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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Cruise Ship Runs Aground Off Alaska's Aleutian Islands; Missing Woman's Relatives Ask Volunteers to Stop Searching for Lori Hacking
Aired August 1, 2004 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is August 1. Good morning to you. I'm Drew Griffin.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Can't believe it's August already. Good morning, everyone. I'm Catherine Callaway. I'm in for Betty Nguyen this morning.
A lot going on today. Let's get right to it.
In the news now, a small cruise ship runs aground off of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, forcing passengers to evacuate and causing about 5,000 gallons of fuel to spill. The Coast Guard says that the clipper Odyssey, carrying 196 people ran aground about 1:00 a.m. Eastern time this morning when it hit a reef. There have been no reports of injuries. We will get the latest details when we talk with the Coast Guard about this in just a few minutes.
Also, relatives of a missing Utah woman are asking volunteers to stop their search for Lori Hacking. Her parents and her in-laws issued a statement late last night, saying that her husband Mark has provided some new information that makes the search unnecessary.
Now exactly what that information is, the families don't say. And Salt Lake City police say that they don't have any new updates on the case. CNN does have a reporter in Salt Lake City. We'll bring you more as soon as we hear from investigators.
A federal law enforcement official tells CNN that new intelligence indicates al Qaeda is working on a plan to attack commercial or financial institutions in New York City. There are no details on how or when the attacks might occur. We'll have more in a live report from New York coming up in just a couple of minutes.
And a tropical storm watch in effect along the Carolina coast. Forecasters say that a tropical depression that formed yesterday is expected to gain some strength and could become a tropical storm today. At last report, it was centered 115 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. Keeping you informed, CNN the most trusted name in news.
GRIFFIN: More now on our top story, the cruise ship accident off Alaska. As we reported, the clipper Odyssey ran aground after hitting a reef in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Passengers all saved. They were evacuated, but there are some concerns about leaking fuel there. Joining me on the phone is Chief Warrant Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Roddy Carr.
Thank you for joining us, sir. Tell us what the situation now is with the ship. Is it still afloat?
RODDY CARR, CWO, USCG: Yes, sir, good morning. The situation is that the ship has been safely refloated about 2:40 local time this morning. All the crew and non-essential crew and passengers have been safely evacuated from the vessel. Only essential crew remains on board.
She is refloated. And we're doing some damage surveys to ensure she doesn't pose any further threat before we have her brought into the port for further damage assessments tomorrow.
GRIFFIN: And has this fuel leak been solved?
CARR: We -- right now, the fuel tank that was ruptured during the grounding has basically leaked all of her fuel out. Estimates put it around 5,000 gallons. There's no damage right now that we can tell if any of the other fuel tanks. We are doing some inspections on board to ensure that she doesn't pose any threat to the surrounding islands, as well as the harbor once we bring her in.
GRIFFIN: This is a relatively small ship, but you did have to deal with at least a couple of hundred people on board. How did you get them off?
CARR: Well, there was 198 total persons on board. And we had the assistance from a lot of the local fishing vessels in the area, who responded immediately to our calls for help.
We had Coast Guard aircraft overhead as well monitoring the situation. And we had several of the local tub companies respond. So we had a very good cooperative effort from the local maritime industry here. And it was a very orderly and safe evacuation. So I applaud everybody that was involved.
GRIFFIN: But was it done ship to ship? Or did you find people in rafts?
CARR: No, no, the passengers on board were evacuated from the cruise ship using the vessels tenders two fishing vessels. And most of them were brought in, either on fishing vessels or we did have one commercial refrigerated cargo ship that was on sand, that brought in a lot of the passengers as well.
GRIFFIN: Officer, how did this exactly happen? Was this an unchartered reef?
CARR: Really can't say at this point. We're in the preliminary stages of the investigation. And once our investigators get on board tomorrow morning, hopefully we'll be able to ascertain the cause of this. But right now, we don't know what caused it. GRIFFIN: Chief Warrant Office Roddy Carr from the U.S. Coast Guard on our developing story overnight. Thank you, sir, for that report.
CALLAWAY: And another developing story this morning, the family of a missing Utah woman says that Mark Hacking has spoken with police about his wife Lori Hacking's disappearance and that now the search to find her can stop. This, despite police telling CNN that they don't know about any new information.
