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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Cruise Ship Close to Shore

It has been stuck in the Gulf of Mexico since Sunday.

Carnival Cruise ship Triumph moved toward Alabama Thursday when its towline broke, causing the ship to stop completely according to Coast Guard Petty Officer William Colclough.

The ship is only 30 miles from the port and will hopefully reach it before midnight.

On February 10, the ship's engine caught fire, stopping it en-route from the Bahamas to Texas.

The quality of life on board has since deteriorated, as human waste is overflowing, food is being rationed and personal items are being stolen by fellow passengers.

People have had to find alternatives to bathrooms, using showers, sinks and plastic bags to hold waste. The lack of air conditioning on board has also forced passengers to sleep on the deck to avoid heat.

Although a generator has been put into place to restore power to some parts of the ship, it has not been enough to relieve the passengers.

Joel Dyer, the husband of passenger Joy Dyer, reported texts his wife sent him from the ship to The Guardian. These texts describe the severity of life on the ship. "Still having to use showers and sinks as toilets - floating waste is all over the place. Slick floors are usually human waste overflows. Smell is rank."

Dyer also spoke of passengers hiding food so others cannot steal it from them. She also said they were given one bottle of water per room.

Carnival Cruise Lines senior vice president Terry Thornton attempted to defend the efforts of crew members, saying, "this is going to be a long day. There is no way we can speed up the process."

Spirits are not completely broken, as helicopters have been flying to the ship to deliver food and water. Dyer also said crew members performed an impromptu comedy show in hopes of raising spirits.

The cruise line has promised to reimburse every passenger, credit them with a future cruise of equal value and also give each person an additional $500 in compensation.

Once the ship arrives in Alabama, buses will take passengers either to Galveston, Texas or Houston. For those who want a shorter bus ride, there is also a bus going to New Orleans where passengers will be put into hotel rooms and then flown to Houston on Friday.

Family members who are awaiting the arrival of loved ones are also experiencing discourse, as the cruise line is struggling to effectively communicate with family members.

Robert Giordano, whose wife is on the cruise ship, has only received recorded phone calls regarding the status of the ship. He received more information about the status of the ship when the "Today" show called him for a statement.

"That's the biggest frustration for me now is that the media knows more than the family members do," Giordano said.

An investigation has been launched to discover the cause of the fire.

Carnival Cruise Lines recently faced public tumult after the Costa Concordia, a subsidiary of the cruise line, partially sank in Italy last year killing 32 people.

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