Class-action lawsuit filed against Carnival in Triumph cruise debacle
POSTED: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 6:34pm
CNN — A class action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Corporation surrounding the events that crippled the cruise ship Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico.
Filing on behalf of other passengers, Matt and Melissa Crusan of Oklahoma alleged in their lawsuit that "Carnival knew or should have known that the vessel Triumph was likely to experience mechanical and/or engine issues because of prior similar issues," the court filing said.
The lawsuit alleged that conditions on the ship "created a severe risk of injury, illness and/or disease."
The case was filed this week in U.S. District Court in the southern district of Florida.
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said: "We are unable to comment on pending litigation."
The Triumph experienced propulsion issues on prior voyages in mid-January, and on January 28, "there was an incident which resulted in damage to the Triumph's ... propulsion system and generators," the suit said. "Notwithstanding said issues, Carnival knowingly decided to embark on the subject voyage."
On February 7, the Triumph departed from Galveston, Texas, for planned four-day cruise to Mexico, but on the third day, a fire broke out, bringing the trip to a halt.
The vessel was carrying more than 4,200 people, including 3,100 passengers, and conditions became unsanitary as human waste overflowed into public spaces on the ship.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said the fire started with a leak in a fuel-oil return line running from one of the ship's engines. When the leaking oil hit a hot surface, the fire ignited. The Coast Guard is continuing its investigation into why the ship was disabled for so long.
The fire started about dawn February 10. Tug boats pulled the disabled ship to safe harbor in Mobile, Alabama, late on February 14. The debarkation process lasted until February 15.
"From February 10, 2013, until February 15, 2013, Plaintiffs and all other similarly situated passengers were harmed and/or injured as a result of the engine room fire by way of being stranded at sea without necessary services and supplies," the lawsuit said.
Passengers slept on deck or in other public areas and used buckets, bags, showers and sinks to relieve themselves of waste, the suit said.
They were given "spoiled and rotting food" to eat, the lawsuit said.
"Due to the lack of working plumbing and sanitation systems on the vessel, sewage and/or putrid water filled with urine and feces leaked onto floors, walls, and ceilings. This sewage and/or human waste sloshed around the vessel as the vessel listed while drifting and/or while under tow," the suit said.