Passengers aboard a vessel of the Carnival Cruise Lines is stranded in the Gulf of Mexico with limited access to hot coffee, food and bathrooms on February 11. Passengers and crew are waiting for tugboats to arrive to tow them to the Mexican shore, according to a statement from Carnival Cruise Lines.

The Carnival Triumph was floating adrift approximately 150 miles off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula during the height of tourist season. A fire erupted in the aft engine room on February 10 that knocked out the huge ship's propulsion system. However, there were no reports of injuries. The fire was extinguished. The Carnival Triumph is operating on backup generators since the incident, the cruise line stated.
The ship left Galveston, Texas, on February 7 and was scheduled to return to the same port on February 11. It will instead by towed to Progreso in the state of Yucatan.
The Carnival Triumph has 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members on board. Passengers will be flown back to the United States. The ship is expected to arrive in Mexico on February 13, just in time for St Valentine's Day.
The tugboats were expected to arrive late on February 11, according to a Carnival spokesman. One is coming from Mobile, Alabama, and a second is from Mexico.
The cruise to the Caribbean may have become a nightmare, rather than an idyll, for the passengers and crew. The ship currently has limited toilet facilities and no ability to cook food. According to the Daily Mail, passengers are actually fighting over food as desperation swells.  Since there is no air conditioning, passengers are sleeping on deck.  Passengers are using buckets and bags as emergency toilet facilities.
Brent Nutt, whose wife Bethany is on board, told CNN News He told CNN, "She said that that would be the last phone call I was going to get. They have no power, there's no way to charge cell phones or anything." He added, 'It's a big mess, there's no power, there's no toilets, there's no food - it's like a bunch of savages on there...People are fighting over food and stuff - that's a bunch of savages. It's ridiculous." Nutt theorized that Carnival Cruise Lines has no plan in cases such as this. 
Carnival Cruise Lines, which reported it's 'most challenging year' in the history of the company in 2012, is now facing its most recent commercial catastrophe. In January 2012,  the 114,500 tonne Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship operated by the Carnival-owned Costa Cruises, ran aground and sank off the shore of Italy. Thirty-two people were killed in that incident.  Costa Cruises said Italian investigators are now looking into Carnival Cruise Lines' potential responsibility for the shipwreck.
The company lost £200 million in revenues compared to 2011. While passenger bookings for 2013 were at the same capacity as previous years, the company has been forced to lower prices.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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