Earlier this week, a national morning show covered an overboard incident that occurred on a Carnival ship in 2012 that has now led to a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines.
According to the show’s report, Sarah Kirby sailed on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Destiny during a 5 night Caribbean sailing in October 2012. One night of the cruise, Kirby claims Carnival’s bar staff encouraged her to become extremely intoxicated in exchange for casino credits. Kirby then alleges she returned to her stateroom, walked out onto the balcony, leaned over the side of her balcony railing to see the side of the ship, and fell over the side. Kirby fell 7 decks, bounced off the side of a lifeboat, and plunged into the ocean. Kirby spent approximately 90 minutes in the ocean before being found and rescued by the ship’s crew. Kirby was then transferred to shore after the ship’s crew diverted the ship to Key West.
Kirby is now suing Carnival Cruise Lines, claiming the ship’s bartender is at fault for pushing the drinks on her in the first place. Kirby is also claiming Carnival was negligent in their rescue and medical assistance after being pulled from the ocean.
Carnival is fighting back against these allegations, claiming Kirby’s statements and claims are unsupported by the evidence in the case. To further clarify their position, a spokesperson for Carnival provided Cruise Currents with a statement:
“Sarah Kirby’s claims are completely unsupported and contradicted by the evidence in the case. The ship’s command acted appropriately and expeditiously in initiating rescue procedures which resulted in a successful search for and rescue of Ms. Kirby. Her claim that she was over-served alcohol by Carnival is contradicted by the evidence. Further, Ms. Kirby has dropped her claims with respect to the medical care she was provided on board the ship. We are extremely proud of our crew for the outstanding job they did in rescuing Ms. Kirby.
Carnival Cruise Lines carries approximately 4.5 million guests per year on 1500 voyages and man overboards are extremely rare. All of our ships meet regulatory requirements for 42-inch-high railings. It is virtually impossible to fall off a cruise ship unless you jump overboard or are acting irresponsibly near a railing. All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships meet the requirements of the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act and each of our vessels has man overboard cameras. Our corporation is also experimenting with other man overboard technology.”
The allegations made by Kirby suggest Carnival should be held accountable for events that could have been avoided by Kirby. While no status is available at this point for the lawsuit, it is unlikely to move forward in court due to the lack of and inability to prove Carnival or any of the ship’s crew were negligent in this incident.