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Cruise with 4,500 on board adrift in Pacific

Last updated on: November 10, 2010 15:48 IST

Cruise with 4,500 on board adrift in Pacific

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Thousands of passengers on a luxury cruise to the Mexican Riviera are stranded in the Pacific Ocean

The Carnival Splendor, with 3,300 passengers on board, was disabled after an engine room fire. The ship also has nearly 1,200 crewmembers

A Wall Street Journal report said that the ship, which departed from Long Beach, Calif., Sunday on a seven-day voyage to the Mexican Riviera, was about 200 miles south of San Diego when a fire ignited in the engine room, cutting off power, telephone service and air conditioning.

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Image: The Carnival cruise ship Splendor sits adrift in the Pacific Ocean approximately 150 nautical miles southwest of San Diego
Photographs: Dylan McCord/US Navy photo/Handout/Reuters
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Two tugboat have joined in the effort to tow the luxury liner to land, US Coast Guard Petty Officer Rachel Polish said.

A US Navy aircraft carrier re-supplied the cruise ship earlier in the day.


Image: The Carnival cruise ship Splendor sits adrift approximately 150 nautical miles southwest of San Diego
Photographs: Dylan McCord/US Navy photo/Handout/Reuters
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CNN quoted Navy pilot Tamara Graham and Chief Petty Officer Steve Sinclair as saying that they made 15 round trips from the USS Ronald Reagan to the stranded cruise ship.

'When we first showed up on scene, (passengers) were taking pictures, and flash bulbs were going off everywhere,' Sinclair said, adding, 'Once we dropped our equipment, we were getting a lot of waves.'

'I am pretty sure that was not on the programme for the Carnival cruise to have helicopters onboard and have an aircraft carrier nearby,' Graham said.


Image: Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class David W Mullis gets a closer look at the Carnival cruise ship Splendor from aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan
Photographs: Shawn J Stewart/US Navy photo/Handout/Reuters
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Meanwhile, media agencies quoted company spokeswoman as saying that the Splendor normally carried enough food and water to last at least a week, but ran short because the ship had lost its refrigeration.

Despite some remaining power provided by auxiliary generators, the air conditioning, hot food service and telephones on the ship also were knocked out.

But engineers managed to restore toilet service to all cabins and restrooms Monday night.


Image: Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) take boxes of supplies off a C-2A Greyhound from Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30 to be transferred to the Carnival cruise ship
Photographs: Seaman Haldane Hamilton/US Navy photo/Handout/Reuters
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The blaze took about three hours to put out.

"Given the ship's speed and current position, we have decided to take the vessel to San Diego where it is expected to arrive late Thursday," Carnival said in a statement.

"Additionally, we are in the process of making all the necessary hotel and flight arrangements for our guests."


Image: A C-2A Greyhound from Fleet Logistics Squadron 30 taxis on the runway loaded with meat, bread and plastic dinnerware bound for the USS Ronald Reagan for delivery to the Carnival Splendor
Photographs: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Petty Officer Jeremy M Starr-US Navy/Handout/Reuters
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According to The New York Times, the company has promised to transport the passengers back to Long Beach, and would provide a full refund to every passenger along with a complimentary trip on another cruise.

During its 7-day voyage, the Splendor -- a 950-foot ship valued at about $700 million -- was supposed to make stops in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. Instead, passengers were awoken early Monday morning by orders to leave their cabins and head to the ship's upper deck as crewmembers put out the fire in the engine room


Image: The Carnival cruise ship Splendor sits adrift approximately 150 nautical miles southwest of San Diego
Photographs: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/US Navy/Handout/Reuters
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