According to a report from The Guardian, a new HBO documentary called ‘The Last Cruise’ has been released. The film documents the voyage of the ill-fated ‘Diamond Princess’—a journey that made headlines all over the globe as it endured one of the first major COVID-19 outbreaks outside of Mainland China. Here, our Houston, TX cruise ship injury attorneys provide an overview of the outbreak on the Diamond Princess and explain the COVID-19 safety protocols that U.S.-based cruise ships must comply with in 2021.
Diamond Princess COVID-19 Outbreak: 700+ Cases, 14 Deaths
A cruise ship registered in the United Kingdom, the Diamond Princess departed from Yokohama, Japan on January 20th, 2020. The ship was taking a tour through the waters of Southeast Asia. Within two weeks, the large luxury liner was quarantined off the coast of Japan with more than 3,700 people on board. Without any pre-screening for passengers, a man who had tested positive for the virus boarded the vessel.
The outbreak was fast-spreading and horrific. Despite efforts to socially distance passengers and crew members, more than 700 people ended up contracting the COVID-19 virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Tragically, 14 people lost their lives due to the outbreak. The new HBO film uses real-time footage, first-hand accounts, and personal/expert retrospectives to document exactly what happened on the ship.
American Based Cruise Lines are Set to Reopen, New Safety Precautions a Must
Perhaps no industry was more directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health restrictions than the cruise industry. In 2021, cruise ships at ports all across the United States—including in Southeast Texas—are gradually reopening. As of early April of 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a conditional no-sail order in place. However, there is increasing pressure to change the regulations. Recently, CNBC reported that the cruise industry is pushing hard for the federal government to relax regulations and allow for bookings in the summer of 2021.
Although the precise timeline is still unclear, cruise lines are expected to begin sailing in large numbers from U.S. ports in 2021 or early 2021. As cruise line companies allow passengers to return en masse, it is imperative that they take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Cruise lines have a legal responsibility to ensure that their vessels are reasonably safe for customers and crew members. Before the conditional no sail order is revoked, the CDC is expected to offer additional health and safety guidance.
Contact Our Texas Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers Today
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Texas maritime law attorneys have the specialized skills and legal expertise to represent cruise ship accident victims. If you have questions about cruises an COVID-19 exposure, we are here to help. Contact our firm today to get your free, fully confidential case evaluation and assessment. From our Houston law office, we handle cruise accident and injury claims throughout the Gulf Coast region.