Cruise Ship Passengers Claim They Were Injured When Vessel Suddenly Tilted

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Stock image: Three cruise ship passengers are suing Carnival Cruise Line for negligence. Getty Images

Passengers are suing cruise ship firm Carnival Cruise Line for negligence, claiming they were hurt when the vessel titled as it embarked on a journey last year.

A few minutes after the Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Sunshine ship pulled out of Port Canaveral, Brevard County, Florida, on October 28, 2018, it listed for around one minute, The Miami Herald reported.

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In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, passengers Alveta Jordan Armstrong of North Carolina, and Susan and Charles Orgbon of Georgia, claimed they sustained injuries during the incident. Armstrong said she injured her knee, Susan an injury to her spine, and Charles to his wrist, the Herald reported.

A Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson told Newsweek: "We have not seen the lawsuit and have no comment."

The day after the incident, the captain sent passengers onboard a letter of apology. The letter, seen by News 6 WKMG, stated: "Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list." The letter explained "an electrical switchboard malfunction" affected the fin stabilizers, and stressed the equipment is not a safety feature but instead used to "minimize any potential ship motion while at sea."

Suing for negligence, the trio argued crew were not properly instructed on how to maintain the fin stabilizers.

According to the account of fellow passenger David Crews, of Long Island, utensils slid off dining tables, and crockery and glasses smashed as the ship titled. He told News 6: "At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic. I didn't think anything of it, since it's not uncommon for ships to rock back and forth. But it didn't rock back. It kept leaning."

Images that Crews shared with News 6 appeared to show bottles strewn across the ship's gift shop, and piles of broken dinner plates on the floor.

Passengers were given $50 credit to spend onboard, according to the captain's note, and the vessel continued on course for a week-long Caribbean cruise.

The 102,853 ton vessel can hold up to 3,002 passengers, and 1,040 crew, according to the Carnival Cruise website. It features a water park, a number of bars, restaurants, and musical revues. The ships sails to the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Cuba.

A statement released by the the firm last year said: "On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list. There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation.

"Following the incident, evening events resumed for our guests. Carnival Sunshine proceeded on its Caribbean cruise as scheduled. We are very sorry for the disruption this caused. The ship remains fully operational and will sail as scheduled. We remain confident of the safety of the ship as we are committed to the safety of our guests and crew.

This article has been updated with comment from Carnival Cruise Line.