PHOENIX, April 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal cited a Peruvian Navy report on the deaths of two American travelers who were killed on International Expeditions' "custom built" Amazon Star (formerly called La Estrella Amazonica) in April 2016. Drs. Larry and Christy Hammer—whose daughters are members of the International Cruise Victims Association (ICV)—were killed because no fire alarms sounded and the boat's crew failed to rescue the Hammers from an electrical fire in their cabin.
The report reveals multiple layers of failure that killed the Hammers. Among other issues, the Peruvian Navy found that no fire alarms sounded, boat-supplied equipment started the fire, the crew's response was "deficient" and "ineffective," the crew lacked training and certifications required by Peruvian law, and the bedding was flammable.
Last April, the Hammers left their home state of Nebraska and embarked on a week-long Amazon River cruise aboard the Amazon Star—a 15-cabin eco-tour boat "custom-designed" by International Expeditions, an Alabama-based company and subsidiary of TUI Group. On the first night of the cruise, the Hammers were trapped inside their burning cabin for more than twenty minutes before the crew extracted Larry Hammer from the room. He had already died. The crew wasted another six minutes before pulling out Christy Hammer who clung to a heartbeat but died hours later.
Prior to the Hammers' deaths, International Expeditions claimed that it followed and even exceeded various safety regulations, and that it designed, built, and owned the Amazon Star. Now it denies these claims.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, lawyers for International Expeditions have told the family that the company is protected by the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), a U.S. federal law that limits liability for deaths at sea in certain circumstances. The family's lawyer, Brett Rivkind, responds: "We are confident that DOHSA does not apply given the egregious facts and circumstances of this case. International Expeditions will be held fully accountable for the wrongful deaths of the Hammers. Any claim by International Expeditions that DOHSA applies is simply an attempt to dodge responsibility for this avoidable tragedy. The mere assertion that DOHSA is relevant highlights the need to abolish this outdated and useless law that cruise companies try to use to avoid accountability for wrongful deaths of Americans killed in international waters."
The International Cruise Victims Association supports victims, promotes legislative reform, and advocates for the safety of the 25 million passengers who cruise in international waters every year.
"We hope that shining light on our devastating story will help bring about changes needed to prevent companies like International Expeditions from making false claims, acting with impunity, and trying to hide behind DOHSA to deflect responsibility," said the Hammers' daughters. "We will do everything we can to prevent more families from suffering completely avoidable tragedies similar to the one our family has endured."
For more information on the Hammers' story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on ICV, please visit internationalcruisevictims.org, or contact Ken Carver at (602) 989-6752 or Jaime Barnett at (818) 355-6462.
About the International Cruise Victims Association
The International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) represents victims of crime on cruise ships, their families and friends, and individuals concerned about the problems of victimization and disappearances on cruise ships. With several hundred members, the organization advocates for legislative reform to protect passengers from crimes and increase the rights of victims of crimes that do occur on cruise ships, and provides support to victims of crimes occurring on cruise ships. The goal of the organization is to contribute to growing a cruise industry where passengers and crew members are safe and secure from victimization while on board a cruise ship.
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SOURCE International Cruise Victims Association