The last thing you’d want to experience when vacationing on a cruise is an accident that stops the festivities and puts people in danger. But that’s exactly what happened to passengers on two cruise ships which collided today off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico, injuring six. Fortunately, nobody sustained any serious or life-threatening injuries, and both ships were deemed to be seaworthy despite the damage, meaning passengers are able to complete their cruise as scheduled. The collision of the two ships, the Carnival Glory and the Carnival Legend, was captured on video and frightened passengers, who heard the sound of cracking and shattering glass and were told to evacuate rooms close to the scene of the accident. Indeed, as can be seen in the video, much of the Carnival Legend’s dining hall was destroyed in the impact, though fortunately no one was directly struck by the colliding ship. One passenger was hurt while rooms were being evacuated, though, and five more passengers arrived at the Carnival Glory’s medical center for evaluation, having sustained minor injuries.
As of yet, it is unclear exactly what led to the collision, which occurred around 10 a.m. this morning as one ship was maneuvering to dock and ran into the other ship which was already docked. For now, Carnival officials have advised the ships’ passengers to spend their day in Cozumel as they continue to assess the damage to the ships and manage the aftermath of the accident. According to passengers of the Carnival Glory who spoke with CNN about the incident, high winds and ocean currents were factors that led to the crash, though a full investigation has yet to be completed. While passengers who were close to the point of collision screamed as they witnessed the frightening event, most of each ships’ passengers barely noticed the crash, describing it as feeling like the boat had been jolted by a large wave. Carnival has not yet said whether it would compensate the customers who underwent the frightening ordeal for its mistake.
While incidences like this are rare, particularly as technology and safety standards have evolved, passengers of cruise ships do occasionally find themselves in the middle of accidents that at best put a damper on their vacation and at worst threaten lives. While today’s collision is relatively minor, all things considered, more serious events have taken place on cruise ships in the past. Everybody knows that the Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg over a century ago, but this is not the deadliest accident on a cruise ship in history; that would be the destruction of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, which was built by the Nazis and was sunk by torpedoes fired from a Russian submarine in 1945, killing over nine thousand passengers. More recently, a generator fire left the Carnival Triumph without electricity for days, disabling the boat’s sewage system and causing the ship’s passengers and crew tremendous stress. And in 2012, the Costa Concordia, which had room for 4,200 guests, sank after hitting an underwater rock, killing 32 passengers.