HOUSTON — Family members of passengers onboard a disabled cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico say their loved ones are trying to take the hot and dirty conditions in stride.
On Tuesday, a second tug boat reached the cruise ship that had been drifting without power since a weekend fire and was helping tow it toward an Alabama port, the Coast Guard said.
The vessel was about 270 miles south of Mobile, Ala., and weather permitting, the ship should reach the city by Thursday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm said.
There were no reported injuries caused by Sunday’s engine room fire aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Triumph, which knocked out power and crippled the ocean liner’s water and plumbing systems.
The ship was about 150 miles off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula when the fire occurred, but after currents pushed it northward, a decision was made to tow it to Mobile, instead of Progreso, Mexico, in order to make it easier for passengers without passports to return home.
Jimmy Mowlam told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his son Rob and new daughter-in-law got married onboard the Carnival Triumph on Saturday and are among the roughly 3,100 stranded passengers.
He says his son told him by phone Monday night that many passengers are sleeping on deck because the lack of ventilation made it too hot to sleep inside.
He says his son says passengers were mostly “taking it in stride.”
Other passengers have described more dire conditions, including water and feces on the ship’s floors.
Texas resident Brent Nutt was able to briefly chat with his wife, Bethany, who was aboard the ship.
“She sounded a whole lot better today than she did yesterday,” Nutt said about two hours after chatting with his 32-year-old wife.
Nutt said his wife told him passengers were given food and some of the bathrooms are working. But the ship is dirty, he said his wife told him.
“There’s water and feces all over the floor,” Nutt relayed. “It’s not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship.”
Passengers also are getting sick and throwing up, he said, adding that his wife told him: “The whole boat stinks extremely bad.”
A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.
Carnival said in a statement that it had canceled the Triumph’s next two voyages scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund, the statement said.