MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) - With constant talks in Washington over spending, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Carnival Triumph are in the cross hairs of the United States Senate.
In a letter obtained by Local 15, Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) called the Triumph mishap, "the latest example in a long string of serious and troubling incidents involving cruise ships." Sen. Rockefeller wants answers from Coast Guard Admiral Robert Papp, Jr. on the amount it cost taxpayers to escort the crippled ship to Mobile.
"How much do you anticipate the Coast Guard will spend in resources," he wrote, "Can and will the Coast Guard seek to be reimbursed by Carnival Corporation for the cost of responding to the Carnival Splendor marine casualty or the Carnival Triumph marine casualty?"
So far, the Coast Guard has no specific answer on those costs.
"I have not seen any estimates being circulated," Coast Guard spokesperson Carlos Diaz wrote in an email Tuesday, "I can't tell you that with certainty that this is being calculated right now."
In an email late Tuesday evening, it appeared Carnival would not reimburse the Coast Guard even if it asked. "The USCG would have to address the level of aid they extended but in situations such as this, traditionally, this is one of the many services the U.S.C.G. Provides and we greatly appreciate their assistance," Carnival Spokesperson Vance Gulliksen wrote.
It will also be hard to pinpoint how much waste has been removed from the Triumph since it arrived in the Port City. No one could soon forget those horrible conditions on board
"The commodes never flushed since Sunday night," one passenger recalled as she stepped ashore Thursday night. "There were feces on the floor, urine all over the place," another added.
The ship will use a sewer connection at BAE, where the ship is being repaired, to funnel the waste to the C.C. Williams Treatment Plant, Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Spokesperson Barbara Shaw said late Monday afternoon.
The additional waste, she stressed, did not exceed the company's current waste capacity.