[UPDATE] Damaged Carnival Ship Triumph Breaks Away From Alabama Dock

By MarEx 2013-04-04 08:54:00

Update: The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing shipyard employee after a cruise ship broke loose from a pier on the Mobile River, Wednesday.

Coast Guard and Mobile Police and Sheriff's Office search-and-rescue crews searched for approximately 15 hours with more than 15 boats and aircraft in an effort to locate the missing BAE Systems employee.

The tug vessel New Wednesday and four additional tugs guided the Carnival Triumph safely back at the pier at BAE Systems to resume repairs.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report at approximately 1:45 p.m. that a BAE Systems employee became missing after the Carnival Triumph broke free from its moorings while at the pier at the BAE shipyard. The missing employee was reported as a 64-year-old male. One other BAE employee was recovered safely.

Joint Coast Guard and Mobile Police and Sheriff's Office first responder crews searched a three square-mile area near the mouth of the Mobile River with the following resources:

One Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew;

Two Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island boatcrews;

Two Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Mobile boatcrews;

Alabama Marine Resources;

Three Mobile County Sheriff's Office flotillas;

Two Mobile Police Department boatcrews;

One Mobile Police helicopter;

Four tug boats.

"This is a truly tragic case that occurred due to severe weather. It is always extremely difficult to suspend a search when a person is still missing," said Capt. Ed Cubanski, chief of response, 8th Coast Guard District. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the missing man during this difficult time. Fifteen different boat and aircrews completed multiple search patterns covering the confined area near the pier and did not locate the missing person."

The search is suspended pending further developments.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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Strong winds caused the Carnival cruise ship Triumph to break loose on Wednesday from its moorings at a Mobile, Alabama, shipyard where it was being repaired, a company spokesman said, and it drifted into a cargo vessel.

Tug boats and the U.S. Coast Guard were on site, and all crew members and contractors aboard the Triumph were accounted for, spokesman Vance Gulliksen said.

An engine fire left the Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for five days in February with more than 4,000 passengers aboard. The ship was towed to Mobile.

Mobile Fire and Rescue Department spokesman Steve Huffman said wind gusts had also blown a guard shack containing two men, into the Mobile River. The shack was two docks away from the Triumph.

One man was rescued and treated at a local hospital for mild hypothermia, and emergency workers were searching for the second man, Huffman said.

Last month, Carnival lowered its profit forecast primarily because of lost bookings and the cost of fixing the Triumph to $1.80 to $2.10 per share from $2.20 and $2.40.

Two weeks ago, Carnival Cruise Lines canceled 10 more cruises aboard the Triumph, and the ship's return to service was pushed back to June 3. --Kaija Wilkinson (C) Reuters 2013.

Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard released the following statement:

Coast Guard searches for 1, responds to adrift cruise ship

The Coast Guard is searching for a missing shipyard employee and responding to a report of a cruise ship adrift on the Mobile River, Wednesday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report at approximately 1:45 p.m. that a BAE Systems employee became missing after the Carnival Triumph broke free from its moorings while in dry dock at the BAE shipyard. The missing employee is reported as a black male in his 40s and reportedly not wearing a life jacket. One other BAE employee was recovered safely. The ship is reportedly at the Signal International shipyard across from BAE.

The tug vessel New Wednesday is on scene stabilizing the Triumph, and four additional tug vessels are en route to assist with stabilization operations.

The Coast Guard has issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast for mariners to keep a look out for the missing BAE  employee on the Mobile River.

Resources deployed in the search:

One Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew;

Two Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island boatcrews;

Two Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Mobile boatcrewa;

Two Mobile Police Department boatcrews;

One Mobile Police helicopter.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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