Independence Of The Seas accidents and incidents

Independence Of The Seas cruise ship


Length (LOA)
338 m / 1109 ft

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CruiseMapper's Independence Of The Seas cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 4603-passenger vessel owned by Royal Caribbean. Our Independence Of The Seas accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • pier explosion - 2011 (Gibraltar)
  • ship seizure - 2014 (Norway)
  • deaths - 2011, overboard (2014, 2014-crew, 2016), 2014 (dockworkers), 2016 (bus crash in Falmouth Jamaica), 2017 (buss crash in Mexico), 2019, 2022 (officer)
  • injuries/crimes - near drowning (2008, 2014), 2009, 2015
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2012 (193 / 3), 2017 (310 / 23l)
  • Coronavirus - 2022
  • baby boy born at sea - 2015

13 January 2022Crew / Passenger Deaths

Reportedly, in the morning of January 13, 2022, a 54-years-old female crew (officer) was found dead in her cabin. Allegedly, the woman (Costa Rican) complained of chest pressure the day before.

The incident occurred during a 4-day Bahamas Cruise (itinerary Jan 10-14) roundtrip from Port Canaveral (Florida USA) with call ports CocoCay (Jan 11) and Nassau (Jan 12).

January 2022Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Coronavirus) Due to "ongoing COVID-related circumstances", RCI-Royal Caribbean canceled three consecutive departures of Independence OTS, homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida USA.

The canceled roundtrip itineraries were as follows:

  • (Jan 14-22) 8-day "The SuperCruise XIV", with call ports Kralendijk (Bonaire), Willemstad (Curacao) and Oranjestad (Aruba)
  • (Jan 22-24) 2-day "Perfect Day Getaway Cruise" visiting CocoCay (Bahamas)
  • (Jan 24-29) 5-day "K-Love Cruise" visiting The Bahamas (Nassau, CocoCay, Freeport)

The Jan 14th and Jan 24th voyages were private charters - by Capital Jazz Radio and K-Love Radio (Christian radio station), respectively.

All sailings were canceled after CDC issued in early January a "level 4" alert for cruise vessels operating in the USA. As with other cruise shipping companies that canceled voyages in January, RCI made cancellations on several liners due to COVID outbreaks among the crew.

Coronavirus cases (mainly of the new Omicron variant) were discovered during routine onboard testings and most of them were asymptomatic. When too many employees test COVID-positive, the company is forced to pull the boat out of service to allow a quarantine period for the infected.

05 December 2019Crew / Passenger Deaths

In the evening on December 5, 2019, while en-route from Port Everglades to Mexico, the liner  turned back to Florida to offload a deceased passenger. Reportedly, a man died at dinner (on December 5) and his family wanted to return back and terminate their cruise. On December 6th, the ship arrived in PortMiami at ~9:20 am, and left at ~11:30 am (times provided to CruiseMapper by John Stovall).

As result, the itinerary was altered with delayed arrival (~5 hours) and changed port stay in Cozumel on December 7 (scheduled 7:30 am through 6 pm). The ship left Cozumel at 9 pm. The incident occurred at the beginning of 4-day Western Caribbean cruise (itinerary Dec 5-9) roundtrip from homeport Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) to Cozumel Mexico.

December 2017Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

December 2017, CDC reported that during the 5-day Western Caribbean cruise (itinerary Dec 11-16) roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, a Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 310 passengers (out of 4160, or 7,5%) and 22 crew (out of 1398, or 1,6%). The itinerary visited Labadee (Haiti) and Falmouth (Jamaica).

22 December 2016Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On December 22, 2016, a 22-year-old male passenger was reported "intentionally jumped overboard" from Deck 12. The accident occurred at ~1:50 am, approx 33 ml (50 km) off the coast of Key Largo Island (Florida). AIS data showed the ship heading back and making a series of circles.

The vessel was returning from a 6-day Caribbean Mexico cruise (itinerary Dec 17-22) roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to Costa Maya and Cozumel.

The young man (Nathan Skokan) was highly intoxicated. Reportedly, he was on the open deck with other passengers. One of them jokingly suggested they all should jump overboard. Nathan sat on the handrail, but lost balance slipped and flipped over the railing. The accidental fall was confirmed by numerous eye-witnesses.

(law news) In late-October 2018, the parents filed in a federal court lawsuit against RCI, alleging that the company over-served the man with alcohol, failed to immediately conduct search and rescue, and misrepresented the accident as "intentional jump" instead of accidental. A jury trial was scheduled for November 13 (2018).

14 January 2016Crew / Passenger Deaths

(bus crash accident) On January 14, 2016, while the ship was docked in call port Falmouth (Jamaica), 1 male passenger died and 3 others were seriously injured in a bus crash accident. The tour bus was on its way back to the ship, returning a total of 21 passengers from a sponsored by Royal Caribbean shore excursion in Jamaica (Dunn’s River Beach, in Saint Ann Parish). The 3 injured were hospitalized in Falmouth Public General Hospital.

The traffic collision accident occurred in Trelawny Parish (on Carey Park's main road) and involved 4 vehicles – the tour bus plus a Freightliner (truck), Toyota Corolla (car) and Toyota Hiace (panelvan). The ship was on a 5-day Western Caribbean cruise (itinerary Jan 11-16) roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, also visiting Haiti (Labadee).

