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Carnival Cruise Stranded At Sea: Were Deplorable Conditions Preventable and Foreseeable?

The Carnival Triumph was stranded at sea for four days following an apparent engine room fire. Following the fire, cruise ship passengers complained of deplorable and deteriorating conditions on the ship. The horrible conditions, I believe, were both preventable and foreseeable.

I was the Carnival cruise attorney who handled the case on behalf of a passenger injured when she slipped and fell in a dimly lit hallway while the Carnival Splendor was “dead in the water” as a result of an engine room fire. The vast news coverage of the Carnival Triumph brings back deja vu with nearly identical passenger complaints and nearly identical press statements from Carnival.

On November 8, 2010, the Carnival Splendor lost all power after experiencing an engine room fire while still at sea. During the next couple of days following the fire, there were no elevators, no lights, no power, no air conditioning, no phones, no hot food, no hot drinks, no propulsion of the ship, and no flushing toilets. Defendant admitted there was no doubt the living conditions aboard the Carnival Splendor were challenging. Defendant’s president and CEO Gerry Cahill said, “Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring.” He also said, “We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience.”

It is a settled principle of maritime law that a ship owner owes the duty of exercising reasonable care under the circumstances towards those lawfully aboard the vessel who are not members of the crew. Carnival Corporation knew from the Carnival Splendor incident that engine room fires were possible, and that deplorable conditions were possible following the fire.

From witness and media reports, it appears that Carnival Cruise Lines did not learn from the errors on the Carnival Splendor. They should have had back up generators. They should have had adequate food supplies. They should have had adequate waste disposal. They should have had adequate resources for hygiene, including working bathrooms, showers and sinks.

The passengers who suffered on the Carnival Triumph did not have to endure such vile conditions. Carnival Corporation has had more than two years to come up with a safety backup plan in the event of an engine room fire. They failed to do so. They knew this type of incident could occur, yet failed to take adequate precautions to look out for the safety of the public and their passengers. Was it willful? Wanton? Was there a complete disregard for the safety and health of their passengers?

If you were a passenger on the Carnival Triumph, you may have a claim for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, value of your cruise, emotional damages, and property damage.

Carnival Triumph passengers may only have 1 year to bring a claim Passengers of the Carnival Triumph need to carefully examine their cruise documents. Generally, Carnival Cruise passengers are limited to 6 months to put the cruise line on notice of their intent to make a claim for damages. Under the Carnival Passenger Contract, passengers generally have only 1 year to file a lawsuit against them. Their contracts usually contain a Forum Selection Clause which requires the lawsuit to be filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, under maritime jurisdiction. Failure to comply may result in the entire lawsuit being thrown out.

Several media outlets have already reported on the Carnival Triumph disaster, including Fox News, New York Times, ABC News, and others.

If you or a loved one was a passenger on the Carnival Triumph and want to speak with a Cruise Injury Attorney, feel free to contact us for a free consultation or to learn more about your rights. You can reach us at (888) 99-VICTIM or submit your question online. Fore more information in filing a cruise lawsuit, visit our Cruise Frequently Asked Questions.

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