Carnival Splendor's Nightmare Journey Should Raise Alert for the Cruise Ship Industry, Houston Maritime Attorneys Say

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Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin of Houston's Arnold & Itkin LLP say the recent fire and stranding of a Carnival cruise line ship raises industry-wide questions about ensuring safety.

Kurt Arnold

When a ship of this type can become essentially disabled like that, it should raise an alarm throughout the cruise industry.

Houston maritime attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin say the recent misadventure of the Carnival Splendor should raise concern throughout the commercial liner industry about the ability to maintain safety for passengers and crew members aboard such mammoth cruise ships.

A fire aboard the cruise liner on November 8 left it with limited power and no propulsion system for several days before it was towed back to San Diego Bay on November 11. According to the New York Times, nobody was hurt as the result of the fire, and only one passenger was taken from the ship in an ambulance for unrelated matters.

“First, there was a fire aboard what is supposedly a state-of-the-art cruise ship, and then for several days afterwards, the ship rolled with the waves,” says Arnold, a founding partner of the Houston maritime law firm, Arnold & Itkin LLP. “When a ship of this type can become essentially disabled like that, it should raise an alarm throughout the cruise industry.”

The ship left from Long Beach, Calif., on November 7, carrying the promise of seven days of fun and sun on the Mexican Riviera. Less than 12 hours into the cruise, however, a fire believed to have been caused by a split crankcase broke out in the ship’s aft engine room and burned for about three hours before being put out.

The ship drifted for the next few days with only limited power. Even though passengers had fresh water and plumbing, there was not enough power to provide air-conditioning, allow use of the swimming pools or permit crew members to prepare meals. Those aboard the ship survived on dry foods that had been delivered.

The New York Times reports that the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the fire that triggered the incident.

“Although there have been no reports of serious injuries, this incident carried the potential of being a terrible tragedy,” says Itkin, also a founding partner of the law firm. “This investigation should reveal whether this ship had been properly maintained and whether it had proper safety procedures in place.”

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The maritime accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements in favor of maritime workers. The law firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits offshore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Arnold & Itkin LLP handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or through its website.

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