Is a Cargo Ship a Safe Option For My Trip Abroad?

These days, many ambitious travelers choose to sail around the world in a different kind of ship: a working cargo ship laden with thousands of containers, stacked like building blocks on the deck.

Cargo ships that allow passengers limit the number to 12 or fewer. This is because having more requires a shipboard physician. In other words, be healthy if you want to travel on a containership, because you are on your own!

Unlike a cruise, there are no casinos, hot tubs or formal dinners on a containership. Passengers wear jeans and t-shirts, eat their meals in the mess with the crew and bring along a deck of cards or a stack of books to keep themselves occupied—and freighter trips can last a month or more.

Photo of a cargo shipIt is important to know that travel insurance is compulsory for all containership passengers, along with something called deviation insurance, unique to this method of travel. It does not cover the passenger, but the ship itself, in case it is forced to change its course for a passenger’s needs.

Remember that freight ships answer to cargo, not passengers, so there could be unexpected stops along the way, or ports skipped entirely. Similarly, a departure date or location might be changed at the last minute. Be flexible!

Most importantly, though, containerships are working vessels. Safety should be your number one concern. With no doctor on board, any illness or injury you may have becomes much more difficult, and a working cargo ship can be an extremely unsafe environment.

I Was Hurt While Traveling on a Cargo Ship

If you are considering traveling in this new and exciting way, take the time to investigate the shipping company with which you intend to travel. Make sure its safety records are transparent and positive. Containership owners have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment, particularly if they are taking on paying passengers.

An unsafe shipboard environment can result in serious injuries. If you or a family member have been injured while traveling on a cargo ship, an experienced maritime attorney can help you deal with the complicated fallout. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys

Did You Know?  Fewer than 900 people traveled by cargo ship in all of 2013. Some major cruise lines carry up to 5,000 people on a single voyage!