Families Of White Island Disaster Victims To Sue Royal Caribbean

Families of the victims of the White Island volcanic eruption in New Zealand last December are planning to sue Royal Caribbean cruise line.

Families of the victims of the White Island volcanic eruption in New Zealand last December are planning to sue Royal Caribbean cruise line.

The tragic incident killed 21 people, 19 of whom were passengers on board the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship.

The ABC has revealed that Stacks Goudkamp has been hired by a group of passengers and family members to pursue legal action in Australia against Royal Caribbean for alleged negligence, breach of contract, and breach of Australian consumer law.

Ovation Of The Seas Departs Tauranga After White Island Tragedy

Source: Getty Images

They will argue that passengers who booked the tour through Royal Caribbean were told nothing about the fact that New Zealand’s volcano monitoring service had raised the alert level for White Island from one to two in the weeks before the eruption.

That is the highest alert level for the volcano prior to eruption.

“At the very least, Royal Caribbean, which held itself out to be responsible for this tour, should have been monitoring this, and communicating with participants as to the risk, and giving them the choice, an informed choice to decide not to go because of this risk,”

Rita Yousef of Stacks Goudkamp told the ABC. 

White Island last erupted in 2016, but as it occurred overnight, no one was on the island at the time.

TOO RISKY: Royal Caribbean Suspends All Sales Of Active Volcano Tours

Credit: Neil Hutton

Tour companies did not take this eruption as a warning and continued tours to the island.

Tonight at 8:30 ABCS’s Four Corners will investigate Royal Caribbean’s response to the tragedy.

“There are accounts of people [Royal Caribbean passengers] who were left in the dark for many hours while their loved ones were in hospital,” Rita Yousef told the ABC.

Royal Caribbean cannot be sued in New Zealand because of the country’s no-fault compensation scheme.

Stacks Goudkamp, however, believes there is scope for legal action to be launched in Australia against the cruise line.