Carnival Triumph breaks loose from repair berth; man reported missing

Carnival Triumph stranded in Gulf of Mexico

(CNN) — One person was missing Wednesday afternoon after high winds in Mobile, Alabama, caused the disabled cruise ship Carnival Triumph to break loose from its dock, officials said.

There were conflicting reports as to where the missing man was working.

An official with the city’s fire department said the missing man and another person were in a guard shack that was blown into Mobile River. One man has been recovered from the water.

However, the U.S. Coast Guard said the missing person was involved in repair work on the Triumph. The call to the Coast Guard came in at 1:45 p.m. CT.

Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said all of the company’s crew members and contractors on the ship have been accounted for. The company said it understood two workers on an adjacent pier had been knocked into the water.

Wind gusts reached between 40 and 50 miles per hour Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile, though a Carnival statement said the winds exceeded 70 mph.

The Triumph has been at BAE Shipyard in the Port of Mobile since an engine fire in February left the cruise ship crippled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people aboard. For four days, tugboats guided the disabled ship into the port as passengers complained about miserable conditions on board.

On Wednesday, it drifted across the shipyard after breaking free. Tugboats kept it from drifting farther down river, the Coast Guard said.

CNN affiliate WKRG reported the cruise ship had a hole on the right side of the stern.

Carnival said in late March the ship would be out of service until June 3. In addition to repairs, workers will increase the number of systems and services that the Triumph and other Carnival ships can run on backup power.

Wednesday’s incident was the latest in several headline-making issues for one of the world’s leading cruise lines. Four of the company’s 23 ships have had problems in recent months.

The cruise line has offered affected passengers refunds and discounts on future cruises.

It faces a class-action lawsuit in the face of the Triumph’s last cruise when passengers reported that food was scarce, cruise goers sweltered in the heat with no air conditioning, toilets overflowed and human waste ran down the walls in some parts of the ship.

The problems have also prompted one U.S. lawmaker to propose a “Cruise Ship Passenger Bill of Rights.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said he was asking the cruise industry to voluntarily sign on to a list of guidelines, including the right to backup power if generators fail and the right to disembark a docked ship “if basic provisions cannot adequately be provided on board.”

He also called on the International Maritime Organization to investigate whether cruise lines are following existing guidelines, and whether existing standards are being enforced by countries where cruise ships that serve U.S. passengers are based.

“Cruise ships, in large part operating outside the bounds of United States enforcement, have become the Wild West of the travel industry, and it’s time to rein them in before anyone else gets hurt,” Schumer said in a statement. “This bill of rights, based on work we’ve done with the airline industry, will ensure that passengers aren’t forced to live in third world conditions or put their lives at risk when they go on vacation.”

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