This week the Associated Press reported that Carnival Cruise Lines filed documents in response to a lawsuit in a Miami, FL, federal court. The news organization said those documents reveal the cruise line knew about the risk of leaks from engine fuel hoses prior to the Carnival Triumph's fire at sea in early 2013.
The Associated Press also says the documents reveal the line had itself recommended precautions for the ship, which caught fire a month later. The fire on Carnival Triumph led to a multi-day ordeal for passengers as the ship was slowly towed in the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Mobile, Alabama.
RELATED: Agency Groups and Agents Sound Off About Carnival Triumph
Intense media coverage resulted as guests barraged the media with complaints about a lack of hot food, air conditioning and working toilets (for a time). All guests and crew, however, were safe and disembarked at Mobile.
Houston attorney Frank Spagnoletti, who represents some of the passengers, told the Associated Press that Carnival was negligent in maintaining the ship and allowing it to sail because it knew there was a risk of fire.
Agents might read the Associated Press story in the Houston Chronicle here: http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Suit-Fire-risk-known-before-Carnival-ship-sailed-5073399.php.
But not everyone agrees with the information above; Carnival disagrees and put out this statement:
"While this was a difficult situation for our guests and crew, this is a frivolous lawsuit by any measure. The lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to craft a story that is unsupported by the facts and evidence.
"The fire was caused by a leak in one of the flexible fuel hoses, which had been replaced only six months earlier. In fact, the Carnival Triumph’s engines and equipment were in full compliance with all regulatory requirements."
"As an example, the Carnival Triumph’s engines were fully compliant with SOLAS regulations and they were hot-spot free during thermographic testing that was conducted a week before the incident.
"In addition, the Carnival Triumph’s engines and power plant were regularly inspected by multiple authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard a few days prior to the incident which found the ship to be in full compliance with regulations and cleared the vessel to sail."
The line's statement also said its maintenance practices meet and often exceed regulatory requirements.
"Additionally Carnival has introduced several safety-related measures that are above and beyond regulatory requirements, including frequent thermographic testing, inspection and replacement of flexible fuel hoses," the statement said. "The accident in this situation was just that – an accident. To claim otherwise is simply unfounded and inconsistent with the facts."
The line also said it had recently taken fleetwide steps to further improve our operations, create even greater redundancies and enhance guest comfort.
The statement added: "The safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority and throughout our 41-year history, Carnival has maintained an exemplary safety record while carrying more than 60 million guests."