East Texans wait to hear from loved ones stranded on cruise ship
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The U.S. Coast Guard is standing by as passengers aboard the Triumph wait for a tug boat to tow them back to shore. Once the tug boat arrives, it'll still be days before the passengers arrive in Progreso, Mexico and are then flown to the United States.
Three-thousand people are anxiously waiting for their so-called vacations to come to an end. Shirley Parmer's sister Gail and her husband are two of those people.
"We're concerned... very concerned," said Shirley.
Carnival has kept Shirley in the loop with automated messages.
One recording says, "This is Carnival Cruise Lines calling. You have been listed as the emergency contact for a guest on the Carnival Triumph. We wanted to inform you that the ship has experienced an engine room fire while on its return to Galveston."
"I'd like to hear from them again, but with them not having service and us not being able to talk to them directly...it is concerning. We're kind of worried about it," says Shirley.
Shirley says she knows her sister will be ok, but is likely "bummed." After all, Monday is her birthday and she's stranded at sea.
Another East Texan with loved ones on the ship heard from them Monday afternoon. They say "It has been really scary...they're running short on food and tensions are high."
In the last 24 hours, two other Carnival ships have stopped by and provided Triumph passengers with meals.
Carnival says in a statement, "The vessel is currently without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico and awaiting the arrival of two tugboats which will tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship's current location. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso late Wednesday and guests will be flown from Mexico back to the U.S. on chartered aircraft which the company is currently working to arrange."
But this travel disruption isn't the first for the ship this month, according to Elizabeth Williams and her family. They stepped off the Triumph on February 2, after the ship experienced mechanical problems that stopped them from going to all the destinations they'd paid for.
"We got to see one little strip mall and that was it. That was our trip other than being at sea," said Williams.
The 31 friends and family in their party made the best of it-- hanging out on the boat all day every day, but to see more passengers have a similar problem, but even worse, is disappointing.
"I was surprised that they let the ship go. I'm truly surprised and appalled that they would let other people be endangered with a boat that's not functioning properly," said Williams.
Carnival says all of the passengers stranded on the ship right now will receive a full refund along with transportation expenses. In addition, they will get future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for the Triumph voyage. Triumph departures through February 16th have been canceled.