Appeals court rejected law suit
A federal appeals court on Aug 19, 2021, rejected a potential class-action lawsuit stemming from a COVID-19 outbreak on the 'Costa Luminosa', that had sailed from Florida, ruling that the case needed to be filed in Italy. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Paul Turner, a Wisconsin resident who was a passenger on the cruise ship, which left Fort Lauderdale on March 5, 2020, for a transatlantic voyage. The ship’s owner, Italy-based Costa Crociere, and a subsidiary, Costa Cruise Lines, argued that Turner’s cruise ticket included a requirement that any legal disputes shall be instituted only in the courts of Genoa, Italy, to the exclusion of the courts of any other country, state or nation. Turner, who became infected with COVID-19 on the cruise, filed the lawsuit in April 2020 in federal court in South Florida. The appeals court rejected a series of arguments raised by Turner, including arguments related to the difficulty of traveling to Italy for court proceedings during the continuing pandemic. “Even assuming that travel difficulties and risks associated with COVID-19 are any less foreseeable than medical difficulties that would attend more standard personal injuries that were plainly foreseeable when Turner agreed to the forum selection clause (in the ticket), Turner still has not met his burden of proving that pursuit of his claims in Italy would subject him to fundamental unfairness. The reason is basic: He has not established that he would have to travel to Italy in order to pursue his case. The defendants produced an affidavit from an Italian attorney explaining that Turner would not be required to attend routine proceedings in person and that even for those events that required attendance, he could possibly either arrange for appointment of a special attorney to attend on his behalf or request that the event take place in the United States via international rogatory (a process that involves making a request to a foreign court).” The lawsuit alleged that the cruise line knew that COVID-19 was a risk before leaving Fort Lauderdale, in part because an Italian passenger on a prior voyage in late February 2020 had been evacuated from the 'Costa Luminosa' in the Cayman Islands and tested positive for COVID-19 before ultimately dying. Three days into Turner’s cruise, the ship docked in Puerto Rico because an elderly Italian couple needed to be hospitalized because of COVID-19 symptoms, Turner’s attorneys wrote in a brief filed at the Atlanta-based appeals court. The ship then proceeded across the Atlantic, ultimately requiring all passengers to quarantine. When passengers got off the ship on March 19, 2020, 36 tested positive for COVID-19. But in their arguments to the appeals court, attorneys for the cruise line focused on the terms of Turner’s ticket that required hearing legal disputes in Italy. “Plaintiff had ample opportunity to review the terms and conditions of the contract,” the cruise line’s attorneys wrote in a brief. “He received a link to a copy of the contract in five separate email confirmations from Costa Crociere, and the contract was also publicly accessible on Costa Crociere’s website. Additionally, Costa Crociere required all passengers to download their cruise ticket and accept the terms of the contract as a prerequisite to boarding the ship, and plaintiff accepted the terms of the contract prior to the cruise.”
600 Filipino workers in Italy and Maldives repatriated
About 600 Filipino workers in Italy and Maldives were repatriated and arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on April 25, 2020. The 336 OFWs from Maldives arrived via a chartered Philippine Airlines flight. They were stranded on the island nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The OFWs had to be fetched in Maldives since there is no embassy there. The nearest Philippine Embassy overseeing Maldives is in Dhaka, Bangladesh but there are no direct flights going there. Saturday night also it was busy again for the DFA & partner agencies as they gladly welcomed the arrival of 337 Filipino seafarers of the 'Costa Diadema', 'Costa Luminosa' and 'Costa Smeralda'. The flight was facilitated through the coordination of the PH Consulate General in Milan, the DFA-Office Migrant Workers Affairs and the Costa Cruises Management. All the arriving OFWs were interviewed upon arrival for their contact details and other information, and underwent a rapid antibody test for COVID-19 conducted by personnel in hazmat suits. The health condition of the OFWs were checked in Maldives and also before disembarking the plane at NAIA. No one exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. All the OFWs will undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine Those from Italy were brought to hotels while those from Maldives were brought to the World Trade Center. The DFA also repatriated OFWs from London, Madrid, and Cotê d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone in Africa. A total of 610 seafarers working on the 'Queen Mary 2' arrived at NAIA in the afternoon of April 25.
Four crew members hospitalized for coronavirus
Rour of the crew members who remained on board the 'Costa Luminosa' to manage the ship were hospitalized for coronavirus within the last 24 hours. Two of the 49 seafarers who were initially tested negative for the COVID 19 virus, but who were in fact at high risk, having remained in contact with others, were in turn tested positive. Ambulances took them to the Savona hospital. The maritime health authority asked the owner to reduced the number of 120 seafarers to about 80 people, the minimum necessary for the operation of the ship. On April 8, the Indonesians who has disembarked from the vessel last week, were stopped at Fiumicino due to a lacking authorization from their embassy to return home and were been accompanied to Italian healthcare facilities. Meanwhile, sanitation was underway on board and will be completed in the next few days, while the crew remained on board in quarantine, hoping that there were no other emergencies.Upload News