On 10 February, while Carnival Triumph (1999/101,509gt) was on a four-night Caribbean cruise from Galveston, Texas, a fire broke out in her engine room in such a location that it disabled the electrical systems and effectively shut the ship down. At the time of the incident, Carnival Triumph was about 136 miles north of Merida in Mexico. As the ship began to drift, two tugs, Dabhol and Resolve, were despatched to tow the ship into Progreso, Mexico.
By the time the tugs arrived, the ship had drifted further north and in the light of that, and as about 900 passengers did not have passports, it was decided to tow Triumph to Mobile, Alabama instead, where she arrived late on 14 February. During the tow the ship had no air-conditioning, and most of the ship’s toilet and sewage systems were out of action as Carnival Triumph operated on emergency power.
At one point during the breakdown it is believed that food supplies were obtained from Carnival Elation, and later there was a rendezvous with Carnival Legend and Carnival Conquest. After her passengers disembarked, the ship was moved to the BAE Systems repair facility at Mobile.
US Coast Guard officials praised Carnival Triumph’s crew for extinguishing the fire, which it seems was caused by a leak in a fuel return line, which allowed the oil to come into contact with hot surfaces. Carnival cancelled the ship’s next 12 cruises.