Abbott Clay & Reed

Posts Tagged ‘ship’

Sexual Assaults, or Worse, on Cruise Ships

In Maritime on June 22, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Newspapers, television and the Internet are reporting a number of assaults, injuries and deaths on cruise ships. Cruises are advertised as exciting and glitzy but nothing is said about the crimes that are committed on-board. Many cruise liners have larger populations than small cities and every form of crime and neglect can exist on even the best cruise lines. There have been recent reports of murder and rape along with assault, burglary and theft. When you think of a cruise, you think of the slick television ads instead of a reality that includes a mixture of different types of people from all over the world. Passengers and crew are thrown together in cramped quarters and often mix together on-board and on-shore. Cruise lines sometimes fail to properly investigate their employees’ records before hiring them and expose passengers to crew members with criminal backgrounds, usually from a country other than the United States.

Close quarters association with crew is a risk factor that must be taken into consideration in addition to the normal risk associated with binge drinking, drug experimentation and a party atmosphere. In addition to criminal behavior, there are on-board accidents such as falling overboard due to inadequately designed railings, slipping on wet decks, being hit by falling objects, food poisoning, being thrown about in rough seas due to the negligence of the captain and every conceivable type of injury common to people on land.

In the news recently, a cruise ship was alerted to a passenger overboard, but delayed action, resulting in the passenger’s death. In another case a young man barely twenty-one years old, on vacation with his friends, had too much to drink and fell overboard while leaning over the railing because he was sick. The event was captured by a ship surveillance camera. Cruise ships are promoted as the place to “party.” Cruise ships heavily promote the sale of liquor to passengers and do not effectively monitor or police underage passengers who bring alcohol on board, especially in foreign ports.

Injuries also occur when passengers leave the ship to visit ports of call. Cruise ships arrange and promote tours, trips, scuba, fishing and other activities and sometimes they do not check out or monitor the safety of these companies that provide the services the cruise ship sells to the passengers.

It is important passengers do the research on various cruise ship lines before making a choice. Internet searches can produce many incidents that point out the risk and danger involved in cruise ship vacations. No one should should take safety for granted just because they are passengers on an American cruise ship line. Most “American” cruise lines are not American at all. Most cruise lines are foreign companies with vessels flying flags of convenience.


What, exactly, is the Jones Act?

In Jones Act History on May 27, 2009 at 8:05 AM

If you work in any maritime profession, on board a ship or on an oil platform then there is a good chance that you’ve heard the term the “Jones Act”, but might be slightly unsure as to what that refers to. Sometimes the Jones Act is referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, as it was originally called, but is usually just referred to as the Jones Act. It is important to note that this is a federal law that applies to any state that you might be working on a sea born vessel in.

The Jones Act exists to ensure that there is a system of compensation in place in the case of an injury to a sailor or other maritime employee. This is similar to the systems that are in place for workers compensation in other jobs, however, the Jones Act is Federal rather than State Based, and is actually quite complex compared to regular workers compensation laws. Also, it is important to realize that settlements reached under the Jones Act have the potential to be much larger than other settlements in the case of worker injury in non sea related fields, something which makes companies often struggle very severely to avoid having to make a payout under the act.

The Jones Act may pay out what is known as both maintenance and cure benefits. This means that it may cover the medical expenses that a worker incurs as a result of their on the job injury, and will also make payments in order to cover their normal living expenses. These expenses need to be carefully proven and documented, and that need coupled with the complexity of the act itself makes it highly advisable for anyone making a Jones Act claim to hire a lawyer who specializes in Maritime Law before filing any kind of initial claim.