The passengers from a crippled cruise ship that docked in Alabama Thursday after five days adrift are finally on dry land and headed home.
The Carnival cruise ship carrying some 4,000 people was towed in by a flotilla of tug boats, arriving late Thursday at the port of Mobile, on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Triumph ship left Galveston, Texas last Thursday for a four-day cruise, but an engine room fire Sunday knocked out the ship's primary power source and left it adrift 240 kilometers off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Some passengers reported flooded rooms and sewage in hallways, and sleeping on the ships' decks to avoid hot and smelly cabins. They also reported that there were long lines for food and other supplies.
Carnival company head Gerry Cahill was on the scene to welcome the ill-fated ship and its passengers back to shore.
"We have gotten our guests back to land, now we need to get them home and we have the full resources of Carnival are working from here to get them home as quickly as we possibly can," he said. "Now the most important thing for me at this point in time, is to go on board and to apologize to our guests, once I finish that I'm going to walk around and I'm going to try and help to expedite the process of getting them off and getting them on their way as quickly as I can."
The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire in the engine room. The NTSB says in statement that because the vessel is Bahamian-flagged, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the primary investigating agency.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.