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    Disabled Ship Returns to US

    By by Molly Cochran, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    February 17, 2013, 6:32:00 AM EST

    UPDATE: Disabled Carnival cruise ship "Triumph" arrived in Mobile, Ala. at approximately 9:20 PM CT.

    Tugboats struggled against winds and high waves while towing disabled Carnival cruise ship "Triumph" back to the United States on Thursday.

    "The buoys in the northern Gulf of Mexico are showing 10-20 mph winds northerly, so the ship is encountering headwinds," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

    The ship was sailing back to Galveston, Texas, on Sunday when it reported an engine fire, leaving the ship afloat.

    "It's 50ºF in Mobile, Ala., and 54ºF at one of the platforms out there in the Atlantic, with a 15-knot wind," AccuWeather Meteorologist Henry Margusity said. "It's pretty cold out there for people on the ship. It's not pleasant, that's for sure."

    According to CNN, a third tugboat was headed to the vessel on Wednesday to tow it to Mobile, Ala. The cruise ship had been sailing throughout the Yucatan Peninsula over the weekend and is expected to reach Mobile by late Thursday evening.

    A cold front system is moving through the Gulf Coast Thursday which could bring cooler temperatures, and rain and thunderstorms could move into the ship's path, according to AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

    The Carnival ship will also enter an area of 5-foot waves all the way into port, according to Kottlowski.

    "Five-foot waves wouldn't have a great effect on a ship that size," he said. If the ship is without power, however, the waves would make it more difficult to stabilize.

    Passengers aboard the ship are complaining about brutal conditions with no air conditioning, dysfunctional toilet facilities and lack of food for passengers, also according to CNN.

    A former senior officer for Carnival Cruise Lines, Jay Herring, said in a statement to USA Today that the risk of disease is surfacing due to worsening conditions aboard the ship.

    "Triumph" was initially going to be towed to Progreso, Mexico, but with 900 passengers not having passports and strong currents pushing toward the Alabama shore, the decision was made to head toward Mobile, according to CNN.

    Despite the strong currents, Progreso, Mexico, experienced fair weather over the weekend with mostly sunny skies and temperatures on Saturday and Sunday in the lower to mid-90s, according to Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

    According to Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill, the conditions on the ship are "challenging." Cahill apologized in a statement on Monday for the "inconvenience, discomfort, and frustration our guests are feeling," according to a USA Today article.

    Passengers are expected to get a full refund and all expenses paid for their return trip home. The only expenses that will not be paid for are casino and gift shop expenses, according to CNN.

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