Norovirus outbreak on Black Prince cruise ship
A second outbreak of the Norovirus aboard the cruise ship the Black Prince has been reported. This follows an outbreak of the same virus which affected 135 passengers aboard the Fred Olsen run cruise ship last month. This has led leading travel lawyers to question whether the correct precautions are being taken to prevent the highly contagious virus affecting holiday makers. This latest incident comes in the same two months that saw two other cruise ships, the Sea Princess and the Van Gogh, suffering similar repeated outbreaks.
More than 100 people aboard ship, which left Edinburgh for an excursion to Greenland and Iceland on June 22, and arrived back early in Leith today, are said to have fallen ill.
Viruses such as the Norovirus, or winter vomiting bug spread quickly and easily when many people are within a confined environment. Leading travel lawyer Suki Chhokar from law firm Irwin Mitchell said It is not good enough to say that because people in confined areas are going to be susceptible to these types of bugs. What must happen is that the increased risks, associated with confinement, must be met with the strictest safeguards to prevent peoples holidays from being ruined. He continued These holidays are not cheap, and people will often be looking forward to these trips for many months.
Mr Chhokar called for slower turn around times whilst in port to allow for the boats to be thoroughly cleaned before taking on new passengers, and more routine cleaning during the voyage. Basic food and water hygiene levels must be in place and regular cleaning of key areas such as the toilets and kitchens is essential. Once an outbreak has been identified health advice must be given to all existing passengers and any new people joining the boat must be warned. After an outbreak the boat must be deeply cleansed and sanitised before any further passengers board.
Mr Chhokar concluded We realise that is difficult for cruise operators to prevent someone coming on board with the virus. Responsible cruise lines, and travel operators, will have comprehensive procedures in place but these need to be strictly adhered to and implemented across the entire industry
Advice from specialist norovirus solicitor
Suki Chhokar recommends the following for people thinking about taking these types of holiday:
- Pay attention to the food preparation, hygiene and sanitation standards onboard the boat.
- Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly at regular intervals
- If you suffer illness seek appropriate medical attention both aboard and when you return home.
- Make the cruise staff aware of any complaint immediately.
- Record all aspects of your complaint
- Exchange contact details with other affected holidaymakers
- Take photographic and video evidence
- Do not accept compensation payments on the spot.
- Do not sign any document which waives your rights
If you have suffered illness and wish to seek compensation, consult a solicitor who specialises in travel claims immediately on your return.
Do you have a claim? If you or someone you know has been effected by holiday illness, our solicitors may be able to help. Contact us now