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Carnival Cruise Ship Ordered Held in Texas in Shipwreck Suit

     March 31 (Bloomberg) -- A Carnival Corp. 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 coast of Italy.

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

“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 load and 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.

“We are aware of the situation and are working through the appropriate legal channels to resolve it,” said Jennifer De La Cruz, a spokeswoman for Miami-based Carnival, the world’s largest cruise-ship operator, in an e-mailed statement today.

“We are optimistic that the issues regarding the Carnival Triumph will be resolved and the ship will depart on its scheduled voyage later today,” she said.

The Triumph, a 2,758-passenger cruise liner, was scheduled to sail today on a five-day trip 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-0099, 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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