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Carnival Triumph expected back in port Thursday, conditions worsening for thousands on board

Feb 14, 2013

A wedding aboard the massive Carnival Triumph cruise ship sailing around the Gulf of Mexico was supposed to be the dream of Texas couple Rob Mowlam and Stephanie Stevenson. As the ship makes its way closer to port in Mobile, Ala., four days after it was supposed to return to the U.S., the proverbial honeymoon had already ended.

According to an ABC News report, the trip aboard the Carnival Triumph was a gift from her employer and on board presumably are her co-workers. She used the opportunity to get married and during the scheduled four-day trip, they were wed by the ship’s captain.

When fire broke out in the engine room on Sunday and cut most of the electricity to the ship, conditions for the couple’s honeymoon worsened quickly. Mowlam has been in contact with family at his home only “sporadically,” according to his brother, who spoke with the news source recently.

A lack of communications are the least of the concerns for the more than 4,200 people on board the massive Carnival Triumph cruise vessel. Soon after the power was lost on board, the ship’s captain essentially lost control of the ship, leaving it to the mercy of the currents in the Gulf of Mexico. A plan to dock in Mexico was thwarted by those currents, which carried the ship 90 miles off course. It took more than a day to dispatch two tug boats to the Triumph’s aid and on Tuesday they began to pull the ship toward the Alabama coastline. The ship was originally intended to be back in port on Monday, concluding a four-day cruise.

So for this entire week, the more than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members rations have been thin, essential facilities are limited and the sanitary condition of the vessel has become a concern.

In the few communications passengers have had with family members, according to several other news reports, many passengers have abandoned their cabins because the air conditioning and ventilation system stopped working. This has left the cabin area hot and stale. Making it worse are the shut-down toilet facilities, creating a stench of urine on board. There are only a few working bathrooms aboard the vessel now and queues for those facilities could have people waiting more than an hour to use them. In the interim, passengers and crew have resorted to plastic buckets and bags to serve as bathrooms.

There is also limited lighting aboard the cruise ship. Emergency flashing lights prevent a total blackout at night, according to one passenger’s description. Also, those on board have been limited to cold food rations because without power, there is no refrigeration or working kitchen.

The Carnival Triumph is expected to dock in Alabama on Thursday, if the weather permits, according to ABC. It’s at that point when many who were forced to endure the worsening condition aboard the vessel what action they’ll take against Carnival for its actions or inactions in response to the engine fire. That’s also the time when more details regarding the conditions and any potential incidents on board during the last four days will be disclosed since communications have been so limited.

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