In a statement issued yesterday, Lori and Mark Hacking's relative said this. "The families understand that Mark Hacking has provided information that makes it unnecessary for individuals or groups to continue the volunteer search. At this time the families ask that all efforts from volunteers cease and that anyone with information that they feel might be helpful contact the Salt Lake City Police Department directly. The families remain supportive of the police investigation."
GRIFFIN: Turning now to those threats of terror in New York City, new intelligence suggest al Qaeda is planning to attack businesses in the city, perhaps using a car or truck bomb.
CNN's Ali Velshi joins us from New York with the latest on all of this, Ali.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drew, it's been a busy weekend for FBI officials here in New York and the New York City Police Department. There have been meetings on Friday night and again yesterday. Now it's not uncommon, obviously, for the task force involved with security and anti-terrorism in New York to be meeting.
But officials are telling CNN, as you reported earlier, that there is what might be a credible threat. And while the terror alert for New York remains at high or orange, as it has since September 2001, we understand that there is a heightened threat right now. And that is having to do with car bombs or ventilation systems.
So a threat advisory has been issued by the FBI to New York law enforcement officials.
Now it's slightly more specific than it's been in the past with respect to the idea that it's dealing with corporate headquarters, perhaps financial institutions in New York, although they're quite plentiful.
Now keep in mind, Drew, that there has been a lot of planning underway for the Republican National Convention coming up in about a month in New York. So all around the city here, they are already drills, emergency drills, lots of emergency services around the city.
There's some concern that this is more than chatter, that there are ways that people might try and infiltrate some of these corporate headquarters.
Now some of the things that the police are telling corporate security directors to do is check again your heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, to ensure that they can't be infiltrated. Check rooftops, doors going into security areas. Try and post security people in vulnerable parts of the building under the suspicion that someone might walk in and try and contaminate the building that way.
And then there's the issue of car or truck bombs, which have been used in other parts of the world. New York City officials saying it is difficult to track that sort of thing, but that security officials in buildings in and around New York should check their parking and security strategies right here at this building that we're in. No car goes in without mirrors being underneath the car and the cars being checked for anything that might be protruding from them.
So little more specific. There is action that can be taken, Drew. New York Police saying they will continue to deploy their special forces, which deal with terrorist threats. And we'll keep you updated, as soon as we get more information.
GRIFFIN: All right, Ali. Should be a busy day there in New York for you. Thanks -- Catherine?
CALLAWAY: On the campaign trail, John Kerry spends another day in the battleground state of Ohio. He will attend a church service in Springfield this morning and then a rally this afternoon in Bowling Green, before heading off to Michigan.
In Zanesville, Ohio last night, he bashed President Bush on the Iraq War. Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, will be guests this afternoon on CNN's "LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER", which begins at noon Eastern time.
The two presidential contenders nearly passed each other yesterday. President Bush headed toward Pittsburgh from Ohio. Kerry drove west into Ohio from Pittsburgh. Bush began the day in Cleveland. He made stops in Canton and Cambridge, Ohio and then West Virginia.
GRIFFIN: Checking other stories making headlines across America. Police in Polson, Montana wanted to know what caused this casino balcony to collapse Friday night. One witness said he heard loud snaps or cracks just moments before the 14 foot deck gave way, hurling people standing into the ground.
About 70 people injured in the accident. The Diamond Horseshoe Casino seven seriously. Nobody killed there.
Also out west, smoke and ashes still marking a fiery wrath. Over 400 firefighters are battling a blaze in central Washington's Kittitas County. Police say it, along with 10 other fires set recently, were started by an arsonist. They're offering a $10,000 reward for information. This fire has scorched 600 acres, prompting a state of emergency for that county.
CALLAWAY: Well for children in some parts of Georgia, backpacks and book stacks in early August? Well that's right. Some students back to school already. Classes started in Newton County. That's about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta on Friday. Other children in the Atlanta area will pack in again on August 9. Hopefully they get more holidays.
And in New York, Apollo's mission is thankfully over. It was literally wild yesterday when Apollo, the circus tiger, escaped from his cage. And he roamed freely in Queens. Of course, he was panicking the residents there, causing a multi car accident. Now according to one newspaper, even the circus clowns were out chasing down this 450 pound tiger, but luckily Apollo's trainers were able to lure him back into his cage with that juicy chunk of raw meat.
