CORRECTED-Royal Caribbean faces two lawsuits over storm-battered cruise ship

jueves 25 de febrero de 2016 18:57 GYT

(Corrects eighth paragraph to make clear that only one of the two lawsuits seeks class-action status, and identifies that lawsuit in tenth paragraph)

By Jonathan Stempel

Feb 25 (Reuters) - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd faces at least two lawsuits by passengers accusing the company of negligently endangering their lives by letting its Anthem of the Seas cruise ship sail into a fierce Atlantic storm this month.

The lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami claim that Royal Caribbean knew, or should have known, that a coastal storm carrying hurricane-force winds had been forecast before the ship set sail from Cape Liberty, New Jersey on Feb. 6 for a scheduled seven-night cruise to the Bahamas.

Nonetheless, Royal Caribbean chose to sail the ship into the storm, motivated by a desire to profit at the expense of the safety of roughly 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew, the lawsuits said.

Cynthia Martinez, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman, said the Miami-based company does not discuss pending litigation, and has taken steps to minimize the risk of another similar incident.

Royal Caribbean has said the storm was more severe than expected.

Passengers hunkered in their rooms as the Anthem of the Seas encountered high winds and 30-foot waves off the North Carolina coast, a day after its departure.

Royal Caribbean later turned the ship around, and it returned to New Jersey on Feb. 10. The company offered passengers full refunds, and discounts on a future cruise.   Continuación...