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Carnival cruise ship floats in Gulf of Mexico after engine fire

Posted at 11:19 PM, Feb 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-10 23:19:51-05

By Esprit Smith and Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN) — A Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico will need to be towed to port after an engine fire, a cruise line official said Sunday.

The Carnival Triumph was in waters off the Yucatan Peninsula, heading back to Galveston, Texas, when the fire occurred Sunday morning, said Astevia Gonzalez from the Carnival Cruises family support team. The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing system kicked in and soon contained the blaze, and no injuries were reported.

The fire still left the ship and its more than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members without propulsion, leaving it drifting about 140 miles off the Mexican coast, the cruise line said in a statement.

“The ship’s technical crew has determined the vessel will need to be towed to port,” Carnival said around 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday. “A tugboat is en route to the ship’s location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port.”

According to Gonzalez, the ship is expected to arrive in port Wednesday.

She said that passengers were never without electricity, thanks to emergency generators, and have ample food and water onboard. Even more food and beverages were being transferred Sunday night onto the Triumph from one of its sister ships, the Carnival Elation, which was on scene.

The Coast Guard said Sunday night that its officials are communicating with the ship’s crew, adding that its Cutter Vigorous should arrive on-site early Monday morning.

After they are towed to Progreso, those aboard the Carnival Triumph will be flown back to the United States at no cost to them, the cruise line said. They will also get a full refund, credit that can be used toward a future trip and reimbursement for all expenses — except casino and gift shop purchases — for their current trip.

The vessel’s next two departures, scheduled for Monday and Saturday, have been canceled. Those slated to be on those trips will get full refunds and discounts toward future cruises, the cruise line said.