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Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph


Carnival Cruise’s Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, Feb. 7, 2013 for a 4-day cruise. The ship ran into trouble when fire broke out in an engine room on Sunday. A large power outage followed for several portions of the ship. Passengers have complained of unsanitary conditions and lack of food.

The ship was initially to be towed to a port in Mexico but currents led the company to shift gears and direct the ship to a terminal in Mobile, Ala.

The journey home was delayed for a short time Thursday, after the towline from one of the tugboats to the ship snapped.

The Triumph docked just before 9:30 p.m. Central time Thursday night.

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(CNN) — The Coast Guard is searching for a man knocked into the Mobile River after high winds hit the area Wednesday, blowing the man’s security guard hut into the water and causing the Carnival Triumph cruise ship to break loose from its repair dock.

The call to the Coast Guard came in at 1:45 p.m. CT as near hurricane-force winds smacked the Gulf Coast city of Mobile, Alabama.

An official with the city’s fire department said earlier that the missing man and another person were in a guard shack at the BAE Shipyard that was blown into the Mobile River. One man has been recovered from the water.

On the agency’s Twitter feed, the fire department said the Coast Guard, Mobile police and the sheriff department’s flotilla are now in charge of a “recovery operation.” Some of the flotilla’s boats are equipped with sonar to find underwater objects.

The Triumph, which was adrift for several hours, was secured at a dock at the Alabama Cruise Terminal on Wednesday night, officials said. Tugboats will remain next to ship as as precaution, Carnival said.

Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said all of the company’s crew members and contractors on the ship have been accounted for.

Wind gusts reached 66 mph Wednesday at nearby Brookley Field, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile, though a Carnival statement said the winds exceeded 70 mph.

The Triumph has been at BAE Shipyard in the Port of Mobile since an engine fire in February left the cruise ship crippled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people aboard. For four days, tugboats guided the disabled ship into the port as passengers complained about miserable conditions on board.

On Wednesday, it drifted across the shipyard after breaking free. Tugboats kept it from drifting farther down river, the Coast Guard said.

CNN affiliate WKRG reported the cruise ship had a hole on the right side of the stern; Carnival said an initial inspection found limited damage.

Carnival said in late March the ship would be out of service until June 3. In addition to repairs, workers will increase the number of systems and services that the Triumph and other Carnival ships can run on backup power.

Wednesday’s incident was the latest in several headline-making issues for one of the world’s leading cruise lines. Four of the company’s 23 ships have had problems in recent months.

The cruise line has offered affected passengers refunds and discounts on future cruises.

It faces a class-action lawsuit related to the Triumph’s last cruise, when passengers reported that food was scarce, cruise goers sweltered in the heat with no air conditioning, toilets overflowed and human waste ran down the walls in some parts of the ship.

The problems have also prompted one U.S. lawmaker to propose a “Cruise Ship Passenger Bill of Rights.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said he was asking the cruise industry to voluntarily sign on to a list of guidelines, including the right to backup power if generators fail and the right to disembark a docked ship “if basic provisions cannot adequately be provided on board.”

He also called on the International Maritime Organization to investigate whether cruise lines are following existing guidelines, and whether existing standards are being enforced by countries where cruise ships that serve U.S. passengers are based.

“Cruise ships, in large part operating outside the bounds of United States enforcement, have become the Wild West of the travel industry, and it’s time to rein them in before anyone else gets hurt,” Schumer said in a statement. “This bill of rights, based on work we’ve done with the airline industry, will ensure that passengers aren’t forced to live in third world conditions or put their lives at risk when they go on vacation.”

CNN’s Chandler Friedman and Joe Sutton contributed to this story.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in the case of a Carnival cruise ship that was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for several days.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of more than 100 passengers aboard the Triumph, which became disabled after a fire broke out in the ship’s engine room.

Noblesville teen Brianna Adkins and Purdue graduate Jet Hilton were among the passengers on the cruise.

