Carnival Triumph Secured After Breaking Loose From Dock, But Will Shipboard Safety Ever Be Improved?

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

After being at the forefront of several maritime accidents, it seems as though Carnival Cruise still hasn’t learned a lesson in cruise ship safety. The “Fun Ship” liner made headlines on Wednesday after its highly publicized crippled vessel, the Carnival Triumph, broke free of its mooring with several hundred workers onboard.

In February, the Triumph was disabled following a fire in the ship’s engine room, which caused the vessel to lose power and become stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Two tiny tug boats pulled the ship to the port of Mobile, Alabama, but not before word spread of the horrid conditions onboard. Over 4,200 people were basically stuck onboard a floating petri dish for five days as the ship made its way to land. Sewage and waste overflowed from deck to deck, creating a breeding grounds for potentially life-threatening diseases to spread among those onboard.

But as appalling as these conditions were, the Carnival’s ship incidents didn’t stop there. Three other ships, the Carnival Elation, Dream and Legend, all became disabled following mechanical malfunctions during the same week. It seems as though Carnival has either been hit with some really bad luck recently, or just some really bad management.

Two months after the fire incident, the Triumph has yet to be fully repaired and has been moored in Mobile, while crewmembers and contractors work to clean and fix the vessel. But on Wednesday, still replete with waste and sewage, the vessel came loose with around 800 crewmembers and workers onboard.

According to Carnival, no one was injured, but only two days have passed since the incident, so we have yet to see if anyone will come forward to report an accident or file a case with a cruise accident attorney.

Authorities believe the Triumph may have come loose due to strong winds, but that seems a little farfetched, given that cruise ships are built to withstand much stronger winds.

Is Carnival just doomed to keep standing in an unfavorable spotlight? Will the maritime mishaps ever end?

The Triumph has now been secured, but the vessel coming loose was only one of the incidents reported on Wednesday. In a much worse tragedy, a shipyard worker went missing after his guard shack was blown into the water. Coast Guard crews continue to search for the man and have yet to disclose his identity.

The victim was one of two employee of BAE Systems shipyard workers that fall into the water, however, the other was rescued and received medical attention for mild hypothermia. He is currently in stable condition.

While authorities claim there is likely to be no correlation between Triumph coming loose from the dock and workers falling into the water, due to the fact that the giant vessel was bobbing around in the water for several hours before being secured, the victim may have gotten injured or killed if the vessel collided with him. At this point, it is highly unlikely the victim survived.

The Coast Guard, Mobile police and the sheriff department’s flotilla are all searching for the missing man in what has now been dubbed a “recovery operation.”

Meanwhile, Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said all of the cruise line’s crew members and contractors that were onboard the Triumph have been accounted for.

The ship is out of service until June 3, but given the string of maritime accidents that have occurred on Carnival ships, will passengers ever feel truly safe onboard a Carnival vessel?

Senator Charles Schumer, D-New York and Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-Virginia, have both stepped forward, recommending the cruise industry do something about improving its blatantly lax shipboard safety protocols. Schumer proposed a “Cruise Ship Passenger Bill of Rights” while Rockefeller wrote a letter to Carnival CEO Micky Arison, urging him to improve safety protocols and asking him to respond honestly to several questions regarding the line’s operations.

Yet, according to Carnival, the ship has always maintained an excellent track record.

In response to Rockefeller’s letter, Carnival’s Capt. James Hunn, Senior Vice President of corporate maritime policy, denied all allegations of lax maritime safety standards, declaring that Carnival has maintained an excellent safety record throughout its 41-year history.

If you consider 92 reports of missing or overboard passengers, dozens of cruise ship accidents and injuries, and several crimes a testament to the line’s excellent safety record, we would hate to think what Carnival would consider a bad safety record.

Photo Credit:

Carnival Triumph secured after mooring came loose – en.mercopress.com