By now, you’ve surely heard of the disaster on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship. In February 2013 and the following months, the ill-fated voyage was all over the news.
While the ship was at sea, a fire broke out in the engine room, causing the ship to lose power. Though there were some emergency generators, the ship was left to drift for 150 miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire; however, passengers and crew on the ship were forced to endure days of allegedly unsanitary conditions.
In an interview with CNN, one of the passengers described the situation aboard: “Just on our deck alone, there were biohazard bags lined up across the floor. We’re talking about raw sewage at just the end of our deck alone. It was repulsive.”
Passengers and crewmembers were left without food, clean water, lighting, and working toilets until supplies were transferred from nearby seafaring cruise ships. After several days, Triumph was finally towed into a port in Mobile, Alabama.
Understandably, passengers (and the public at large) were outraged by the incident. Many of the passengers have filed a lawsuit against Carnival for the emotional distress and resulting personal injuries from the cruise.
Carnival has been so far successful at resolving the claims without going to trial. However, CNN reports that company documents, which recently came to light, have shown that the cruise knew that Triumph had maintenance problems a year before the February voyage.
An attorney for several dozen of the passengers, Frank Spagnoletti, said, “That ship never should have set sail in February… These documents tell you that the company…had knowledge of the fact that this vessel had a propensity for fires; that there were things that could have been, should have been, and weren’t done in order to make sure that fires didn’t take place.”
According to the documents, one of the ship’s generators was overdue for maintenance. In addition, the company’s ships had a dangerous pattern of leakage from fuel lines, which can ignite when spilled onto a hot surface. Carnival issued an order in January to have ships install a spray shield for the fuel lines. But the order gave the ships two months to comply, and it was just a month later that Triumph set sail to disastrous results.
Unfortunately, this seems to be another case of a company putting profits ahead of safety. In fact, according to its court filing, the “ticket contract makes absolutely no guarantee for safe passage, a seaworthy vessel, adequate and wholesome food, and sanitary and safe living conditions.”
Most cruises are perfectly safe. Still, this kind of makes you want to rethink a cruise as your next vacation, doesn’t it?