‘Triumph’ Draws Attention to Lack of Cruise Ship Regulations

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Remember the days of the Love Boat? Seems that all we’re seeing these days are tales of disaster at sea.

We’ve seen outbreaks of gastro-intestinal illness, ships crashing into rocks and now, the non-so-triumphant Carnival Triumph. But can these disasters be avoided?

We’re now learning that no regulating authority reviews whether cruise ships are up-to-date on mechanical requirements.

The information may not sit well with potential passengers who just witnessed one dirty, stinky disaster on the Carnival Triumph.

Helicopters caught people spelling the word “help” with their bodies on deck.

Questions linger even though they’re now home after days of hell on the high seas.

Thousands of passengers and crew members had to camp out in hallways and on deck, trying to avoid raw sewage spilling out of their toilets and sloshing across floors.

One week ago, an engine room fire cut off electricity and disabled the ship in many ways.

People were hot, cold, miserable — basically left in the dark as Triumph floated aimlessly in the Gulf of Mexico before finally being towed to Mobile, Alabama.

One group of young friends says they have taken several cruises, but Triumph was one trip they want to forget.

“Yeah, it feels like we’ve been there for a year at least,” one of them told CNN.

10-year-old Allie Taylor Kept a diary during the ordeal.

“We’re hot and sweaty and tired. But I can’t sleep unless we die or something…” she wrote.

When asked if she really thought she was going to die, she replied, “I thought we were going to tip over in case the tug boat got out of control cause it was dark outside.”

“It’s been a rough one, but my God, it’s so good to be home right now, you don’t even know,” another passenger, Lisa Miller, remarked.

Everyone wants to know what happened. Ships are basically independent cities floating at sea.

In U.S. waters, the Coast Guard is typically responsible for investigating problems with cruise ships.

Bahamian officials, however, are the lead investigators in this case becasue Triumph is registered in Nassau.

Areas of focus include the cause of the fire, the crew’s response, engine maintenance and safety procedures on board the ship.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are assisting officials from the Bahamas.

Carnival is compensating all passengers, but many people feel it’s not enough, and they plan to file lawsuits.

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  • Greg

    The article is incorrect; all ships are regulated by Flag state, class authority (ie Lloyds of London American bureau of shipping etc) they all have to adhere to a safety management system & are audited regularly, both on shore at company HQ & on board.

  • Mark

    Greg, you are absolutely correct but you forgot about the flag state inspections, and the U.S. Coast Guard goes aboard every quarter for port control inspections and drills. In addition, CDC conducts random inspections. These ships are highly regulated and one of the safest modes of transportation available. Milliions of passenger travel annually on cruise ships with few incidents. Rememer these are floating cities with over 4000 people on board. I lead the initial Coast Guard inspection on the Carnival Triumph in Italy and over 25 other new cruise ships so I have a clue what it takes to put a cruise ship in operation with the regulating authorities.

  • Greg

    Mark, very typical press all headline & no content.

    Not intending to bash the US of A, it is also good to point out that all vessels have port state control inspections all over the world


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  • Phil Spector

    This ship Feces of the Seas should be scraped for recycling. Who would even think of cruising on this ship. It's a nasty sh_t hole! This will cost millions of dollars to replace the whole interior and furniture.

  • Cetacean1

    Having actually been hired to trouble shoot life boat systems, I can tell you that these ships get absolutely no routine maintainance, the order is to only fix what breaks. In a real 'Titanic' type disaster there will never be enough life boats and can't launch them anyway.