MOBILE, Alabama (CNN) — Brianna Adkins stepped off the Carnival Triumph early Friday and into the arms of her anxious parents, bringing to an end the nightmarish journey aboard a crippled ship that was towed to port days after it was due.

It was a big, tight hug between 18-year-old Adkins and her mom and dad, the kind filled with the emotion that reflected the days of uncertainty after the cruise ship was left virtually dead in the water after a reported engine fire knocked out power.

“Just to be with them, just to let them know I’m safe,” Adkins said, fighting back tears. “It means just so much to be with them … you have no idea.”

A near party-atmosphere abounded aboard the cruise ship as it docked late Thursday at the Alabama Cruise Terminal, where some passengers hung over balcony rails, while others danced and waved signs.

“I kissed the ground when I got off,” said Adkins of Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis.

The saga began unfolding early Sunday morning as the Carnival Triumph, originally carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members, was making its way to Galveston, Texas, when a fire left the vessel listing to the side and drifting in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ship drifted nearly 90 miles before enough tugboats arrived to tow the massive cruise ship to Mobile.

Almost immediately, reports emerged on social media of deteriorating conditions aboard the ship.

Passengers reported sewage sloshing in the hallways and, in some cases, running down the walls of cabins. Still others said the power outage forced people, especially those in the lower decks or inside cabins, to drag their mattresses to outside decks because of stifling heat.

The power outage also made it impossible for passengers to call loved ones.

For those who were able to get messages out — drafting on wireless from cruise ships dropping supplies — it was a few moments to reassure loved ones they were OK.

Still, for Adkins and others there was nothing better than being able to put both feet on firm ground while wrapping their arms around family members.

“The unknown was the worst part,” Adkins mother, Beth, said.

About 75 families were on hand, according to a spokesman for the City of Mobile, at the Alabama Cruise Terminal.

Family members who spoke to CNN said they had come from Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas. Some had come in as early as Wednesday but the bulk of people arrived Thursday afternoon, with each hour bringing a few more cars.

Most of the anxious families couldn’t bear the thought of their relatives being on a bus for hours and had gotten hotel rooms in Mobile where the homecoming would include a long shower and a meal.

Brooklyn Burgess, 18, got off the ship scanning the crowd for father and brother, who had driven from their Carthage, Mississippi, home to get them and bring them home.

There in the crowd, she and her mother, who was traveling with her, found the family.

Her father picked her up in a tight hug, and Burgess started to cry.

“I said I don’t have a boyfriend. … I sure hope somebody who missed me is there waiting for me,” she said, her eyes red from tears.

For others, it will be a little longer before they connect with loved ones.

Brittany Ferguson and Kendall Jenkins, both 24, got off the ship cheering and dancing. Jenkins went so far as to lay kneel down and kiss the ground.

“We won this cruise at a Houston Rockets game. Lucky us,” Ferguson said, laughing.

They are among the many who boarded one of the more than 100 motor coaches that were reserved by Carnival to take them to New Orleans where many will overnight before continuing their journey home. The two are headed home to Houston.

But that’s OK with the Ferguson and Jenkins because they have “land under our feet.”

Carnival Cruise said it is prepared to handle the Triumph’s more than 4,000 passengers and crew members who arrived in Mobile, Ala., following four days stranded at sea.

The ship entered the terminal just before 9:30 p.m. Central time Thursday night.

A fire Sunday night crippled the ship. Since then, passengers have complained of unsanitary conditions and a lack of food. A tent city has also been built on the ship’s deck because the smell in the passenger quarters have been too overwhelming for some.

Carnival said blankets, warm food, cell phones and chargers are awaiting the passengers’ arrival. There will also be guest service representatives ready to help travelers’ arrange transportation home.

The company has made at least 1,500 hotel room reservations and booked private flights for another 1,000. One hundred motor coaches are also available for passengers to ride back to Galveston, Texas, the originating city. Ship crew members will stay in area hotels for the next two to three days before traveling home or on to other ships.

