Carnival ship dead in the water after fire in engine room

An early morning fire on one of Carnival Cruise Lines’ biggest ships, the 113,000-ton Carnival Splendor, has left the vessel dead in the water off the coast of Mexico.

Carnival says the fire, since extinguished, broke out at about 6 a.m. Pacific Standard Time in the two-year-old Splendor’s aft engine room and brought about the shutdown of the vessel’s main generators.

No injuries to passengers or crew have been reported.

“The fire has been extinguished, however there continues to be smoke in the area and the ship’s fire crews remain on the scene,” the line says in a statement.

Carnival says announcements began at approximately 6.30 a.m. PST advising passengers of the situation and asking them to move from their cabins to the ship’s Lido Deck, which is an upper level deck with outdoor space.

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Carnival says the Splendor currently is operating on emergency generators while the ship’s crew try to re-start one of the vessel’s main generators in the forward engine room.

“Guests are being provided with bottled water and food items and are able to move around on the ship’s upper open deck areas,” the line says.

Carnival says the ship is located approximately 55 miles west of Punta San Jacinto, Mexico. Sea conditions are calm and skies are clear, the line says, and the vessel’s command is in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Carnival Splendor was on the first leg of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise that began on Sunday in Long Beach, Calif., when the fire broke out. Today was a scheduled day at sea. The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Carnival says there are 3,299 passengers on board the vessel along with 1,167 crew members.

UPDATE, 4:56 PM ET: Carnival says it plans to terminate the current voyage of the Splendor as soon as the vessel can reach a port. The ship remains dead in the water off the coast of Mexico, and the line says the ship’s crew still is working to restore power.

“If power is restored, the ship will return to its home port of Long Beach, Calif. under its own power,” the line says in a new statement. “However, arrangements for tugboats have been made so that, in the event power is not restored, the ship will be returned to a port with tugboat assistance.”

Carnival says the U.S. Coast Guard has dispatched a vessel and an aircraft to the ship’s location.

Posted Nov 8 2010 3:26PM

The last line is classic…

“I think you’ll find that Panama will just overlook the whole thing,” … “Otherwise they might have to spend money, and that would hurt Panama’s flag of convenience business.”