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Billionaire's Pandemic Cruise Does Not Go Well

Girlfriend and mother of hockey club owner Eugene Melnyk file suit against their captain
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2021 8:23 AM CDT
Updated May 22, 2021 4:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – The pandemic getaway cruise was a bust. The ensuing lawsuits are a hoot. Back in December, the billionaire owner of the NHL's Ottawa Senators chartered a $500,000-a-week superyacht to sail around the Bahamas, reports CTV News. Now, two lawsuits from the girlfriend and the mother of Eugene Melnyk allege that the ship's captain deliberately subjected them to a miserable trip. They want a total of $10 million for what they call "negligence, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress," per SportsNet. The company that owns the yacht, however, says that's crazy, explaining that sometimes things get a little uncomfortable on the high seas. In the lawsuits, the captain is described "an odorous, ill-tempered man who was curt and dismissive with the guests and outright angry and abusive to the crew," per the CBC.

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The big tiff appears to center on a suggestion from Melnyk to the captain that they take a more inland route. The captain "appeared angry and resentful that a charterer would deem to intrude on his alleged specialized knowledge" and took revenge by "intentionally piloting the yacht into the open ocean," say both lawsuits. That resulted in vomiting, "panic attacks" and "trauma," all of it unnecessary, say the suits. Except that a lawyer for the yacht owner says the boat was simply too big to go where Melnyk wanted. "It's just a physical impossibility," says Chris Fertig of Fort Lauderdale. And the captain can hardly control the weather, he adds. "I understand that Mr. Melnyk was upset that the charter didn't go the way he envisioned, but every day there was 35-mile-an-hour winds." He also points to the ship's guest book, in which Melnyk's party expresses thanks for an "amazing trip." (Read more superyachts stories.)

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