Published February 11, 2013
The Coast Guard says it is maintaining communication with a Carnival cruise ship that is adrift off of Mexico after a fire in an engine room.
The Coast Guard said in a news release that personnel aboard the Carnival Triumph extinguished the fire and no one was injured. The ship is now operating on emergency power about 150 miles off southern Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
Tug boats have been dispatched to tow the ship to port in Mobile, Ala., where it is expected to arrive on Thursday, Carnival said in a statement Monday. The company originally planned to tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico. There are 1,086 crew members on board the Triumph.
The Carnival Triumph set sail from Galveston, Texas, on Thursday, and was due back on Monday Feb. 11. Carnival said all passengers would receive a refund and "cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage." Guests will also be refunded their transportation expenses and all purchases made on the ship.
The Carnival Triumph's next two voyages, which were scheduled for departure next week on Feb. 11 and Feb. 16 have been canceled. Carnival said guests who were scheduled to go on those voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future 3-5 day cruise.
Family members waiting for relatives to arrive home Monday were informed by Carnival about the situation. Some, like Melinda Ramos, said her father was laughing when he briefly called to update her on the situation.
"He might be completely joking, but he said they're sleeping in tents outside," the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Matt Ramos told The Houston Chronicle.
But Brent Nutt, of Angleton, Texas, said his wife Bethany was crying when they spoke.
"They have no running water. They have no way to use the bathroom," Nutt told KTRK-TV in Houston.
A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.
In January last year, the Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship operated by the Carnival-owned Costa Cruises, capsized and sank off the Tuscan island of Giglio in Italy, killing 32 people. Italian investigators are looking into the vessel owner's potential responsibility for the shipwreck, Reuters reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.