The mechanical and deck crews will remain on-board through the overnight hours. They’ll help as the Triumph is moved to a shipyard for inspection Friday.

The rest of the crew will be compensated for their efforts, Carnival said. Employees close to the end of their contracts will begin a long vacation once ashore. The company will pay those employees through the end of such contracts. Employees who recently signed on will be moved to different ships.

Officials said it will take four to five hours for all of the passengers to disembark. All passengers will receive a full refund, $500 and all of their travel expenses will be paid.

Experts said a ship-to-ship transfer would have been extremely dangerous given the number of passengers and uncertainty of the sea.

The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the fire.

(CNN) – It’s almost, but not quite, over for the 4,229 passengers and crew stuck on a filthy, disabled cruise ship limping into port five days after it was due.

As the Carnival Triumph was being towed toward Mobile, Alabama, passengers gathered on deck, waving as a helicopter flew overheard. About a dozen people used their bodies to spell out “HELP.”

Some made signs on sheets sending well-wishes on this Valentine’s Day to loved ones. Others lounged on deck chairs, passing the time.

It appeared help was still hours away, a Carnival Cruise Lines executive said.

Terry Thornton, vice president of revenue and planning, said the ship was expected to dock after 10:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. ET).

The journey home was delayed for a short time when the towline from the lead tugboat to the ship snapped.

“It looked like a whip in the water,” passenger Darryl Malone said, adding he was being told to get off the deck via an announcement broadcast throughout the ship. “They’re telling us to go inside, not look overboard because one of the towlines broke.”

Despite the delay, passengers were thrilled to be nearing port.

“I just had a crab sandwich with lobster for lunch because they are finishing off all the food,” said Ed Buck, who was staying on an upper floor. “Life is good. People are very excited right now. We’re getting back. You know, I think the media’s made a lot of — made it sound real bad. It’s not quite as bad as everybody says.”

Most people didn’t agree with Buck, who said he has cruised 13 times and will do so again.

“I don’t know how much more we could have took,” passenger Larry Poret said via cell phone. Poret was aboard with his 12-year-old daughter, Rebekah, who said the ordeal has been “really, really difficult.”

Thanks to CNN cameras aboard a helicopter circling the crippled ship, Rebekah’s mother, Mary Poret, was able to see her daughter for the first time in six days.

“It’s excellent, I’m very happy,” Mary Poret said.

“I’m so excited to see her and she’s so excited to see me,” Rebekah said. “I can’t wait to get back.”

“We see land right now,” she said.

“Yay! It’s just going to get bigger,” Mary Poret answered.

The relief was immense, especially in light of the frightening call Poret received from her daughter about 30 hours after an engine room fire on Sunday.

“She was hysterical, crying hysterically. She was scared. She don’t know what was going to happen next,” Mary Poret said. “And what broke my heart the very most was her saying, ‘Mommy, I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again,’ and that’s really hard to hear from your 12-year-old daughter.”

Once the ship ties up at the dock, it will take four to five hours to get everyone off, Thornton said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, Coast Guard members and a Carnival team boarded the ship before it arrived in port to help speed efforts to get passengers off as quickly as possible, he said.

Some families gathered at the Alabama Cruise Terminal, far from where the ship was originally supposed to dock in Galveston, Texas. Marissa Jenks said her family reported they had a hot meal Thursday morning and crew members were trying to clean up the ship as it neared port.

Adam Buck, a spokesman for the city of Mobile, said about 75 people were waiting for their loved ones. Family members who spoke to CNN said they had come from Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas. Some had come in as early as Wednesday but the bulk of people arrived Thursday afternoon, with each hour bringing a few more cars.

Most of the anxious families couldn’t bear the thought of their relatives being on a bus for hours and had gotten hotel rooms in Mobile where the homecoming would include a long shower and a meal.

