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MOBILE. Ala. — The stranded Carnival cruise ship Triumph is now being pulled by four tugboats and is expected to arrive at Post of Mobile late Thursday night. The cruise ship became stranded on Sunday, Feb. 17, when an engine room fire broke out leaving¬† 4,200-passengers aboard the Triumph without any propulsion. The fire was quickly doused by on board systems Sunday, but the vessel was completely crippled and drifted some 90 miles before a Mexican tug could arrive and provide some stability.

Photo shows Carnival cruise ship Triumph being pulled by four tugboats, Feb. 14, 2013 and moving towards the Port of Mobile.

Photo shows Carnival cruise ship Triumph being pulled by tugboats on Thursday Feb. 14, 2013 as it moves towards its destination at the Port of Mobile in Alabama..

The cruise ship, which was 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula when the incident occurred, left only the backup generator available and forced passengers to have to wait in long lines for food and with limited access to bathrooms.

The ship with 4,200 people aboard, including crew members, was scheduled to return to Galveston the following Monday morning, Feb. 18, but the fire left it floating aimlessly in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. A tugboat from Louisiana joined two others Wednesday to help pull the crippled 893-foot ship.

Passengers used cellphones to call and text home, reporting that they were sleeping in hallways, urinating in bags and waiting hours in line for limited food.

At 3:30 p.m. today Senior VP Terry Thornton held a press conference and stated that a broken towline caused a delay of about an hour for the ship. The ship is right at the entrance of the ship channel and will take another 7-10 hours to dock. Thornton said it will take up to 4 hours to get all the passengers and crew members off the ship, but Carnival Cruise Lines does have 200 team members there to assist with luggage, etc. The ship has no power, and only one working elevator.

One person had to be taken off the Triumph due to a medical issue.

The Carnival Triumph will be the largest ship to ever dock at the Port of Mobile.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the fire.


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

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