The long tortuous tow back to Mobile ended last night with smiles of relief on the faces of the over-3,000-passengers as they straggled off the stinking stricken Triumph. It was a happy sight to me. Yes, there were people still upset, understandably so, but the sentiment seems to be that they had all encountered a surreal experienced and had survived.
Cruise ship fires do not always turn out this well. I have represented clients who waved goodbye to their loved one as they boarded a cruise ship only to return in a body bag.
Yesterday I was asked a dozen times during interviews about the rights of passengers when things like this happen on the high seas.
The cruise lines have drafted terms and conditions in the cruise passenger tickets (considered by the courts to be the legal, binding contract) to protect themselves in virtually every imaginable circumstance. Unless a passenger is physically injured or become physically ill (say due to the unsanitary conditions of sewage on the ship), they have virtually no rights at all.
The good news is that It appears that there were no injuries due to the fire. There very well may be no serious medical illnesses notwithstanding the seriously disgusting circumstances aboard the ship.
Photo credit: Getty Images / NY Daily News