Carnival Splendor fire sets cruise ship adrift off Baja, Calif.
An engine room fire aboard the Carnival Splendor set the cruise ship adrift 55 miles off the coast of Baja California Monday. The Carnival Splendor fire knocked out power to the ship and left it dead in the water without working toilets, air conditioning, hot food or telephone service. The U.S. Coast Guard and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan responded to help as a fleet of tugs en route were expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon.
Carnival Splendor’s rude awakening
The Carnival Splendor fire broke out about 6 a.m. Monday in the aft engine room of the 952-foot long, 113,000-ton cruise ship. Passengers were rousted from their cabins and crowded onto the upper decks. After the fire was extinguished with no injuries to passengers or crew, access to cabins was restored and passengers were allowed to move freely around the ship. Emergency generators supplied power and eventually toilet service and cold running water were restored. Lavish buffets were replaced with bottled water and cold food.
Coast guard cutters and an aircraft carrier rush to the scene
The Carnival Splendor fire set the vessel adrift after it had traveled about 200 miles south of San Diego after departing the Carnival Cruise Lines home port of Long Beach, Calif. The U.S. Coast Guard sent three cutters and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to the ship’s aid. The U.S. Navy also diverted the USS Ronald Reagan from training maneuvers to the scene. In a statement the Navy said helicopters from the carrier were dropping off 35 pallets of supplies. Tugs were expected to reach the Carnival Splendor later Tuesday and tow the ship to Ensenada. It was not known how long it would take to reach the Mexican port.
Carnival steps up with a free cruise
When it reaches landfall, the Carnival Splendor’s passengers will be bused north to Long Beach. The seven-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera which included stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas was cancelled. Carnival Cruise Lines is offering passengers a full refund and reimbursement for transportation costs to Long Beach, as well as a free Carnival cruise in the future equal to the cost of the aborted voyage.