Carnival charter embarkation delayed: Storm refugees staying put

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HOUSTON -- The Sept. 6 relocation of 4,000 Hurricane Katrina refugees from the Houston Astrodome and Reliant Center to Carnival Cruise Lines' two Galveston, Texas-based ships was delayed.

According to a statement from Unified Command here, storm refugees "prefer to stay where they are right now" as they grapple with dramatic changes to their lives or focus on finding family members.

Said Incident Commander Joe Leonard: "For residents, another immediate relocation is simply too much, too soon."

Carnival's Sensation and Ecstasy have been temporarily berthed in Galveston after being chartered for six months by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Each ship can handle up to 2,606 passengers.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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