Skip to main content

Class-action lawsuit filed against Carnival Corp. in Triumph cruise

By Michael Martinez and Devon Sayers, CNN
February 21, 2013 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
  • NEW: "Sewage and/or human waste sloshed around the vessel," suit says
  • Class-action lawsuit alleges Carnival should have known "mechanical and/or engine issues"
  • Conditions created "a severe risk of injury, illness and/or disease," suit alleges

(CNN) -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Corporation surrounding the events that crippled the cruise ship Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico.

Filing on behalf of other passengers, Matt and Melissa Crusan of Oklahoma alleged in their lawsuit 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 court filing said.

The lawsuit alleged that conditions on the ship "created a severe risk of injury, illness and/or disease."

The case was filed this week in U.S. District Court in the southern district of Florida.

Passengers file suit against Carnival
Fuel leak sparked cruise ship fire
Conan: Insult comic dog suing Carnival

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said: "We are unable to comment on pending litigation."

Coast Guard: Cruise ship fire started with leaking fuel-oil line

The Triumph experienced propulsion issues on prior voyages in mid-January, and on January 28, "there was an incident which resulted in damage to the Triumph's ... propulsion system and generators," the suit said. "Notwithstanding said issues, Carnival knowingly decided to embark on the subject voyage."

On February 7, the Triumph departed from Galveston, Texas, for planned four-day cruise to Mexico, but on the third day, a fire broke out, bringing the trip to a halt.

The vessel was carrying more than 4,200 people, including 3,100 passengers, and conditions became unsanitary as human waste overflowed into public spaces on the ship.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said the fire started with a leak in a fuel-oil return line running from one of the ship's engines. When the leaking oil hit a hot surface, the fire ignited. The Coast Guard is continuing its investigation into why the ship was disabled for so long.

The fire started about dawn February 10. Tug boats pulled the disabled ship to safe harbor in Mobile, Alabama, late on February 14. The debarkation process lasted until February 15.

Lawsuit filed over 'floating hell' cruise

"From February 10, 2013, until February 15, 2013, Plaintiffs and all other similarly situated passengers were harmed and/or injured as a result of the engine room fire by way of being stranded at sea without necessary services and supplies," the lawsuit said.

Passengers slept on deck or in other public areas and used buckets, bags, showers and sinks to relieve themselves of waste, the suit said.

They were given "spoiled and rotting food" to eat, the lawsuit said.

"Due to the lack of working plumbing and sanitation systems on the vessel, sewage and/or putrid water filled with urine and feces leaked onto floors, walls, and ceilings. This sewage and/or human waste sloshed around the vessel as the vessel listed while drifting and/or while under tow," the suit said.

Cruising into court after a bad cruise

Part of complete coverage on
Carnival cruise ship problems
March 16, 2013 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
First, it was Triumph. Then, Elation. Then, Dream. And now, Legend.
March 18, 2013 -- Updated 1217 GMT (2017 HKT)
Jebb Graff isn't turned off -- yet -- by Carnival Cruise Lines' recent troubles.
March 16, 2013 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
Within the span of a month, four Carnival ships have reported problems.
March 15, 2013 -- Updated 0022 GMT (0822 HKT)
Carnival will fly all passengers on the Carnival Dream back to Florida after the ship suffered a generator failure while docked in the Caribbean.
February 18, 2013 -- Updated 0210 GMT (1010 HKT)
The crew aboard Carnival Triumph didn't hesitate when a fire broke out and power was lost, an emergency that turned the cruise liner into a bobbing Porta-Potty.
February 16, 2013 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
"A floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell." That was how a Texas woman described the Triumph in a lawsuit filed Friday against Carnival Cruise Lines.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1646 GMT (0046 HKT)
Click through our gallery to see the docking of the Carnival Triumph.
February 16, 2013 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Before the thousands of passengers and crew of the snakebit Carnival Triumph debarked Friday, an investigation into what went wrong had already begun.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Parisa Safarzadeh shares her account of the hellish trip on the Carnival Triumph.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Brianna Adkins stepped off the Carnival Triumph early Friday and into the arms of her anxious parents.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
CNN's Erin Burnett takes a look at the events in the Carnival cruise ship Triumph's attempts to return to port.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
It was Sunday that a fire broke out in the engine room on the Carnival Triumph, leaving it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.
February 14, 2013 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
Passengers aboard the cruise ship Triumph spell out "help" with their bodies.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
The last few years have seen a rash of engine fires aboard cruise ships -- many of which have led to an almost total loss of electrical power.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 2218 GMT (0618 HKT)
As three tugboats towed the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph back to port in Mobile, Alabama, things went from bad to worse.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
People on ship and shore take to social media to complain.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Days of sipping umbrella drinks have given way to the stench of backed-up sewage, stuffy cabins without power and limited food. The Carnival Triumph engine fire shows that the best-laid cruise plans can veer terribly off course.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Some passengers may be in the mood to sue over their Carnival cruise experience.
February 14, 2013 -- Updated 2021 GMT (0421 HKT)
A lot goes on behind the scenes and below decks, and the industry would rather you not know about it.