June 14, 2005 – The U.S. Coast Guard barred a Carnival cruise ship from docking in St. Thomas harbor Tuesday morning because an automated system that normally submits security documents broke down, officials said.
The Carnival Glory was delayed about four hours and its owners, Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines, was fined $32,500 because the company hadn't sent Coast Guard officials documents listing names of passengers, the names of crew members and the ship's last five ports of call, said Lt. j.g. Eric Willis, a Coast Guard spokesman.
Carnival was fined another $32,500 when its ship Victory also failed to notify the Coast Guard within 24 hours of its scheduled 5 p.m. arrival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Willis said.
Coast Guard officials have examined the Victory's documents, and it will not be delayed, he said.
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said the computer system that normally sends out the documents several days ahead of time had been repaired, and the Glory's 3,500 passengers would be given extra time on St. Thomas to make up for the delay.
"Typically these notifications go out by computer, but because of the computer breakdown, that didn't happen," Gulliksen said.
The 950-foot ship arriving from Nassau, Bahamas, was ordered back to international waters — 12 miles out to sea — until Coast Guard officials could examine the security documents, Willis said.
"We expedited the review so we would not adversely affect their commerce," Willis said. "It's a very important security document. We did a nice balancing job here."
The ship was due to arrive in the territory at 9 a.m., but it did not dock until after 1 p.m.
Neither Gulliksen nor Willis could immediately say if the computer breakdown had affected other Carnival ships entering U.S. ports.
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