Burnet family stranded on cruise ship for several hours after oil spill closed channel

Thin winter snowpack near Vail. Photo courtesy of Matthew Staver, NY Times

BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — The Carnival Triumph was one of several cruise ships unable to get back to port on time because of the oil spill in Galveston Bay.

Erika Crawford, of Burnet, was on the ship with her two kids.

“I just kept shooting,” Crawford said of the pictures she took looking down on darkening waters around them. “The smell was real thick and as soon as I looked down on the other side, this is what you see…oil. And it smells awful.”

Crawford was on her way back from Cozumel and a four-day vacation with her son and daughter. They were supposed to be let off the ship at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

“The captain came across the thing and said, ‘ladies and gentlemen, there’s been a situation in Galveston. A huge barge has sunk and there’s been an oil spill.'”

The news forced her and thousands of other passengers to stay on the ship until Monday night.

From on top of the ship, Crawford could see clear signs of oil. It was part of the 168,000 gallons said to have spilled be in Galveston Bay.

“I guess it was probably around 12, this fog pulled in which made the smell even thicker,” she said. “A lot of people wouldn’t go out on the ship because it smelled so bad.

“You could just see this slick oil of rainbow swirl and it was everywhere,” Crawford added. “It’s very sad. It’s going to take awhile I’m sure to clean up.”

Crawford says she just feels lucky her and her family weren’t stuck out there for days.

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