Passenger hell as cruise ship carrying 4,200 adrift near Mexico after fire in engine room


Passengers and crew members on a cruise ship stranded near Mexico following an engine room fire have reportedly been left with limited access to food and bathrooms.

The Carnival Triumph was left adrift 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula after the fire broke out on Sunday, cutting off the propulsion system, and has been waiting to be towed by two tug boats to Mobile, Alabama.

According to CNN, the ship's automatic fire extinguishing system kicked in and controlled the flames, ensuring there were no injuries.

The first of the two tug boats arrived on Monday night, but the ship will not arrive in Mexico until some time on Thursday.

The cruise liner left Galveston, Texas, on Thursday night with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members for a four-night round-trip.

Carnival Cruise Lines CEO, Gerry Cahill, issued a statement on Tuesday confirming the first of the two tugboats arrived and is tied up to the ship with the second expected to follow soon.

While they originally planned to tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, the closest port to the ship's location, it will now be towed to Mobile, Alabama.

The statement read: "Since that time, the ship has drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents.

"This now puts the ship nearly equidistant to Mobile, Alabama and given the strength of the currents, it is preferable to head north to Mobile, rather than attempt to tow against them.

"We now expect to arrive in Mobile sometime on Thursday, roughly the same time the ship would have arrived in Progreso given the distance the ship has travelled.

"From there, we will provide the necessary transportation to get our guests home. Mobile also provides simpler re-entry, particularly for the 900 guests onboard travelling without passports.

"We have maintained constant contact with the ship's officers."

According to news.com.au, he said all guests on the current Carnival Triumph voyage will receive a full refund for the cruise, along with transportation expenses. They will also receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for the voyage.

Mr Cahill added: "We're terribly sorry for the inconvenience, discomfort, and frustration our guests are feeling.

"We know they expected a fantastic vacation, and clearly that is not what they received. Our shipboard and shoreside teams are working around the clock to care for our guests and get them home safely."

But being stranded isn't the only problem passengers are facing. One holidaymaker, Ann, told her husband, Toby Barlow, that there was "sewage running down the walls and floors", with passengers being asked to defecate in bags and urinate in showers due to a lack of functioning toilets. She said food queues were up to 3½ hours long and some, like herself, were sleeping outside to keep cool.

She texted her husband:"The smells are gross."

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen acknowledged some issues, admitting that some people were camping out on the decks because some cabins don't have air conditioning.

According to the BBC, another Carnival ship, the Elation, did supply the stranded vessel with dinner and extra supplies on Sunday.

And Mr Cahill added: "Currently, public and cabin toilets are operational in certain sections of the ship, power has been restored to a limited number of elevators, and some power in the Lido dining area is providing for hot coffee and limited hot food service.

"All our guests are safe, and we're doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible."

The Triumph's next two trips, scheduled for next week, have now been cancelled.

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