passengers to accept the offer was extended to March 31. Costa released a statement regarding those who suffered the greatest losses:

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Illness has struck an additional 173 passengers and crew members on the same ship – Princess Cruise Line’s Crown Princess – that contaminated nearly 400 people just days ago.

The Miami Herald reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed widespread outbreaks of the illness onboard. After the first outbreak, the ship was to be ‘given special cleanings upon their return to their Fort Lauderdale homeport,” delaying the next cruise, according to an MSNBC report. These specialized cleanings were apparently not enough to eliminate the illness.

Princess Cruise Lines released this statement:

“The enhanced disinfection of the ship in Fort Lauderdale will include bringing aboard additional cleaning crew to assist with a thorough sanitization of all public spaces and surfaces including soft furnishing and carpets, railings, door handles and the like. The staterooms will be sanitized multiple times before making up the rooms with fresh linens and towels on Saturday morning, just prior to passenger embarkation.”

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Resort Torts logo FINAL.jpgResort torts could follow from the more than 450 passengers and 40 crew members aboard the Ruby Princess and Crown Princess cruise ships who came down with norovirus this week, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus. Fort Lauderdale is the homeport for both ships.

A rash of the virus also broke out this week on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas. The severity of the illness and symptoms experienced in these outbreaks has not been revealed but hours of sanitizing the ships were expected to delay the embarkation of passengers for the cruises scheduled to follow.

According to the CDC, “norovirus illness can be serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions; it can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and even death.”

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Cruise ship at port.jpgThe Costa Concordia shipwreck tragedy in the Mediterranean has sparked a review of safety standards on cruise ships. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced in a press release that it will conduct a hearing in February to review cruise ship safety including operating standards and crew training requirements.

Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) said in the release that “The Costa Concordia tragedy is a wakeup call for the United States and international maritime organizations to carefully review and make certain we have in place all appropriate standards to ensure passengers’ safety on cruise ships.” He said that “The Committee will review the events of this specific incident, current safety measures and training requirements set by law and international maritime transportation agreements to ensure this mode of transportation remains as safe as possible.”

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Two U.S. law firms are filing class-action lawsuits against Costa Cruises, asking for at least $160,000 per passenger involved in last week’s resort tort disaster, according to the BBC. The shipwreck left 11 people dead, hundreds injured, and 21 still missing.

Owned by Miami-based Carnival Group, Costa Cruises blamed the captain of the Costa Concordia for veering off course and crashing into a rock, causing the ship to half sink. The captain has denied the charges of suspected manslaughter, for which he remains under house arrest.

A civil claim is being filed against him in Italy while lawsuits will reportedly be filed in Miami this week against Costa Cruises, with claimants seeking compensation for “continued medical care, loss of earnings as well as the psychological impact they had suffered while trying to get off the ship,” reports the BBC. Liability against the company will point to regular route deviations in the past, lack of safeguards on board, and the alarm system.

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One week following the Titanic-like cruise ship disaster in the Mediterranean, the death toll reports have risen to 11, with 21 people still unaccounted for. The search for the missing has been paused several times due to the dangers of the ship’s instability atop the rock where it sits half submerged. The magnitude of the resort tort lawsuits to follow is yet to be seen.

The Coast Guard transcript of the exchange between the Guard and the ship’s captain was released to the press and revealed a contradiction from the captain’s original public statement following the accident. The day of the incident, the captain stated that reports of him abandoning ship before the evacuation was complete were untrue. He stated that he and his officers were the last to leave the ship.

Translations of the transcript vary. Among the pieces published by The Washington Post:

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