There was a fire recently on board The Grandeur of the Seas a cruise ship run by Royal Caribbean Cruises who are based in US.
Caribbean Cruises are one of the largest cruise line operators.
This is the second fire on board a cruise ship that we know about this year. There was a fire on The Carnival Triumph, a Carnival Corporation vessel in February this year which again, and fortunately, was brought under control relatively quickly but not without huge inconvenience to passengers and crew who had to make do with days of very poor sanitation indeed.
A fire on board ship is no fun. Apart from the obvious risk it is not always easy to bring under control and there is always the major risk of the engines being disabled which in itself, is a major problem. Without power the ship cannot be properly steered and the vessel therefore runs the risk of running aground.
From the passengers’ perspective, save for the vessel sinking, there is not much worse that can happen on your cruise holiday.
I have a claim for an engineer who was faced with a fire in the ships engine room. The risks to him were immense and likewise, a passenger faced with a fire on a cruise ship is likely to experience extreme panic amongst fellow passengers.
I am not surprised that passengers on board The Carnival Triumph considered bringing legal action after the accident which must have been particularly unpleasant.
I would anticipate that passengers on board The Grandeur of the Seas will also contemplate bringing a claim for compensation.
Essentially, any cruise operator has to appreciate that if incidents occur, be it a fire on board ship or a outbreak of Food Poisoning, they will have to face the consequences.
Damages or compensation which is payable in such circumstances, is limited by what is known as the London Convention. It should not be in my view.
It was reported that one of the passengers had said the vessel had been ‘patched up’. In my opinion if this is the case it is tantamount to reckless behaviour where the consequences are obvious and if proven, where damages are not limited. I think it is time to call for an amendment to the law to enable more damages to those who have suffered and ensure that operators are brought to full account.
By Personal Injury Solicitor Tristan Hallam.