Cruise ships need U.S. oversight, experts say - FOX 13 News

Cruise ships need U.S. oversight, experts say

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The Carnival Legend is now limping it's way back to Tampa, thanks to a propulsion problem.

One of the ships two Azipods, which are large, electric-driven propellers, is not working properly.

That reduced power has now significantly slowed Legend down.

But it was just two months ago, that the US Coast Guard last checked Legend. Lt. Commander Eric Allen says everything was fine at the time.

"This vessel was examined in January, and we issued the paperwork. The vessel was operating as designed and we left with 0 deficiencies," he said.

The Carnival Dream is dealing with a generator problem, and last month, the Triumph had a fire near a generator in the engine room.

The question now becomes, is there a link between all three?

Jacob Munch, a maritime attorney in Tampa who also used to sail on oil tankers, says it's time Carnival talked to their chief engineer.

"The person in charge of the propulsion units on these ships. Let's talk to him. Let's see what's going on. What are the maintenance schedules? How often are we renewing items, how often are we dry docking items?" are the questions he says need to be answered.

Most cruise ships sail under foreign flags. Munch feels U.S. regulators should require these ships sail under the U.S. Flag and U.S. oversight.

"There would be a lot more scrutiny on what's going on, as far as their day-to-day running of the engine rooms, maintenance safety," Munch said.

Lt. Commander Eric Allen with the U.S. Coast Guard says overall, the cruising industry has a safe operating record. He and his team of investigators will inspect the Legend when it makes its way back to port on Sunday.

"We'll be working with them to try and determine exactly what was going on, and what kind of repairs were made or are required to be made before they depart," he said.

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