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March 15th, 2013
08:22 AM ET

Maritime Lawyer Jack Hickey on Carnival's image after series of maritime troubles

Carnival Cruise Lines faces another public relations problem this morning. The company confirms that yet another one of its ships, the Carnival Legend, is experiencing an engine malfunction and will cut out a stop in Grand Cayman today to return to its scheduled destination in Tampa. That's on top of a separate problem with the Carnival Dream, which got held in port yesterday in Saint Maarten because of a faulty generator. It caused problems with elevators and toilets.

This is all just one month after the Carnival Triumph lost power and had to be towed back to port, with vacationers enduring grueling conditions. A class action lawsuit filed late last month over that incident is still pending. Jack Hickey is maritime lawyer who specializes in cruise line liability. He has spoken out on Carnival Cruise disasters in the past and offers his insight into whether Carnival can recover from this slew of bad press on “Starting Point” live from Miami this morning.

Hickey says recovery of Carnival's image depends on the situation in question. "You have to have negligence,” Hickey explains. “Plus you have to have either physical injury, or an exposure to actual physical injury. So we don't really, with regard to the Dream, it's really not the exposure to the actual physical injury like we saw on the Triumph. He says passengers aboard the Triumph "were exposed to days and days of raw sewage in the hallways, et cetera. Here we have horrible conditions. Here we do have the toilets backing up, once again, but apparently not over the entire ship."

Hickey also notes that Carnival still hasn’t come out and said much about the Triumph. While the industry is resilient, Hickey says the lack of transparency in the industry regarding what’s going wrong is leading to people filing inquiries and “some immediate fallout with regard to Carnival.”

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