UP IN FLAMES: The Spirit of 1770 during the incident on Wednesday May 10 last year.
UP IN FLAMES: The Spirit of 1770 during the incident on Wednesday May 10 last year.

Class action being explored after Spirit of 1770 sinking

JOHN Clayton, of Lady Musgrave Cruises, plans to launch a multi-million-dollar class action law suit against an unspecified party.

In a letter he provided to The Observer, Mr Clayton says the class action will sue for compensation for the damage caused to himself personally and to the towns of Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water through loss of tourist dollars.

Mr Clayton's family-owned business ground to a halt with the sinking of its catamaran, the Spirit of 1770, on May 11, 2016.

The cruise business started operating again in February, but with a much smaller carrying capacity.

Prior to the sinking, Mr Clayton said they had been taking up to 300 tourists to Lady Musgrave Island daily, drawing large numbers of holiday-makers to the Discovery Coast townships.

The Observer has obtained a copy of the letter Mr Clayton has sent to local businesses to explore the possibility of a class action:

 

CLASS ACTION: The letter sent by John Clayton to businesses in Agnes Water and 1770.
CLASS ACTION: The letter sent by John Clayton to businesses in Agnes Water and 1770. Contributed

After the sinking of the catamaran, local accommodation-providers saw guest numbers plummet.

Simon Della Santa opened Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa three years ago and said he had expected his business to grow by about 10 per cent in its second year.

But when LMC was forced to close down, his bookings went backwards.

"I can safely say it's fantastic (LMC) is (back) up and running," he said.

"We need more consistent access to the reef."

 

DragonflyUAV captured these images of the Spirit of 1770 passengers at the Seventeen Seventy Marina after they were rescued from the sinking cruise boat.
DragonflyUAV captured these images of the Spirit of 1770 passengers at the Seventeen Seventy Marina after they were rescued from the sinking cruise boat. DragonflyUAV

Elvis Ferinac, owner/operator of family-run business 1770 Getaway, also experienced a significant decline in guest numbers after the sinking.

"It was a huge hit when Lady Musgrave stopped," he said.

Mr Clayton, whose battle to re-start the beleaguered company is well-known, stated in his letter he would be seeking $7 million personally to compensate for lost profits, and ongoing stress.

He said anyone with a business reliant on or impacted by the sinking could "put their hands up" and join the class action.

 

DETERMINED: John Clayton has fought hard to get Lady Musgrave Cruises back on track after a vessel sinking.
DETERMINED: John Clayton has fought hard to get Lady Musgrave Cruises back on track after a vessel sinking. Julia Bartrim


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