Fred Olsen Cruise Lines faces accusations that the captain on last year’s Titanic memorial cruise clashed with a doctor over saving the life of a sick passenger.
An employment tribunal reportedly heard that Dr David Allaun advised captain Robert Bamburg to turn the Balmoral around after a BBC cameraman was taken ill 130 miles off the Irish coast.
The doctor claimed in a witness statement to the tribunal that he was told by the captain that they were too far from land and that turning the ship around would “ruin my cruise,” The Times reported on Saturday.
Three hours after the doctor raised the alarm and telephoned the cruise line’s medical officer to inform him of the situation, it became apparent that the captain was turning the vessel back to bring it within range of a helicopter which subsequently winched off the TV cameraman.
Dr Allaun, who resigned before the matter was resolved, is claiming damages on grounds of discrimination and as a whistleblower and on technical grounds.
The doctor also claimed he was placed under “house arrest” for five hours after the ship docked in New York.
He withdrew a claim for unfair dismissal because he was not a permanent member of staff.
Fred Olsen denies the claims and questioned the powers of a UK employment panel to hear the claim, invoking international maritime law to suggest that it was outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction, the newspaper reported.
The company suggests that it was the view of a fellow doctor on Balmoral that the patient could have been treated on board.
A full hearing is due next April.
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