Future of Cabin Fever on the rocks

THE future of RTÉ’s reality TV show Cabin Fever remains in doubt following the sinking of the 90ft schooner involved in the programme off the Donegal coast on Friday.

A number of possible legal difficulties have also emerged which could permanently scupper the series.

RTÉ and Coco Productions, the independent TV production company which conceived the Cabin Fever format, yesterday said no decision had been made yet about the future of the 1.5m show.

It follows the dramatic sinking of the vessel, Cabin Fever I, on Friday afternoon after it struck a reef close to Tory Island, Co Donegal.

The station said it would review all available options in consultation with the nine contestants and Coco Productions.

“The primary deciding factor as to whether the series will go ahead rests with the contestants,” said Coco Productions managing director, Stuart Switzer.

“They have had a bad shock. It has been very stressful for them.”

The nine contestants, crew members and production team were brought by boat from Tory Island to the Donegal port of Burtonport yesterday afternoon.

They were then transported to Dublin by coach before returning to their own homes.

Mr Switzer said it was impossible to state when a decision would be taken on the future of the series.

However, it would take several weeks before filming could recommence as no replacement vessel has been identified, contrary to some reports.

The Department of Marine has also warned the show’s producers that no licence would be issued for a new ship until the results of a preliminary investigation into the sinking of Cabin Fever I are known.

The well-known Dublin solicitor, Gerald Kean, who has represented celebrity clients, flew by helicopter to Tory Island to meet the contestants over the weekend.

It is understood they are considering a potential claim against the programme-makers for negligence.

As part of their contract with Coco, the contestants agreed not to talk about the programme for two years after it has been broadcast or risk a possible fine of 1m.

There are also questions over whether the ship’s insurers will pay out compensation as it is reported that neither of the ship’s trained crew were at the helm of Cabin Fever I at the time of the accident.

The insurance issue could also impact on Coco as the production company would have had separate insurance apart from the vessel’s owner.

RTÉ also announced that the Cabin Fever voting lines have been suspended. RTÉ and Coco have also decided to donate all the money raised by voting last week to the emergency service involved in last Friday’s rescue mission.

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