Passengers involved in the Ruby Princess debacle have filed a class action against Princess Cruises, claiming the line breached Australian Consumer Law.
The action was filed by Shine Lawyers last week through the Federal Court on behalf of passengers and their families.
The firm said all 2,700 passengers who disembarked the ship in Circular Quay on 19 March 2020 are eligible to join the class action, as well as relatives who have suffered mentally from the cruise’s aftermath and executors and administrators of deceased passengers’ estates.
Class actions practice leader Vicky Antzoulatos said it is alleged the cruise line broke Australian consumer laws by breaching consumer guarantees and by engaging in conduct that was misleading and deceptive.
It is also alleged the line was negligent and failed in its duty of care to provide passengers with a safe cruise.
“We say the owner and operator knew of the risks that passengers may contract coronavirus before the ship left and they failed to take steps to ensure their passengers were safe and protected,” Antzoulatos said.
“People on board the ship trusted Carnival to do the right thing but they were not told about the risk of coronavirus and some paid the ultimate price for it.
“More than 20 people have died, many remain gravely ill, while others struggle daily with the grief of having lost a loved one or having to care for a very sick relative.”
Class action group member Graeme Lake, whose wife Karla died from coronavirus 10-days after returning home from the cruise, called on Princess Cruises to take responsibility.
“It broke me, it broke the kids, and she didn’t deserve it,” Lake said.
“Karla went on that cruise to celebrate her 75th birthday and what happened to her has destroyed us. I am doing everything I can to get justice.”
Princess Cruises told Travel Weekly that it does not intend to comment on “the assertions of class action lawyers”.
“The NSW Special Commission of Inquiry, in which we are participating, is in the process of establishing the facts in relation to Ruby Princess,” the line said.
At least 22 deaths and hundreds of cases of COVID-19 can be linked to the ship.
A Special Commission of Inquiry into Ruby Princess is expected to deliver its findings next month.
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