(RNN) - A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Corp. as a result of the cruise ship Triumph floating adrift in the Gulf of Mexico without power for five days.
The Miami-based law firm of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina and Winkleman, which specializes in maritime and cruise law, filed suit in the United States District Court of South Florida on Feb. 18.
The lawsuit alleges Carnival was negligent by embarking on a five-day cruise knowing the ship was prone to mechanical and engine issues.
A news release from the law firm alleges the cruise line is "responsible for the safety of everyone onboard, including passengers and crew members, which entails making sure illness and disease don't spread among those aboard a vessel."
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen told CNN that the company cannot comment on pending litigation.
The law firm alleges that in prolonging the travel of the passengers, Carnival did not protect them from injury or illness, and prolonged the passengers' suffering.
"Carnival Triumph passengers had meager provisions, and due to the lack of electricity onboard, cabins were dark, hot and contaminated with sewage waste," the law firm said on its website.
Passengers had to sleep on decks, "relieve themselves in bags, buckets, showers and sinks" and food was not fit for consumption, according to the lawsuit.
In an effort to save money and not require a second tow, Carnival chose to dock in Mobile, AL instead of nearby Progreso, Mexico, attorney Mike Winkleman told The Houston Chronicle.
"If it is uncovered that Carnival intentionally made its decisions for financial reasons over passenger and crew safety, Carnival might be liable for punitive damages," the law firm said on its website.
The 3,143 passengers aboard the ship drifted in the Gulf of Mexico from Feb. 10 through Feb. 14 until the U.S. Coast Guard towed the crippled cruise ship into Mobile Bay.
The vessel engine room caught fire on Feb. 10, causing a power outage throughout the ship and disabling the propulsion system. The cruise departed Galveston, TX on Feb. 7.
Carnival has offered the passengers a full refund of the cruise and travel expenses, a future cruise credit equal to the voyage, $500 compensation and a reimbursement of all purchases aboard the ship except for those in the casinos, gift shop and artwork purchases.
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