Nightmare On The High Seas: Carnival Triumph Passengers Complain Of Filthy Conditions Following Cruise Ship Engine Room Fire

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Carnival Triumph was stranded at sea following a fire in the engine room, passengers explain they are also having to cope with conditions that are well below the acceptable hygienic standards for cruise vessels.

According to Carnival Cruise Line, crewmembers and officials are doing everything possible to help the passengers stranded aboard the disabled Triumph be as comfortable as possible. The ship left Galveston, Texas on a four-day itinerary last Thursday with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members. When sailing around 150 miles off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday, an engine room fire broke out on the Triumph, knocking out the vessel’s primary power source and crippling its plumbing systems. The ship was left adrift after the fire accident with only backup power to run it, and is currently being towed back to the United States.

Although no one was injured in the fire, Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said that a passenger with a pre-existing medical condition was evacuated off the vessel as a precaution, but as for the rest of the guests, the conditions they claim to be enduring are far from “comfortable.”

Carnival claims the vessel has running water and some working bathrooms, but passengers tell otherwise. According to some of the guests onboard the Triumph, the ship is filthy, hot and food is scarce.

If the vessel’s plumbing is not working properly, there is an increased chance that passengers might get sick from the lack of adequate and proper sanitary conditions, including Norovirus, a gastrointestinal disease infamous for its recurrence onboard vessels, in which case, a cruise ship passenger lawyer should be contacted immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a claim against the line.

However, Carnival President Gerry Cahill has downplayed the risk of an outbreak, saying that crews had not seen an irregular number of people reporting to the infirmary.

“No one here from Carnival is happy about the conditions onboard the ship,” said Cahill at a news conference in Miami. “We obviously are very, very sorry about what is taking place.”

Jimmy Mowlam, whose son Rob got married onboard the Triumph on Saturday, said his son called him on Monday night, recounting the filthy conditions onboard. Rob told his father that because only a few toilets were working, passengers were given plastic bags to “use for their business.”

Additionally, Mowlam said his son told him that the lack of ventilation onboard made it so hot to sleep inside passenger cabins that many guests were sleeping up on deck and in common areas.

Mowlam said his son indicated that passengers are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

“So far people have been pretty much taking it in stride,” Mowlam said his son told him.
Rob Mowlam told his father the ship’s crew had started giving free alcohol to passengers, which isn’t the best of ideas.

Carnival hasn’t determined what caused the fire, but this isn’t the first time a “Fun Ship” vessel experiences this type of accident. A similar situation occurred on the Carnival Splendor in November 2010, also involving a fire in the ship’s engine room.

Cahill merely stated that the Spendor’s fire was different because it involved a “catastrophic explosion” in a diesel generator, while the Triumph’s fire had “some other cause,” which has yet to be determined.

While damages have yet to be assessed for the Triumph, repairs on the Splendor cost about $40 million – which might have been saved had better safety regulations been in place.

Carnival canceled the Triumph’s next two voyages, and explained passengers will receive a full refund.

The Triumph was about 200 miles south of Mobile, Alabama on Tuesday and is expected to arrive in Mobile on Thursday.

Photo Credits:

Top Right: Carnival Triumph Adrift – cbsnews.com
Middle Left: Gerry Cahill, Carnival CEO, Triumph Fire Press Release – independent.ie
Bottom Right: Carnival Triumph Engine Room Fire – oldsaltblog.com