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Mobile, Ala., Stations Await Squalid Ship's Arrival

The stations in Mobile, Ala., are switching between live coverage and hourly cut-ins to cover the arrival of the disabled Carnival cruise ship. The ship, named the Triumph, is being towed and moving slowly; it is due to arrive some time around 9 to 11 p.m.. A broken towline will delay the ship’s arrival in Mobile Bay, reports LIN’s WALA and the others.

Sinclair’s WEAR Mobile was live from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today, according to Terry Cole, GM at WEAR, then went with cut-ins at the top of each hour. Highlights included watching a Coast Guard chopper drop supplies on the luckless tourists.

Cole said the ship finally was within cellphone range today, which enabled reporters to get some first-hand testimony from aboard the boat. After initially blazing temps earlier in the week forced the castaways outside their rooms–many slept on the cooler decks–temperatures are a much more manageable 50-60, he says.

Passengers will also get a refund, $500 and credit for another cruise, if they should choose to take one.

WALA’s reporters went to Dauphin Island, a barrier island, to get the earliest shots of the ship drifting into view. “It was almost like a mirage,” says Bob Cashen, news director at WALA. Cashen says the station has two live shots available at any time, and has been cutting in all day in advance of its 4 p.m. news.

Other Mobile-Pensacola stations include Media General’s WKRG and Deerfield Media’s WPMI, which reports that the Salvation Army is providing hot meals for family members waiting for the ship to arrive. 

WKRG reports that it will take up to four hours to get everyone off the ship. 

“I think there are a lot of very irritated people right now,” says Cashen.

WEAR was live again with its 4 p.m. news today, and Cole said they planned to be live through 7 p.m., with a half hour for the network news, then going live again around 7:30.

“We’ll stay wall to wall until it’s basically over,” he says. “It’s one of the biggest stories in our market since the oil spill.”