Update: Carnival Splendor Towed to San Diego; Food Supplies Arrive

November 10, 2010

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Update, 7:30 a.m. EST: According to CNN, food supplies have now reached the ship. The USS Ronald Reagan arrived late Tuesday evening and sailors handed over boxes of water, food and paper plates. The report also states that six sailors spent the night on the ship. At this point, Carnival Splendor is due to arrive in San Diego late on Thursday. Stay tuned for more.

(November 9) -- Carnival Splendor, crippled by an engine-room fire on Monday and set adrift west of Baja California, has been met by two more of the commercial ocean-going tugs sent to rendezvous with the ship.
CNN reported that the pair arrived late Tuesday night; one is assisting in the tow to San Diego, while the other is providing escort.
Although the tugs were originally intended to tow the ship -- with 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crewmembers onboard -- to Ensenada, Mexico, Carnival announced Tuesday evening that, given the ship's current speed and location, it would head to San Diego, where it's expected to arrive on Thursday.

The cruise line is making arrangements for hotel accommodations and flights home for all passengers onboard.

Carnival also has chosen to cancel the next cruise, originally scheduled to depart Long Beach on November 14. Passengers booked on that sailing will receive a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs, along with a 25 percent discount on a future cruise. According to a letter from the line received by Cruise Critic member zonacruiser25, passengers also have the option to rebook onto a different Carnival cruise.

Generators are providing power to navigation equipment and emergency-detection systems onboard, and cold water and toilet service were restored late Monday to cabins. There are no reports of structural damage to the 113,000-ton, 952-foot-long vessel. The Coast Guard revealed in a recent news release that the fire originated in the generator's compartment, which is located in an engine room. Though the air conditioning is not operable, the Coast Guard also reports air temperatures at the scene are in the mid-60's.

At the request of the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy diverted the USS Ronald Reagan to facilitate the delivery of needed supplies to Carnival Splendor. About 35 pallets of supplies (around 4,500 pounds, according to the Navy) were transferred by helicopter sent from the aircraft carrier, a move necessitated by the lack of refrigeration onboard Splendor. Supplies included food and utensils.

The ship was on Day 1 of a weeklong Mexican Riviera tour with scheduled visits in the ports of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. The cruise line has since announced that passengers will receive a full refund and transportation costs, plus a complimentary future cruise, as compensation.

We'll be monitoring the situation, so check back for the latest.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor; John Deiner, Managing Editor; and Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

--Images appear courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

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