More Harassing the Cruise industry
Written by: Paul Motter
Carnival Triumph was seized by order of a federal magistrate on Saturday citing a lawsuit filed by the family of Siglinde Stumpf, a German tourist who died aboard the Costa Concordia in January when the ship ran aground in Italy.
The order was signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner of Galveston who wrote “The court finds that the conditions for an attachment of defendants’ joint and collective property within this district, mainly the MS Carnival Triumph, appear to exist upon an admiralty and maritime claim,” in the warrant.
The ship will be allowed to load and unload passengers and cargo and move between berths within the port until a “prompt hearing” can be scheduled, at which “the plaintiff shall be required to show why the attachment and garnishment should not be vacated,” according to the order. It is scheduled to sail today for a five-day cruise to Yucatan and Cozumel.
Oddly, the ship is being seized while the plaintiff (the person asking for the ship to be seized) has to show why the attachment and garnishment should not be vacated,” in a court hearing.
Meanwhile – the bond for the ship is $10-million, which it appears Carnival is putting together today and expects to have ready by the time the ship due to set sail for its next cruise.
The attorney for the Stumpf family, John Eaves Jr., a Jackson, Mississippi-based lawyer, said that although the Triumph “is currently seized” and must remain in port until the magistrate issues an order releasing the ship, “If Carnival posts a $10 million security bond, then everything can be done by agreement on the phone today.”
Eaves says he is part of an international consumer movement lobbying for increased oversight and safety standards in the global cruise industry. A more accurate way to describe him would be another attorney looking for any way possible to harass the cruise industry to force them into higher settlement agreements.
The cruise industry is the safest form of travel by far, with far fewer deaths and injuries per capita, than any other form of travel by far. But a large group of lawyers who have witnessed the boom in the cruise industry in the last 20 years have helped regular citizens create organizations with claims that the cruise industry is unregulated and not trustworthy, despite its exemplary safety record.
For the most part, these people refer to themselves as “cruise victims” regardless of the nature of the incident in which they were involved, the idea being to place the blame for everything that happens during a cruise on the shoulders of the cruise lines operating the vessels.
It is hard to say whether or not this order will stand, but the logic seems very convoluted in the case. The vessel was seized based upon the plaintiff’s complaint. But the judge said it will only remain seized if the plaintiff can show why the order to seize it should not be vacated. If that has not already been shown – why was the vessel seized?
The sad truth appears to be that the cruise industry is being attacked by government – looking for anything it can find to make life difficult for the successful cruise industry, which makes me wonder “what is happening in this nation?”
When companies fail we give them money to bail themselves out – generally with no restrictions on what they can do with that money, and much of it (billions) is now unaccounted for – but when you have a fully independent, successful industry that has never needed a bail out, the government decides to harass them – for being too successful. This is similar to the way Christine Duffy was treated in the recent Senate hearing led by Jay Rockefeller last month.
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Posted: March 31st, 2012 under Paul Motter.