Crippled cruise ship reaches land

MOBILE — All 3,200 passengers have now disembarked from a crippled cruise ship that reached the US coast five days after an engine fire knocked out power.

The Carnival Triumph docked in Mobile, Alabama, at 3:15 a.m. today.

Disembarking the passengers took more than four hours and many still face a long bus journey home or to the port of departure, Galveston.

Passengers had reported sewage on the floors, poor sanitation and access to toilets, and lengthy queues for food.

Some lined the decks as the 275 metre ship docked, waving and cheering at people on shore.

Chants of “Let me off, let me off!” could be heard coming from the ship as they waited to disembark.

One homemade sign read: “Sweet Home Alabama!” and another: “The ship’s afloat, so is the sewage.”

Disembarking passenger Brittany Ferguson said: “I’m feeling awesome just to see land and buildings. The scariest part was just not knowing when we’d get back.”

Carnival Corp, which operates the ship, was also the owner of Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast and sank last year, killing 32 people.

The Carnival Triumph took six hours to be towed through the 50 kilometres channel to Mobile — the largest ship ever to dock there.

One passenger, Clark Jones, told the BBC the last day was “especially nightmarish because we knew we were so close to land and getting off”.

The passengers are being taken by bus either to Galveston in Texas, which is about seven hours away, or to New Orleans, where the firm said it had booked 1,500 hotel rooms. New Orleans is two hours away.

Carnival chief executive Gerry Cahill apologised again for the “very poor” conditions on board. (BBC)

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