Celebrity Cruises Hit With COVID-19 Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of over a thousand Celebrity Cruises employees alleges the company failed to protect its crew members working aboard ships amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The suit comes less than two weeks after a crew member working on the Celebrity Infinity died after being medically evacuated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The USCG confirmed the employee had coronavirus-like symptoms.
“Celebrity egregiously failed to take even the most basic steps to protect its crew members from the rampant spread of coronavirus,” Michael Winkleman, a Miami-based maritime attorney, said in an interview.
The lawsuit claims that the cruise industry received an “early warning of how easily COVID-19 could spread on massive ocean liners” when the first cases were reported on Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess.
From Feb. 7 to Feb. 23, the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases outside mainland China were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ship was placed under quarantine for more than two weeks in Yokohama, Japan.
“Despite having notice that COVID-19 was and/or likely was present aboard the vessels,” the complaint alleges the company allowed its employees to attend crew parties aboard the ships, eat in buffet settings and mandated their participation in shipboard drills.
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