Russian Roulette: Did Carnival Sail Knowing that the Triumph was Unseaworthy?

Carnival Triumph Cruise ShipReeling from a CNN special report indicating that it delayed maintaining the diesel engines and fuel lines in the Triumph and other cruise ships, Carnival was hit last night with an article published by the Associated Press stating that the cruise line knew that the Triumph was a fire trap but it took chances with its passengers' lives.

In the article titled Suit: Fire Risk Known Before Carnival Ship Sailed, the AP cited deposition testimony from the Triumph's captain admitting that Carnival had known about the fuel leak problem since March of 2012, a year before the fire. The captain stated that spray guards, a makeshift measure to deal with leaky fuel lines, were partially installed on the cruise ship but not on the engine which caught fire.

The CNN program and the AP article paint a grim image of a ship with a neglected engine room, in violation of the International Maritime Organization's Safety of Life at Sea recommendations, which was ready to ignite with 4,000 souls aboard.

According to the AP, Houston lawyer Frank Spagnoletti characterized Carnival as reckless: "It was unbelievable to me that you would take 4,000 people and put them in a situation of basically Russian roulette. Basically every time that vessel went out they never knew whether they were going to have a fire or not."

Responding to these allegations yesterday, Carnival played dumb and denied everything. The AP quoted Carnival saying: "The leak in the flexible fuel hose was a completely unexpected accident that took place. What ignited the fuel is unknown." Carnival called the spray guards a "best practice."

Carnival may be trying to distance itself from the negative press surrounding the Triumph debacle (and the Concordia disaster before that), but denials and flimsy excuses like these demonstrate that the cruise line's reputation seems as poorly maintained as its cruise ships.

 

See photos of the Triumph inspection reports and disabled ship here.

Phto Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

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Where is the USCG? - December 18, 2013 1:17 PM

Where is the USCG in all of this mess? Surely they had knowledge of the 9 previous fuel leaks and the best practice recommendation put forth by carnival? I thought the USCG was supposed to function as 'Big Brother' with some over sight?

I wouldn't rely on any audits (HESS, DNV, etc.) paid for by Carnival. It's been my experience these 'independent' auditors are in the pockets of the cruise line. They pick small items for their reports to say they've done the job but in reality they miss the bigger items that have any real ramifications. It's much easier to and cheaper to write a company up for failing to train workers to put a label on a chemical then it is to write a company up for failing to perform the needed maintenance. They don't want to write the cruise lines up for failed maintenance because then the cruise lines get upset with them.

A great investigative news story would be looking into the auditing agencies that continually audited Carnival (and other cruise lines who follow the same failed maintenance practices) and failed to ever mention the lack of needed maintenance.

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