Massive cruise ship adrift

Last updated 12:45 12/02/2013
Cruise ship Triumph
REUTERS

POWERLESS: The Carnival Triumph is adrift in the Gulf of Mexico awaiting tugboats after a fire knocked out power.

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Passengers aboard a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee as they wait for two tugboats to arrive to tow them to Mexico, Carnival Cruise Lines says in a statement.

The Carnival Triumph has been floating aimlessly about 241  kilometres off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early on yesterday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system.

No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the statement said.

The ship, which left Galveston, Texas, last week and was scheduled to return there on today, will instead be towed to Progreso, Mexico, and the 3143 passengers on board will fly back to the United States. There are also 1086 crew members aboard the ship. They are to arrive in Mexico on Thursday.

The tugboats were expected to arrive later on Monday, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said in an email. One is coming from Mobile, Alabama, and a second is from Mexico, he said.

When another Carnival cruise ship, the Legend, rendezvoused with the stranded vessel on Monday, supplying Triumph passengers with food and supplies, Texas resident Brent Nutt was able to briefly chat with his wife, Bethany, who could draw a mobile phone signal from the visiting cruise line.

Without power, the ship's stabilisers are apparently not working, Nutt  said, and the massive liner had been leaning to one side on Monday. By yesterday afternoon, the ship seemed more upright, he said.

Passengers were also given food, Nutt said, and some of the bathrooms are working. But the ship is dirty, Nutt said his wife told him.

"There's water and faeces all over the floor," Nutt relayed. "It's not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship."

Passengers also are getting sick and throwing up, he said, adding that his wife told him: "The whole boat stinks extremely bad."

Melinda Ramos, meanwhile, said her father was laughing when she briefly spoke to him on Sunday.

"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.

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- AP

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