(NEW YORK) — The 4,229 passengers aboard a Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire this weekend have only limited running water and power as they await the arrival of a tug boat that will take them to Mexico.
The Carnival Triumph is now a little more than a 100,000-ton cork, bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion for the past 24 hours after the fire broke out Sunday morning. No one was hurt in the fire, but the ship lost power and is relying on a back-up generator as it drifts 477 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, Carnival said in a statement.
Brent Nutt said that his wife, Bethany, who is on board, called him to say the plumbing wasn’t working on the ship.
“She said there’s no running water. They just really got food there to them tonight, and there’s no power whatsoever, other than the emergency flasher lights that are on,” he said. “She was crying and hysterical.”
At one point Sunday, passengers were reportedly using buckets to relieve themselves.
Carnival told ABC News that many of the toilets are being brought back online, and that there is plenty of food since a sister ship arrived. The company said that the passengers are not in danger.
Sunday’s fire was extinguished by an automated system, but not before it hobbled the ship, according to the Coast Guard.
“All the passengers are staying in the public areas of the vessel on the open decks, because there is no air conditioning,” a U.S. Coast Guard representative said.
The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston on Thursday with 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board for a Mexican cruise, which was due to return to the port on Monday.
The tugboat will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso Wednesday afternoon and guests will be flown from there back to the United States, Carnival said.
Emergency generators are providing some power and the ship — which is 2.5 football fields long — is at the mercy of the sea. The forecast is for 6-foot seas. It will take a tugboat three full days to haul it back to land.
Passengers aboard the wayward ship will receive a full refund, Carnival said, and a voucher for a future cruise with Carnival.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dana Ford, CNN