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Sea Expert Says Safe, If Inconvenient, Path Was Taken For Crippled Cruise Ship

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You might be wondering, “Why didn’t Carnival Cruise Lines simply send another ship out to rescue the passengers on its stranded cruise ship in the Gulf?” (see related story).

We did too, so we put that question to a local expert.

First, Carnival said all of its ships were in service and it didn’t have a cruiseliner available to offload passengers.

But even if one had been available, one expert says it was much safer to tow the disabled cruise ship to port rather than risk transferring passengers from one ship to another in open water.

“It’s something that you would see when the ship is sinking and there was basically no choice,” says John Brady, a boatbuilder and CEO of the Independence Seaport Museum.  “But if the ship is in no danger, then the course of action would be to live with the inconvenience — however severe it was — rather than risk people’s lives.”

He says having one huge ship pull up to another is extremely risky, and transferring passengers in lifeboats isn’t much safer.

“Filling them up with people, lowering them, and then getting them over to another ship with wave action happening the whole while, and then getting people onto the other ship, is actually quite a dangerous operation,” Brady tells KYW Newsradio.

Brady says bringing an auxiliary power source on board would also have been extremely difficult.


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