NBC10.com - Doug Shimell
The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous stationed out of Cape May Training Station played an integral role in transporting the disabled Carnival cruise "Triumph" to safety. Its crew returned home on Monday and spoke to NBC10's Doug Shimell who reports the details
After a two-month journey, the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous finally came home on Monday, returning to its training center in Cape May, NJ.
For 60 days, the crew of the 270 foot coast guard cutter patrolled the Atlantic seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Originally, the crew’s mission was to assist the Colombian Navy for a drug interdiction. In early February however, the crew was called in for a much bigger task.
“On the way we were informed about the cruise ship Triumph that was disabled and adrift,” said Captain Greg Magee, the commander of the Vigorous.
A fire broke out in the engine room of the Carnival Triumph, leaving the ship dead in the water and over 3,000 passengers stranded in the Gulf of Mexico.
“They were attempting to rendezvous with another cruise to transfer supplies,” said Captain Magee. “That didn’t work out at nighttime so we established communications.”
The crew quickly learned of the poor conditions on the Triumph and immediately sprang into action, helping to transport desperately needed supplies to the passengers on board.
“We were concerned to make sure the ship was safe and that it had emergency power at least,” said Magee. “That it was stable and that they had enough food and water on board to last for the transit.”
The Vigorous crew also used one of their small boats designed for drug intercepts to transfer a dialysis patient from the crippled cruise ship to another vessel. Finally, they helped escort the ship to Mobile, Alabama.
Aside from helping with the Triumph and the drug interdiction, the Vigorous crew also helped restore a nursing home in Boca Del Toro, Panama during their time at sea.
Now that they're home, Magee says they've received nothing but gratitude for their heroic efforts.
“We have gotten some feedback from several passengers that were on board,” said Magee. “They felt better and knew things were going to be okay with us being on the scene.”