The patriarch of the Melbourne family members kicked off a 10-day South Pacific cruise has denied claims his relatives incited a ‘bloodbath’ of violence on board the vessel.
Melbourne father David Barkho’s 20-year-old son George – along with 22 other members of his family – was on board the Carnival Legend when groups of warring passengers engaged in violent clashes that left guests bruised and bloodied.
Members of the Barkho family were removed from the Carnival cruise ship on Friday morning after the vessel docked at Eden, New South Wales, before it sailed to Melbourne for a Saturday arrival.
David Barkho’s (pictured top left) 20-year-old son George (bottom left) – along with 23 other members of his family – was on board the Carnival Legend when groups of warring passengers engaged in violent clashes that left guests bruised and bloodied
George Barkho (pictured left and right) was removed from the cruise ship alongside 22 other family members
Mr Barkho has since rubbished claims of ‘warring families’ and bloody violence allegedly triggered by his family members.
‘It’s all lies. None of what is being said is true. It’s all in the hands of our legal team,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Members of my family are receiving medical attention at the hospital now.’
Mr Barkho was not on the ship and Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting his son George was involved in the filmed brawl.
Shocking vision of brawls erupting in a common area of the cruise ship showed several passengers locked in savage fist fights.
The filmed scuffle allegedly broke out while the ship was 220km off Jervis Bay, Australia, around 1am on Friday.
One witness, named only as Zac, alleged the brawl started after two men tangled feet, leading to a bitter exchange of words between two family groups.
Mr Barkho has since rubbished claims of ‘warring families’ and bloody violence triggered by his family members
‘It’s all lies. None of what is being said is true. It’s all in the hands of our legal team,’ he told Daily Mail Australia
Dramatic images emerged of the family leaving the cruise ship – with one man wearing a bandage on his head
It then allegedly escalated into an all-in brawl, with Zac accusing security of escalating the situation before allegedly piling into the foray with vicious kicks and punches.
Mr Barkho told 3AW he received a frantic phone call from his injured son at 1am.
‘He said, ‘Please Dad, please, call the Federal Police’,’ Mr Barkho said.
‘I could hear a lot of screaming, crying in the background.’
Mr Barkho also alleges cruise security staff are attempting to destroy images and footage from the incident.
‘He (George) said, ‘The security came in and took his phone, and deleted a lot of images’,’ he claimed.
Terrified guests allege the violent clashes became so bad they overheard threats of stabbing and to throw people overboard
Police met some of the family members as they disembarked the boat and they left on a bus (pictured)
‘We asked NSW Police Marine Area Command to attend Carnival Legend in Eden to remove a family group of passengers from the ship,’ a statement read
The captain of the Legend reportedly refused to take the group any further and the passengers arrived at port to waiting police (pictured) where a bus was booked to take them to Canberra Airport to fly to Melbourne
After passengers complained they were forced to barricade themselves in cabins to avoid the shocking violence, the cruise made an unexpected stop on the NSW-Victoria border to evict the group.
Six men, three teenage boys and 14 other male and female passengers – all from the same group – were removed from the vessel and were driven to Canberra Airport to fly home to Melbourne.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting all members of the Barkho family were involved in the brawl.
Paul Pincini, coach driver at Merimbula Coach Tours, told Daily Mail Australia the Barkho family appeared ‘very sore and sorry’ as he drove them to the airport.
‘They were as quiet as church mice on the drive,’ Mr Pincini said.
‘It was 23 of them all in the one family. They were very battered and bruised but there were no arguments, they were good as gold.’
Six men, three teenage boys and 14 other male and female passengers – all from the same group – were removed from the vessel and were driven to Canberra Airport to fly home to Melbourne
Paul Pincini, coach driver at Merimbula Coach Tours, told Daily Mail Australia the Barkho family appeared ‘very sore and sorry’ as he drove them to the airport
‘It was 23 of them all in the one family, including grandparents and young children,’ the coach driver said
After passengers complained they were forced to barricade themselves in cabins to avoid the shocking violence, the cruise made an unexpected stop on the NSW-Victoria border (pictured) to evict the Barkho family
Mr Pincini said police officers did not escort the Barkho family to the airport and they were free to fly home without being detained.
The remaining passengers have disembarked the ship in Melbourne, brimming with witness accounts of the alleged brawls.
‘There were loud, disruptive people but they kept to themselves. They weren’t harming anyone else,’ one man told Seven News.
‘I saw people getting hit and I was coming down the elevator at one point and the elevator opened and I saw a guy sitting down with blood all over him,’ another passenger said.
Carnival Cruise Lines has released a statement to Daily Mail Australia saying: ‘The vast majority of the guests on board Carnival Legend are enjoying their 10-day cruise holiday to the South Pacific.’
‘The ship’s highly trained security staff have engaged with a small group of disruptive guests and ensured that they are fully aware of and are compliant with our zero tolerance policy. This strong approach is in line with our commitment to safety as the number one priority.’
Some dissatisfied passengers are now demanding refunds from Carnival Cruise Lines, the Herald Sun reports.
Video filmed on a guest’s mobile phone shows both male and female passengers erupt into an all-in brawl as cruise security attempted to intervene, leaving some victims with savage bruises and cuts. Pictured: One passenger named Michael
Australian guests travelling on the 10-day cruise on the Carnival Legend claim two groups of 30 warring passengers have engaged in multiple violent brawls (pictured)
The filmed scuffle (pictured) allegedly broke out while the ship was 220km off Jervis Bay, Australia, around 1am on Friday
The cruise ship made an unexpected stop in Eden, New South Wales to remove the passengers
Carnival Cruise Line Vice President and General Manger Australia, Jennifer Vandekreeke also ‘sincerely apologised’ to the guests impacted by the disruptive behaviour.
A police operation investigating allegations of violence on board the Legend is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
‘Police are investigating an alleged fight on-board a cruise ship while it was about 220km off Jervis Bay,’ a NSW police spokesman said.
‘Police have been told a fight involving several men took place on board the ship after an argument.