A Carnival Cruises cruise ship, the Carnival Triumph, is currently being towed slowly toward a port in Mobile, Ala., after a fire in the engine room on Sunday cut power to the ship and set it adrift aimlessly in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to several reports gathered from incoming text messages sent by passengers stranded on the ship that’s bigger than the Titanic, power has been cut for its third day now and the morale of the passengers is diminishing as rations become more restricted and conditions aboard the vessel worsen. After the fire on Sunday, the intent was to return the ship to a port in Mexico but after the ship drifted 90 miles off course in the middle of the night by a particularly strong current, the plan was to have the boat taken to Alabama.
No power means there is no air conditioning or ventilation system operation on board the massive Carnival Triumph. It also means the plumbing system is disabled and that has resulted in long lines to use the few operational facilities on board the ship. Based on the messages received by Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and other media outlets, passengers have taken to using buckets and even plastic bags for makeshift bathrooms.
Several passengers told ABC that a strong stench of urine combined with no air flow in the cabin sections of the ship have forced passengers to pitch tents on the decks of the vessel at night for sleeping. There is no running water and the only lights working are emergency flashing lights.
The kitchens are also closed, for the most part. Passengers and crew were served “cucumber and onion sandwiches” for dinner on Monday night. The ship has been relegated to serving only cold food and that will only last a defined amount of time because there are no refrigeration units operational.
The Carnival Triumph is not expected to dock in Mobile until Thursday and a second tug boat was only attached to the ship to begin that process early on Tuesday. While Carnival says that passengers are enduring the circumstances dealt as a result of the ship’s fire, some reports indicate that passengers are beginning to panic. One man told ABC News that his wife was on board the ship “crying and hysterical” when she started describing the conditions being endured.
There are more than 4,200 people aboard the ship, including 3,000-plus passengers and in excess of 1,000 crew members. No injuries were reported from the scene of the fire in the engine room.