GRIFFIN: Time to fast forward to some news you'll be seeing head this week. On Monday, NASA is scheduled to launch its messenger orbiter to the planet Mercury. The orbiter will travel more than 6.5 years and 4.9 billion miles before it actually reaches the planet in March 2011.
Tuesday will bring voters to the polls for state primary elections in Missouri, Michigan, and Kansas. Missouri voters will also see an amendment banning gay marriage on their ballot.
And in New York on Tuesday, Lady Liberty re-opens the first time since September 11. Visitors will be able to go inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The interior of the actual statue will still remain closed for security reasons. And that's a quick look at some of the things you'll be hearing about in the week ahead.
CALLAWAY: Well chances are if you're good on the Internet, then you probably also carry a cell phone. But I want to know one thing. Do you text message? Do you even know what it is? Well if you don't, hang around. In just about five minutes, we want to tell you all about it.
GRIFFIN: And MTV rocks the vote again, but punk rock fans are getting involved, too. We will look at the latest marriage of music and politics.
CALLAWAY: And New York City's facing a stampede of elephants. GOP convention goers that is. Is the Big Apple ready?
GRIFFIN: If you're just waking up, here's a look at this morning's headlines. In Utah, Salt Lake City police have yet to confirm new information about the disappearance of Lori Hacking. Relatives of the missing woman say Mark Hacking volunteered information that makes a continued search unnecessary.
A sightseeing cruise ship in Alaska, a small one, that cruise ended abruptly when the ship ran aground on a reef. It ripped a gaping hole in the ship's hull, spilling about 5,000 gallons of fuel. All passengers and crew, we're told, have been evacuated safely.
New York has boosted security after a new non-specific terror warning. Federal officials say new intelligence indicates al Qaeda has a new plan to strike New York's financial and corporate firms.
Political pundits say the presidential election is so close, the candidates will have to go after every available vote. Even these guys' votes. The punk rock crowd, young people have their say in just a few minutes here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
CALLAWAY: And all morning, we've been showing you a phrase using text messaging. And here it is again. Looks like a new language, kind of. Have you figured out what we're telling you? It says actually here's what it says. Tomorrow, want to please call me?
By the way, thanks for your information. See? And then, we wink at you. Now we haven't lost our mind, it's just your first lesson in text messaging. And talking this way, or should we probably say typing this way, is all the rage with youngsters out there, using their cell phones and their blackberries across the country.
And to help those of us who haven't mastered this new way of communicating, I'm joined by Craig Newell. He's an associate editor at "E Week.com". Thanks for being with us this morning.
CRAIG NEWELL, WWW.EWEEK.COM: Thanks, good morning, Catherine.
CALLAWAY: Now do you text message a lot yourself?
NEWELL: I do a little bit. It helps keeping in touch with people from work and friends when you can't really be on the phone.
CALLAWAY: Or when you're in a meeting and shouldn't be on your cell phone, right?
NEWELL: Exactly, yes.
CALLAWAY: You know, this is huge in Europe and has been for some time. It just seems like over the past year or so, it's really beginning to kick in here?
NEWELL: Yes, what happened about two years ago in the United States is that the cellular carriers started to interoperate with each other. And in the past, if you had AT&T Wireless as your carrier, you could only send text messages to other AT&T Wireless customers.
NEWELL: So a little under two years ago, they announced the interoperability agreement, which lets AT&T Wireless customers send text messages to people with Verizon Wireless.
CALLAWAY: Is it expensive?
NEWELL: No, it's pretty cheap. You'll see fees, for example, with Verizon Wireless -- it's about 2 cents to receive one or 10 cents to send one. Or you can buy a bucket of about 200 for around $300 a month.
CALLAWAY: Is -- you know, is it cheaper than making a phone call or more expensive -- cell phone call?
NEWELL: It can. Yes, it can be, depending on how long your messages are, how long you spend on the phone. Your text messages tend to be a bit shorter, so they use less time than a cell phone call would.
CALLAWAY: You know when I really realize how many people were doing this when America was on "American Idol," when they were asking everyone to text message, and there was something like 13.5 million people that text messaged their vote for "American Idol." So clearly, people out there are doing it.
NEWELL: Exactly. Especially among the teen audience. That was one major use of text messaging. They could also vote on, you know, via the regular phone or on the Internet. But that's like text messaging was really big for the "American Idol' voting.
CALLAWAY: Yes, it seems like that indicates it is more for the younger guys out there. Are we seeing the older customers out there starting to use it?
