The operators of a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after a weekend engine fire say the craft has drifted so far north of its original position that they will tow the ship to Mobile, Ala., instead of their original plan for Progreso, Mexico.
Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill says in a statement Monday evening that strong currents lead the vessel, the Carnival Triumph, to drift about 90 miles north of its original position off the Yucatan Peninsula, where it was located when the fire erupted Sunday in the engine room. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished.
About two dozen people from North Texas are aboard the stranded cruise ship.
"We have no electricity in the cabins, so that means no electricity and no lights," said Kim Luerssen, a stranded passenger aboard the Carnival Triumph. "We're all sleeping out on the decks, we're pretty much pulled all of our mattresses and sheets. The crew has been really, really great about putting out food for us and it's just really been a great crew."
Luerssen has been texting her mother in Plano, Texas, with updates from the cruise vessel and managed to get cell phone reception Monday afternoon to speak with NBC 5.
The ship, which left Galveston, Texas, on Thursday and was scheduled to return there Monday, but the engine room caught fire Sunday morning causing the ship to lose power 150 miles off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
The cruise line will have its 3,143 passengers on board fly back to the United States. There are also 1,086 crew members aboard the ship.
Carnival CEO's statement says the ship should arrive in Mobile on Thursday and that it will allow for less complicated re-entry for passengers without passports.