“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.
“The decision was taken not out of safety, but deliberately to save the cost of a claim for salvage, which may have, (given the factors in maritime law) amounted to $50 million to $100 million,” the suit says.
“Instead, Defendant Carnival Corporation chose to put the Plaintiff and other passengers on the ‘voyage of the damned’ for days without proper food or sanitation, all for the sake not of human life and well being, but corporate profit,” wrote Pearland, Texas, lawyer Marcus Spagnoletti, in his complaint.
The complaint says that Ms. Terry “feared for her life and safety, under constant threat of contracting serious illness by the raw sewage filling the vessel.”