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Attorney Alert: Carnival Crown Princess

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July 25, 2006

Junior Officer Blamed for Crown Princess Accident

Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation or call 866.936.7447 (toll free).

Human error is acknowledged by Princess Cruises as the cause of Crown Princess accident.  This disputes the notion that the steering malfunctioned and early reports from Crown Princess representatives that something mysterious went wrong with the steering system:

As it turns out there wasn't an equipment or software problem aboard the Crown Princess, just a junior officer that did something stupid.

The skipper set the autopilot when he cleared for NY, the ship began it's swing to port, as programmed, and the skipper left the bridge, leaving the junior on the watch. All quite normal stuff. The junior looked over the instrumentation and got panicky over the autopilot's swing to port and turned off the auto pilot. He then tried a correction turn, but turned the ship harder to port, which caused the ship to list severely at that speed. I don't know if the junior corrected his blunder or if the skipper had returned to the bridge and eased the hard over helm, but the problem came out within minutes of the USCG arrival aboard the ship.

This is the first report of what actually occurred on the Crown Princess this last week.

Unconfirmed reports are coming out that there may be much more to the story.  There is some information that the Crown Princess did not take on water ballast prior to departure from New York, which would have allowed it to save on fuel cost.  There is further information that this would be against safe operation procedures and perhaps against regulations mandating ballast prior to leaving port. Water ballast provides stability to the ship.  Without water ballast, the ship would have been far more prone to listing.  If these reports turn out to be true, Princess Cruises could be subject to punitive damages for gross negligence.

Another contributor provides this information about a severe boat list back in February, 2006 aboard the Grand Princess:

My family was on the Grand Princess in February, on the first day out (approx. 4 hrs. from Galveston), when we "tipped".  It was the most horrible day of my 63 years.  We were never told what happened, never apologized to, was repeatedly told it was routine, and in general were left in the dark.

I am told by a Princess employee during disembarkation, that 44 semi's were loading merchandise to take care of everything broken on the ship.  We were in the dining room when it happened and all of the dishes, stemware and etc. was broken.  Everything in the gift shops including liquor all over the ship was broken, television sets and etc. I only learned in an article written about this accident that our ships problem was "human error".  Duh! I think we all deserved compensation. Princess would not go back to port even though many of us wanted to go back.  We spent a week aboard with not all of the amenities.

It seems hard to believe that these ships are so vulnerable to heal over as a result of human error. And how much training is being provided to the crew who are authorized to touch the helm if either of the above accounts are true?

These reports confirm reports yesterday (7 ship list incidents recently) that ship listing is a common and severe danger on board cruise vessels. Ship owners must know this to be true. The only question now is what is being done to make sure it doesn't keep happening again and again....

Contact the Traverse Legal law firm for a free consultation with an admiralty and maritime attorney to understand your rights or call now 231-932-0411.

Princess Cruise Passage Contract

Crown Princess passengers must be keenly aware of the passenger contract they agreed to when they purchased their tickets. Many attorneys who do not practice in this area of law can miss important dates for providing notice, filing a lawsuit, damage limitations on compensation for injuries, choice of venue clauses, limitations on damages for property damage and mental distress and similar issues.  Read your ticket carefully and contact the Traverse Legal law firm for a free consultation with an admiralty and maritime attorney. It is critical that you know and understand your legal rights so you can make informed decisions. 

Here is a link to the Passage Contract listed on the Princess Cruises website. This passage contract may be the one that controls your rights in the Crown Princess maritime accident.  Reviewing this passenger contract will give you some idea of the limitations which likely exist if you were injured in the Crown Princes accident and are exploring your legal rights. 

