A Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship hit by an engine fire is eventually on the move as tugboats begin towing it towards California.
When the blaze broke out on Monday morning, the Carnival Splendor was 200 miles (310km) south of San Diego, said owners Carnival Cruise Lines. With 4,500 passengers, a cruise ship stranded offshore. Crew must be towed slowly into a Mexican port and will not come out till at least Wednesday night, according to the Coast Guard. They have no air conditioning, hot water, or telephone service.
The 1,167 crew members and 3,299 passengers were not injured and the fire was extinguished. Toilets and cold running water were allowed by Auxiliary power to be restored Monday night.
The Mexican Riviera-bound ship was in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard that was drifting about 55 miles off the northern Baja California coast and deployed aircraft and ships along with the U.S. Navy and Mexican Navy.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Kevin Metcalf said “Two Mexican seagoing tugboats contracted out of the port of Ensenada were expected to reach the cruise ship at midday Tuesday and arrive back at the port around 8 p.m. PST Wednesday.”
A Coast Guard cutter usher the tugs and must move slowly because the ship is so big. A Carnival spokeswoman, Joyce Oliva said “Passengers will be taken by bus to California.” She said she was unaware about any safety from passengers or their families on traveling by bus in Mexico. Ensenada is at around 50 miles south of the nearest U.S. border crossing, in San Diego.
After dropping off of the passengers Splendor will be tugged back to Long Beach, California, a journey that will take days. So the passengers will be dropped off in Mexico first. Metcalf said “They didn’t want to keep them aboard any longer than they had to. They’re running only critical systems as of now.”
When the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was conducting maneuvers 120 miles south of San Diego, was diverted to help the ship. With bread, utensils, cups, milk, canned food and other items, about 70,000 pounds of supplies will be flown to the Reagan, where helicopters will transfer them to the stricken cruise ship, Cmdr, according to Greg Hicks.
The cruise line said “The Splendor’s seven-day voyage, which began in Long Beach, was canceled and guests will get refunds, reimbursement for transportation costs and a free future cruise of equal value”.
Passengers were first asked to move from their cabins to the ship’s upper deck after the fire but then eventually allowed to go back to their rooms and Bottled water and cold food were being offered.
Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in the statement, “We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience. Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring.”
Toni Sweet of San Pedro, California said “It’s their first cruise and they were real anxious. I don’t think they’re going to take another. Here you want them to have a good time and then this happened.”