Sunday, February 10, 2013

Carnival Triumph Engine Fire

No Casualties or Injuries

A small engine fire broke out Sunday morning onboard Carnival Triumph while it was about 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

(Source: Carnival Cruise Line Facebook Page)

The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing systems activated and the fire was contained to the aft engine room. At this time, the fire is fully extinguished.

Carnival reported that no casualties or injuries to guests or crew have been reported.  

Running on Emergency Power  

The ship is currently without propulsion and is operating on emergency generator power while the ship's technical crew assesses the damage and attempts to restore power. In the meantime, a tugboat is being dispatched to the ship's location in the event it is needed. All appropriate authorities including U.S. Coast Guard have been notified

There are 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board and all guests have been asked to remain in the ship’s public areas and open decks for their comfort. Guests are being provided with food and refreshments, and all guests on the current voyage will receive a full refund inclusive of gratuities and any transportation expenses.

Voyages Impacted

Carnival  Triumph is currently on a four-day cruise that departed Galveston, Texas on Thursday. Carnival has contacted guests booked on the next voyage which was scheduled to depart tomorrow to make them aware of the situation and advise that tomorrow’s voyage will not depart as scheduled. Guests have the option of cancelling now and receiving a full refund or waiting for further information to determine if a shortened, partial voyage may be possible. 

UPDATED: 11 Feb 2013

The ship's technical crew has determined the vessel will need to be towed to port. A tugboat is en route to the ship's location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship’s current location. This will enable us to disembark guests and get them home as quickly as possible. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso Wednesday afternoon and guests will be flown from there back to the U.S. 

All guests on the current Carnival Triumph voyage will receive a full refund of the cruise, along with transportation expenses. In addition, they will receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, as well as reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop and casino charges.

The next two voyages of Carnival Triumph, scheduled to depart Monday, February 11 and Saturday, February 16 are being cancelled. Guests scheduled to sail on either of those voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future three to five-day cruise. Carnival is in contact with impacted guests to advise them of the situation.  

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Dwayne Bradley

GULF OF MEXICO - The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous stands by to assist the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico, Feb. 11, 2013. The Carnival Triumph lost propulsion power after an engine room fire Feb. 10, 2013.
Carnival Triumph Statement (President & CEO Gerry Cahill releases statement)

Tugs Tow Triumph to Mobile 

After drifting without power some 90 miles due to strong currents, Carnival has opted to tow the disabled ship to port in Mobile, Alabama instead of Progresso, Mexico as originally planned.  That decision was announced Monday at 9:15 PM Eastern by the line.   It simplifies two problems - towing against a strong current and getting 900 people without passports back to the United States.
We'll talk about the latter topic in a separate column: Why We Recommend Passports

UPDATED: 12 Feb 2013

Carnival Triumph is on the move under tow by two tugboats.   She is racing along at about 7 knotts (about 8 MPH) and should arrive in Mobile Thursday afternoon.   Limited onboard systems remain functional according to Carnival with periodic problems with the sewage system.  The entertainment staff is doing what they can with activities planned to keep passengers entertained.  Meals and refreshments are being provided poolside in the grille which remained open the majority of the day yesterday and was open early this morning.

Passenger accounts are reporting poor conditions onboard as minimal power prevents systems from functioning.  

Return Travel Arrangements

Carnival Cruise Lines' President and CEO Gerry Cahill address reporters regarding Carnival Triumph during a press conference at the company's headquarters in Miami. 
"No one here from Carnival is happy about the conditions aboard ship… there is no question that conditions onboard are very challenging. Most of the public bathrooms, there are 23 public bathrooms, most of them are working," he said during a news conference in Miami. There is also a "good section" of passenger cabins, in the forward and midship sections of the ship, that are working.  

More than 1,500 hotels rooms in Mobile and New Orleans have been booked and 10 charter flights have been secured to fly passengers to Houston on Friday. For passengers with cars at the port of Galveston, buses have been arranged to bring them back.

Carnival is in the process of securing buses for a Thursday evening transfer from Mobile to Houston or Galveston for passengers who would rather get home sooner, Cahill said. 

