The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

February 14, 2013

Passengers finally leaving disabled cruise ship

(Continued)

MOBILE, Ala. —

While the passengers are headed home, Triumph will head to a Mobile shipyard for assessment, Thornton said.

Earlier Thursday — four days after the 893-foot ship was crippled by an engine-room fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico — the 4,200 passengers and crew members suffered another setback with towline issues that brought the vessel to a dead stop for about an hour just when it was getting close to port.

As the vessel drew within cellphone range Thursday, passengers vented their anger.

Renee Shanar of Houston was on board with her husband, who she said has heart trouble. They were told they will be among the first to disembark, she said.

"I don't believe them; they've been lying to us from the beginning," Shanar said.

Disgusted by the foul air and heat on the lower decks, many passengers hauled mattresses and bed sheets onto the top deck and slept there, even staying put in a soaking rain. As the ship approached the coast, a slew of Carnival workers removed the bedding and took it downstairs.

"Today they cleaned the ship, they're serving better food, covering up basically, but at least they're making it more bearable," said Kalin Hill, of Houston, who boarded the Triumph as part of a bachelorette party.

In a text message, though, she described deplorable conditions over the past few days.

"The lower floors had it the worst, the floors 'squish' when you walk and lots of the lower rooms have flooding from above floors," Hill wrote. "Half the bachelorette party was on two; the smell down there literally chokes you and hurts your eyes."

She said "there's poop and urine all along the floor. The floor is flooded with sewer water ... and we had to poop in bags."

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