Hailsham holidaymaker in class action against cruise liner company

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A HAILSHAM holiday maker is among 134 claimants in a massive High Court action against cruise giants, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines which could potentially cost the company millions of pounds in compensation.

In a joint writ issued at London’s High Court and just made publicly available, the claimants alleged they picked up the deadly sickness bug, norovirus.

The test case for which no court date has yet been fixed is potentially worth easily in excess of £1 million and could run to much more.

One claim is by a woman who says her husband died as a result.

The other claimants allege they were victims during nine outbreaks of norovirus on the 880 passenger luxury cruise liner Boudicca between October 2009 and April 2010.

Cruises can cost over £10,000 on the liner.

They claim to have suffered a variety of symptoms which include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, wind, lethargy, fever, faecal incontinence, weight loss, and bloating.

Some passengers claim they still suffer from post infective irritable bowel syndrome.

The writ accuses the cruise line of putting profits before the health and safety of its passengers.

It says the company acted with view to commercial gain rather than safeguarding the safety and well being of the passengers.

The Hailsham claimant is Betty Muriel Bachelor from Battle Road, Hailsham.

The writ claims the company failed to warn passengers before or during their stay of a norovirus outbreak and allowed them to stay on board knowing they were at risk of contracting the virus.

It alleges that the company failed to provide specialist training to cleaning staff, failed to clean all infected rooms and communal areas enough, including TV remotes, and door handles, failed to clear public areas, failed to disinfect all public areas with virus-killing disinfectant, and failed to isolate infected guests from new guests, the writ says.

And it claims that there was a failure to deep clean the ship properly between voyages, with the result that the virus remained present,

It also alleges that the company failed to cancel the holidays or provide an alternative ship.

Food and drink is said to have been unfit for consumption and unhygienic leading to passengers becoming ill.

Staff are said to have failed to thoroughly wash, cook and heat food and to have failed to ensure cold food was properly refrigerated, that the buffet was covered.

It alleges that instead food was served undercooked and also reheated.

In addition to the physical symptoms suffered by passengers the writ says they also suffered distress and anxiety for themselves, and from watching each other fall ill, and lost the enjoyment of their holidays, which were of little or no benefit to them.