* Company says some toilets working
* "Condiment burgers" and cold onion sandwiches for dinner
* Plastic 'biohazard' bags serve as improvised toilets
By Kaija Wilkinson
MOBILE, Ala., Feb 13 More than 4,220 people
aboard the stricken cruise ship Carnival Triumph on Wednesday
faced one more night of what some have described as hellish
conditions before their expected arrival in Alabama, even as the
company said the situation was improving.
The 893-foot (272 meter) vessel has been without propulsion
and running on emergency generator power since Sunday, when an
engine room fire left it adrift off Mexico's southern Yucatan
Peninsula. It is being hauled by tugboats to Mobile, Alabama,
where it is due to arrive no later than Thursday.
Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for the ship's operator
Carnival Corp, said on Wednesday that conditions aboard
the Triumph had improved, even as passengers described dire
circumstances on board.
Some passengers who contacted relatives and media earlier
this week before their cellphone batteries died reported a
horrific situation aboard the ship, saying it was awash in raw
sewage from overflowing toilets and running short on food and
Kim McKerreghan told CNN news network that her husband and
young daughter, who are on board the ship, said in a call on
Monday that passengers were being forced to defecate in plastic
bags due to a shortage of working toilets and that meals
consisted of sandwiches with only condiments or onions.
Nick Ware, whose mother is among the Triumph passengers,
told the network, "Once the meat for the burgers ran out, they
were basically just eating condiment hamburgers. Just, you know,
whatever condiments they could get on a bun."
He said some passengers had been instructed to use "red
biohazard bags" as makeshift toilets on Monday.
The ship left Galveston, Texas, last Thursday carrying 3,143
passengers and 1,086 crew and had been due to return there on
Gulliksen said a technical team on board had succeeded in
gradually restoring auxiliary power to operate some basic hotel
"Public and cabin toilets are operational in certain
sections of the ship and some power in the Lido dining area is
providing for hot coffee and limited hot food service," he said.
He did not elaborate on the number of working toilets for
the 4,229 people but said the ship had cold running water and
that three Carnival ships had rendezvoused with the Triumph to
provide additional supplies and meals.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on
Tuesday that it had launched an investigation into the cause of
the Triumph fire. But it said the Bahamas Maritime Authority was
the primary investigative agency, since the ship was a Bahamian
Carnival, the world's largest cruise company, has apologized
and said passengers would receive a full credit for the cruise
plus transportation expenses and a future cruise credit equal to
the amount paid for this voyage.
Difficulties on board the Carnival Triumph occurred a little
more than a year after 32 people were killed when the Costa
Concordia, a luxury cruise ship operated by Carnival's Costa
Cruises brand, was grounded on rocks off the Tuscan island of
Giglio in Italy.
Shares in Miami-based Carnival closed down 4 percent at
$37.46 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange after the
company said voyage disruptions and repair costs related to the
Carnival Triumph could shave as much as 10 cents per share off
its second-half earnings.