Carnival Triumph either foul play or salvage fiasco

Feb. 13, 2013 at 08:09 by Mikhail Voytenko in Accidents

Ill-fated Carnival Triumph is towed by tugs Resolve Pioneer and Dabhol to Mobile, Ala., ETA Feb 14. Tracking of the Resolve Pioneer movements gives an exact position of the spot where Carnival Triumph was taken on tow, it’s 25 49N 087 51W, in the morning Feb 12. Latest known position of the convoy is 26 54N 087 41W 13.2.13 00:25 UTC. Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous arrived to drifting liner in the night Feb 11, was with liner ever since, and is escorting the convoy now.

It was said by the company and the authorities, that vessel drifted too much NE to be towed to Progresso, as was planned before, so they changed the plan and decided to take the vessel to Mobile instead. Such a big drift was explained by strong current in the area. Well, whatever took liner so far NE from the place vessel was disabled to the place she was taken on tow, it’s strong indeed – during roughly 48 hours time vessel drifted some 200 nautical miles, it’s about the same speed at which vessel is towed now. What I mean by “whatever” is, there were some unconfirmed news in media, that the liner was for some time under tow of USCG ship.

Until Feb 12 afternoon, public remained in the belief that the vessel will be taken to Progresso, and then it was announced, that the vessel will be taken to Mobile. It was said also, that by all means, it’s better for passengers to reach US port than Mexican, considering the fact that quite a number of them don’t have passports. The Company didn’t say though, that Mobile option will save them a fortune in dropping logistics costs, because passengers were to be taken to US from Progresso by air.

So, what is the Mobile option really, is it just sensible decision because of strong current and long-distance drift, which brought the liner to the middle of the Gulf, or is it the best option for the Company in terms of money and efforts spared by dropping Progresso option? Did Mexico offer immediate assistance in form of their tugs, or no? If there was such an option, how much trouble for passengers would it save, how many hours/days? What was the main motivation of the Company, what was its’ main concern – passengers or Company’s?

Latest media reports say crew started to give away free alcohol to passengers, which is against all and every rules and practice. Crew hardly could do it without either permission or order from the Company. What is it up there, passengers are on the verge of mutiny and are to be mitigated by all means possible? Even if it’s so, alcohol would sooner spark the unrest, than dampen it. Maybe I’m wrong, but free drinks looks like an attempt to mollify the passengers, to cool them down so that they won’t start asking questions what’s all about and why they weren’t taken to Progresso long time ago. Actually, if what I surmised is true, then, for the Company the drunken passengers unrest is better than their sober calculations and discussion.

Even if all written above is untrue, even if the Company’s main objective is the passengers well-being, even if Mexicans were bad guys who didn’t give the tugs and Mobile was best and only option, still, the Company failed. They had to have a contingency plan, most probably in form of preliminary agreement with Mexican authorities, and the companies working in the Gulf, either salvage of offshore. It’s the Gulf, for God’s sake. There are as many offshore support vessels in there, as in Persian Gulf or North sea. Most part of such vessels are in fact, powerful tugs, ideal for salvage towage.

So, what happened to the liner and her passengers, is it Company’s foul play, or is it Company’s professional fiasco? Afraid, we won’t ever find out.

Voytenko Mikhail

Feb 13

Offshore pollution control vessel Resolve Pioneer, IMO 7528843, 1058 gt. Tug Dabhol, IMO 9239393, 425 gt.

See map with scheme of liner movements starting from Cozumel. http://www.odin.tc/pics/ctriumph1.jpg

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Carnival Triumph either foul play or salvage fiasco

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