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Huge storms vs huge ships: Are cruise passengers in danger?

You may have read the news reports or even seen the videos, but what happened last week aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is difficult to imagine unless you were there. For hundreds of passengers aboard the cruise line's Anthem of the Seas, their vacations were turned on their heads, literally, when the ship sailed into stormy seas just days into its journey.

Despite its size, the ship was tossed around by 30-foot waves, causing its passengers, crew and furniture to be thrown around. Though the cruise line reports that no one suffered any major injuries, the incident does beg the question: is bigger always better?

Some believe not, especially after considering the most recent incident with the Anthem of the Seas. According to Royal Caribbean, the ship is 1,141 feet long; and according to reports, it's able to carry 5,680 people including passengers and crew. Violent storms, such as the one the ship encountered, pose a real threat to a ship this size. If the seas were rough enough, the ship could easily become damaged and lose power, thus putting thousands of lives at risk of injury or death.

The truth of the matter is this: despite a cruise line's best efforts and despite approval from engineers regarding a ship's seaworthiness, violent storms at sea will always pose a risk to seafaring vessels. Unfortunately, our desire to build ships to be bigger and better means that more lives become at risk in these situations, which then increases a cruise line's risk of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if the worst should happen.

Source: The Weather Channel, "Anthem of the Seas Cruise Ship Gets Caught in Winter Storm Mars," Sean Breslin, Feb. 8, 2016

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