Cruise Ship Missing Person

Since 2000, over 200 passengers have gone missing from cruise ships. In 2010 the United States Coast Guard put into place the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which regulates railing heights and the training of crew members who respond to these situations of “man overboard.” It is the cruise line’s responsibility to keep passengers safe and fully investigate disappearances. 

Operators should be responsible when they fail to act appropriately after receiving a missing passenger report. If the cruise line cannot find a missing Unites States national after a reasonable amount of time, they must notify the FBI and National Guard. Cruise lines and their employees who do not follow this procedure or act negligently in the events leading up to and after the disappearances of passengers may be accountable.

How Cruise Ship Missing Person Cases Occur

Passengers disappear and are lost overboard for a number of reasons. Many of which a cruise line is responsible for.  Cruise ship missing person cases happen from:

  • Inadequate or defective handrails
  • Intoxication from consuming alcohol in the ship’s bars and lounges
  • No rough seas warning
  • Foul play
  • Violent actions of the ship’s crew members or other passengers; and,
  • Failure to perform adequate rescue operations.

Unfortunately, those in charge cover up missing person cases. This fools consumers into thinking there is adequate security on the high seas. However, cruise ships trick passengers into a false sense of security as profits continue to rise. When a passenger or crew member does fall overboard, there is a limited time to initiate rescue. This is because hypothermia is a big threat with cold sea temperatures.

  • 40 degrees Fahrenheit: 60 minutes until hypothermic
  • 50 degrees Fahrenheit: 2 hours until hypothermic
  • 60 degrees Fahrenheit: 6 hours until hypothermic
  • 77 degrees Fahrenheit: little danger of hypothermia, but heightened danger of shark attack

Statistics of Falling Overboard

Although falling from a cruise ship into the sea below is a somewhat rare occurrence, a documented number of passengers and crew fall overboard each year. Below are a few statistics about overboard falls compiled from reported overboard incidents from 2000:

  • The average age of a person who falls overboard is 41 years old.
  • Males are more likely to fall overboard than females.
  • More falls overboard occurs on the last night of the cruise than any other time.
  • Californian and Floridians are more likely to fall overboard.
  • Most people who fall overboard are either drunk or engaged in a hazardous activity.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act 

Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) in 2010 to provide passengers and crew members with protection against crime during ocean voyages on cruise ships. Before this act, cruises did not report missing persons. However, now CVSSA makes it mandatory to file reports with the FBI for investigation.

Plus, with the CVSSA, cruise ships need to take additional steps to protect people on board:

  • Ship rails must be at the height of 42 inches or more above the deck.
  • All passenger and crew cabins must include peep holes in doors or some other means of enabling visual identification.
  • Every ship built after the enactment of the CVSSA must provide security latches and time-sensitive key technology to enhance the security of all cabins.
  • Ships must install technology that enables the detection of anyone falling overboard.
  • When cruising in high-risk areas, vessels must have hailing or warning devices that are effective throughout the ship.

Additionally, the law requires cruise ships to keep a log book containing records of missing person reports and report missing persons to the FBI immediately.

Don’t Wait to Get Help

If you, your child, or your relative suffered a cruise ship related injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once you disembark, your next step should be to get experienced legal help from a knowledgeable attorney.

At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. Given that lawsuits against cruise ships are in a venue favorable to the cruise lines, it is incredibly important to have an experienced attorney with ample resources to prosecute your claim. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track records of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.

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