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Carnival Triumph disabled cruise ship towed by tugs toward Alabama

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Carnival Triumph cruise ship is seen in Galveston, Texas.

The Carnival Triumph cruise ship is seen in Galveston, Texas. (KABC Photo)

A tug boat is helping to tow and rescue thousands of passengers stranded on a disabled cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

The stranded Carnival Triumph cruise ship is scheduled to arrive at a safe harbor in Mobile, Ala. on Thursday.

Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement Monday that the Carnival Triumph had drifted so far north of its original position that it made more sense to tow it to Mobile, allowing for less complicated re-entry for passengers without passports.

The vessel, with more than 4,000 passengers and crew onboard, lost power Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine fire.

Reports from the ship indicate there have been miserable conditions onboard after the incident crippled the ocean liner's water and plumping systems.

Carnival says there is plenty of food and water on the ship. But passengers, calling home, say it took four hours to get a hamburger at the all you can eat buffet and described further instances of limited access to food.

Texas resident Brett Nutt was able to briefly chat with his wife, Bethany, who's aboard the stranded vessel Monday.

Nutt said his wife told him the ship was dirty and that the sanitation situation was quickly deteriorating with backed-up toilets.

"There's water and feces all over the floor," Nutt relayed. "It's not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship."

Passengers also are getting sick and throwing up, he said, adding that his wife told him: "The whole boat stinks extremely bad."

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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