Filing a Cruise Passenger Disappearances Lawsuit in 2024

If your loved one died or went missing while aboard a cruise ship, you can file a cruise passenger disappearances lawsuit to hold the cruise ship liable. Cruise ship deaths are tragic! Unfortunately, hundreds of people have gone missing from cruise ships in the past 20 years. In fact, from 2000 to 2017, about 200 people disappeared from cruise ships. 

One does not often hear of cruise ship passenger disappearances. However, these disappearances occur more frequently than we think. In addition, the cruise lines often do not report persons as “missing” or “presumed dead.” Sometimes, they just assume that the employee or passenger left the ship and chose not to return on their own accord and found another method of returning home. It appears that cruise lines do not maintain statistics about missing persons; even if they do, they are not made known to the public. In cases where a person goes overboard, the cruise line will most often assert that it must have been a case of suicide. They would often point to foul play or an accidental fall to avoid liability.

Furthermore, obtaining information about missing persons from government entities is not easy. In the case of most cruises, this would involve the cooperation of multiple foreign governments. Additionally, many cruise vessels are registered in foreign countries. They fly the flags of these countries because they can be laxer and involve less regulation than the United States. 

The top cruise passenger disappearance lawyers and fall overboard attorneys would be able to help with your case. In addition, they know how to assist families of passengers who have disappeared or have fallen overboard.

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Man overboard statistics 2024

Only a few persons, crew members, or passengers are reported to fall overboard each year. Here are some findings regarding those who fall overboard:

  • Falling off a cruise ship most commonly happens on the last night of a cruise.
  • The longest a person was known to survive in the water after having fallen overboard is 18 hours.
  • The average age of persons who fall overboard is 41 years old.
  • Only 1 in 5 persons has survived falling overboard between the years 2000 and 2013.
  • The majority of those who have fallen overboard are residents of California and Florida.
  • Most overboard falls result from drinking or mischief, such as playing on railings or attempting to climb between cabins.
  • Women are less likely than men to fall overboard.
cruise passenger disappearances lawsuit

Causes of cruise ship passenger disappearances

Some of the common reasons passengers disappear aboard a cruise ship include the following:

  • Failure to perform adequate rescue operations.
  • Failing to warn of rough seas.
  • Inadequate or defective handrails.
  • Intoxication from being over-served alcohol in the ship’s bars and lounges.
  • Violent actions of the ship’s crew members or other passengers.

Filing cruise passenger disappearances lawsuit can help you recover all the losses. All you have to do is look for the top lawyers that can help you satisfy all your needs accurately.

The liability of a cruise line for passenger disappearances

Cruise lines could be held liable for the following:

A passenger could easily fall off a cruise ship if the handrails are of inadequate height or are defective. Congress passed the Cruise Safety Act of 2010, which required all cruise ships calling on U.S. ports to have handrails no less than 42 inches above the cabin deck by January 2012. Therefore, if the cruise ship is outfitted with inadequate or defective handrails, the negligent cruise line can be held liable for the passenger falling overboard or disappearing.

Cruise lines are obligated to warn their passengers of known dangers or dangers of which they should have known. In the context of cruise ship passenger disappearance or loss, this duty usually arises when the ship is expected to encounter rough seas. 

Oftentimes at sea, weather conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Nearly all cruise ships are equipped with state-of-the-art weather radar and have access to forecasts and conditions for the areas they are sailing. As such, the “deck officers” know when the ship is about to cruise into rough seas; whereas, the passengers (who are enjoying their vacations) do not. Consequently, cruise lines must warn of approaching storms and the dangers of being near the rails during rough seas. If a cruise line fails to warn of such approaching dangers, it may be held liable for passengers who fall overboard during a storm.

Another cause attributable to passengers falling overboard or disappearing is intoxication. Cruise lines must not serve their passengers alcohol to the point of intoxication. Should a passenger become intoxicated, the cruise line must do everything it can to protect them from disability. If the cruise line failed to carry its duty, the trusted cruise ship accident attorneys will help you file your case against the negligent operator.

Passenger disappearances may also be a result of the violent actions of the cruise ship’s crew members. Cruise lines have the absolute duty to protect their passengers against physical assaults by crew members. As such, should a passenger be pushed overboard by a crew member, the cruise line will be liable even if the crew member has no history of violent behavior.

Cruise lines may also be responsible for disappearances caused by the violent acts of their passengers. However, unlike the violent actions of their crew members for which the cruise line is strictly liable,you can file cruise passenger disappearances lawsuit if it could have anticipated the violent activity of the other passenger and could have prevented the injury.

Once a missing passenger is reported, the cruise line must perform a reasonable search and rescue operation. Should the cruise line fail to conduct a search and rescue operation or perform such an operation in an inadequate way, it will be liable for the death or further injury of the passenger.

Most suspicious disappearances reported

The 23-year-old went missing from her Royal Caribbean International Cruise in 1998. Witnesses claim to have seen her in the years following her disappearance.

The single mother booked a room aboard a Celebrity Cruise. However, according to records, she did not use her room after the first night. She was finally reported to the FBI as missing weeks after the event.

This British woman was working as a nanny when she allegedly fell overboard after climbing over a security wall. Her family suspects foul play.

Filing a cruise passenger disappearances lawsuit is often necessary to get secretive cruise ships to open their records and disclose important information to family members. This includes compelling the cruise ship to share security footage or other information with the concerned relatives.

Why choose Ethen Ostroff Law?

Ethen Ostroff Law and our network of lawyers are experienced in dealing with the issues involved in obtaining information from foreign countries regarding these types of cases. Contact Ethen Ostroff Law now at 610-510-8883 ( by calling this number, you consent to receive SMS updates from Ethen Ostroff Law) or Submit Form to get free consultation.

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