Shipyard Worker Still Missing After Being Blown into Mobile River in Carnival Triumph Incident

Posted in Alabama Maritime News,Jones Act on April 4, 2013

MOBILE, Ala. — A Shipyard worker is still missing after being blown into the water at an Alabama BAE shipyard on Wednesday, April 3, where high winds also tore the Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph from its moorings.

 A large hole is shown at the stern of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship after it broke away from its moorings while docked for repairs in Mobile, Ala., April 3, 2013. (WKRG/ABC News)

Photo shows a large hole at the stern of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship after it broke away from its moorings while docked for repairs in Mobile, Ala., April 3, 2013. (WKRG/ABC News)

According to WPTV, the call to the Coast Guard came in at 1:45 p.m. CT as near hurricane-force winds smacked the Gulf Coast city of Mobile, Alabama.

The Coast Guard is still searching for the missing employee identified as a 64-year-old man who works for the shipyard, the company that runs the shipyard, not the cruise line.

The fire department said the Coast Guard, Mobile police and the sheriff department’s flotilla are now in charge of a “recovery operation.” Some of the flotilla’s boats are equipped with sonar to find underwater objects.

Officials told the media that the missing man and a second man were in a guard shack that was blown off the dock. The second man was rescued.

The same 70 mph gusts pulled loose the star-crossed Triumph, which was being repaired after a February engine fire that stranded thousands of passengers at sea with backed-up toilets and dwindling food supplies.

The 900-foot vessel drifted from one bank to another and smacked into a cargo ship before it could be secured. None of the 800 workers aboard were hurt, according to Carnival, though there was a 20-foot gash in its hull.

The Coast Guard said the cruise ship drifted across the shipyard after breaking free. Tugboats were able to keep it from drifting farther down river.

The Triumph has been at BAE Shipyard in the Port of Mobile since an engine fire in February left the cruise ship crippled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people aboard. For four days, tugboats guided the disabled ship into the port as passengers complained about miserable conditions on board.

The Coast Guard said cruise ship drifted across the shipyard after breaking free. Tugboats were able to keep it from drifting farther down river.

Carnival Cruise Lines faces a class-action lawsuit related to the Triumph’s last cruise, when passengers reported that food was scarce, cruise goers sweltered in the heat with no air conditioning, toilets overflowed and human waste ran down the walls in some parts of the ship.

Source: WPTV

Blog post by Alabama maritime lawyer, Gordon, Elias & Seely.