Friday, February 15th 2013 - 19:12 UTC

Stranded cruise vessel docks in Alabama; “the ship’s afloat, so is the sewage”

More than 4,000 people, passengers and crew members, disembarked on Friday from a crippled cruise ship that docked at Mobile, Alabama four days after an engine fire knocked out power while sailing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Passengers reported no electricity on board, and few working toilets, during the four days the Carnival Triumph was crippled. (Photo AP)

The Carnival Triumph is the largest ship ever to dock at Mobile (Photo AFP)

Some passengers lined the decks of Carnival Triumph as she docked waving and cheering at people on shore while others chanted “Let me off, let me off!” as they waited to disembark. One homemade sign read: “Sweet Home Alabama!” and another: “The ship's afloat, so is the sewage.”

Passengers had reported sewage on the floors, poor sanitation and access to toilets, and lengthy queues for food.

After the Carnival Triumph was towed into port, Carnival Corp said it would take as long as five hours to get all the passengers off. They have already been cleared by customs officials. The Carnival Triumph is the largest ship ever to dock at Mobile.

Once off the ship passengers were taken by bus either to Galveston, Texas, which is about seven hours away, or to New Orleans, where the firm said it had booked 1,500 hotel rooms. New Orleans is two hours away.

Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill apologised again for the “very poor” conditions on board.

“We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a great vacation experience, and clearly we failed in this particular case,” he said.

Hospitality staff will be sent on early holiday with full pay or transferred to other ships, depending on the length remaining in their contracts, senior vice-president Terry Thornton said.

Passengers described conditions on board as ”extremely terrible''. There was no electricity and few working toilets. Plastic bags had to be used to go to the toilets and food was scarce.

The stench from overflowing toilets and drainpipes made some cabins uninhabitable and many people slept in corridors, while others took bedding out into the open to escape the heat and foul smell.

Passengers will be offered a full refund and discounts on future cruises. Carnival announced on Wednesday passengers would each get an additional 500 dollars in compensation.

But the firm has disputed the accounts describing the ship as filthy, saying employees were doing everything they could to ensure people were comfortable.

Carnival has cancelled more than a dozen planned voyages aboard the Triumph, while acknowledging that the crippled ship had other mechanical problems in the weeks before the fire.

Spokesman Vance Gulliksen said Triumph had an earlier electrical problem with the ship's alternator but that repairs were completed by 2 February. He said there was no evidence linking the previous problem to Sunday's fire.

The US National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into the fire.

Carnival Corp which operates the ship, was also the owner of Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast and sank last year, killing 32 people.

14 comments Feed

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1 ChrisR (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 07:22 pm Report abuse
Sewage system not working is remeniscent of the ongoing problem in Mendoza, so no problem there then.
2 Nostrolldamus the 10th (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 07:23 pm Report abuse
What an awful place, ships break down no power, stadiums lose power in the final game, cities go for 30 days plus without gasoline, bridges simply “collapse” for no reason... gosh.
3 Think (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 07:37 pm Report abuse
Things like that wouldn't happen in a serious country............ ;-)
4 Nostrolldamus the 10th (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 07:44 pm Report abuse

I thought that capitalist competition made things so much better.
5 falklandlad (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 07:44 pm Report abuse
@#3. Mr Think, you should try the Falklands then; we are a serious emerging country if you as you suggest “things like that wouldn't happen in a serious country”. And, besides, we have wind generators - bit of a stop gap when it comes to oil-generated electricity.
6 reality check (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 07:58 pm Report abuse
Christ, a story about a fire in the engine room of a ship and you equate it to the capitalist system.
7 willi1 (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 08:06 pm Report abuse
carnival - we are the biggest - no matter what happens with the passengers.
8 Nostrolldamus the 10th (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 08:10 pm Report abuse

Well, how many “accidents” in cruise ships lately? Ever since competition has shrunk significantly, it seems they are quite common.
9 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 09:53 pm Report abuse
That ship is like a floating Rgentina.....but it has someplace to go.
10 CaptainSilver (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 10:26 pm Report abuse
Think is an oxymoron with the emphasis on moron
Nostroll another moron full of hate with a giant chip on her shoulder
Please ignore Rg trolls like these
11 golfcronie (#) Feb 15th, 2013 - 10:39 pm Report abuse
Did I not read somewhere that the Argie navy sank in port.
12 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 16th, 2013 - 12:25 am Report abuse
Yes a warship rotted in her birth and broached on her side and never saw a wave.
13 surfer (#) Feb 16th, 2013 - 05:57 pm Report abuse
It's only because Argentina doesn't have ANY cruise ships, they may as well be criticising the EURO/US/Russian space programs.

Not so long ago, arf;
14 Ayayay (#) Feb 16th, 2013 - 09:37 pm Report abuse
The word Carnival is a pos now.

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