Feb. 14 Photo Brief: Valentine’s Day, One Billion Rising rally, Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph gets a tow

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Valentine’s Day around the world (including the marriage of two Shetland ponies), One Billion Rising rally, Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph gets a tow and more in today’s daily brief.

New delay possible for Carnival cruise ship as relatives wait
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
11:41 a.m. EST, February 14, 2013

MOBILE, Ala. — Relatives descended on the port’s cruise ship terminal here Thursday morning at daybreak, prepared to greet the 4,200 passengers and crew members trapped aboard a Carnival cruise ship being slowly towed to harbor by several tug boats.

As of 8:20 a.m. Central time, the Triumph still was about 25 miles from port, moving at a speed of 4 knots, according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Tippets.

A Carnival spokeswoman said Thursday morning that the ship was not expected to arrive until evening. That, local officials said, could pose a problem since ships are not supposed to be towed into the port after dark, potentially delaying the Carnival Triumph’s arrival overnight.

Joyce Oliva, a spokeswoman at Carnival headquarters in Miami, told the Los Angeles Times that an additional tugboat had been added to the three already towing the ship, but that progress was still slow.

“The operation is taking longer than we had anticipated but based on current conditions, the ship is expected to be alongside the Mobile Cruise Terminal between 8 and 11 p.m. this evening,” Oliva said.

Such a late arrival could pose problems said David Randel, president and chief executive of the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“They can’t be towed in the dark. So if they’re not in port by dark, they’re going to have to spend another night on board,” he said.

Randel said a local pilot and customs officials boarded the ship at about 5 a.m. Central time, when it was about 100 miles offshore. Passengers will be processed by customs before they leave the ship, speeding the process of reuniting with loved ones in the cruise terminal, he said. At least 100 relatives had already arrived to greet passengers, he said.

One family who drove from Indianapolis and Lake Charles, La., had a banner made and draped it across the front of the van where they were waiting, “Thank God it’s over! We love u Julie, Robin, Brianna, Brooklyn and Julianna!”

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