Carnival cruise ship to be towed after fire strands it in Gulf of Mexico
POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 10:26am
UPDATED: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 10:37am
(CNN) — A Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 passengers and crew will be towed to port after a weekend engine fire left it dead in the water, a cruise line official said.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigorous arrived to aid the stranded ship early Monday, the Coast Guard said.
The Carnival Triumph was off the Yucatan Peninsula, heading back to Galveston, Texas, when the fire occurred Sunday morning, said Astevia Gonzalez from the Carnival Cruises family support team. The ship's automatic fire extinguishing system kicked in and soon contained the blaze, and no injuries were reported.
The fire still left the ship with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members without propulsion, drifting about 140 miles off the Mexican coast, the cruise line said.
"The ship's technical crew has determined the vessel will need to be towed to port," Carnival said around 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday. "A tugboat is en route to the ship's location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port."
The ship's freshwater system is back up and operational, the Coast Guard said, and the sewage system was restored to the forward section of the ship, but crews were still working on the rear portion of the ship Monday morning.
The ship is expected to arrive in port Wednesday, according to Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said that passengers were never without electricity, thanks to emergency generators, and have ample food and water on board. More food and beverages were being transferred Sunday night onto the Triumph from a sister ship, the Carnival Elation, which was on the scene Sunday.
Another ship, the Carnival Legend, is en route from Tampa, Florida, to bring additional food and water to the Triumph on Monday afternoon, the Coast Guard said.
After being towed to Progreso, those aboard the Carnival Triumph will be flown back to the United States at no cost to them, the cruise line said. They will also get a full refund, credit that can be used toward a future trip and reimbursement for all expenses, except casino and gift shop purchases, for their current trip.
The vessel's next two departures, scheduled for Monday and Saturday, have been canceled. Those slated to be on those trips will get full refunds and discounts toward future cruises, the cruise line said.