NEWELL: We are seeing some business applications, such as people using them during meetings and stuff like that, because the etiquette is a little bit different. You know, it's not as frowned upon to pick up your cell phone and text message while you're in a meeting.
NEWELL: As compared to actually taking a cell phone call.
CALLAWAY: It could still be rude, though.
CALLAWAY: Although you know, it's kind hard to understand some of these -- I think on the screen here you can see some of the text messages that'll help you make that message shorter. RUOK, are you OK? That one's easy. BRB, be right back. XLNT, excellent, I didn't get. That took me a minute.
NEWELL: Yes, that one's a little bit different. It depends -- not everyone uses them. They actually kind of stem from actually regular computer instant messaging, when people started using that sort of shorthand with the winks and abbreviations...
NEWELL: ...like BRB and...
CALLAWAY: We used to call that top lining, when you...
NEWELL: Yes, exactly.
CALLAWAY: ...type LOL, laughing out loud, and No1, no one,, OIC, oh I see, and PCM, please call me. You know, this is really becoming part of our language, isn't it? NEWELL: It is. And we're -- people are actually beginning to save a little bit in real conversation, which is the funny part.
CALLAWAY: All right, Craig, thank you for keeping us up to date on what we need to be keeping up to date on.
NEWELL: Thank you for having me.
GRIFFIN: All right, everyone out there, did that story have you LOL? Of course that means laughing out loud. We want to hear your ideas about any helpful or funny text messaging shortcuts that you have for us. E-mail us or of course you could text message us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll read them on the air.
There's a little technology revolt taking place in Britain, where a designer has created what he calls a vintage mobile phone. It connects an old fashioned receiver to modern mobile technology hidden in his pocket. And with a cord we probably all recognize.
The man says he wanted to poke a little fun at people's need to have the newest, coolest cell phone. He calls this creation a Pokia. You can find them on sale at Ebay.
Do you want punk rockers deciding who's going to be the next president? They may be the new political powerhouse in the elections. At least that's the latest push on the concert or is it campaign tour this summer. That story on the way.
Plus, the pageantry is over and the Democrats' mad dash to a November ballot is underway. How will the Republicans respond? Our political analyst Andrew Seabrook live right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
GRIFFIN: MTV Rocks the Vote, P. Diddy says vote or die. The marriage between music and politics has never been stronger. Several efforts this election year focus on getting young people involved, including one group reaching out to the fringes of the music world.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Young, pierced and not wild about the future. They are punk music fans who want to rock and may want to vote. On their minds, abortion rights, funding for college, and especially the war in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard a lot of stuff about a possible draft, which I'm very much against. I think that's a very bad idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The war that's going on and the terrorism stuff that's going on, it's more like, you know, young people realize that they have -- trying to get out there and vote, do something about it. GRIFFIN: In the last election, just 36 percent of eligible voters under age 25 voted. One way to increase their vote is with music.
The warp tour will play to a half million people this summer, hoping to give those people a little education with their entertainment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes two minutes.
GRIFFIN: As the tour makes its way across the country, a group called Punk Voter is reaching out to the 20-somethings, setting up voter registration booths.
MIKE "FAT MIKE" BURKETT, PUNK VOTER, CO-FOUNDER: You can't tell kids just to vote. They wont' do it. You have to tell them why they should vote and how this administration affects their lives.
GRIFFIN: There is no balance here. Mike Burkett, better known as Fat Mike to fans of his band NoFX is a founder of Punk Voter and the bands who are part of it are unapologetically anti-Bush.
JAY BENTLEY, BAD RELIGION BASS PLAYER: Having the empathy of the world after 9/11 and then having the entire world hate us, it's a pretty quick turnaround. It took about 24 hours. George Bush gave the middle finger to the world. And we all were horrified and embarrassed.
GRIFFIN: Not all the fans agree.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love Bush with all my heart. He's a great president. And I believe that right now, if we were to vote him out of office, we would end up losing this conflict.
GRIFFIN: But they are definitely talking about the election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a big opportunity for us to step up and have a voice.
CALLAWAY: It's going to be interesting to see.
Stay with us, everyone. New York police and firefighters may find themselves on some thin ice when the Republican party convenes in New York City later this month.
GRIFFIN: And a general who led U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has some surprises in a new book, including one surprise he never expected in Baghdad. That's next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
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