Grand Princess Cruise Ship Severe Listing Galveston Texas – On February 4, 2006, two hours after leaving the port of Galveston for a seven day cruise, a passenger aboard the Grand Princess had a heart attack and need immediately emergency medical treatment.
Grand Princess while traveling at a high rate of speed, made a sharp turn, resulting in a severe listing (see video below), that tossed passengers, crew, and the ship’s furnishings onto floors and against walls.
The vessel met a US Coast Guard cutter to off load the passenger, and one crew member with severe injuries was also taken off the vessel.
Water from the ship’s pools spilled into the dining area as well as some of the staterooms.
Passengers interviewed upon their return said the cruise line did not offer any concrete information about what occurred. Most said the experience was extremely frightening. There was no sounding of the horn, and no announcement as passengers were tossed about.
Passenger injuries reported were severe sprains, cuts and bruising. Benson said other passengers suffering from stress also contacted the ship’s medical team.
Passengers described the feeling the ship was going to tip completely over and they were all going to be tossed into the sea. Some passengers reported the crew didn’t tell them what had happened, or offer any explanation at all until the next day. Other passengers say they were rushing for their life jackets, because the tilt had gotten so bad. One report said a passenger went flying through the air in the cabin, landing on the other side of the cabin.
In typical cruise industry fashion, those who were treated for injuries onboard, were given a bottle of champagne as compensation.
Some passengers were refused treatment onboard, as only serious injuries were being seen ,such as those struck by flying television sets.
The ship’s return to Galveston was delayed nearly two hours Saturday morning because of strong winds from the north.
The ship’s departure Saturday on the subsequent cruise was also delayed to allow time for extra supplies to be brought on board. Though the ship did not suffer any structural damage, numerous items from furniture to dishes were broken when the ship leaned sharply to one side.
Julie Benson, public relations director for the California-based cruise company, said the company is investigating why and how the decision was made to turn the ship around.
The decision to abruptly turn a cruise ship around while traveling at a high rate of speed was “clearly a mistake,” Benson said. “We were trying to help a passenger who needed urgent medical attention. It was not supposed to happen this way.”
Benson said the decision to turn around was made after consulting with the U.S. Coast Guard. Nonetheless, she conceded that no warning was given to passengers before the sharp turn was executed.
“That is true,” she said. “We very much regret that. A number of announcements were made after (the ship) made the turn, but we agree everyone would have benefited from advance notice. We are looking at the way we communicate with passengers so this does not happen again.”
Benson said that the captain of the vessel, Nicholas Carlton, “is in charge of the movement of the ship and would take full responsibility for the maneuver back to port.”
A similar incident happened a few months later on the Crown Princess, Crown Princess Severe Listing July 18, 2006.
Video: Grand Princess list Feb 4 2006