GALVESTON, Texas — An engine fire on the cruise ship Carnival Triumph has caused the vessel to operate on emergency generator power, stranding it approximately 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
There are 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew members on board the four-day cruise that departed Galveston on Thursday. The fire occurred over the weekend, and now there are plans to tow the ship to Mobile, Alabama.
Carnival had originally planned to tow the boat to Progreso, Mexico where passengers would take a flight back to the U.S., but Monday evening, the boat drifted 90 miles north and there was a change in plans.
Because the ship drifted, it is nearly equidistant to Mobile. Carnival says given the strength of the currents, the ship will head north, rather than attempt to tow against them.
The ship is expected to arrive in Mobile sometime on Thursday, which is roughly the same time it would have arrived in Mexico.
Once the ship arrives, Carnival will provide the necessary transportation to get the guests home. Officials say Mobile also provides simpler re-entry to the U.S. because about 900 guests onboard are traveling without passports.
Toby Barlow’s wife, Anne, is on the cruise ship and he has been able to communicate with her by phone and text message.
“Basically she says, 'we are alright just scared,' ” Barlow told KHOU 11 News. “There is no power at all on the boat and no water.”
Barlow’s wife said passengers are being told a tug boat will arrive Monday to begin the process of towing the boat to port.
Officials confirmed a tugboat is en route to the ship’s location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship’s current location. This will allow guests to disembark and get them home as quickly as possible. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso on Wednesday afternoon.
Carnival said an automatic fire extinguishing system activated and the fire was contained to the aft engine room. There were no casualties or injuries to guests or crew.
All guests have been asked to remain in the ship’s public areas and open decks.
Another ship, the Carnival Elation, was on-scene and transferring additional food and beverage provisions to the Carnival Triumph, officials said.
Carnival said all guests on the current voyage will receive a full refund inclusive of gratuities and any transportation expenses.
The company said it is in the process of contacting the designated emergency contacts for all guests on board. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 1-888-290-5095 or 1-305-406-5534.
Carnival has contacted guests booked on the next voyage, which was scheduled to depart Monday. Those guests have the option of cancelling now and receiving a full refund or waiting for further information to determine if a shortened, partial voyage may be possible.
Statement released Monday morning by Carnival:
February 11, 2013 – 11:25 am EST
Details on Initial Incident/Status of Tugboats
Yesterday morning, February 10, the cruise ship Carnival Triumph experienced a fire in the aft engine room while the vessel was sailing approximately 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing systems activated and the fire was successfully extinguished. There were no casualties or injuries to guests or crew.
The vessel is currently without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico and awaiting the arrival of two tugboats which will tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship’s current location. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso late Wednesday and guests will be flown from Mexico back to the U.S. on chartered aircraft which the company is currently working to arrange.
Currently, a team consisting of additional technical crew and guest service personnel is en route to the vessel and is expected to arrive via boat later today. All appropriate authorities including U.S. Coast Guard have been notified and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter is presently on site next to the Carnival Triumph and in communication with the ship.
Update on Shipboard Services
The ship has maintained emergency generator power since the fire occurred and the technical team on board has been successful in gradually restoring auxiliary power to operate some basic hotel functions. 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. Guests have been supplied with food and refreshments throughout yesterday and this morning and the ship has supplies on board to last until the vessel returns to port.
Yesterday afternoon, the Carnival Elation rendezvoused with the Carnival Triumph and supplied dinners for the guests on Carnival Triumph, along with additional provisions. Early this afternoon, the Carnival Legend will also be on site to do the same.
There are 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board.
We continue to update the designated emergency contacts for all guests presently on board Carnival Triumph. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or 305.406.5534.
Upcoming Voyages and Compensation
All guests on the current Carnival Triumph voyage will receive a full refund of the cruise, along with transportation expenses. In addition, they will receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, as well as reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop and casino charges.
The next two voyages of Carnival Triumph, scheduled to depart Monday, February 11 and Saturday, February 16 are being cancelled. Guests scheduled to sail on either of those voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future three to five-day cruise. Carnival is in contact with impacted guests to advise them of the situation.
The current Carnival Triumph voyage departed Galveston, Texas, on Thursday, February 7 and was scheduled to return on Monday, Feb. 11.