Two UK ship companies that operate and manage luxury cruise ship excursions have had substantial fines levied against them by regulators after they ordered the dangerous removal of products from a boat that contained asbestos.
During the 2009 refurbishing of The Hebridean Princess, a cruise ship owned by All Leisure Holidays and managed by Andrew Weir Shipping, two men were hired by the companies to remove paneling from the ships lounge area. While an asbestos survey must be carried out before such a task is allowed to be performed, the workers were told by Andrew Weir employees to go ahead with the project before the survey was performed.
One day later, the shipyard housing the vessel ordered that the workers stop removing the paneling after getting worried that there may be asbestos onboard. Sure enough, testing that followed confirmed that there was asbestos located behind ceiling panels in the lounge.
Furthermore, investigations later uncovered that Andrew Weir Shipping had actually performed a partial asbestos survey on the boat in 2008 that had confirmed asbestos was located behind the panels and also located in another part of the ship. All Leisure Holidays was aware of the survey when they purchased the ship later that year and never had the asbestos materials safely removed.
“All Leisure Holidays Ltd and Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd both failed to ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment was made of the risk created by the presence of asbestos and therefore did not take the steps required in order to comply with the regulations, Health and Safety Executive Inspector Victoria Wise said, according to the BBC. “As a result the two men inadvertently disturbed the asbestos and spread the fibers. In doing so they were potentially exposed to a substance that is known to cause diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.”
In total, Andrew Weir Shipping was fined £12,000 (approximately $14,480) and ordered to pay £5,829 ($7,033) in costs. All Leisure Holidays was fined £6,000 ($7,240) and ordered to pay £5,640 ($6,805) in costs.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos that can be linked to any type of vehicle, product, or substance, there may be legal action worth pursuing. Call Sokolove Law today to learn more about pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit.