Passengers sue Carnival for disabled cruise ship

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“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 lawsuit continues. “A cruise in mid-January 2013 on the Triumph was affected by propulsions issues and on January 28, 2013, there was an incident which resulted in damage to the Triumph’s ship’s propulsion system and generators. Notwithstanding said issues, Carnival knowingly decided to embark on the subject voyage.” 

Despite the lack of life-threatening injuries, the lawsuit claims the Triumph’s passengers suffered “both physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, temporary and/or permanent physical disability, impairment, inconvenience in the normal pursuits and pleasures of life, feelings of economic insecurity, disfigurement [and] aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom.”

Triumph passengers also “incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of their injuries including life care, suffered physical handicap, lost wages, income lost in the past, and their working ability and earning capacity has been impaired," the lawsuit continues.

Passengers on board the Triumph complained to media outlets of squalid conditions on the ship, which they attributed to bathrooms malfunctioning and food spoiling without refrigeration.

The lawsuit says they should be receive compensation for their experience onboard the Triumph.

“The injuries and damages are permanent or continuing in nature, and plaintiffs will suffer the losses and impairments in the future," the lawsuit claims. "Further, Plaintiffs lost the value of their vacation cruise for which he incurred expenses, including, but not limited to the cost of the cruise ticket for himself and others as well as transportation costs."

Carnival offered to refund passengers for their Triumph ticket purchases and offered them vouchers for future cruises with the company.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the nearly 4,000 passengers who were stuck on the ship, which was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico from Feb. 10 until it was towed to Mobile, Ala., on Feb. 14.

Carnival attributed the debilitation of the Triumph to a fire in the ship's engine room.

The company said in a post on its Facebook page last week that the fire was "contained to the aft engine room" and quickly extinguished.

Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill boarded the Triumph when it was being evacuated at the Mobile port to apologize to passengers.

"I want to again apologize to our guests and their friends and family," Cahill said in a news conference after the ship arrived in Mobile. "The situation has been incredibly difficult and we're sorry for what happened. Our company was founded on the idea of providing great vacations to fun-loving Americans and clearly we failed on this cruise."

The company has not commented publicly on the lawsuit.

The Triumph was carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members when it lost power. No injuries were reported.

At least one lawmaker, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), has called for an investigation into the incident.

Matsui sponsored a bill that was passed by lawmakers in 2010 to improve the safety of passengers on board cruise ships. The measure, known as the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, did not address the liability of cruise ship operators for accidents and delays.