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Carnival Cruise Ship Ordered Held in Texas in Shipwreck Suit

A Carnival Corp. (CCL) cruise ship was ordered held in a Texas port by a U.S. judge in a $10 million lawsuit filed by the family of a German tourist who died aboard the Costa Concordia shipwreck off the Italian coast.

An arrest warrant was issued yesterday for the MS Carnival Triumph, a 2,758-passenger cruise liner based in Galveston, Texas, that is owned by the same company that owns the Costa Concordia, according to the lawsuit also filed yesterday in federal court in Galveston by the family of Siglinde Stumpf. The Triumph provides year-round service from the Houston area to multiple ports in the Caribbean and Mexico, according to Carnival’s website.

“The court finds that the conditions for an attachment of defendants’ joint and collective property within this district, mainly the MS Carnival Triumph, appear to exist upon an admiralty and maritime claim,” U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner of Galveston said in the warrant.

The Carnival Triumph will be allowed to unload passengers and cargo and move between berths within the port until a “prompt hearing” can be scheduled, at which “the plaintiff shall be required to show why the attachment and garnishment should not be vacated,” according to the order.

A representative of Miami-based Carnival, the world’s largest cruise-ship operator, didn’t immediately return phone and e-mail messages after regular business hours yesterday seeking comment on the court order. The Triumph was scheduled to sail today for a five-day cruise to Yucatan and Cozumel, according to a Carnival website.

At least 25 people died after the Costa Concordia ran aground off Italy in January.

The case is Kai Stumpf v. Carnival plc, 3:12-cv-00099, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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