Fire leaves 4,500 stranded on cruise ship in Pacific

An engine room fire has left a cruise ship carrying nearly 4,500 people stranded with minimal power in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico, the operator said yesterday.

Tugboats were heading towards the Carnival Splendor, some 320 kilometers south of San Diego after the fire broke out early on Monday, said Carnival Cruise Lines, adding that passengers had no air conditioning or hot food.

“The ship has been operating on auxiliary generators and engineers have been unable to restore additional power to the vessel,” it said.

“Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologise for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring,” added company president Gerry Cahill.

The fire erupted in the aft engine room around 6 a.m. Monday (1400 GMT), and was extinguished with no injuries to guests or crew – but the ship, carrying 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew, was left without key services.

“Currently several key hotel systems, including air conditioning, hot food service, and telephones are not available.

“Last night, the ship’s engineers were able to restore toilet service to all cabins and public bathrooms, as well as cold running water. The ship’s crew continues to actively work to restore other services,” it said.

It added that tugs were expected to reach the ship around late Tuesday to tow it to Ensenada, Mexico “in an effort to get the guests home as quickly as possible”.

The 113,000-ton ship, which first entered service in July 2008, was on a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise which started Sunday in Long Beach, California.

The US Navy announced that the USS Ronald Reagan had been diverted to help the stricken cruise liner at the request of the US Coast Guard.


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