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Carnival cancels sailings on disabled ship

Tugs haul the fire-crippled Carnival Triumph cruise ship toward dock in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday. Carnival Cruise Lines on Wednesday canceled voyages through April on the Triumph.

U.S. Coast Guard

Tugs haul the fire-crippled Carnival Triumph cruise ship toward dock in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday. Carnival Cruise Lines on Wednesday canceled voyages through April on the Triumph.

MIAMI — As tugs continue to pull the fire-disabled Carnival Triumph ship to land, Carnival Cruise Lines said it has canceled 12 more sailings aboard the stricken vessel.

Tuesday night, the company's president and CEO, Gerry Cahill, said only the Feb. 11 and Feb. 16 Caribbean voyages had been axed. But Wednesday afternoon, the Miami-based cruise operator said sailings scheduled for Feb. 21 through April 13 were also being canceled.

Parent company Carnival Corp. estimated that the financial hit from the canceled trips and repair costs would be $64 million to $80 million for the first half of 2013.

Carnival said guests whose trips have been canceled will get a full refund of their cruise fare, nonrefundable transportation costs, prepaid shore excursions, tips, government fees and taxes. They will also be entitled to a 25 percent discount on three- to five-day cruises or 15 percent discount for six- to seven-day sailings.

The 2,758-passenger ship, which launched in 1999, is based in Galveston, Texas, where it sails four- and five-day trips to the Caribbean.

Triumph departed Feb. 7 with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members. It was scheduled to return to port early Monday after a weekend stop in Cozumel, but fire broke out Sunday morning in the engine room. The cause of the blaze, which was put out by automatic systems, is unknown.

The ship lost propulsion and had to rely on emergency generator power, leaving passengers with a limited number of working bathrooms and no air conditioning. Guests have reported long lines for food and said they were forced to use bags as toilets.

"No one here from Carnival is happy about the conditions on board the ship, and we obviously are very, very sorry about what's taken place," Cahill said Tuesday night at a news conference at the company's headquarters in Doral. "There's no question that conditions on board the ship are very challenging. I can assure you that everyone on board in the Carnival team and everyone shoreside is doing everything they can to make our guests as comfortable as possible."

Two tugs are towing the ship to Mobile, Ala. It is expected to arrive this afternoon. Carnival has lined up more than 1,500 hotel rooms in Mobile and New Orleans and chartered more than 20 flights to get passengers back to Houston. Bus service directly to Houston and Galveston will also be provided.

In a similar case, the Carnival Splendor was left adrift in the Pacific in November 2010 after an explosion in a diesel generator. It was out of service for about three months; the company estimated the loss at $56 million.

"While this incident represents a string of similar occurrences over the last several years, we believe this incident will most likely be more of a negative PR event," Tim Conder, a Wells Fargo analyst, wrote in a note to investors Monday. "We believe that management will place additional efforts to better identify and install preventive measures to avoid future similar incidents and related negative PR."

Carnival cancels sailings on disabled ship 02/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:19pm]
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