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We Pay The Costs For Cruise Ship Overboards - August 22, 2015

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Suicides On Cruise Ships - We All Pay The Costs Of Cruise Ship Overboards

Suicide on a cruise ship is defined by us as, "psychological terrorism", a form of attack which may leave no physical marks or impact upon a person or group of people, but ultimately leaves psychological injuries or traumas that have a lasting impact. Some state laws have labeled the impact to those affected by an event as "negligent infliction of emotional distress" or "bystander emotional distress.".

Psychological Terrorism - Wise Geek Health "Psychological terrorism is typically a form of terrorism that primarily targets people's psychological well being and state of mind, with the intent of having a negative impact on those people. This can take a number of different forms, and may be fairly benign and easily ignored or more severe and adversely affect numerous other psychological issues or disorders. As a form of terrorism, it can be used directly and purposefully or it can be a side effect of other actions that do not seek to inflict terror upon people, but ultimately are able to do so."

For a public suicide, which is an act centered on having 'all eyes on me', the emotional costs to bystanders can not be calculated. In the case of the Carnival Glory suicide on August 19, 2015, which took place while the cruise ship was leaving port, many passengers were on deck, some of them children. The witnessing of a death by a child may leave a lifelong emotional scar, as could also be felt by the many adults on deck during the suicide.

While everyone understands internal social suffering and being under emotion distress from events taking place in a person's life, to deliberately inflict emotional distress on other adults and innocent children bystanders can not be seen with compassion. The act of suicide at sea is simply incomprehensible.


Bystander emotional distress can result in a string of suicides, especially among children who are easily influenced by negative, powerful social events. Numerous cases have documented a "string of suicides" or "ripple effect" within families, peer groups and other educational or employment relationships, such as the 2015 JPMorgan employee suicides, 2015 Clark County. Nevada School District suicides, 2015 Fairfax County, Virginia School District suicides and the 2015 Pine Ridge School, South Dakota suicides, to name a few.

A very conservative estimate indicates each suicide affects 6 to 8 individual's daily lives, a liberal estimate argues as many as 28 people are put in bereavement after one private suicide. A public suicide creates a tidal wave effect. Statistics: Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

For the cruise line, the suicide is an act of negligent business interference, which some have called "Tortious interference". The act willfully disrupts the cruise line's business contract with the passengers who have paid for a cruise of a specified length, with outlined port calls and excursions.

Beyond those points, suicide willfully, negligently, inflicts business costs, which must be absorbed by the cruise line, beyond the normal cost of completing the cruise. It's not just an unwelcome inconvenience to passengers and crew. It has a much deeper, impact on cruise line costs. Those costs far exceed what the average cruise ship passenger might imagine.

A typical cruise ship burns $5,000 to $7,000 per hour in fuel to conduct a search of sea for a person who has jumped overboard, above and beyond the cost of fuel for the planned itinerary. There is also the cost of passenger compensation for missed ports, processing port fee and missed excursion refunds, compensation with drinks during the search of the sea and discounts for a future cruise as an effort to protect the integrity of the company brand and reputation.


For the Carnival Glory suicide, the cruise ship carries 2,974 passengers and a crew of 1,160 passengers. Passengers were reported to be compensated $50 per cabin for the delay of the cruise due to the search. There were approximately 1490 cabins booked at a compensation cost of $74,500. The addition of the standard 25% credit towards a future cruise, along with the cost of free drinks and the fuel used in a five hour search brings the cruise line cost to a whopping $300,000 or more for a search that goes beyond a few hours.

Advocates for overboard detection systems, seek to saddle the cruise industry with costs beyond the losses absorbed during a sea search. Historical facts show, through cruise ship closed circuit security cameras, nearly all overboard passengers and crew members were documented, intentional acts by people who do not want to be found. Should the cruise industry and their client base be saddled with higher costs for equipment upgrades to locate someone who willing inflicted the outrageous costs on others, as outlined above?

The human thing to do is to feel sorry for the person who jumped overboard and their internal suffering. However, the people emotionally injured the most, are surviving friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and children both aboard the cruise ship and back home.

Update: On Monday August 24, 2015 CBS Miami had an article online which quoted a witness to the Carol Ann Dimas overboard. The CBS article stated, "The situation has left a "lasting trauma" for his 14-year-old daughter. "We had to send her back into the cabin. She was hysterical. She's 14 years of age, she shouldn't be seeing something like that"

This is exactly our point, "bystander emotional distress." is expecially hard on children during public acts of suicide. The blame for the emotional distress is not on the cruise line, it's on the person who jumped overboard, who at age 65, was most likely dead on impact after plummeting 100 feet.

The witnesses are further quoted as saying, "it took over 45 minutes for the ship to even begin turning around to look for the passenger in the water.". The ship, Carnival Glory weighing in at 110,000 gross tons, was traveling at the equivalent of 25 mph. Turning around in 45 minutes would be quick action.

Our Halloween Horror On The Seas Passenger Overboard article about the Oasis of the Seas overboard on November 6, 2015, captures the final moments his life, in a tragic cruise ship death case. WARNING DISTURBING VIDEO.

Supporting Information & Resources:

Cruise Bruise Investigations - Cruise Ship Suicides


Featured or New Cruise Ship Incidents

Suggested Reading


Article Credits to External Resources
  • Wikipedia.org - Domestic Terrorism
  • Wise Geek Health - What is psychological terrorism?