The disabled Carnival cruise ship is now docked, but the tale of its wretched odyssey back to land has made its way to Capitol Hill.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, fired off a letter Friday asking the Coast Guard commandant to brief his panel on its investigation into the cruise ship Triumph.
“Horrified” was how Rockefeller described his response to the accounts of “unbearable living conditions aboard the ship.”
Rep. John Garamendi of California, top Democrat on the House transportation and infrastructure subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation, said he also is eager to examine the results of an investigation by the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., said the problems “raise concerns that these enormous ships are not properly prepared for emergency situations.” (Her letter below, as PDF)
Rockefeller called the incident “just the latest example in a long string of serious and troubling incidents involving cruise ships.”
The crippled cruise ship, carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members, was tugged into port late Thursday night after losing power Sunday. Miserable conditions soon developed with urine and feces backing up and spilling into rooms and hallways, spoiled food, long lines to use the few working bathrooms and rooms that were too hot or too cold.
Rockefeller asked the Coast Guard to report how much it spent responding to the disabled ship, which was towed to Mobile, Ala., and a similar 2010 incident involving another Carnival cruise ship, which was towed to San Diego after an onboard fire. He asked the Coast Guard if it can and will seek reimbursement from the cruise ship company for its costs.
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