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When Leisure Turns To Terror Cruising

Cruise in the middle of the sea
17th December 2013

It was not quite on the scale of the Costa Concordia, the luxury liner, which ran aground near Tuscany in January 2012 with the loss of 32 lives. However, the sinking of Yellow Duck Marine’s “Quacker 1” in Liverpool’s Albert Dock on Saturday saw more than 30 passengers rescued from potential disaster.

Despite being in possession of the required safety certificates, two of the Yellow Duck Marine vessels have sunk in just the last three months alone. Early investigations appear to show that there was no mechanical failure but questions are being asked as to whether the ex-US Army World War II amphibious landing craft should be finally decommissioned.

Injury claims for accidents, which take place on the water during a pleasure cruise or another recreational water activity such as jet skiing, sailing or canoeing, inevitably, rise during the summer holiday season.

Accidents not limited to collisions…

The potential for serious life threatening incidents aboard ship are not limited to collisions, extreme weather or sea conditions. Accident compensation cases are not infrequently brought for all manner of incidents, which can range from the failure of the captain and crew to monitor or prepare for adverse weather and an outbreak of fire to theft, lack of adequate medical services, unsanitary conditions and food poisoning.

Food contamination from salmonella, campylobacter, e-coli, hepatitis, or botulism is one of the most common types of health hazard onboard a cruise ship and can soon rapidly spread in a restricted space.

Fire onboard a cruise ship is still a frequent risk on the high seas with more than 72 being reported over the last 20 years. In February 2013, a fire in the engine room of the cruise liner, Carnival Triumph, disabled its propulsion system, and more than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for five days.

Missing overboard. The number of people “going missing overboard” has doubled in the last ten years to more than 20 occurrences in 2011 and again in 2012. Inevitably, slips and trips from water soaked decks, sea spray and being struck by moving objects are ever-present and life-threatening dangers.

While the standard legal time limit for making a personal injury claim is normally 3 years from the date of the accident, those which occur on boats, ships, yachts and cruise liners may be covered by separate regulations, and in some circumstances a claim for injury compensation is required to be made within two years of the accident date.