Television and print media have recfently shown numerous images of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. It was refloated recently, to be taken about 225 miles to a scrap yard in Genoa.
Thirty months ago, the vessel was shipwrecked in waters off of the shore of Tuscany, on the east coast of Italy. It struck a reef and capsized, killing 32 people. The captain infamously abandoned the ship before all aboard had been evacuated. He is currently being tried for manslaughter.
Considering the sophistication of modern navigational aids, and the lanes and destinations chosen for cruise ships, it may be shocking that, in this day pleasure cruising can still turn deadly. But this simply proves that the hazards of the sea, including weather, rocks, reefs, equipment failure, and other shipping traffic, remain dangerous even in the twenty-first century.
Thousands of men and women place their lives and safety at risk every day in the maritime industry. And, without shipping, the modern global economy as we know it simply could not exist.
The law historically granted to seafarers a justifiably protected position in court. However, bit-by-bit, that has been reduced in the past three decades. Many “landlubbers” may not personally know mariners who serve society when they go to sea. But a quick glance around the house reveals that few of us do not have products made abroad and shipped to our country. Those who work day and night, in all weather and sea conditions, deserve the best justice system that American jurisprudence can offer. We must therefore diligently protect that system and their rights.