TODAY   |  February 16, 2013

First suit filed against Carnival over stranded ship

The lawsuit, which was filed in Miami by a passenger from Texas, accuses Carnival Cruise Lines of negligence and fraud. She claims she was “injured by unsafe, unsanitary and generally despicable conditions” while onboard. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

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>>> we begin with the latest on the carnival cruise debacle. mark potter is in mobile, alabama, where the ship is docked. mark, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning to you, lester. that first lawsuit was filed in miami federal court . it seems likely that more will follow. the official investigation has also begun. the lawsuit appeared the day after the carnival "triumph" was towed into mobile, alabama. with the ship in port now, new pictures have emerged of it crippled by an engine fire that left the "triumph" without power and working bathrooms and passengers sleeping in makeshift tents on deck. the lawsuit plaintiff, a passager from texas, accuses carnival cruise lines of "breach of maritime contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud." she also claims she was "injured as a result of the unseaworthy, unsafe, unsanitary, and generally despicable conditions."

>> this was because there was some failure. we don't know what that failure was at this point in time. we know there was a failure and a human cause for it.

>> reporter: meantime, the triumph has been moved to a mobile shipyard, facing months of cleanup and repairs as the official incident investigation also begins. because the ship is registered in the bahamas and the fire occurred in international waters , the bahamian maritime authority is the lead investigator. experts from the u.s. coast guard and the national transportation safety board are also heavily involved. while the ship was being towed back to shore, the coast guard was on board, interviewing many of the passengers. they also debrief the command staff and crew. officials say among questions to be answered are -- what caused the fire, how did the crew react in fighting the fire, were proper procedures followed, were there safety drills. some passengers complain about how they were treated when the fire broke out.

>> mistake after mistake after mistake. incompetence to the point of -- that i've never seen.

>> reporter: many passage hers high praise for the crew members.

>> i got to tell you, the crew was absolutely fabulous and fantastic.

>> they did a good job. the crew members did. did exceptionally well taking care of us. it was really the guests first.

>> reporter: authorities say the ultimate goal of the investigation is to make sure an incident like this never happens again. now as for that first lawsuit, a carnival spokesperson says the company has not yet seen it and, therefore, cannot yet comment. lester?

>> mark potter this morning in