February 12, 2013
Update, 8 p.m. EST - Carnival Cruise Line President and CEO Gerry Cahill provided an update on Triumph and discussed how passengers will get home from Mobile, in a news conference held Tuesday night in Miami.
Cahill opened by apologizing to Carnival passengers and their families. He also said "conditions aboard the ship are very challenging." Cahill specifically addressed the issue of toilets onboard Triumph, saying most public toilets are operational despite numerous reports to the contrary. And a Carnival spokesman told Cruise Critic that, because there is (cold) running water onboard, passengers are able to take showers.
Watch a portion of the video, courtesy of the Associated Press, above.
Update, 3:59 p.m. EST - The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the cause of the Carnival Triumph engine fire. But because Carnival Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged ship, the Bahamas Maritime Authority will be the primary investigative agency. In accordance with international guidelines, the U.S. will participate in the investigation as a Marine Safety Investigative State.
Coast Guard members from both the Investigations and Cruise Ship Centers of Expertise, along with a representative from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center will lead the U.S. investigation joined by a team of five investigators from the NTSB Office of Marine Safety and the Office of Research and Engineering. The purpose of the investigation is to identify causal and contributing factors that led to the incident. Additionally both the crew response and effectiveness of fire fighting systems will be evaluated. The U.S. team is expected to arrive in Mobile Wednesday. Results of the investigation will be released to the public once the investigation by the Bahamas Maritime Authority is complete.
Update, 12:09 p.m. EST - According to the Coast Guard, Carnival Triumph and the two tow vessels are making 7 knots, which equates to 8.05 miles per hour.
(10:15 a.m. EST) – Carnival Triumph is on the move again, under the power of two tugboats, and is expected to arrive in Mobile on Thursday afternoon, according to a new update from Carnival Cruise Lines. All passengers will then be flown to Houston.
Limited onboard systems remain functional, though the sewage system did go down again last night for a short period. Technicians were able to gets "some of them [toilets] back on line this morning," Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said. Passengers "are doing well under the circumstances," and the ship's entertainment staff has planned various activities to try and keep passengers entertained.
After being confined to open decks and public spaces on Sunday, the 3,143 passengers on the now-altered four-night Caribbean cruise from Galveston, have been allowed return to their cabins, said Gulliksen.
Additionally, there is running water in the cabins, albeit cold water. Power has been restored to a limited number of elevators, as well as to part of the Lido dining to provide for hot coffee and limited hot food service.
Meals and refreshments are being provided and the grille in the poolside restaurant was open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. last night and opened again at 7 a.m. this morning.
Emergency backup generators continue to power the ship's bridge and communication systems.
A fire left the ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with no power on Sunday, February 10. There were no injuries from the fire, which the line says was contained by the ship's automatic extinguishing system.
Carnival had originally announced Triumph would be towed to Progreso, Mexico but switched to Mobile after the ship drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents, which put it nearly equidistant to Mobile as to Progreso. "Given the strength of the currents, it is preferable to head north to Mobile, rather than attempt to tow against them," a Carnival statement explained. "Mobile also provides simpler re-entry [than Mexico], particularly for the 900 passengers traveling without passports," the line added.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigorous has been on the scene since 12:45 a.m. EST Monday.
A timeline for repairs to Triumph will be announced once the ship is in port and has undergone inspection, according to the line. Damaged suffered by Carnival Splendor from an engine room fire in 2010 kept the ship out of service for more than three months.
Cruise Critic member krogers2063 reports, "I just went on Carnival's Web site and did a mock booking and the next sailing that comes up for the Triumph is March 21st. That is my sailing. I pray it will be fixed by then."
This latest event comes just weeks after an issue with Triumph's propulsion system, which caused minor delays to two cruises. Gulliksen said Carnival has checked into whether the propulsion problem was related to the engine fire, but was told the cause of the fire is not yet known.
"A complete investigation will take place with the appropriate regulatory bodies, outside experts and other independent authorities as appropriate," he said.