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Stranded cruise ship of 4,500 passengers getting towed to shore

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Picture of the Carnival Splendor

What began Sunday as a luxurious cruise ship hosting 4,500 people has now simply become a 952-foot floatation device without air conditioning, hot water, or telephone service.

Passengers stranded 200 miles south of San Diego off the coast of Mexico are being towed back to shore after the vessel lost power Monday when its engine room caught fire for reasons unknown. No one was harmed in the fire. Auxiliary power was turned on Monday evening to allow for cold running water.

A Mexican tugboat has begun slowly towing Carnival Splendor to Ensenada, Mexico, where 80 buses will escort the Americans back across the border. It’s likely that two other tugboats will eventually assist in the effort.

The cruise ship departed from Long Beach on what was supposed to be a seven-day journey. Carnival Splendor should instead reach shore sometime Wednesday evening. The boat will be traveling 132 nautical miles in less than ideal conditions, with high winds and waves.

In the meantime, the crew is providing passengers with snacks, cold beverages and entertainment. “There are children’s activities, trivia contests and musical performances provided by our entertainers,” Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Vance Gulliksen reportedly told The Union-Tribune.

The cruise ship has stayed in contact with the U.S. Coastal guard, which alerted the Mexican Navy and the U.S. Navy, including aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to ship thousands of pounds of supplies and food purchased by the cruise line for the passengers.

Carnival Splendor will refund all guests.

Photo by ▌ÇP▐ via Flickr.

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