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Cruise ship accidents may increase as more ships fail inspections

Many people in Miami may be looking forward to taking a cruise vacation in 2018, but these trips could potentially affect their health. According to a MarketWatch analysis, in 2017 a greater number of cruise ships did not pass health inspections than ever over the course of the past 10 years. This analysis was based on numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, two cruise ships did not pass health inspections. However, in 2017, there were 14 occurrences wherein a cruise ship did not pass a health inspection. In fact, one cruise ship did not pass a health inspection two different times. Moreover, merely 50 percent of the cruise ships that did not pass a health inspection were inspected a second time and passed that second inspection. In comparison, in 2007 and again in 2011 all ships inspected received a passing score.

These periodic, unannounced inspections are part of the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program. They take place while the ship is docked at a port in the United States. The ships that fall under the jurisdiction of the Vessel Sanitation Program will be inspected at least twice annually. One to four inspectors will examine the cruise ship to determine whether it is complying with guidelines regarding maintenance, sanitation and other safety and health protocols.

These numbers are troubling, because vacationing on cruise ships is becoming more popular. In 2018 over 27 million people are expected to take a vacation on a cruise ship. This is a 5 percent uptick from the number of people vacationing on cruise ships in 2016, and a 53 percent uptick from the number of people vacationing on cruise ships over the past decade.

Taking a cruise ship vacation could be a source of relaxation and rejuvenation, but not if a person suffers food poisoning, a slip-and-fall accident or some other type of illness or injury onboard. Those who have been victims of cruise ship accidents may want to research whether the ship violated health or safety codes, and if so, what recourse they have for compensation.

Source: MarketWatch, "The number of cruise ships failing health and safety inspections hits 10-year high," Jacob Passy, Jan. 29, 2018

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