A recent news article revealed the findings made in an internal Carnival Cruise Lines report. This report includes maintenance and inspection records that show the company knew of persisting problems onboard the ship more than a year prior to the ill-fated Carnival Triumph voyage, infamously known as the "poop cruise". Only four of six generators were fully operational, and several ships, including the Triumph, had continuous generator fire hazards. Maintenance reports often reflected that the generators were overdue for maintenance and not in-line with the regulations in SOLAS, or safety laws of the sea. Several of the ships had issues with fuel line leaks, with 9 incidents onboard ships relating to these leaks in two years.
After an internal study at the beginning of this year, a policy was enacted to protect the flanges and hoses, but the Triumph did not have this shield prior to the voyage in February. Without this protection, fuel sprayed from the flexible fuel line and caused the generator fire. The cruise line argued that they were in total compliance with the rules and regulations, including a certification to sail from the U.S. Coast Guard and Lloyd's insurance. Carnival has also claimed in its court filings that their ticket contract did not guarantee safe passage, a seaworthy vessel, adequate and wholesome food, and sanitary and safe living conditions.
For a long time cruise lines have attempted to limit their liability, and this newly released report shows that Carnival has withheld important information from consumers. As a passenger on a cruise ship it is important to know your rights under maritime law. Some important things to keep in mind include the cruise line's obligation to keep their passengers safe, the ticket contract you sign prior to sailing, and the limits maritime law places on these types of contracts. Maritime law has long held that vessel owners are responsible for providing seaworthy vessels and reasonable care under the circumstances. When the failure to uphold these responsibilities result in injuries among the passengers of the vessel, then the vessel owner may be held liable for damages, or costs incurred, to make the injured party "whole", or as they were before the injury occurred.
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585 (1990) specifically held that a cruise line cannot completely insulate themselves from liability through their agreement found on the back of the ticket. The Court in that case ultimately held that certain restrictions, specifically the ability to limit jurisdiction, were valid. Passengers should also be aware that several cruise lines also limit the time to file or give notice of a claim, so immediate action is often necessary if you or a loved one were injured and need legal relief.
The Washington cruise ship accident lawyers Gordon Webb and John Merriam are aggressive maritime and admiralty law attorneys who will tirelessly work to provide you with the compensation you deserve. They understand the ways cruise ship companies try to limit their liability and know that quick investigation and action is necessary to provide the best proof for your case. If you have been injured while onboard a cruise ship, contact us at one of offices for a free, confidential consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Cruise Ship Passenger Missing At Sea, Presumed Dead, Maritime Lawyer Blog, November 25, 2013
Cruise Ship Safety Concerns Increase As Ship Sizes Continue To Grow, Maritime Lawyer Blog, October 29, 2013
Recent Drowning On Carnival Cruise Ship Raises Questions Of Cruise Line Liability Under Maritime Law, Maritime Lawyer Blog, October 22, 2013