Carnival cruise ship seized for several hours in Texas over US$10 mil. Costa Concordia lawsuit

By Matt Curry, AP

DALLAS — U.S. marshals briefly seized a cruise ship in coastal Texas on Saturday under a judge’s order in a US$10 million lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who died in the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia disaster.

The Carnival Triumph was seized for several hours at its port in Galveston, where it was scheduled to leave with 2,700 passengers. Both sides said they reached a confidential deal late Saturday afternoon that released the ship for its five-day cruise to Mexico.

A Texas judge had ordered the seizure to secure the plaintiff’s claims against Carnival Corp., the Miami-based parent company of the Italian cruise line whose ship hit a reef and sank off an Italian island in January. The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of a German woman who died in the wreck, which killed 32 people.

Plaintiff attorney John Eaves Jr. said he didn’t file the lawsuit to inconvenience passengers of the Carnival Triumph, but rather to emphasize to Carnival the need for improved safety. He said terms of Saturday’s agreement were confidential.

Carnival released a statement noting that the lawsuit was related to a European-based sister cruise line. The company said “the matter involving the Carnival Triumph” was resolved and the ship departed early Saturday evening.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Alfredo Perez confirmed that marshals seized the vessel and held it through Saturday afternoon. Passengers were allowed on and off the ship, which wasn’t allowed to leave its port while the deal was negotiated.