Archive for April, 2011

Being a crewmember of a cruise ship may have you imagining luxury work conditions.  After all, sailing the oceans and visiting exotic lands sounds appealing.  However, crewmembers of cruise ships are faced with dangerous situations, just like other maritime workers.  One of the most talked about accidents on a cruise ship occurred in 2005.  A Royal Caribbean cruise ship experienced problems with hydrogen sulfide leaking into the cabins and other living areas of the ship.  Hydrogen sulfide is a deadly gas that carries a noxious scent before causing health problems and, sometimes, death.

This particular ship sent crewmembers to address the source of a smell that passengers were reporting.  When the crewmembers reached the ballast tank, a large cloud of hydrogen sulfide escaped.  It killed three crewmembers instantly.  Nineteen other crewmembers suffered various forms of injury.  It comes as no surprise that maritime claims were filed after this horrific accident.

If you are a crewmember of a cruise line and suffered an injury, you may have a claim against your employer under Federal Jones Act law.  Your first line of defense is to contact an experienced law firm and discuss your rights.  The Jones Act law is in place to provide you with monetary compensation for your injuries.  This compensation can include maintenance, cure, lost wages, and medical expenses.  While your cruise line employer may try to discourage you from filing a claim under the Jones Act law, your attorney will help you make that decision.

Being employed on a cruise line is not always fun and games, it can have deadly consequences.  Fortunately, Federal Jones Act law gives maritime workers a certain level of protection.  It cannot prevent injuries from occurring but it can help you seek financial justice. Contact a Jones Act attorney for more information on your particular case and potential claim.



The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is an effective and complex act. Claims under this act should always be handled by an experience maritime law firm. There are specific guidelines under this act, including the waters to which the DOHSA applies. A maritime law firm will know all the relevant rulings to argue your claim. For example, it was not that long ago that a United States appellate court made a ruling about DOHSA that continues to have an effect.

In 2007, three Navy crewmembers died after a helicopter accident during a training exercise. The families of the crewmembers filed a claim under California and maritime law. They blamed the defective helicopter for the deaths. The defendants in this case moved for the dismissal of their claims under those laws. They argued that the DOHSA applied to this case. The DOHSA clearly states that when a death occurs on the high seas beyond three nautical miles from the US shore, a civil action may be brought against the person or vessel responsible.

The court agreed with the defendant’s argument and the case was appealed. The ruling was affirmed and the families’ claims against the state were dismissed. The DOHSA applies to all waters beyond those three miles. The families could still seek compensation, but it had to be filed under the act. Clearly, the DOHSA is a confusing act. That is why it is necessary to retain a maritime law firm that is experienced and educated about maritime laws. This particular case should have never been filed against the state because the DOHSA states specific regulations pertaining to the location of incidents.

It can be difficult to determine claims falling under general maritime law and the DOHSA. An experienced maritime law firm will know what to do without hesitation. If you have lost a loved one on the high seas, consult with a maritime law firm about the DOHSA and general maritime laws. The maritime law firm will help you determine which claim you need to file for monetary compensation.