Passengers on the MV Alexy Maryshev suffered head injuries, fractured ribs, and broken arms and legs as the vessel listed violently in the sea off the Svalbard islands, north of Norway, three years ago.
The Hornbreen glacier “calved” – the term used when ice drops off to form an iceberg – sending ice blocks crashing onto the ship’s deck, while other chunks collapsed into the sea, causing a huge wave which rocked the boat.
The vessel, which was carrying 48 passengers, all of whom were British, had stopped near the glacier for passengers to take photographs.
At the time passengers said they were terrified the ship was going to capsize as the vessel tipped at a 45-degree angle as it was hit by the 70ft wave.
Some of those injured were standing on the foredeck of the vessel when the ice and waves struck, a preliminary hearing the High Court in London was told yesterday (Fri).
Sixteen injured passengers are involved in the damages claim, expected to reach seven figures, against the tour operator, Discover the World Ltd, of Banstead, Surrey.
The company, which denies liability, sold the £2,495 packages for the 10-day cruise.
Passengers taking legal action include Andrew Burnett, 31, a bank director, of Great Missenden, Bucks, who suffered a fractured skull, and his wife Leigh, who sustained whiplash and soft tissue injuries.
Mr Justice Blair heard that the claims of most of the passengers, who suffered relatively minor injuries, would amount to less than £50,000 each. In addition Mr Burnett would be lodging a “substantial” claim for loss of earnings.
The trial on the issue of liability is expected to begin at the High Court in March next year.