Surprisingly, cruise vacation bookings in New Orleans have not slowed following the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster off of the coast of Italy last week. Last Friday, the ship began taking on water after it struck a rock formation while carrying more than 4,000 people from across the world. About two hours later, the Costa Concordia became disabled and tipped on its side near Giglio Island. Following the accident, eleven bodies were recovered and 21 people still remain missing.
The Costa Concordia was reportedly traveling too close to the rocky Italian shoreline when it was damaged. A unit of Carnival Corporation, Costa Crociere, operated the cruise ship and has blamed the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, for the disaster. According to Costa Crociere, Captain Schettino violated operating procedures when he deviated from the ship’s approved course.
Local travel agents have stated the Costa Concordia tragedy has not had an effect on cruise bookings out of New Orleans during what is traditionally the busiest time of year for their agencies. The period from mid-January through late March is generally when most people book their cruise vacations for the year. One travel agent, Bob Wall, claims he has not had any customers cancel cruise vacation plans in response to the disaster, nor is he receiving calls requesting more information about the accident. Wall also said he cannot recall seeing such a dramatically disabled ship as the Costa Concordia during his 28 years working in the travel industry.
Many Louisiana travel agents believe cruise bookings have continued because human error purportedly caused the Costa Concordia tragedy. Wall has stated he thinks the cruise industry would be facing larger challenges as a result of the accident if instead the ship had failed numerous safety inspections or if Costa Crociere had a history of putting the lives of passengers in jeopardy.
In response to the Costa Concordia accident, Carnival Corporation has stated publicly the company is working hard to fully understand what caused the disaster. The Cruise Lines International Association also issued a press release reminding would be vacationers that this type of accident is exceedingly rare and cruising is generally a safe means of travel.
The director of cruise operations at the Port of New Orleans, Robert Jumonville, believes the accident will not have a major effect on worldwide cruise operating procedures. He also stated the likelihood a similar disaster would occur off of the coast of New Orleans is remote as the marshy, muddy shoreline of Louisiana is quite different than the rocky shoreline of Italy. Ships that get stuck in the mud generally need towed out, but do not begin taking on water. According to Jumonville, the biggest risk at the Port of New Orleans is the possibility of two vessels colliding.
If you or a loved one was injured while on board a cruise ship or other vessel, it is important to discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer. J. Price McNamara is an experienced Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara. He handles wrongful death, personal injury, and maritime law cases throughout Louisiana including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. To schedule a no cost initial consultation, you may contact him through his website or call him today at (866) 248-0580.