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Crippled cruise ship stops as tow line snaps

February 15, 2013, 9:17 am Jay Reeves and Ramit Plushnick-Masti AAP

The Carnival cruise ship slowly making its way back to dry land has suffered another setback as a tow line snapped, setting the ship adrift once again.

Crippled cruise ship stops as tow line snaps

The Carnival cruise ship slowly making its way back to dry land has suffered another setback as a tow line snapped, setting the ship adrift once again.

Passengers on-board the Carnival Triumph have described overflowing toilets, sewage backed up in showers, scarce food and people getting sick, bringing the scene into sharper focus after a week at sea.

Carnival Triumph being towed to port. Photo: Getty Images

What began as a four-day voyage in the Gulf of Mexico has turned into a nightmare, not at all the luxury cruise touted in brochures.

Passengers were expected to make it to shore on Friday (AEDT) - only to then face an hours-long bus ride or other travel hassles to finally get back home.

Frustrations with the cruise line were simmering on and off the ship, as passengers and their relatives questioned why it has taken so long to get back to dry land after an engine-room fire disabled the ship on Sunday.

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"There's poop and urine all along the floor," Renee Shanar, of Houston, said from her mobile phone aboard the ship. "The floor is flooded with sewer water ... and we had to poop in bags."

The ship was in sight of the Alabama shore on Friday morning (AEDT) when the tow line broke.

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Until the repair is complete, the ship is "dead in the water and when they reconnect safely, they then proceed on their way", Coast Guard Petty Officer William Colclough said.

The 14-storey ship still has to negotiate a tricky shipping channel before it could dock. Before the line broke, the ship was travelling about 8km/h.

Television images from CNN showed passengers with signs of "Help" and "I love you" hanging from their cabin rooms.

Others walked around the deck, some waving to the helicopters flying above. People in boats, presumably officials from Carnival, the Coast Guard and Customs, have boarded the ship.

Instagram: kkaitrobertson

Shanar, who is on the ship with her husband, said the couple had a cabin with no windows, so they have been sleeping outside for days. She said the food has been distributed on the ninth floor, and some of the elderly have needed younger people to bring it to them. They were initially given only cold cuts, such as turkey and vegetable sandwiches. Then another cruise line dropped off hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, but the line for that fare was nearly four hours long.

"And then people started getting sick from the food," she said.

The company has disputed the accounts of passengers who describe the ship as filthy, saying employees are doing everything to ensure people are comfortable.

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Terry Thornton, senior vice-president for Carnival Cruiselines, said they received an extra generator that allowed them to serve hot food on the ship on Wednesday night, and that the food services will be fully operational when they are docked.

"This is going to be a long day," Thornton said. "There is no way we can speed up the process."

In pictures - Carnival Triumph: The nightmare cruise ship

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  1. Peter04:41pm Monday 18th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I'll bet any money you like that the 'complainers' first petulant thought was 'Oh Dear! What about the ice for my drinkies?' and not a shadow of a thought for what they could do to help their fellow passengers. Nothing has changed in the thinking of many since the days of the Titanic.

  2. Peter04:35pm Monday 18th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Where the public is involved, it's the 'lowest common denominator' quite a number of folks make a pigsty of even the most well serviced facilities no matter where they are. No matter where you are going in the world if it involves machinery, no matter how sophisticated, accidents and breakdowns can and will occur. I can think of worse things than being 'inconvenienced' and having to use a 'baggy loo' Full marks to the crew who prevented the fire from taking out the ship. Some folks are better staying home. Having the right attitude is all important when things go wrong.

  3. U DREW 1st BLOOD04:03pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse


  4. Philip02:17pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    a bit of bother, but nothing like residents of the New York coastal area whose remaining homes just got destroyed - last year's hurricane - by that monster snowstorm.

    1 Reply
  5. Moggy Don02:12pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Lucky it was not a plane they were on. Cruisin' Bruisin'.

  6. robert02:10pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I don't think the Carnival line would be game to do anything, because they are going to be hit with a wad of writs after this one.

  7. fish g02:10pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    why wont yahoo allow me to post about Pope seeking immunity from Italian President against prosecution for child sex charges keeps getting deleted.

  8. Michael02:10pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    These are Americans, the first place they'll be going after getting off wont be home but their lawyers offices. Plenty of shysters with $$$ signs in their eyes while following this story.

  9. Leigh02:10pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Just did a Melb-NZ cruise last week=simply wonderful. Been on 5 cruises now and NOTHING ever happens like this!!!!

  10. kart_4402:01pm Friday 15th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Something to tell your grandkids...what a story for a few days of inconvenience..toughen up princesses..titanic never got to tell there story!