A fire in the engine room has crippled cruise ship Carnival Splendor, 150 miles south of the California port of San Diego. The ship, carrying 3,299 passengers and 1,167 is awaiting the arrival of tugs to bring it into port.
No-one was injured in the fire, but power was disabled and air conditioning, phones and flush toilets are not operating. The ship is dead in the water with no propulsion, and US Coastguard and the Mexican navy sent aircraft and cutters to provide assistance, and tugs are on their way to the vessel to bring it into port.
The Splendor was on the first leg of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise which left Long Beach on Sunday. The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
“Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring,” said Gerry Cahill, president and chief executive officer of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Passengers have been provided with bottled water and cold food, and although they were initially called to lifeboat muster stations, have now been allowed to return to their cabins.
The cruise director on Splendor is Carnival blogger John Heald, from Margate in Kent. He will have his hands full coping with the crisis, but I am sure he will have some extraordinary stories to tell in the days to come. Unusually for American cruise line Carnival, the ship was named at a ceremony in England. Mylene Klass did the honours in Dover in July 2008.
In the meantime, here is the full text of the company statement:
“At approximately 6 am this morning (U.S. Pacific Standard Time), a fire was detected in the aft engine room aboard the cruise ship Carnival Splendor. The fire has been extinguished. There were no injuries to guests or crew.
“The ship has been operating on auxiliary generators throughout the day and engineers have been unable to restore additional power to the vessel. As a result, the current voyage is being terminated. Tugboats are currently en route to the ship which is located off the coast of Mexico, approximately 150 miles south of San Diego. The tugs will tow the vessel to Ensenada, Mexico in an effort to get the guests home as quickly as possible.
“Currently several key hotel systems, including air conditioning, hot food service, flushing toilets and telephones are not available. The ship’s crew is actively working to restore partial services.
“Regular announcements apprising guests of the situation began at approximately 6.30 am. Guests were initially asked to move from their cabins to the ship’s upper open deck areas. At this time, guests have access to their cabins and are able to move about the ship. Bottled water and cold food items are being provided.
“The vessel’s command is in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard which has deployed aircraft and cutters to the cruise ship’s location.
“Guests on the current voyage will be receiving a full refund along with reimbursement for transportation costs. Additionally, they will receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount paid for this voyage.”
“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. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority and we are working to get our guests home as quickly as possible,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.