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Nearly 4,500 stranded on cruise ship off Mexico

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By Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A cruise ship stranded offshore with 4,500 passengers and crew must be towed slowly into a Mexican port and will not arrive until at least Wednesday night, the Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The Carnival Splendor was 200 miles south of San Diego when an engine room fire cut its power early Monday, according to a statement from Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines.

The 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members were not hurt and the fire was put out, but the 952-foot ship had no air conditioning, hot water or telephone service. Auxiliary power allowed toilets and cold running water to be restored Monday night.

The Mexican Riviera-bound ship, which was drifting about 55 miles off the northern Baja California coast, was in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, which deployed aircraft and ships along with the U.S. Navy and Mexican Navy.

Mexican seagoing tugboats contracted out of the port of Ensenada were expected to reach the cruise ship at midday Tuesday and arrive back at the port around 8 p.m. PST Wednesday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Kevin Metcalf said.

Metcalf said the tugs, which will be escorted by a Coast Guard cutter, must move slowly because the ship is so big.


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