Monday, February 11, 2013

Owasso couple stranded on cruise ship after engine fire

 Update 02/11/13  7:54pm :The first tugboat has arrived another is expected to arrive tonight. Because the ship has drifted to the North it is equal distance to Mobile Alabama. They are going to take the ship to Mobile and hope to be there Thurs. they will then start the process of getting everyone home.

A Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 passengers and crew will be towed to port after a weekend engine fire left it dead in the water, a cruise line official said.

On that ship are Christopher and Jessica Rich of Owasso. A cutter is expected to arrive on the scene Monday morning to assist, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Christopher, an assistant manager at a  local McDonald's,  and wife Jessica had expected to be home Monday evening. They now expect the cruise liner to arrive in port sometime Wednesday. Passengers will then be flown to Houston. 

 Local McDonald's owners Tim and Patty Rich said they have spoke to their son Christopher, and that he and his wife  are doing fine. 

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 with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members without propulsion, 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 . "A tugboat is en route to the ship's location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port."

She said that passengers were never without electricity, thanks to emergency generators, and have ample food and water on board. 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.

Power though is limited. The passengers have been asked to remain in the ship’s public areas and open decks for their comfort, and they are being provided with food and refreshments, Carnival said.  “All the passengers are staying in the public areas of the vessel and the open decks, cause there’s no air conditioning,” Coast Guard Lt.  Julio Gonzalez said. “The air conditioning is not working right now.”

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.

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