Carnival Cruise Ship Stricken Again

Wednesday, February 16, 2000
In what has become an all too familiar scenario, another Carnival cruise ship reported engine problems and ended floating aimlessly while passengers onboard no doubt fumed. The latest in a string of high-profile mishaps for the world’s largest cruise company involved its ship Destiny, carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew. By Wednesday afternoon, technicians had reportedly restored partial power, but only after it had drifted for 27 hours in the Atlantic off the Turks and Caicos Islands. Power to the two electric propulsion motors of the cruise liner Destiny was lost about 1:40 a.m. EST (0640 GMT) Tuesday, leaving the ship adrift about 60 miles (97 km) east of Grand Turk, one of the Atlantic islands that make up the British colony north of Hispaniola, the company said. Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher said a team of technicians restored power to the port side propulsion engine about 5 a.m. EST on Wednesday (1000 GMT) and the ship was making about 10-12 knots. It initially headed toward San Juan, Puerto Rico, its first scheduled port of call. But company officials decided to bring it back to Miami for repairs when the technicians were unable to fix the starboard side engine. Destiny left Miami on Sunday for a seven-day Caribbean cruise to San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. It carried 2,956 passengers and a crew of 1,063, the cruise line said. Carnival said Destiny had experienced a technical problem with its two cyclo-converters, which control the transmission of electrical power to the ship's propulsion motors. Gallagher said the passengers were comfortable. The engine problem did not affect the ship's "hotel" systems -- showers, lights and air conditioning. The company said passengers would be given full refunds, a 50 percent discount on a future cruise and would be allowed to stay on board the ship until Sunday. Destiny was expected in Miami Friday evening. "We are very sorry for this disruption to our guests' vacations and apologize that we were not able to operate the cruise as scheduled," Carnival President Bob Dickinson said. Carnival ship mishaps started in July 1998 with a fire aboard the liner Ecstasy, a fire captured on the news which resulted in putting the ship out of commission for nearly two months, costing Carnival more than $18 million. On Jan. 12 of this year, a fire broke out aboard the vessel Celebration, leaving it adrift in the Caribbean for six hours north of Montego Bay, Jamaica. On Dec. 28, 200 passengers protested dockside in Nassau, Bahamas, complaining that engine problems on the ship Paradise had ruined a millennium cruise. The ship was able to make only 80 percent of normal speed, forcing it to miss stops in the eastern Caribbean in favor of the nearby Bahamas and Mexico. Last September, an engine room fire crippled the ship Tropicale in the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm roared nearby. The ship, carrying about 1,700 passengers, returned to port three days later.
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