MOBILE, Ala. (CN) – The Carnival cruise ship that caught fire in the Caribbean, stranding 4,200 passengers for a week, broke loose from its moorings during repairs and did $12 million more damage, and killed a man, Carnival Corp. claims in a lawsuit against repair companies.
Two defendants in the federal complaint are the widow of a dock worker who was killed after the Carnival Triumph broke loose during repairs, and another worker who was injured.
The Triumph made world headlines in February as it drifted for eight days without power, its passengers suffering overflowing toilets and lack of food. Tugboats pulled it into Alabama for repairs.
Last week Carnival sued BAE Systems SSY Alabama Property Holdings, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama LLC, Signal Ship Repair LLC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and two people.
Defendant Bernadette W. Johnson is the widow of John “Buster” Johnson, who died after the Triumph broke loose from its mooring. She sued Carnival Corp. on May 29 in Mobile County Court.
Defendant Jason Alexander sued Carnival in the same court on the same day, according to Carnival’s complaint.
On April 3, “The Triumph was undergoing significant repairs and was completely dependant on shore power and other services provided by BAE, as neither the main nor emergency generators on the ship was functional,” Carnival says in its complaint.
“At about 1:30 pm, during a rainstorm, four of the bollards on Pier K to which the mooring lines of the Triumph were tied failed and broke free from the pier, three at the aft end and one at the forward end. This in turn placed increased load on the remaining mooring lines and compromised the integrity of the entire mooring arrangement, causing the Triumph to break free from the pier.”
A bollard is a metal post, to which the mooring lines are attached.
The complaint continues: “As a direct and proximate result of the failure of the BAE bollards, the Triumph began drifting away from the pier. As it pulled away from the pier, the shore supply lines broke, including the power supply, causing a complete blackout onboard. Due to the incomplete status of the repairs at the time of the bollard failures, the Triumph was unable to use its propulsions, thrusters, or other shipboard systems to attempt to control the vessel.
“Before the Triumph could be completely brought under control, it drifted into and across the Mobile River. The starboard side of the Triumph made contact with several structures and vessels, resulting in property damage and personal injury. The Triumph also incurred significant damage as a result of the incident.”
Carnival claims that “the bollards and their fasteners were outdated, severely deteriorated, defective and unsuitable for mooring the Triumph,” and that “prior to the arrival of the Triumph at the BAE shipyard, BAE knew of the inadequate and defective condition of the bollards on Pier K and of the risk of their failure.”
Carnival seeks declaratory judgment that it is not responsible for the damages, and compensatory and punitive damages for negligence and breach of contract.
It claims the runaway ship has cost it more than $12 million.
Carnival is represented by Mary Campbell Broughton, with Fowler Rodriguez, of Mobile.
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