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Cruise line pays five-figure sum to sick passenger, but denies liability

Fred Olsen, the cruise line, has paid a five-figure out-of-court settlement to a guest who claims he was struck down with Legionnaire’s disease but has not accepted liability for his illness.

TravelMole reported the cruise line said it was cheaper to pay the settlement than to face lengthy and costly proceedings in court.

Frank Standen, 84, from Tunbridge Wells, claims he became ill while on a cruise with his wife on the MS Black Watch in 2011.

Mr Standen had to be airlifted to hospital in Las Palmas where he was admitted to intensive care and was unconscious for three weeks.

Tests confirmed he was suffering with Legionnaires’ disease, a very serious lung infection usually caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with legionella bacteria.

He spent seven weeks in hospital in Las Palmas before being transferred to Sevenoaks Hospital in the UK, where he spent a further five weeks.

The couple instructed expert travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the case and an out-of-court settlement was eventually reached.

In a statement Fred Olsen said it was sorry Mr Standen was seriously unwell but denied liability.

“As soon as his symptoms were discovered our ships doctors and nurses did everything possible to ensure he received the best treatment,” it said.

“They quickly identified that Mr Standen would need to be taken to hospital and the ship arranged for a helicopter evacuation.

“Despite thorough and extensive testing there is no evidence to suggest that he contracted Legionnaires disease on board our ship. No other guests or crew were found ill on this or any other subsequent cruise.

“We do not accept liability for Mr Standen’s illness.

“Sadly, even though we deny liability, history has shown that sometimes making an out of court settlement is more cost-effective for the company - avoiding lengthy and costly proceedings in court.”

The 12th Annual Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference will take place on 29-30 September at Aston Villa Park in Birmingham.

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