Tag-Archive for » Ship accidents «

Baby’s Cries Save Man Overboard

Any parent will likely agree nothing good can happen when a baby cries and cries and cries in the middle of the night.

Until now.

Heather and Daniel Felton of Louisville took their 13-month-old daughter on a Disney cruise. In the middle of a January night, little Katherine delivered one of those early wake-up calls that exhaust parents, and in this case a trip out onto the deck seemed wise, if only to keep from waking the neighbors.

And that’s when the unimaginable happened…

It was early enough that only the three of them were on the deck of the Disney Magic. The ship was off the coast of Mexico, near Cozumel. The Feltons heard a noise from the water. Disney MagicThen they heard it again. They ran to the rail and looked down, where a man in the water was going by and calling for help.

She alerted the crew. Within 30 minutes, the ship had turned around and launched a (hopefully) rescue operation.

"The odds of him being rescued, being seen…it was a little too much…I know Heather got emotional," Daniel told Lexington TV station Lex18.com.

Crew members jumped into a small rescue craft, found the victim, identified as Frank Jade, and brought him on board. He’d fallen off Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. He’d been in the water for five hours. When he left the Magic at Punta Lagosta, one of Cozumel’s piers, Jade was reported to be stable with no serious injuries.

While in the water, Jade said he was shocked nobody noticed that he’d gone overboard. Cruise law attorney Jim Walker said Royal Caribbean should be embarrassed that “it lost a passenger at sea” and that the cruise line “has made no efforts to comply” with [safety rules] which require “the installation of overboard systems” on Oasis of the Seas.

Meanwhile, Baby Katherine is being celebrated as the world’s first 13-month-old lifesaver.

Today at portsandbows.com: Silversea stepping up

Norwegian Getaway
7 nights
February 7, 2015
Miami (return): St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Nassau
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64

From Something Bad, Something Good

In the interests of balanced reporting or commentary, here’s a good and bad (or bad and good) item about cruise ship safety.


The captain of the late Costa Concordia is on trial right now, and that revives the memories of the tragedy off the island of Giglio on Friday the 13th almost three years ago. The captain’s Concordia routedefense is that he took the ship off course — and ultimately onto rocks that led to the deaths of 32 people — because (a) he wanted to salute a retired captain living on Giglio (b) it was a favor to the ship’s head waiter, who was from Giglio and (c) there was commercial value in doing a “fly-by” that would impress passengers, something he had “often” done.


Funded by the European Union, the Lynceus Project — winner of the 2014 Lloyd's List Global Award for “Innovation” — has developed a way to track people on ships in an emergency by embedding wireless tags in life jackets. This will allow the ship’s crew to pinpoint the exact location of every person on board, as well as the location of anybody who has fallen overboard. Results have been submitted to the International Maritime Organization with the hope the devices will soon be used on cruise ships and ferries.

The project was a direct result of two crashes: the Concordia and a ferry full of school children, last April in South Korea.

Today at portsandbows.com: Azamara serves long notice

Holland America Eurodam
7 nights
January 4, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57

In The Wake Of Tragedy On The Water…

Here's a sobering question that probably won't have a conclusive answer:

Following the gut-wrenching and tragic ferry accident last week off the shores of South Korea, how is the fear of dying in a ship going to impact the cruise industry?

Seasoned cruisers are unlikely to develop such a fear and are more likely to classify the tragedy as an accident, the kind that could also happen in a car or a train or a plane. People new to cruising might think twice about booking a cruise and the greatest number of new cruisers these days comes from Asia.

Yes, it was a ferry that sank, not a cruise ship. However, news organizations were drawing parallels this week between the ferry in South Korea and the Costa Concordia in Italy, where 32 people died when the big cruise ship hit rocks and tipped onto its side.

The point is, something that's new can be fragile, and judging by the way cruise lines are moving ships across the Pacific, that's the newest hotbed for cruising. 

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Carnival Glory
7 nights
May 31, 2014
Miami (return): NassauSt. ThomasSan JuanGrand Turk 
Inside: $349
Cost per day: $49

Is That A 'Cruise' Ship Wa-y-y-y Down South?

The sage of the Russian ship ice-locked in Antarctica has been a news item since Christmas Day because, well, how would you like to be one of the 74 people on a ship surrounded by frozen water and freezing air? 

The likelihood that all passengers will soon be rescued — and remaining crew members will somewhere down the line — means that as a news story this one will quickly fade from the public psyche.

Unlike the Carnival Triumph.

But that was a cruise ship, you say?

And what do you think the Academician Shokalskiy is?

The fact that it's from Russia (the Costa Concordia was from Italy) shouldn't make any difference. It is a cruise ship. Aside from crew, there are 52 passengers…some scientists, some tourists, many from Australia. The cruise was an expedition to Antarctica ship in ice

-Photo: ABC News

mark the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey by a famous Australian explorer. That makes it a theme cruise.

What's different from this unfortunate incident and the others noted here is that (a) in the case of the Triumph, the "accident" was caused by man and not an act of God and (b) in the case of the Concordia, there was no loss of life.

But if the ship stuck in the ice was from one of the major cruise lines (some do go to Antarctica, by the way), is it possible that there would be an immediate flurry of questions? Did the ship venture into uncharted waters and risk passenger safety? Was there a meteorologist on board to track weather systems? Did the captain hit an iceberg? Who was at fault…somebody must be at fault?

Functioning in obscurity, like the Academician Shokalskiy, does have its merits.

And the fact that it happened where it did may teach people — specifically proof readers — that Antarctica is not spelled "Antartica."

Carnival Miracle
7 nights
February 22, 2014
Long Beach (return): Puerto VallartaCabo San Lucas 
Inside: $589
Cost per day: $84

What Can Happen on Ship's 'Playground'

Here's a serious cruise incident for you to ponder:

Last February, a nine-year-old boy on a Royal Caribbean ship suffered a head injury while playing a game similar to dodge ball. Participants were other kids and crew members from the ship.

The ship was docked in the Bahamas. The kids were invited to play by the crew and, being kids, they were only too happy to oblige. The game was played on hardwood or concrete, with the kids dodging balls thrown by the crew. Nobody was wearing protective equipment and the boy, Leo Tao, collided with another child and had to undergo emergency brain surgery in Nassau.

You know what's next, right.

A lawsuit.

In it, the complainant says Leo suffered "severe and permanent damage" and that Royal Caribbean was at fault because "no protective equipment was provided…nor were any warning signs present."

The cruise line defense is that the accident "could happen at any school, playground, or daycare."

So…when is a playground-type collision somebody's fault, and when is it part of the risk of being a kid?

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
13 nights
November 4, 2013
London, Funchal, St. MaartenSt. KittsSt. Thomas, San Juan
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $30



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