orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

February 12, 2013

Tugs tow disabled cruise ship toward Alabama

(Continued)

HOUSTON —

Passengers have limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee, but some described miserable conditions aboard the ship.

Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement Monday that the Carnival Triumph had drifted so far north of its original position that it made more sense to tow it to Mobile, allowing for less complicated re-entry for passengers without passports.

The fire in the aft engine room knocked out the ship's propulsion system. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the statement said.

When another Carnival cruise ship, the Legend, rendezvoused with the stranded vessel Monday, Texas resident Brent Nutt was able to briefly chat with his wife, Bethany, who could draw a cellphone signal from the visiting cruise line.

Without power, the ship's stabilizers are apparently not working, Nutt told The Associated Press, and the massive liner had been leaning to one side Sunday. By Monday afternoon, the ship seemed more upright, he said.

"She sounded a whole lot better today than she did yesterday," Nutt said about two hours after chatting with his 32-year-old wife.

Oliva said the "very slightly" 4.5-degree list was caused by the 25-knot winds from the south-southeast, a condition not unexpected "given the wind speed and posed no safety risk."

It wasn't immediately certain if the list had been corrected with the ship under tow.

Nutt said his wife told him passengers were also given food and some of the bathrooms are working. But the ship is dirty, he said his wife told him.

"There's water and feces all over the floor," Nutt relayed. "It's not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship."

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