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Web alert: norovirus outbreak not fault of ship

17 August 2015

In the recent first instance decision of Nolan v TUI Ltd (2015) it was held by the Court that cruise operators are not liable for outbreaks of norovirus aboard vessels if industry standard response plans and other necessary measures are properly implemented by the operator to manage the illness and bring it under control.

This decision will be of great assistance to cruise lines and their insurers in defending such claims. Although this is a first instance decision it has been suggested that the ramifications of the decision cannot be underestimated, particularly given the number of similar claims brought in recent years against cruise operators.

The outbreak of gastroenteritis on board the cruise ship "THOMSON SPIRIT" saw 28 claims in relation to the alleged norovirus infection and 15 claims for breach of contract relating to damage and disappointment. Notwithstanding this, the court accepted that the necessary outbreak response systems on board had been fully implemented by the ship in order to bring the virus under control.

Full details of this case can be found here.