Damaged Dinner Cruise Ship Back in Business

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

It has only been a few months since reports surrounded the mysterious accident involving a dinner cruise in New Hampshire, yet, the vessel is back in operation, leaving many to wonder if this isn’t a little too soon for the damaged ship to be sailing again.

The accident occurred four months ago on Lake Sunapee Harbor in New Hampshire. The vessel in question, a dinner ship called the MV Kearsarge, was discovered partially submerged at the Sunapee Town Dock after what authorities determined to be a miniscule tear on the vessel.

According to investigators, the Kearsarge sank while birthed at the dock because of an “eraser sized hole” in the coupling from a sea valve to the port engine that caused the vessel to take on water. If a ship can sink because of an itty-bitty hole no bigger than an eraser, who knows what a hole the size of a pencil will do?!

That, of course is just a joke, but given the absurd number of cruise line accidents that have taken place already this year, companies are coming up with all sorts of farfetched stories to keep the blame for incidents away from  them and onto anyone or anything else.

Because cruise lines, no matter how small, have a duty under maritime law to provide for a safe environment for all aboard a vessel, companies may be held liable for any injuries or deaths when an accident does transpire. And given the way many cruise line companies refuse to upgrade maritime safety technology to reduce the number of accidents that can occur while out in open waters, if it wasn’t for the fact that most cruise ships register their vessels in foreign ports, where laws are not as strict as here in the U.S., they would be facing severe penalties and lawsuits for their negligence.

Much like the way the Carnival Triumph ignored prior mechanical malfunctions and set sail on its Feb. 7 ill-fated voyage that led over 4,000 people to suffer some of the most horrendous conditions ever reported on a cruise ship after the vessel caught fire, the Kearsarge is surprisingly ready to get back on the high seas, despite the fact that the incident took place just last January.

According to the Fenton family, which operates the Kearsarge as well as its sister ship, the MV Mt. Sunapee II, the dinner cruise ship has been re-floated and completely renovated. It is now set to take a “grand inaugural sunset cruise” on Lake Sunapee on Monday, May 27.

Will another maritime accident occur? Only time will tell if the Kearsarge leave it’s unfavorable past behind and venture toward safer travels nighttime roast beef dinner. The ship has been in service since 1980 and is not likely to call it quits just yet.

Luckily, no one was onboard the vessel when it sank at the beginning of the year, otherwise, passengers and crew members might be entitled to compensation for the incident. Ship authorities never did explain what created the “eraser size” hole in the vessel, but given our extensive experience representing the interests of maritime victims across the world, it is likely to have been the result of negligence on the cruise line’s part – which is what accounts for the majority of cruise ship accidents.

It’s hard to believe that a hole of such miniscule size could have led the vessel to take on so much water that it partially sank. Perhaps there was something more to the story that the ship’s owners  have not told the public, such as prior vessel damage or other malfunctioning machinery on the ship.

Because cruise lines are notorious for bending the truth about maritime accidents so they don’t get stuck with the full brunt and negative press of a passenger’s injury or death, many lines are more likely to fabricate elaborate stories to conceal what really happens on the high seas and even in port when maritime authorities aren’t looking.