Larry Poret confirmed reports of dire conditions aboard the ship, saying urine and feces streamed in the halls and down walls after toilet facilities failed, soaking the mattress of a friend of his who was sleeping in a hallway.

Emergency power failures caused section doors to slam shut, panicking some passengers who had no idea what was happening.

“We definitely are not adequately informed,” Poret said.

The Triumph, carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members, was on its way home Sunday when a fire off the coast of Mexico left the vessel listing to the side and drifting in Gulf of Mexico currents.

Boredom and stress

Poret said toilets on the ship worked on and off, but were too inconsistent to trust.

He said waste tipped out of some commodes and sloshed across floors as the ship listed to the side.

“It runs down the walls from one floor to the next. It’s running out of somebody’s bathroom out into the hallway all the way across,” he said.

Long lines for food and frequent delays were constantly aggravating, he said.

“Here we are looking for hope that, hey it’s 6 o’clock, it’s going to get better,” he said. “And 6 o’clock comes and goes and all of a sudden an announcement at 8, ‘Hey, we’re running behind schedule.’ Well, no joke.”

The incident aboard the ship scared Poret’s daughter and a friend taking the cruise with her, Poret said.

“As soon as you get them calmed down, the electric goes out and doors start slamming shut,” he said.

During less stressful times, passengers passed the hours playing cards, walking the deck and going to see what was happening on other areas of the ship, Poret said.

Passengers set up charging stations to help their fellow passengers juice up cell phones and other devices, he said.

Poret and his daughter said they just wanted to sleep through the ordeal.

“When we wake up I ask myself and my dad, ‘Can I go back to sleep again,’ because I want another day to pass so bad,” Rebekah said.

The final trip home

Carnival promises an army of about 200 employees will take care of its passengers once they clear customs.

Passengers can board buses to Galveston, where the cruise originated, or Houston, or spend the night in a hotel in New Orleans.

Carnival said it has reserved and arranged approximately 100 motor coaches, more than 1,500 New Orleans hotel rooms, multiple charter flights from New Orleans to Houston on Friday and transportation from Houston to the Port of Galveston so that guests may retrieve their cars if they drove to the port.

Carnival officials had initially planned to tow the ship to a Mexican port, but after Gulf currents pushed it farther north before tugboats could take control, and considering that 900 of the passengers do not have passports, the company decided to take the Triumph to Mobile instead, where it can be repaired.

Compensation for travelers

Thornton said conditions had improved on the ship, which he said is in “excellent shape” and would be “fully provisioned” by the time it reaches port.

The cruise line said it would give each passenger $500, a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, as well as a credit for another cruise.

The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into the cause of the engine room fire. Because the Carnival Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged vessel, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the primary investigative agency.

Passenger rights

Travelers have few options for compensation in these cases, other than what the cruise line is already offering, according to travel expert Jason Clampet of, a travel website.

“The passengers on the ship aren’t going to have a great deal of recourse when they get home,” he said. Travel “insurance really doesn’t cover this sort of thing. Their trip wasn’t interrupted and they aren’t incurring extra expenses … so they can’t be compensated that way.”

Still, there’s no denying that the fire and resulting bad PR will hurt Carnival.

“It’s a terrible sight, thinking of people trapped on a ship with limited food and filthy conditions, so I think people will think twice about taking a cruise,” Clampet said.

Bad luck before

The fire is at least the second problem for the ship since late January, when it had an issue with its propulsion system, according to a notice posted on the website of Carnival senior cruise director John Heald.

It’s also not the first fire to disable one of the cruise line’s ships.

In 2010, the Carnival cruise ship Splendor lost power after an engine room fire, leaving it drifting off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The USS Ronald Reagan ferried 60,000 pounds of supplies for the ship’s passengers and crew as the ship was towed to San Diego.

