Spam and a slow tow for thousands on cruise ship
SAN DIEGO -- The former fun seekers of the Carnival Splendor are cruising again -- but just barely.
In a scenario likely none of its more than 3,000 passengers pictured when they were planning their seven-day jaunt on the Mexican Riviera, the disabled cruise liner was being towed to San Diego by tugboats, and instead of a lavish seafood buffet they were subsisting on Spam.
After two days adrift, the ship began moving again Tuesday when the first of several Mexican tugboats arrived. Rocking gently with the waves, the ship slowly with a Coast Guard boat along one side and the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier on the ship's other side. There were no visible signs of damage.
The ship was 200 miles south of San Diego and about 44 miles off shore when an engine room fire Monday morning killed its power and set it adrift.
No one was hurt, but the nearly 4,500 passengers and crew were left without air conditioning, hot water, cell phone or Internet service. The ship's auxiliary power allowed for working toilets and cold water.
U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopters were ferrying supplies, including Spam, crab meat, croissants and Pop Tarts to the ship from the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier that reached the Splendor after it was diverted from training maneuvers to help.
The Splendor only had enough food to last through midday Tuesday because refrigerators on the ship stopped working after the power was knocked out, Navy Commander Greg Hicks said. But thousands of pounds of food had been delivered by Tuesday night.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Mexican Navy also sent resources to the ship.
The tugboats were originally set to take the Splendor to Ensenada, Mexico, but the cruise line changed its plans and will attempt to have it towed to San Diego, where hotel and flight arrangements would await the passengers, Carnival said.
If the process moves too slowly, it may still be taken to Ensenada, the statement said.
As as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Splendor was about 190 miles south of San Diego, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.