Why have too many cruise ships become floating Petri dishes with coronavirus? The cause may have to do with the fact that many ships are registered in Caribbean tax havens and operate in waters far from their home ports.
As cruise lines are operating outside clear jurisdictions, their health and safety protocols are poor. It seems obvious that the cruise ships should have an emergency plan for an infectious outbreak. Yet reports suggest that on cruise ships operated by at least 15 cruise companies, the responses were improvised.
At least 1,972 ocean liners have U.S. ownership or operation but there's only one big luxury cruise ship registered in the U.S. - MS Pride of America, that sails exclusively in Hawaii. One operator that carries almost half the world's cruising passengers on excursions and has a combined fleet of about 300 cruise line ships is Carnival Corporation. Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian - the second and third biggest ship operators - are headquartered in Miami. But Carnival Corp. is incorporated in Panama, Royal Caribbean in Liberia, and Norwegian in Bermuda.
The current crisis, in which many passengers and crew members have filed lawsuits against cruise corporations alleging gross or even criminal negligence, may have been caused by this business model.
Cruise Companies with COVID-19 Cases
By choosing to ignore what was taking place in nearly every nation around the world, these cruise line operators headquartered in the U.S. made the decision to risk the lives of their passengers and crew to bring in a few more dollars before travel was forced to stop:
- Aurora Expeditions
- Carnival Corporation
- Disney Cruise Line
- Fred Olsen Cruise Line
- Genting Cruise Lines
- MSC Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
- Phoenix Reisen Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
- TUI Cruises
Other international cruise companies that put business above the safety of guests and employees:
- CSSC Carnival China Cruise Shipping - Chinese-American cruise line
- Marella Cruises - British cruise line operated by TUI UK
- Pullmantur - cruise line headquartered in Madrid, Spain
- GHK-Dream Cruises - a division of Genting Hong Kong
Passengers Allege Cruise Line Negligence
With hundreds, in some cases, even thousands, of people on board, all in an enclosed space and in very close proximity to each other, a cruise ship is the perfect environment for a contagious disease like COVID-19 to spread rapidly. The safety of passengers should be the number one priority for the cruise industry. This includes:
- Taking all reasonable measures to provide a safe environment
- Reacting swiftly to infectious outbreaks
As a result of the cruise industry's failure:
- Governments prevented many cruise ships from docking
- Passengers and crew were left stranded at sea
- Passengers were not permitted to disembark for, in some cases, months
- Passengers were confined to small cabins deep in the interior of these large vessels
- Passengers may have been unknowingly exposed to COVID-19
At the time of this writing, there have been 2,592 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and at least 65 deaths as a direct result of exposure on cruise ships that sailed well after the coronavirus outbreak began in China.
The cruise lines are a multi-billion dollar industry and employ aggressive and experienced lawyers; therefore having an experienced lawyer on your side can help ensure the success of your case. Call The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary today. A legal advocate experienced in cruise ship personal injury will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. We are ready to help you; call us today and speak with a cruise ship accident lawyer about your potential claim.