The hearts of US attorneys in this cold winter must be hugely warmed when they learned that more than 3000 former passengers of the cruise ship Carnival Triumph are bringing class actions against the company, clearly believing the levels of compensation so far offered for their Gulf of Mexico ordeal are inadequate

It probably was not a cruise to remember with any fondness, but one tends to think that the level of suffering might have been somewhat over-egged.

It has been a matter of some argument with my wife, who tends to take the passengers’ side when I rail against their lack of stoicism and the disappearance in the US of the sort of muscular toughness which was evident as their ancestors crossed storm racked oceans, tamed virgin lands and subdued the Wild West.

I try and remind her about family holidays (usually the ones I arranged) where the location was dire, the hotel or rented cottage awful and we fell on our knees to kiss our own front doorstep upon our return, we were that happy to be home. “We never thought of suing anyone” – I pointed out, deploring all these hysterical scenes on the Mobile quayside.

My wife would, by contrast, have been commissioning QCs. These days, she does the arranging.

I reminded her that all good ships in my experience smell ever so slightly of drains and diesel oil, part of the ambience of a sea voyage, but I think at that stage she had left the room.

Had she remained I might have pointed out some of the positives of the cruise ship passengers’ oceanic ordeal , like actually having a cruise to remember (albeit with rage and disappointment) rather than the mundane experience, indistinguishable from any other cruise which would be the normal fare had the voyage proceeded as planned.

Think of the camaraderie of a shared ordeal, the new friends they might not otherwise have made.

Instead of their neighbours shrinking away at their invitation to share their holiday snaps, they would be able to dine out for months, suitably exaggerating their experiences aboard the fire-damaged vessel to awe-struck fellow diners.

And they have been offered compensation and promises of further cruises in rather more sanitary conditions! For goodness sake… what more do they want?

Anyway, all that is for the delighted lawyers. Maybe a more pertinent question is why, aboard a very large, modern cruise ship, there is not a greater level of technical resilience, that will keep the ship’s services running and even offer a bit of “get you home” propulsive power, after such an accident. But that’s for the USCG and the NTSB to sort out

Author: Michael Grey                                     Source: