Stranded Cruise Ship Passengers Report Bad Conditions - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Stranded Cruise Ship Passengers Report Bad Conditions

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(ABC News)--Passengers on the fire-damaged Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have reported worsening conditions including scarce running water, no air conditioning and long lines for food.

Carnival said original plans to haul the crippled ship to Progreso, Mexico, have been scrapped because the ship has drifted about 90 miles north because of strong currents. Instead, the Triumph will be towed to Mobile, Ala., and should arrive Thursday.

For the more than 4,200 people on board, Thursday could not come soon enough.

"Conditions are getting worse by the hour," passenger Debra Rightmire told ABC News in a text message. "Cabin carpets are wet with urine and water. Toilets are overflowing inside cabins. We are having to sleep in the hallways. Onion and cucumber sandwich last night," she added.

Passenger Shelly Crosby told ABC News in a text message that many people are sleeping in tents set up on the ship's deck.

Passengers had limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee Monday. With lack of power, there's no refrigeration so the stink on board is apparently intense, which is one of the reasons many people are choosing to sleep on the deck.

"We stood in line for four hours to get a hamburger," Crosby texted.

Cellphone reception is just as scarce, coming only when another Carnival ship pulls alongside to drop off supplies.

Carnival acknowledges the problems, but said there's plenty of food and water aboard and that it is working on the sanitation issue.

"All of our guests are safe, and we're doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in a statement Monday night.

A tug boat reached the Carnival Triumph cruise ship bobbing -- and listing -- in the Gulf of Mexico Monday night. The tug has tied up with the Carnival Triumph, but will wait until today for the expected arrival of a second tug before towing the cruise ship to port.

The ship, which is 2.5 football fields long and bigger than the Titanic, will then be towed back to shore at the rate of a few miles per hour.

The Carnival Triumph is now little more than a 100,000-ton cork, bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion since the fire broke out Sunday morning. No one was hurt in the fire, but the ship lost power and is relying on a back-up generator.

Brent Nutt said that his wife, Bethany, who is on board, called him to say the plumbing wasn't working on the ship.

"She said there's no running water. They just really got food there to them tonight, and there's no power whatsoever, other than the emergency flasher lights that are on," he said Monday. "She was crying and hysterical."

At one point Sunday, passengers were reportedly using buckets to relieve themselves.

Sunday's fire was extinguished by an automated system, but not before it hobbled the ship, according to the Coast Guard.

The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston Thursday with 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board for a Mexican cruise, which was due to return to the port Monday.

Copyright 2013 by ABC News

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