They have barely found themselves back on land and a number of lawsuits have already been filed against Carnival Cruise Lines over the disastrous ship Triumph’s trip from hell. An engine room fire on February 10 left the 3,000 passengers with no toilets or air conditioning, little food and fresh water for five days until they were towed back to the Port of Mobile, Alabama.
The passengers remained helpless at sea about 150 miles off the coast of Mexico for five days. It’s still uncertain why the ship remained disabled for so long.
CNN reports a class action lawsuit has already been filed by passengers who say 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 ship’s condition presented a risk of injury, illness and disease, but reportedly there was only one man taken off the ship who had to be treated for dehydration at a Houston hospital. Considering the fact that feces overflowed from toilets onto the ship, there was little or spoiled food to eat and with no air conditioning, passengers had to sleep in public areas, it’s amazing more people were not sickened.
Even though others are likely to join this class action you should know it is very difficult to sue any cruise line. That’s because the small print on the back of your ticket contains your legal obligations and rights with the corporation and Carnival has covered itself for any eventuality including bad weather or mechanical problems.
The mechanical condition of the Triumph before it launched from Galveston, Texas for the four-day cruise to Mexico will be explored. A fire reportedly broke out damaging the propulsion system and generators and knocking out power. The fire started from a leak ignited from a fuel-oil line from one engine.
One of the lawsuits filed in Miami claims the Triumph had mechanical troubles recently so it will be important to determine whether Carnival was negligent in allowing the ship to return to sea so quickly.
Passengers are generally restricted to filing in the Miami jurisdiction under the rules as set out on the back of the ticket. Consumers are reminded to read the fine print which is essentially an iron-clad contract between you and the cruise line.
Usually a judge must decide whether the contract can be waived and a class action can be filed. Otherwise you might have to depend on the cruise line and its willingness to win some public relations good will.