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Carnival Triumph could have made port much sooner, lawsuits allege

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Although many passengers praised the crew for their efforts under grim circumstances, others emerged from the ship harboring a deep sense of injury.

The Miami class-action suit is filed by Matt and Melissa Crusan of Oklahoma and on behalf of all other similarly-situated Triumph passengers.

It says the cruise line allowed a hazardous condition to exist on the ship and that officials “knew or should have known that the vessel Triumph was likely to experience mechanical and/or engine issues because of prior similar issues.”

The suit says that after the fire Carnival officials decided to head to the closest port, Progreso, Mexico, 150 miles away. Later the plan changed and officials decided instead to tow the ship – and its passengers – 500 miles to Mobile.

“This decision was motivated solely by financial gain and Carnival’s convenience,” the suit says. “Were [the disabled ship] to have been towed back to Mexico, Carnival would have needed a second tow back to the United States at significant additional expense.”

Although the cruise left from Galveston, Carnival towed the ship to Mobile, the location of a ship repair facility.

Lawyers say the decision to tow the ship to Alabama rather than a closer port intentionally exposed their clients to “many more days on the vessel than was reasonable and necessary.”

The lawsuit, filed by Miami lawyer Michael Winkleman, charges Carnival with negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks compensatory and unspecified punitive damages.  

A second lawsuit, filed on behalf of passenger Cassie Terry of Texas also charges that Carnival endangered passengers by failing to tow the ship to the nearest port after the fire.

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