(NEW YORK) — The first lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines has been filed and is expected to be the beginning of a wave of lawsuits against the ship’s owners.
Cassie Terry, 25, of Brazoria County, Texas, filed a lawsuit Friday in Miami federal court, calling the disabled Triumph cruise ship “a floating hell.”
“Plaintiff was forced to endure unbearable and horrendous odors on the filthy and disabled vessel, and wade through human feces in order to reach food lines where the wait was counted in hours, only to receive rations of spoiled food,” according to the lawsuit, obtained by ABC News. “Plaintiff was forced to subsist for days in a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell.”
The filing also said that during the “horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States,” the ship tilted several times “causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel’s floors and halls, and drip down the vessel’s walls.”
Terry is suing for breach of maritime contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud as a result of the “unseaworthy, unsafe, unsanitary, and generally despicable conditions” on the crippled cruise ship.
“Plaintiff feared for her life and safety, under constant threat of contracting serious illness by the raw sewage filling the vessel, and suffering actual or some bodily injury,” the lawsuit says.
Despite having their feet back on solid ground and making their way home, many passengers from the cruise ship are still fuming over their five days of squalor on the stricken ship and the cruise ship company is likely to be hit with a wave of lawsuits.
The more than 4,000 passengers and crew began to disembark from the damaged ship around 10:15 p.m. CT Thursday in Mobile, Ala., amid cheers and tears. The last passenger left the ship at 1 a.m. CT, according to Carnival’s Twitter handle.
The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, last Thursday and lost power Sunday.
After power went out, passengers texted ABC News that sewage was seeping down the walls from burst plumbing pipes, carpets were wet with urine, and food was in short supply. Reports surfaced of elderly passengers running out of critical heart medicine and others on board squabbling over scarce food.
No one was hurt in the fire that triggered the power outage, but many passengers aboard the 900-foot colossus said they smelled smoke and were living in fear.
Carnival’s original plan was to tow the damaged ship to Progreso, Mexico, because it was the closest port, but by the time tugboats arrived, the ship had drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents, putting it nearly equidistant to Mobile, Ala.
Carnival added that it has canceled a dozen planned voyages for the Triumph and acknowledged that the crippled ship had been plagued by other mechanical problems in the weeks before an engine-room fire left it powerless in the Gulf of Mexico.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News