Cruise line guilty in fatal explosion

May 3, 2008 at 4:49 PM
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MIAMI, May 3 (UPI) -- Norwegian Cruise Line has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a boiler blast on the SS Norway that killed eight people and left 10 severely wounded in Miami.

Norwegian agreed to plead guilty to a charge of gross negligence, which accused the cruise line of running the cruise ship in a "grossly negligent manner that endangered the lives, limbs and property of the persons on board.''

The cruise line also said it would use an independent consultant to conduct safety probes of its ships.

''The safety and security of our passengers and crew has been and always will be of the utmost importance,'' Norwegian said in a statement.

Norwegian is responsible for a minimum of $500,000 in fines in connection with the fatal May 25, 2003, blast, The Miami Herald reported.

''Hopefully, this case will send a message to the maritime industry that marine safety should be the paramount consideration in maintaining their vessels,'' U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Robert Branham said.

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