February 14, 2013
Official sent to help Canadians on 'hellish' cruise
MOBILE, Ala. - A Canadian consular official is in this city to help citizens aboard the "hellish" cruise ship Carnival Triumph that is expected to reach land Thursday after being stranded for four days.
The 272-metre vessel has been without propulsion and running on emergency generator power since Sunday, when an engine room fire left it adrift off Mexico's southern Yucatan Peninsula. It is unknown how many Canadians are on board.
John Babcock, a spokesman with Canada's department of foreign affairs, said Thursday morning that officials have been in contact with the cruise line and they are prepared to provide Canadian citizens consular assistance when the ship arrives.
The powerless ship is being hauled by tugboats to Mobile, Ala., where it is due to arrive no later than Thursday.
Earlier this week, some passengers who contacted relatives and media before their cellphone batteries died reported a horrific situation, saying the ship was awash in raw sewage from overflowing toilets and running short on food and water.
Kim McKerreghan told CNN that her husband and young daughter said in a call from aboard the ship on Monday that passengers were being forced to defecate in plastic bags due to a shortage of working toilets and that meals consisted of sandwiches with only condiments or onions.
Nick Ware, whose mother is among the Triumph passengers, told the network, "Once the meat for the burgers ran out, they were basically just eating condiment hamburgers. Just, you know, whatever condiments they could get on a bun."
He said some passengers had been instructed to use "red biohazard bags" as makeshift toilets on Monday.
The ship left Galveston, Texas, last Thursday carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew and had been due to return there on Monday.
Carnival Corp spokesman Vance Gulliksen has stopped short of denying some of the more alarming reports about conditions aboard the Triumph. But he said Wednesday that a technical team on board had succeeded in gradually restoring auxiliary power to operate some basic hotel functions.
Carnival Cruise Lines had already said passengers would receive a full credit for the cruise plus transportation expenses and a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for the Triumph voyage.
In a statement late on Wednesday, Carnival Cruise Lines President and Chief Executive Gerry Cahill said the company had decided to add further payment of $500 per person to help compensate passengers for "very challenging circumstances" aboard the ship.
-- With files from QMI Agency