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Tugboats, Navy copters head for cruise ship damaged by fire off Mexico

November 9, 2010 |  7:31 am

Tugboats assigned to bring a dead-in-the-water cruise ship into Ensenada will not reach the ship until midday at the earliest, the cruise company said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy plans to deliver 70,000 pounds of bread, canned milk and other food to the ship. The supplies are being flown from North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. The carrier's helicopters will then transfer the supplies to the cruise ship.

The carrier was ordered to depart from its training maneuvers and steam toward the Carnival Splendor, reported to be 150-to-200 miles south of San Diego.

La-me-cruise-ship The 952-foot-long ship had a fire in an aft engine compartment Monday. There were no injuries, but the fire knocked out several systems on the ship and left it without power.

The ship, with 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members, was on the first day of a seven-day cruise from Long Beach to Puerto Vallarta when the fire broke out.

Passengers will receive a full refund and reimbursement for expenses in returning to Long Beach, the cruise company, Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines, said.

While air-conditioning, hot-food and telephone services remain inoperable, the flush toilets have been restored to service, the company said.

Family members seeking information can call 1-888-290-5095.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego