MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Even though Carnival pulled out of Mobile more than a year ago, the terminal never really shut down. Mayor Sam Jones said that makes it a lot easier to get things ready for the disabled ship that's coming in Thursday.
"We just got through berthing three ships this weekend. We had the Navy ship. The Samuel B. Roberts was here, and then we had two Canadian vessels that were here for Mardi Gras. So they were pulling out this morning as we were preparing to come in. So because our terminal is a working terminal, it's not difficult for us to gear up to get a ship to come in," Jones said.
According to the mayor, most of the work the city focused on involved security.
"What's happening over there now: security plans are being put in place. They are rearranging the terminal to accommodate the ship. A big security plan which involves the Coast Guard, Customs, our police department and all of the folks who handle security over there," he said.
The city is also making some changes inside the terminal that will make it easier to get passengers through quickly.
"A number of these folks are going to be frustrated when they get in, and we don't want to add to the frustration. What we want to do is try to give them a little relief from what they've been going through," the mayor said.
Even though the cruise passengers will likely be ready to bolt from the ship and get through the terminal as quickly as possible, they'll still have to go through customs.
"When you come back into a port back in the United States, you have to go through customs. I don't expect this to be a lengthy process, but they do have to go through customs. That's just a rule that you have to follow," Mayor Jones said.
The ship is expected to dock in Mobile sometime between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The mayor said he doesn't know how long it will take to get all 4,000 passengers and crew members in and out. He said the city's job is to make sure the facility is ready. Carnival employees will take care of processing of the passengers.
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