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Royal Caribbean passengers hurt in a volcano eruption in New Zealand

A volcanic eruption happened on White Island, New Zealand wherein at least six people were dead and eight others presumed injured. This unfortunate incident leaves the police and investigators questioning why 47 people, including the cruise line passengers, were on the island despite being notified about the increase in seismic activity in recent weeks.

The cruise line company were able to express their sympathy to those who have been affected by the tragedy. It narrates that some passengers on board the Ovation of the Seas ship is at the nearby Tauranga port. They were touring the island at around 2 pm, the exact time of the eruption.

This timely incident now raises a big and relevant question of whether Royal Caribbean International is liable for what happened to the passengers who were on the White Island at the given time. What’s bothering is that there’s no current shore excursion being shown and listed on the cruise line’s website but there are excursions under the Tauranga area. A spokesperson from this cruise line company told the media that they could not offer information on excursions about White Island.

It’s also an argument as to why tourists reach the island despite the increasing seismic activity had been recorded and seen on White Island for about a couple of weeks. GeoNet, which is responsible for tracking the seismic and volcanic activity in the area also informed the public about the alert level starting in November after it has found out that there was an increase in sulfur dioxide gas as well as the volcanic tremor.

Royal Caribbean may not be liable for the injuries received by its passengers but that comes with caveats. One of the travel industry experts at Ment Law Group explained to the Media that the cruise line’s responsibility is contingent on the partnership it entered. They need to engage with various vendors in the areas since they don’t have specific knowledge about the volcanic conditions of New Zealand because their business is running a cruise line. But it needs to ensure that they partner with a responsible or expert vendor in that certain area. It is then in the hand of the vendor to make a final call on whether it’s safe to proceed with the excursion or not. If the cruise line doesn’t follow the advice of the vendor, then that’s the time the responsibility falls on the cruise line company.

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