UPDATED: 13 Feb 2013

Triumph Voyages cancelled through April 13, 2013
Additional Compensation for Guests

Carnival Triumph Additional Cancellations & Compensation 

UPDATED: 14 Feb 2013

Another setback for passengers aboard the stricken vessel.  Once again the ship is adrift because of a broken tow line.   Until the tow line can be repaired, the ship will not be underway again.   The ship is scheduled to arrive late tonight in Mobile, Alabama where passengers will board buses either to a hotel or back to Houston.

Passenger discontent appears to be growing as the situation with limited food, water, and toilets lasts even longer.   Pictures posted on the internet show passengers with make-shift signs asking for Help.

Carnival has deployed more than 200 staff to assist in getting the passengers home.


Earlier today additional provisions and another generator were delivered via helicopter, to aid in the addition of more hotel services on board.

The Carnival Triumph is currently just outside the mouth of the channel and is expected to enter shortly. Local pilots and other officials have boarded. While this trip could be accomplished in about 3 hours with power, under the circumstances today we expect this to take anywhere from 7 – 10 hours.

We’ve coordinated the arrival process with the Coast Guard and Port Authorities. Two hundred team members were mobilized to be here to assist with the arrival and travel plans for our guests as they debark the ship.


U.S. Coast Guard Provides Additional Aid

A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile MH-60 helicopter crew transported approximately 3,000 pounds of equipment, which included a generator and electrical cables, from the offshore supply vessel Lana Rose to the Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph Wednesday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico.  The generator will be used to help provide additional power to the cruise ship.

Third Tug Boat Enroute
Carnival has dispatched a third tugboat to assist in towing Carnival Triumph to port. The tugboat is currently en route from Port Fourchon, Louisiana and is expected to arrive at the ship this evening to further support the vessel’s return to Mobile, Alabama on Thursday. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to be on the scene as the ship is in tow.

Contact Information

Carnival has contacted the designated emergency contacts for all guests on board. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or 305.406.5534

We will provide updates as further details are released.  We are happy that emergency equipment functioned and that there were no injuries or casualties resulting from this incident.   

Timeline & Updates

10 Feb  Sunday Morning Small Engine Fire Breaks Out & is Extinguished
10 FebAll DayServices knocked out; passengers confined to open decks
11 Feb12:45 AM ESTUSCG Vigorous onsite to assist
11 Feb 06:00 AM ESTFreshwater system; forward sewage, some power restored
11 FebMonday MorningCarnival Elation offloaded food and water
11 Feb03:00 PM ESTCarnival Legend arrives with food; transports patient needing dialysis
11 Feb05:00 PM ESTLimited onboard systems restored; passengers return to cabins
11 FebMonday EveningFirst of two tugboats arrive on scene
11 Feb08:30 PM ESTTriumph will be towed to Mobile, Alabama, instead of Progreso, Mexico
11 Feb10:00 AM - 10:00 PMMeals & refreshments served at poolside grille
12 Feb7:00 AMPoolside grille open again for meals & refreshments
12 FebTuesday MorningSecond tugboat arrived early in the morning
12 Feb10:00 AM ESTCarnival Triumph under tow to Mobile (speed 7 knots)
12 FebTuesday EveningPresident and CEO, Gerry Cahill addresses media (watch video above)
13 Feb2:30 PM ESTThird tugboat enroute to Triumph from Louisiana
13 Feb2:30 PM ESTUSCG Helicopter brings  generator and other supplies
13 Feb5:45 PM ESTAdditional cancellations and compensation announced
14 FebThursday afternoonTow line breaks - ship is afloat until it can be repaired
14 FebThursday afternoonUSCG medevacs female passenger who suffered stroke
14 Feb4 PM ESTTow line repaired and ship on the move
14 Feb9 - 11 PM ESTTriumph expected to arrive in Mobile, AL
14 Feb11:30 PM ESTCarnival Triumph is alongside pier in Mobile, AL

All Carnival Triumph guests should be back home with friends and family by now other than those who opted to stay a little longer in New Orleans and Galveston. Crew will be making their way to other ships or back to their homes over the next few days.

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