15 September 2015Other Incidents

On September 15, 2015, a baby boy was born on the ship at ~3 am. The woman (Emily Morgan, age 28, from Ogden Utah USA) went into labor 15 weeks early. Via the PA system, the Captain informed all passengers that the infant (1 1/2-pound / 0,7 kg) and his mother are doing great. Because of this so unusual event, the ship arrived in the next call port San Juan Puerto Rico ~2 hours early then scheduled. Curious fact is, that the in the boy’s birth certificate in the field “place of birth” is written “at sea”.

This “happy incident” occurred while the ship was operating on a 7-days Eastern Caribbean cruise (itinerary Sept 13-20) roundtrip from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) Florida, with call ports San Juan, Philipsburg (St Maarten) and Basseterre (St Kitts). Similar “baby born at sea” incident also occurred on the Cunard ship Queen Mary 2 in 2016 (January).

16 August 2015Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On August 16, 2015, a 33-year-old male passenger was arrested and charged with “child abuse”. The man (Jason Lawson, an Ohio USA resident) was told by his brother-in-law (Martinez, 31-yo) that he overheard a teenage boy making a lewd comment to Jason’s daughter. Martinez forced the boy to pull his pants down and simulated a sexual act on him. Lawson was accused of participating in the attack on the boy as he did nothing to stop Martinez.

(law news) On January 27, 2017, Lawson (basketball and football coach, husband, father of 4 kids) was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of probation (during which he was forbidden to coach children under 18). Martinez pleaded not guilty (the next court date was scheduled for April 6, 2017).

10 May 2015Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On May 10, 2015, the ship returned early to homeport Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale FL) due to a medical emergency. A male passenger sustained an injury (head trauma) after falling on the FlowRider (onboard surfing simulator).

17 August 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On August 17, 2014, a male crew member went overboard. The missing man was a kitchen worker from India. His body was never found. The accident happened in Europe, while the ship was operating 14–day Mediterranean cruise from Southampton (the roundtrip started on Aug 9).

28 May 2014Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On May 28, 2014, a 6-year-old boy suffered a near drowning incident (causing cardio-respiratory arrest) after he slipped and struck his head in the pool. When found lying on the pool’s bottom, his heart was stopped. Other kids pulled the body from the pool. The ship’s doctor restarted his heart, then requested emergency transportation for advanced medical treatments in France.

02 April 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

On April 2, 2014, two dockworkers died in Zante harbor (St Kitts). Both men were assisting the ship’s un-berthing. At ~5:15 pm they were in a small boat and trying to remove the last mooring line when the cruise ship swamped their boat with its Azipods (propulsion units) and threw them into water. The boat slammed into the Celebrity Silhouette ship and overturned. Water currents made by the Independence ship caused the boat to capsize, sucking the men under water.

22 March 2014Other Incidents

(ship seizure in Norway) On May 22, 2014, the ship was held by Alesund port authorities in Norway. The arrest of the whole vessel was for not paying port fees. The Captain notified the shipowner RCCL, who in less than 1 hour transferred the money (NOK 600,000 / USD 64,000) to cover port charges. After that, the vessel was allowed to proceed with the Norwegian Fjords cruise.

01 January 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On January 1, 2014, a 65-year-old male passenger went overboard and was reported missing by his wife. The ship was en route to Grand Cayman. The onboard search and CCTV camera records failed to provide more information on the incident.

05 May 2012Structural and Technical Issues

On May 5, 2012, passenger disembarkation in Southampton UK was delayed due to a computer error. All guests had to be checked manually. Because of this incident, many of them missed their flights home.

March 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On March 7, 2012, on the UK-based Independence ship, 193 passengers plus 3 crew suffered the Norovirus symptoms (Gastrointestinal disease) of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. The incident happened on a Mediterranean roundtrip cruise from homeport Southampton England. Next cruise embarkation was delayed so that all cabins and the cruise port terminal could be fully sanitized.

(law news) On October 30, 2012, a group of 25 UK passengers filed a lawsuit in England against Royal Caribbean International. The claim is that the onboard conditions (unsanitary kitchen and food, and insufficient med staff and facilities) caused them to suffer from the Norovirus in March 2012.

12 June 2011Coast Guard Medevacs

On June 12, 2011, a female passenger suffered from a “critical illness” and had to be medevaced by UKCG assets. A helicopter was sent from Portland, England, 23 mi (37 km) out to the ship. Since the UKCG helicopter was too heavy to land on the ship’s helipad, the crew had to lift up the woman in her wheelchair. The ill passenger and her husband were flown to Dorset County Hospital (Dorchester).

31 March 2011Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On May 31, 2011, when the ship was docked in Gibraltar UK, a fuel tank on the pier exploded. 12 passengers sustained minor injuries (burns and abrasions) and received treatments onboard. The gangway (telescopic bridge) was immediately retracted and the vessel moved away from the area and anchored in the bay. Two passengers were still ashore when the accident happened but were not injured. Two workers ashore were seriously injured. The probable cause for the explosion was a spark from welding works.

09 March 2009Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On March 9, 2009, while the ship was docked in Cozumel Mexico, a female passenger in a motorized wheelchair fell from the pier into the water. When alerted by passengers, a female crew jumped and saved the woman.

20 October 2008Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On October 20, 2008, the ship was docked in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) when a 7-year-old girl was miraculously saved from near drowning from another passenger. The kid (Christina Zecchino, from Glasgow Scotland) was spotted by another girl lying face down on the bottom of the swimming pool on Lido deck.

A 45-year-old male passenger (Ray Galligan, from Leicester, England) first arrived at the scene. The kid was not breathing, her lips had turned blue. Then he started CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for several minutes. The girl was saved, and after having first aid from the ship’s med team, she was transferred to a local hospital.

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