After this ill-fated cruise, the Triumph won’t host vacationing passengers until at least mid-April. Carnival has canceled a dozen voyages scheduled between February 21 and April 13. That makes a total of 14 scratched trips. The cruise line already had eliminated voyages slated for February 11 and February 16.

CNN’s Rich Phillips, Tom Watkins, Chandler Friedman, Victor Blackwell, Tristan Smith, Joe Sutton, Mike Ahlers, Dave Alsup, Sandra Endo, Chuck Johnston, Esprit Smith, Greg Botelho, Katia Hetter and Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

As the crippled Carnival cruise ship floated into shore, a frustrated father from Indianapolis drove down to the port in Mobile, Ala. to pick up his 18-year-old daughter, who had been stranded on the ship.

Rusty Adkins said he cannot believe the conditions his daughter Brianna Adkins had to endure.

“It’s not—it’s not a very good situation at all,” said Adkins.  “They’re still pretty deplorable.  The ship’s listed on one side.  Grease and sewage and fluids are building up on one side of the ship.  And she said it’s kind of nasty.”

Brianna was able to call him from the ship and spoke about how hard it was onboard.

“We had to sleep in the hallways, Brianna said.

“Cause it was too hot to sleep. We had an inside cabin.  And it was pitch dark and you can’t see anything. We’ve haven’t, the restrooms only work at certain times.”

Passenger Larry Poret said the sewage is worse than you can even imagine.

“Well, I mean it runs down the walls from one floor to the next,” Poret said.  “It was running out from somebody’s bathroom out into the hallway all the way across, and because we’re sleeping in the hallway, my friend Carmel had to actually change his mattress out for another one because it was laying in the raw sewage.”

No one appeared to be happy with the response from Carnival Cruise Lines regarding how the incident continued to unfold.  Carnival said it’s not going to be over any time soon.

“This is gonna be a long day,” said Carnival Cruise Line V.P. Terry Thornton. “This is not a process that’s gonna happen fast.  There’s no way we can actually speed up the process to get the ship alongside sooner.”

Rusty just can’t wait to hug his daughter again and take her back home to Indianapolis.

An Indiana native is among more than 3,100 people stranded aboard a Carnival cruise ship that is now slowly making its way back to land.

The ship left Galveston, Texas, last Thursday for a four day cruise, but a fire on board Sunday signaled the start of several problems that now have passengers struggling with deplorable conditions.

Jennifer Stanfield said her sister, Jet Hilton, boarded the ship to take part in a special occasion.

“This was a girlfriends getaway for the weekend to celebrate one of her friend’s birthday,” Stanfield said.

Hilton, who grew up in Crawfordsville and graduated from Purdue is now struggling to simply communicate with her own family due to a lack of electricity and sporadic Wi-Fi provided by Coast Guard ships.

“She and her friends are each taking turns sending out news to their husbands,” Stanfield said.

The husbands have been updating family members like Jennifer through email.

“(She) and the other girls are uncomfortable because they have no electricity and no running water,” Stanfield said.

That has led to some gross conditions on board.

“They aren’t allowed in their rooms below deck so I guess they are sleeping out in the public areas,” Stanfield said. “They’ve all been given plastic bags for bathroom facilities and they aren’t allowed to flush, so that’s kind of rough.”

Though the smell of raw sewage has reportedly made some on board sick, Jennifer said she understands her sister is in good health.

“I’ve been told she is on deck playing cards with friends trying to pass the time away,” Stanfield said.

On Monday, she also reportedly spent three hours waiting for food.

“By the time she got there all that was left was a hamburger and a bottle of water,” Stanfield said.

Still, she believes her sister is making the best of the unusual occasion.

“She is probably trying to encourage her friends and saying, ‘Hey this is a great adventure and now we have a story to tell,’” Stanfield said. “I think she is trying to see the silver lining.”

Stanfield said her sister told her family that the tugboats are expected to get the ship to the Alabama shore by Thursday. She hopes to rejoin her family by Friday.