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Cruise Ship Disappearances

People go on cruises to enjoy a relaxing trip away to some exotic location, where they can take in some of the most beautiful sites in the world. In fact, since 2000, there have been an estimated 300 cases of cruise ship disappearances. Cases, where people vanish, can be for a variety of reasons, including cases where people fall overboard, such as is potentially the case in Samantha Broberg. If your loved one has gone missing on a cruise ship, a cruise ship accident lawyer can help you through the process of holding the cruise line liable.

Information About Cruise Ship Disappearances

One of the most shocking things that you will discover with enough research is how many people go overboard on a cruise ship who are never saved or their bodies cannot be found. You may have surveillance footage that can help see if someone goes overboard or some other evidence. But many times there are plenty more questions than there are answers to people who go missing on a cruise. There are websites dedicated to telling the stories of these victims. If you have a story, you can share yours as well.

One particularly scary case of a person going missing on a cruise ship includes the story of Georgie Smith IV. He was a newlywed enjoying a honeymoon with his wife when he got separated from her. It is believed he didn’t end up falling overboard; rather, it was believed that there was foul play in the case of his disappearance.

You would think that if someone disappears on a cruise ship that you can easily find them if they are still on the boat. You would also think that they would have evidence that would tell the story of what happened to the missing person. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Families deserve to know what happened to their loved ones if they disappear while on a cruise. And we are here to help them get the compensation that they deserve.


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Cruise Ship Safety Tips

If you are taking a cruise, you need to be sure that you are as safe as possible to reduce the risk of anything happening to you. As much as you are on the cruise for some well-deserved vacation time, there may be people on the cruise ship (even the staff) that have more nefarious plans for this time at sea. Here are some tips that can help keep you safe on your cruise.

  • Never leave your drinks unattended as sometimes victims will get their drinks drugged by the criminals. This allows them to more easily commit their crimes.
  • You should always walk with someone around the cruise ship. You may like the idea of going on an adventure by yourself, but this could leave you more vulnerable. If you do fall overboard, it may be too late before anyone realizes it.
  • Unless you need any valuables you have brought with you, don’t carry them on you. Use the safe to keep any extra cash or jewelry that you don’t need to have on you.
  • Never get too close to the edge of the cruise ship. There are plenty of cases of “man overboard” just because people get too close to the edge of the ship.

You need to be vigilant because the cruise ship isn’t necessarily required to do so at this point. There are alarm sensors and systems that can alert operators that a passenger has fallen overboard, but an alarming number of ships go without this technology.

Cruise Ship Liability in Cruise Ship Disappearances

If something does happen to a loved one while on a cruise, you want to know what your rights are in these matters. One of the problems is that you may think that you have a ton of rights, but the moment you board the ship you are technically on foreign land. This means that you are at the mercy of the laws of the nearest port city, foreign government, or the coast guard. Depending on the cruise ship you’re on.

The problem with this is that no one really knows who is responsible for investigating these cases. This ends up leading to everyone getting the run around when it comes to what’s going on in an investigation. And that’s only part of the problem. Another issue that you need to deal with is which court system will handle your case.

If you read the fine print on your cruise ticket, you will see limitations on your rights of whether or not you can take the case to court or where this court case is. It can be important to know what your rights are before you take the cruise to prepare yourself in case something bad happens.

So what exactly is their liability? There are several instances where a cruise line can be held liable for the disappearance of a passenger.

Defective or Inadequate Handrails

If the handrails are not properly maintained, at the proper height, or defective, this can be a hazard for the passengers. In 2010, the Cruise Safety Act of 2010 was passed by Congress. What this does is mandate cruise ships that call on any U.S. port have handrails that meet their regulations. If this is the cause of someone falling overboard or disappearing, then the cruise ship can be liable for this.

If Crew Members Commit Violent Acts

If a member of a cruise’s crew is responsible for the disappearance or another violent act against a passenger, the cruise line may also be liable for this. The cruise ship has a responsibility to ensure that their passengers are protected by any physical attack by a crew member. Even if the crew member has no violent criminal history, the cruise line can still be held liable for their actions.

If Other Passengers Commit Violent Acts

Cruise lines are not held liable for the violent acts of the fellow passengers unless they could have anticipated the violent act taking place or somehow prevented the injury. Otherwise, the cruise line will not be held responsible for violent acts.

Failure to Warn Passengers of Any Rough Conditions

If there are potential dangers coming ahead, such as rough seas or weather conditions, the crew must warn passengers. The staff should let the passengers know of potential dangers so that they know to stay away from the sides of the boat or even to not be on the deck to prevent falling overboard. If passengers fall overboard during rough weather because they weren’t adequately warned of the potential dangers, the cruise line can be held responsible.

Cruise Line’s Duty to Perform Adequate Search and Rescue Operations

If a passenger is reported missing, the cruise line has a responsibility to perform an adequate search and rescue operation. Should the cruise line either fail to perform this operation or didn’t perform one in a reasonable manner, the cruise line can be held liable for any further injuries suffered by the passenger or their death.


comic depiction of drunken passengers aboard a shipA potential cause of passengers falling overboard is if they were intoxicated. This may seem like the passenger would be responsible for this type of accident, but the cruise line can actually be held liable for it. One reason for this is because the cruise line has a duty to prevent passengers from being intoxicated by not serving their passengers drinks past the level of total intoxication. If the cruise line fails to do so or does not protect a passenger if they became intoxicated, they can be held liable for any damages caused by the passenger falling overboard.

Information about Liability

You should be aware that the actual liability of a cruise line for the disappearance or physical harm of their passengers can actually depend on the cruise line. If you closely read the fine print of your cruise ticket, you will notice that you may have waived certain rights by boarding the cruise ship. This means that you may be limited in the compensation that you are entitled to, depending on your specific situation and the cruise line you traveled with. The laws around criminal activity and liability on cruise ships is a complicated legal matter. This is why if you are dealing with these types of matters, you need to be sure that you have an attorney who has a lot of experience with these matters.


Our law firm has many years of experience fighting for our clients in a variety of situations. When you contact us, we can help you better understand what your rights are and take a close look at your claim. If we find that you have a claim against the cruise line, we will do what we can to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. The compensation may not help you feel better about the trauma of your experience with the cruise ship or losing someone who has disappeared or died while on a cruise. But, we will fight for you with your best interests at heart.

Call for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.  If we decide to take your case, you pay nothing unless we win.  If we don't win, you owe nothing. 954-951-0000.

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