British passengers survive cruise ship fire

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The Independent US

Sixteen Britons are among hundreds of passengers who have survived an engine room fire that left a 113,000-tonne cruise ship needing to be towed to port.

The 3,300 passengers aboard the Carnival Cruise Line vessel Carnival Splendor were left without flushing toilets, hot food or air conditioning after the fire off the coast of Mexico.

The fire was detected in the aft engine room room early yesterday morning, the day after the 952ft-long vessel left Long Beach, California, for a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise.

The fire was put out and there were no injuries.

But full power could not be restored to the vessel which was being towed back to San Diego in southern California.

Carnival said passengers initially had to move from their cabins to the ship's upper open deck areas.

Later they had access to their cabins again and bottled water and cold food items were provided.

Carnival said passengers would receive a full refund as well as reimbursement for transportation costs. Additionally, they will receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount paid for this voyage.

Carnival's president and chief executive officers Gerry Cahill said: "We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience.

"Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologise for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority and we are working to get our guests home as quickly as possible."