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Fire on Carnival cruise ship

8:40 AM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
PHOTO: Carnival Splendor, cruise ship, on texture, partial graphic.
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UPDATE, 8:22 pm ET: Carnival says the Carnival Triumph will be towed to Progreso, Mexico, the nearest port to its location, in a process that will take several days. The line says it expects the ship to arrive in Progreso on Wednesday afternoon. Passengers then will be flown home. Carnival also has canceled the next two sailings of the vessel.

(4:29 pm ET) -- A Carnival cruise ship in the Caribbean is operating on emergency power in the wake of an engine room fire.

The 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph was sailing approximately 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula earlier today when the blaze broke out in the aft engine room. The fire was extinguished with the help of the ship's automatic fire suppression systems, but the vessel is now without propulsion.

In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Carnival says no casualties or injuries to passengers or crew have been reported.

"The ship's technical crew is continuing to assess the damage and attempting to restore power," Carnival says in the statement. "In the meantime, a tugboat is being dispatched to the ship's location in the event it is needed. All appropriate authorities including U.S. Coast Guard have been notified."

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There are 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew on board the ship.

Today's incident comes two years after a fire left Carnival's 113,000-ton Carnival Splendor without power and adrift for days off the coast of Mexico. Passengers on that ship went long periods without air conditioning, hot food and working toilets in what Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill called an extremely trying situation. The vessel eventually was towed to San Diego.

Carnival says passengers on the Carnival Triumph have been asked to remain in the ship's public areas and open decks. They're being provided with food and refreshments.

Carnival also says that all passengers on the vessel will receive a full refund for the trip, a four-night sailing to Mexico out of Galveston, Texas. The voyage began Thursday and had been scheduled to end in Galveston on Monday morning.

The next voyage of the Carnival Triumph, scheduled to begin tomorrow, has been delayed.

"Carnival has contacted guests booked on the next voyage ... to make them aware of the situation and advise that tomorrow's voyage will not depart as scheduled," the line says in the statement. "Guests have the option of cancelling now and receiving a full refund or waiting for further information to determine if a shortened, partial voyage may be possible. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available."

Gene Sloan, USA TODAY

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