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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

more than 4000 stranded on board Carnival Triumph - engine room fire


There are ships exclusively carry passengers and the most luxurious of them are Cruises.  A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages.  In some ways, on cruises, transportation is not the prime purpose as many a times Cruise Lines operate mostly return the passengers to the originating point.  There are even "cruises to nowhere" or "nowhere voyages" where the ship makes 2-3 day round trips without any ports of call. On transporting cargo, there is the concept of ‘ocean liners’ which typically operate on scheduled plans and routes. 

A luxury Cruise ship is in news for wrong reasons as more  than 4,000 people  are reported to have been stranded for an entire day  arising out of a  fire in engine room.  It is ‘Carnival Triumph’ which claims to be a ship dedicated to great cities of the world, taking you to stunning destinations… a winning combination, indeed!  little wonder why we call her Carnival Triumph. Carnival Triumph features onboard hotspots inspired by cities from all four corners of the world.  Those on board can experience delicious coffees, cakes, cookies and pastries at Vienna Café, encounter beach-casual fare at The South Beach Club, or explore a multi-course meal at London or Paris Dining Rooms; be spoilt by the  choice of spots for a drink.  For the kids or for adults to become kids there are splashing pools on board.   It is a vessel operated by Carnival Cruise Lines in the Caribbean from 1999.

The ship has one of the first sea-going cellular systems which allow guests to use their own personal cellular phones to make calls directly from the ship at any time, called "Cellular at Sea". Carnival Triumph sails 4 and 5 day voyages from Galveston, Texas to the Western Caribbean.

On Sunday February 10, 2013 the ship suffered a fire in her engine room. Although the fire was automatically extinguished, it resulted in a loss of power and propulsion. While the emergency generator was providing some power, the ship was left adrift off the coast of Mexico. Carnival Triumph is expected to be towed to the Mexican port of Progreso. A day later, reports state that  some power was restored including the freshwater system, which is back up and operational. A sister ship Carnival Legend is en-route from Tampa  to provide transfer of food and water. 

Many reports suggest that passengers aboard the cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico had limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee overnight as they waited for two tugboats to arrive to tow them to Mexico. It was reportedly meandering aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early Sunday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the  reports stated.   Once the ship is towed to Progreso, Mexico, the 3143 passengers on board will fly back to the United States. There are also 1086 crew members aboard the ship. They are to arrive in Mexico on Wednesday.

A ship adrift certainly is not the best of places and passengers sure would be inconvenienced, still there appears no apprehension to its safety as contingency plans are in place.   There are reports that a similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access. Carnival said in a statement that it had cancelled the Triumph's next two voyages scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund, the statement said.

There are no reports of casualties as Triumph is being tugged to  Progreso.   Progreso is a port city in the Mexican state of Yucatán, located on the Gulf of Mexico.  There are reports of comments on online forums Twitter and others that recent trips with the vessel had been plagued by engine problems with some experiencing delays and others prevented from reaching their destination.

This was no pleasure trip for the passengers is for sure

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Feb 2013.

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