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How Safe Are Cruise Ships?

The Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano, frequently posts articles about cruise ship safety and incidents, as our firm has attorneys specializing in cruise ship accidents in the Miami area. Regrettably, this all too familiar news story has surfaced yet again-another safety incident aboard a cruise ship has occurred. This time, it involved Royal Caribbean. On May 27, 2013, a fire broke out on the third deck of the Grandeur of the Seas while it was off the coast of Florida on its way to Cococay, Bahamas. Reports indicate that the fire was discovered at approximately 2:50 a.m. Passengers were directed to various muster stations after the fire broke out. The Grandeur of the Seas requested assistance from the United States Coast Guard. Although declining further comment, the United States Coast Guard did indicate that the fire was a "Class A" fire, which involves solid materials rather than flammable liquids.

According to various reports, Royal Caribbean staff secured the area on the ship affected by the fire and extinguished it using onboard equipment. Passengers were allowed to return to their rooms later in the morning. Photographs of the extent of the damage reflect substantial smoke damage, though the full extent of the damage is not clear in the photographs. What is clear from the photographs is that the smoke damage affected several decks of the ship at the stern area.

Several passengers were treated for medical issues, and passengers report other passengers passing out and vomiting. However, no injuries have been reported. The Grandeur of the Seas was able to sail to Freeport, Bahamas, and docked approximately seven hours after the fire broke out. The remainder of the trip had to be cancelled due to the damage to the ship. All of the 2,224 passengers were flown back from the Bahamas to Baltimore, Maryland, where the ship departed. Royal Caribbean issued a statement that all passengers would receive a full refund and a certificate for a future cruise trip.

This most recent occurrence is just one in a string of recent incidents involving cruise ships, many of which have been much more serious. One such incident involved the ill-fated Triumph, a Carnival cruise ship. In February of this year, Triumph was completed disabled by a fire in its engine room, leaving it stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for days. The 3,143 passengers aboard the ship were forced to live in tent cities on the upper deck of the ship due to conditions below deck. Bathroom facilities at the aft portion of Triumph were not functional after the fire, leading to human waste overflowing below deck. Triumph was eventually towed to Mobile, Alabama, for repairs. This was not the end of its saga, however. In April, while still moored in Mobile being and repaired, Triumph broke free during high winds. After several hours floating adrift, it was secured.

As these events indicate, passengers aboard cruise ships need to remain mindful of safety at all times. Although these massive ships can seem like floating cities, and safety seems assured, it is not. In the middle of an ocean or sea when something happens, there is simply no place to go. Fires and loss of power remain relatively common occurrences. Slips and falls, falls overboard, and theft are also issues of which passengers need to be aware. If you or a family member has suffered an injury or other incident aboard a cruise ship, our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries or losses. Please contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your rights at (305)595-2400.

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