Q: If a cruise ship becomes stranded at sea, why can’t the U.S. Coast Guard send rescue vessels to take the passengers off?
—Tim Conner, Austell
A: Carnival Cruise Lines decided to tow the Carnival Triumph to port because it thought it was “too risky” to transfer 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members to another ship. “We evaluated a wide range of options, including using another ship to transport guests, but the safest solution was towing the ship back to port,” Carnival wrote on its Facebook page. Also, the company didn’t have a ship large enough to accommodate the number of passengers and crew, spokesman Vance Gulliksen told CNN.com. The cutter Vigorous was one of several U.S. Coast Guard vessels that assisted the Triumph. Lt. Lily Zepeda, the public affairs officer for U.S. Coast Guard District 8, told Time: “Unfortunately, despite the discomfort, (the Triumph is) probably the safest place for them to be, rather than trying to transfer them back and forth via another method.” Time wrote that transferring the Triumph’s passengers to another ship would have taken longer than towing the ship to port. The Vigorous launched a smaller response boat that took off one passenger – who needed emergency kidney dialysis — from the Triumph. Another passenger was taken off the ship by a Coast Guard helicopter, and a helicopter delivered a generator and electrical supplies to the Triumph. The Vigorous also escorted the Triumph as it was towed to Mobile, Ala.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email email@example.com (include name, phone and city).