Newly built cruise ships are bigger than ever, reported The New York Times (10.27.13). These ships can carry more people and offer a dizzying variety of entertainment, from shopping malls and water parks to casinos, zip lines and Broadway-style shows. This growth in ship size has been greatly appealing to cruise goers. However, it is worrying safety experts, lawmakers, regulators, and lawyers at The Perecman Firm.
“When a serious incident occurs on a ship with a tremendous number of passengers and crew members, it can result in a large scale disaster,” said David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York’s personal injury law firms. “Logistics and safety must be prime considerations for the companies building these ships.”
Today’s biggest ship, the Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, was built to accommodate approximately 6,300 passengers and 2,394 crew members. It measures 1,188 feet long.
“Under scrutiny is the ability of these gigantic ships to handle emergencies or large-scale evacuations at sea. A number of fires and other accidents over the past few years spotlighted these concerns,” said Perecman.
Last year, the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy. The accident killed 32 people and “revealed fatal lapses in safety and emergency procedures.” In February, a fire broke out on the Carnival Triumph leaving thousands stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for four days. In May, another fire forced a Royal Caribbean ship to a port in the Bahamas, reported The New York Times.
Cruise operators said that the bigger ships are safer with more fire safety equipment, added safety features, better training and better technology, but accidents still happen. The New York Times reported that they were still “learning from incidents that have happened over the years.”
“Learning from accidents is a must, but more importantly, we must think about the people who may be seriously injured during the learning process,” said Perecman. “The prevention of accidents is the responsibility of any good business, it is also an obligation.”
The New York Times article cited is “Too Big to Sail? Cruise Ships Face Scrutiny.”