Here is a key damage limitation provision as well which may (or may not) apply to those injured in the Crown Princess accident:

17. NOTICE OF CLAIMS AND SUITS; TIME LIMITATION; VENUE.
Notwithstanding any provision of applicable law to the contrary, in cases involving claims for emotional or bodily injury, illness to or death of any Passenger, no lawsuit may be brought against Carrier unless (a) written notice giving full particulars of the claim is delivered to Carrier within 6 months, (b) a lawsuit on such a claim is filed within 1 year from the date of the emotional or bodily injury, illness or death, whichever comes first, and (c) valid service of the lawsuit is made within 90 days of filing the complaint. In all other cases, no lawsuit may be brought against Carrier unless (a) written notice giving full particulars of the claim is delivered to the Carrier within 15 days of termination of the Cruise, (b) the lawsuit on such claim is filed within 6 months from the date the Cruise terminated and (c) valid service of the lawsuit is made within 90 days of filing the complaint. All disputes and matters whatsoever arising out of or relating to Your Cruise, including for personal injury, illness or death, shall be litigated by You individually, and not as a member of any class. If you choose to sue Princess Cruises Lines, Ltd., then such claim must be litigated by You before a court located in the County of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., to the exclusion of the courts of any other country, state, city or county. You hereby waive any venue or other objection that may be available to any such action or proceeding being brought in any court located in Los Angeles, California. The limitations set forth in this Section 17 shall also apply to and be for the benefit of any agents, independent contractors, concessionaires and suppliers of Carrier.

PRINCESS CRUISE LINES, LTD.
As Operator and Agent for Operator
Revised 01/05

Given the new reports that a junior crew member panicked and caused the severe list in this accident on board the Crown Princess, there is no question that those injured are entitled to  compensation for their injuries.  Negligence is clear.  Given the large number of similar situations on other cruise ships caused by human error, one has to wonder what the Cruise industry is doing to correct these repeated and common incidents.  Passengers could have been killed.  Many were injured, some seriously.  It is time to make serious changes in protocol on the bridge, increase crew training but systems in place which will reduce the risk of catastrophe in the future.

Here are some more links:

Crown Princess Cruise Ship Accident

PORT CANAVERAL, Florida (AP)

A steering problem caused a new cruise ship  -- a Crown Princess cruise ship   -- to roll abruptly Tuesday, throwing passengers and crew to the deck and injuring dozens, including two critically. At the time of the accident, the ship was on autopilot and its captain away from the bridge.

One passenger said seawater flooded several upper decks of the Crown Princess, forcing water from a swimming pool "like a mini-tsunami," and breaking windows and furniture.

Passengers said that the British captain, Andy Proctor, of Aberdeen, sounded panicked when he addressed sobbing passengers over the ship's loud speakers. "He was out of breath and he was extremely scared,"  said Patrick Phillips, of  New York. Captain Proctor has 35 years experience  on the high seas.Matt Bergen, of Florida, said that even members of the British and Italian crew were weeping and in shock. "People were yelling, screaming and crying, even the staff was crying. It was nuts," he said.

Besides an adult and a child who were critically hurt, 12 people were seriously hurt and about 70 had lesser injuries.  Thirty-three people were taken to Florida hospitals, he said. Princess Cruises is one of brands operated by Miami, Florida based Carnival Corp.and operates the Crown Princess cruise ship.

Before leaving Port Canaveral, the Crown Princess cruise ship had just completed a nine-day Western Caribbean cruise. The 113,000-ton Crown Princess cruise ship began sailing a month ago and was making only its its fourth voyage.

As with the Ethan Allen, ships which bring passengers on board for hire need to operate safely.  Lives are at stake.  People can be killed with even the most routine errors.

More Links of interest:

Contact the Traverse Legal law firm for a free consultation with an admiralty and maritime attorney to understand your rights or call now 231-932-0411.

 

July 21, 2006

'Listing' of Cruise Ship Crown Princess Not Isolated

The sudden tilt of the Crown Princess this week near Port Canaveral is at least the 7th similar incident in the past year.

The sudden tilt of the Crown Princess that threw passengers across the deck of the new cruise ship this week appears to be the most severe of seven such recent cruise ship accidents.

The accidents occurred on ships run by three major cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, which operates the month-old Crown Princess which sent more than 90 people to the hospital Tuesday as it lurched to the side about 11 miles out of Port Canaveral.

Contact the Traverse Legal law firm for a free consultation with an admiralty and maritime attorney to understand your rights or call now 231-932-0411.

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