To San Diego, With Spam

Posted by Most Viewed News on 2010-11-10 07:32:34 | Views: 33 |

To San Diego, With Spam

The nearly 4,500 people aboard the stranded Carnival cruise ship off the coast of Mexico are settling in for another full day at sea today as rescuers tow the crippled vessel to San Diego, Calif. -- a trip that's expected to take at least until Thursday afternoon.

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"In coordinating with the cruise line and just discussing logistics, I know that Carnival had initially expressed an interest in [Ensanada, Mexico] just because that was the closest, largest port they could reach. Now the plans have changed. They would like to go to San Diego," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Rick Foster told "Good Morning America" today. "However, just weather and operations can always influence these outcomes."

Foster said there was still a chance the two tug boats pulling the ship at about 4 miles an hour could redirect to Ensanada, around 50 miles away from where the ship was originally stranded Monday, if necessary. Early Monday morning the ship suffered a fire in the aft engine room that disabled the ship's six diesel electric engines. Auxilary power has been running emergency systems and the crew managed to get the toilets and showers working again, but there is still no heat, air conditioning, telephone and hot food service. No one was injured in the fire.

But one thing the passengers do have, thanks to the U.S. Navy, is Spam and a lot of it.

Late Tuesday the Navy executed a military-style airdrop by helicopter from the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan to the Splendor of nearly 10,000 lbs. of food and supplies including what appeared to be hundreds of cans of Spam along with Pop Tarts, croissants, crab meat, bread, cups and other utensils. Two Coast Guard officers are also aboard the ship to help ensure the passengers' health and safety.

Carnival announced late Tuesday it was canceling the Splendor's next voyage, set to begin Nov. 14 from Long Beach. The company said it would offer those guests a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs as well as a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.

USCG Had Been Aboard Splendor Day Before Fire

The Coast Guard had boarded the ship while it was still in port in California the day before the fire, ABC News has learned, but a Coast Guard spokesperson declined to comment on the purpose of the visit because it is part of the investigation into the fire.

"I can't say about that specific cruise ship, but the Coast Guard regularly conducts safety and security boardings aboard all sorts of vessels," USCG spokesperson Petty Officer Pamela Manns told ABC News. "It's part of how we do business."

In a Facebook posting Sunday evening, Carnival's senior cruise director John Heald complained that the Coast Guard was conducting tests of the ship's generators and had shut down the elevators.

Heald also made something of a fateful post before the fire knocked out communication:

"I am hoping for an incident free cruise but... since being here I cant remember one where something or someone strange hasnt happened," Heald said. "Lets see what this cruise brings."

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