Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Passengers sue Cruise Ship over Apprentice TV Show Stop Over

A group of two dozen cruise ship passengers announced Monday they are filing a lawsuit against a cruise line, saying their lives were put at risk so their ship could get back to Manhattan for the taping of a television show. The $100 million suit against Norwegian Cruise Lines alleges the cruise ship the Norwegian Dawn went straight into a storm in order to get back to the city in time to satisfy a contract with Donald Trump's show “The Apprentice.” The ship left Manhattan on April 10th, headed to the Bahamas. The ship hit bad weather on its way back to the city from Miami on April 16th. Passengers say the boat was hit by a 70-foot wave that shattered windows and flooded cabins. Passengers held a press conference at the South Street Seaport today to detail their experience. "At times I had such anxiety I just wanted to run off the ship and there was nowhere to go,” said passenger Roseann Hughes. “I had to get out of it. It was like your mind was tortured, and you were terrified for 24 to 30 hours." “When that wave hit everyone was screaming, crying, glass was breaking. It was the most horrific thing I ever encountered in my life,” said fellow passenger Sandra Krahling. Attorneys for the passengers say Norwegian Cruise Lines put their clients at risk by heading straight into the rough weather in order to make it back to New York for "The Apprentice" taping. “NCL, as a ship owner, knew the dangers of this situation and deliberately put the lives and safety of over 2,000 passengers at risk,” said attorney Brett Rivkind. “It really sets a bad precedent to allow cruise lines to risk their passenger's lives and put them in danger, what we have coined as a zone of danger, and allow economics to control that situation," said fellow attorney Richard Rinaldo. Several of the passengers involved in the lawsuit, who already say the trip has left them physically and emotionally scarred, claim they are even more aggravated by what they say was the company’s decision to brave the storm in order to make the TV taping. “Trump, and money, and politics, and a freaking show, at the cost of people’s lives?” said Hughes. NY1 has reached out to NCL for a comment on the lawsuit, but have not yet heard back from the company. However, just after the incident, the company said the safety and integrity of the ship was in no way compromised by the rough ride. Attorneys say they are still interviewing more passengers from the ship who may be considering legal action. It will take a couple of months before they get a decision on whether or not their lawsuit will be certified as a class action. The suit is expected to be filed in Florida, where Norwegian Cruise Lines is based.


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