(WALA) - TRIUMPH JUST OFFSHORE
Wednesday night, February 13, the Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph was expected to park about 50 miles offshore of Dauphin Island, Alabama. There the ship will wait out the night before continuing into Mobile Bay with the daylight Thursday. Some sight-seers on the island were surprised at the news.
"I knew it was coming to Mobile, but I didn't know they were going to park it off the island," Danny Adkins said.
Many folks feel bad for the passengers, stuck aboard a ship that reportedly has been fouled by sewage and has apparently lost all its basic comforts.
"I can't even imagine. That's completely disgusting," one gentleman said.
"I'm really sorry for them because they're looking to go on a beautiful vacation," Csilla Tamas added.
Folks on Dauphin Island will have a front row seat as the ship is slowly towed by.
For the passengers, it will be their first sight of land in days, but it will still take hours to travel the 30 miles to the terminal in Mobile.
A MOTHER'S TERROR
Two mothers said they are desperately awaiting the arrival of their daughters, who are aboard the fire-damaged ship.
Kimberly McKerreghan said her 10-year-old daughter Allie Taylor called her Monday afternoon in a panic. Taylor is with her father on the cruise ship.
"Bawling and crying, 'Mommy come get me, Mommy I don't want to be here. I'm scared mommy, I'm scared,'" said McKerreghan.
Mckerreghan said her daughter told her passengers are sleeping in hallways. There is no electricity and the ship is running on reserve power after the fire took away its propulsion and main power system.
McKerreghan's daughter said passengers are eating onion sandwiches and were asked to use the bathroom in plastic bags.
"You do everything in your power. If we could have swam out in the ocean we would have, but we can't," said McKerreghan.
Mary Poret is also in Mobile, awaiting her 12-year-old daughter's return. She said the fear in her daughter's voice is something she will never forget.
"She needs to know that her mama is here and I am coming to get you. And I love you," said Poret.
CITY PREPS FOR PASSENGERS
Even though Carnival pulled out of Mobile more than a year ago, the terminal never really shut down. Mayor Sam Jones said that makes it a lot easier to get things ready for the Triumph.
"We just got through berthing three ships this weekend. We had the Navy ship, the Samuel B. Roberts was here, and then we had two Canadian vessels that was here for Mardi Gras. So they were pulling out this morning as we were preparing to come in so, because our terminal is a working terminal it's not difficult for us to gear up to get a ship to come in," Jones said.
According to the mayor, most of the work the city is focused on involves security.
"What's happening over there now, security plans are being put in place. They are rearranging the terminal to accommodate the ship. A big security plan, which involves the Coast Guard, Customs, our police department, and all of the folks who handle security over there," he said.
The city is also making some changes inside the terminal that will make the it easier to get passengers through quickly.
"A number of these folks are going to be frustrated when they get in, and we don't want to add to the frustration. What we want to do is try to give them a little relief from what they've been going through," the mayor said.
Even though the cruise passengers will likely be ready to bolt from the ship, and get through the terminal as quickly as possible, they'll still have to go through customs.
"When you come back into a port, back in the United States, you have to go through customs. I don't expect this to be a lengthy process, but they do have to go through customs. That's just a rule that you have to follow," Mayor Jones said.
Jones said he doesn't know how long it will take to get all 4,000 passengers and crew members in and out. He said the city's job is to make sure the facility is ready. Carnival employees will take care of processing of the passengers.
ONCE PASSENGERS DISEMBARK
Carnival said it has its own medical team which will deal with any potential medical issues on its own.
The company said it is mobilizing around 200 people to be on the ground to support the ship's arrival and guests' travel back home.
They have given passengers the option of boarding buses directly to Galveston or Houston, Texas or to spend the night in a hotel in New Orleans. If they choose the hotel option they will be able to fly out on private charters the next day.
Carnival Cruise Lines announced the cancelations of 12 additional voyages of the Carnival Triumph. The 12 canceled cruises, which encompass sailings from Feb. 21 through April 13, 2013, are in addition to two previously canceled voyages scheduled to depart Feb. 11 and Feb. 16.
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