Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  04 December 2008- The Brightest Maritime Daily

Cunard owners sue Rolls Royce over Mermaid pods
Carnival Corp say Rolls Royce 'defrauded and deceived' them...

Carnival Corp are suing Rolls Royce over problems with the Mermaid propulsion system fitted to the QUEEN MARY 2

The owners of Cunard Line are demanding more than $100 million from the British engineering firm for what they allege is a defective and unproven system which they claim Rolls Royce "defrauded and deceived" them into buying.

In the federal complaint it claims the Mermaid "was touted by the defendants as the best pod in the industry and also as a proven, well-tested product... These representations were false. The Mermaid turned out to be a defectively designed and built product which was in fact at an experimental stage of its development and seriously under-designed when it was put into operational use."

"From the beginning, Mermaid pods on cruise ships experienced serious problems causing repeated interruption and restriction of operations on the cruise ships on which they were installed." the complaint continues, "The selection of Mermaid pods for use on the QM2 was made shortly before repeated failures and other problems began occurring on other Mermaid pod equipped cruise ships. ... In fact, several cruise ship operators have instituted legal actions that are currently proceeding in Florida courts against these same defendants for similar failures of the Mermaid pods on their vessels."

Carnival claim they were prepared to delay delivery of the new cruise ship but were 'not convinced that the Mermaid pods were fit for their purpose as a propulsion system.'

Carnival say that as each problem arose, Rolls Royce said that each was an 'isolated incident', and that they had carefully studied the problem, and could fix the problem so it would not occur again.

Carnival further allege that Rolls Royce assured them the "problems experienced on other vessels would not occur on the QM2 due to an advanced pod design and improved components used in the pods."

Press reports say Rolls Royce reject the claims and that the company will defend the action.

In 2003 Celebrity Cruises sued Rolls Royce and Alstom Power for $300 million dollars, claiming the companies' pod propulsion system was "defectively designed" and "deceptively and fraudulently marketed." Four Celebrity cruise ships were fitted with the pods and each had experienced problems with the systems.

Celebrity in its lawsuit claimed the failures of the pods had resulted in lost revenues as cruises had to be cancelled. The company received a partial settlement from Alstom of $38 million in 2006, releasing the French company from the suit, but remained pending with Rolls Royce.

Back in 2003 when Cunard had instigated tests on the pods on the QUEEN MARY 2 they had warned Rolls Royce after assurances any problems would be put right.

Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival, said then "It will be very embarrassing to Rolls- Royce if this is not resolved...And expensive."


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