"The team at Irwin Mitchell has a ‘pre-eminent reputation’ for travel personal injury work"

Legal 500 (2016)



22 April 2010

Irwin Mitchell is receiving requests for assistance from passengers who have fallen ill in yet another outbreak of gastric illness on the Boudicca. The latest wave of illness hit the liner during a cruise around the Eastern Mediterranean which left Liverpool on 6 April 2010. The liner was due to return to Liverpool on Thursday 29 April 2010 but it will now return 2 days earlier than planned for deep cleaning and fumigation. Alan Einig (69) and Veronica McGrail (66) from Liverpool are currently on board and have told us that they both fell ill and were confined to their cabins. The ship’s medical staff told them that at least one third of passengers have fallen ill with norovirus. However, other sources have claimed that up to 70% of the 900 passengers onboard may be affected by the illness outbreak. Irwin Mitchell is already representing 87 passengers who travelled on the Boudicca during 5 cruises between early October 2009 and late March 2010.

A leading travel law expert who is representing passengers made ill on board the cruise ship Boudicca has today said there remains serious concerns about continued use of the cruise ship which has reportedly left more than 500 passengers suffering from Norovirus.

Despite two previous outbreaks of illness amongst passengers earlier in the month the Fred Olsen Cruise Liner, Boudicca, set sail for Madeira on December 22nd, but was forced to return to Portsmouth early after 289 of the 795 passengers were diagnosed with the stomach bug.

Clive Garner, Head of travel litigation at law firm Irwin Mitchell represents a number of victims of illness onboard the Boudicca. He said: “Despite claims by Fred Olsen that the virus was brought on board by passengers it remains the case that on three separate cruises over a period of just one month more than 500 passengers have been made seriously ill as a result of Norovirus contracted on this ship.

 “Protocols to deal with the management of Norovirus on board cruise ships have been in place for many years and demand strict adherence to enhanced hygiene standards, including quarantining those with illness symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfection measures on board, warning all passengers to take special care with hygiene and a range of other measures to reduce the risk of infection.

“Although Fred Olsen say that some steps were taken to rid the ship of the virus something is clearly amiss and it would appear that there has been a failure to implement all of the required measures.

“The latest outbreak is naturally worrying news for the passengers and their families and it is vital that investigators establish what has happened on board as quickly as possible.

Mr Garner, who has successfully acted in claims for thousands of passengers struck down by serious illnesses on cruises said passengers should beware accepting any compensation offered which may not offer full recompense, particularly if  they suffer longer term illness or financial losses.

He said: “There are already reports of as many as seven separate outbreaks of illness over the past year on board this ship and Irwin Mitchell represents a number of passengers who fell ill on the Boudicca and other Fred Olsen liners.

“I understand that affected passengers are being offered £100 compensation plus a refund of one day’s cruise cost. However, I would expect those who have suffered illness to be entitled to significantly higher levels of compensation. In other similar cases, even passengers with short term illnesses have recovered thousands of pounds in compensation, though the exact amount depends on the individual circumstances of each passenger.

“For most people Norovirus causes highly unpleasant but short term symptoms of acute illness. Sadly, however, many of those who become ill are likely to develop long term and sometimes permanent symptoms and I would urge passengers to seek specialist legal advice before accepting any offers of compensation."

Winafred Skipp from Haywards Heath fell ill with stomach cramps and sickness whilst travelling aboard the Boudicca in October 2009 with husband Robert. The couple, among with a number of other passengers on the Boudicca have already instructed Irwin Mitchell to pursue claims for compensation for them. She said: “We have been on many cruises in our life time and never experience anything like this, it was awful, and the pain was horrendous. It was a really frightening experience.”

After receiving treatment from the on board Doctor for her symptoms Mrs Skipp was confined to her cabin for the final week of her three week cruise. She continues to suffer from symptoms even now.

She said: “We were absolutely appalled to hear about the recent outbreak of illness on board this cruise and just don’t believe that the ship is being disinfected properly. When our cruise ended they were getting ready for another cruise straight away!

“It wasn’t only my holiday that was ruined. My husband did not fall ill but because I was infected he had to stay in the cabin as well. We were so disappointed.”

Update 11/03/2010

Irwin Mitchell has recently received further reports of more passengers becoming ill with symptoms of gastric illness on this ship during a three week cruise of the Mediterranean for passengers who are currently onboard the ship in March 2010. It is understood that further passengers have been confined to their cabins as a result of this illness.
This further outbreak comes after months of problems onboard this ship.

Anyone affected by illness onboard the Boudicca Cruise Ship or similar incidents can contact us for free legal advice.

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