The Norman Transcript

Archive

February 14, 2013

Towline breaks as cruise ship nears shore

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The crippled Carnival cruise slowly making its way back to dry land suffered another setback Thursday when a tow line snapped, setting the ship adrift once again as crews worked to repair it.

On board, passengers described overflowing toilets, sewage backed up in showers, scarce food and people getting sick, bringing the scene into sharper focus after a week at sea. What began as a four-day voyage in the Gulf of Mexico has turned into a vacation nightmare, not at all the luxury cruise touted in brochures.

Passengers were expected to make it to shore Thursday night — only to then face an hours-long bus ride or other travel hassles to finally get back home. Frustrations with the cruise line were simmering on and off the ship, as passengers and their relatives questioned why it has taken so long to get back to dry land after an engine-room fire disabled the ship Sunday.

“There’s poop and urine all along the floor,” Renee Shanar, of Houston, said from her cellphone aboard the ship. “The floor is flooded with sewer water ... and we had to poop in bags.”

The ship was in sight of the Alabama shore Thursday afternoon when the tow line broke.

Until the repair is complete, the ship is “dead in the water and when they reconnect safely, they then proceed on their way,” Coast Guard Petty Officer William Colclough said.

The 14-story ship still has to negotiate a tricky shipping channel before it could dock. Before the line broke, the ship was traveling about 5 mph.

Television images from CNN showed passengers with signs of “Help” and “I love you” hanging from their cabin rooms. Others walked around the deck, some waving to the helicopters flying above. People in boats, presumably officials from Carnival, the Coast Guard and Customs, have boarded the ship.

Text Only | Photo Reprints