The 286 foot cruise ship “Saint Laurent” was involved in an accident on Friday when it crashed into a wall while entering a lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Initial reports indicate 22 passengers were injured in the Saint Laurent cruise ship accident. The ship was in the middle of a 10 day cruise beginning and ending in Montreal.
The Saint Laurent carries 294 passengers, although at the time of the accident, there were only 273 people on board – 192 passengers and 81 crew members. The accident occurred as the cruise ship was entering the lock. The ship hit a wall bumper with so much force that it punctured a hole in the steel hull. The ship began taking on so much water that the lock’s doors were closed and the water drained out of the lock so that the ship would not sink.
The accident highlights the difficulty in making a cruise accident claim or lawsuit. Cruise Ship accidents have different laws that apply depending on the location of the accident. Cruise Ship companies, including all the major cruise ship companies such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Holland America, have restrictions in their ticket contracts which control where and when a claim can be brought. The accident occurred in norther New York near the Canadian border. The ship is owned by Adventurer Owner Ltd., but operated by FleetPro, a Miami, FL company. The ship is registered in the port of Nassau, Bahamas.
Many cruise ship companies will require any lawsuit arising out of a cruise ship accident to be brought in the United States District Court in Miami. The ticket contract can also impose a shorter statute of limitations – 1 year versus 4 years for a negligence claim to be brought in Florida. The ticket contacts can also require a “statement of particulars” – setting forth the details of your accident claim – to be provided to the cruise ship company within 6 months of your cruise accident.
It is unclear whether the Saint Laurent, or its owners or operators, have any ticket limitations which control where and when cruise accident claims from the Eisenhower Lock accident can be brought. However, passengers should review their tickets immediately to make sure all ticket limitations are complied with.