NPR : News

We Wonder: Why Couldn't Disabled Cruise Ship Be Evacuated?

As the Carnival Triumph drifted for days in the Gulf of Mexico, we wondered: Instead of undertaking a slow, arduous tow to Mobile, Ala., wouldn't it have been easier — and more comfortable for passengers — to send an empty cruise ship to the area and evacuate the 3,143 passengers?

David Peikin, of the trade organization Cruise Lines International Association, said they could not comment on the specifics of the Triumph, but a lot of times these decisions have to do with safety.

"The evacuation or transfer at sea itself can pose some significant risks that must be balanced, based upon the specific circumstances," Peikin told us in an email. "A variety of factors such as: weather, sea state, present state of safety, health of the persons involved, and specifics of the available transfer mechanisms and equipment must all be carefully taken into account. A safe, but uncomfortable or sub-optimal, situation may under some circumstances certainly be preferable to undertaking a transfer of persons at sea."

Ross Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a cruise ship expert who runs the site, said the decision usually comes to down to one thing: money.

He told us:

"The issue of bringing another ship aside is both an economic decision as well as logistics. There needs to be a ship nearby first off. Then the question is whether passengers can be transferred from one ship to the other (which can be done). But the overarching issue is always going to be cost — mainly the cost of losing revenue from the second ship and customer relations issues that come with disrupting another shipload of passengers' vacation."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

The Music And Legacy Of Motown

Motown founder Berry Gordy and director Charles Randolph-Wright of “Motown the Musical" join Diane for a conversation about the history of Detroit's famous sound.

WAMU 88.5

Will Montgomery County Go "Bottoms Up" On Liquor Laws?

Since Prohibition, Montgomery County has held the purse strings on liquor sales, meaning the county sells every drink from beer to bourbon to local bars and restaurants. But local business owners are pushing back from this system, claiming it lacks efficiency and leaves customers waiting. County officials say they are holding out for alternatives that protect those within the industry. We discuss both sides of the issue today.

WAMU 88.5

Exelon's Chief Strategy Officer On Its Proposed Takeover Of Pepco

Kojo chats with Exelon's chief strategy officer about the company's vision for electric service in the Washington region, and its argument for why its acquisition of Pepco is in the best interest of customers.

WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys And Gal

Another year is coming to a close and the Computer Guys And Gal are here to discuss this year's biggest technology news, including the growth of virtual reality and the "Internet of Things."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.