OAXACA, Mexico – A mechanical failure in a generator on a ship of Mexico’s Ocean Star Cruises on Saturday forced almost 650 passengers and crew to evacuate to Huatuilco in southern Mexico, a company spokesman said.
“There’s no emergency, all the passengers are fine, they’re safe,” Carlos Salazar, representative of the Acapulco-based cruise line, said.
The incident occurred last night when “one of the ship’s generators broke down,” causing a fire to break out in a generator in the engine room and the ship had a power outage.
“That caused a blackout...so the engines couldn’t be restarted, and the ship was adrift,” Salazar said, adding that no one was hurt.
The representative of Ocean Star Cruises, a new cruise line that started up last month, said that the 522 passengers are being “evacuated to Huatulco” with the aid of various authorities.
“Our priority now is the safety of the passengers who are still on board,” Salazar said.
For his part, the director of Civil Protection in Oaxaca, Manuel Maza Sanchez, said that in the afternoon the cruise ship might be towed to a dock.
Current planning has the ship, which is now some 18 kilometers (11 miles) from shore, being towed by another boat owned by the state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.
Also anticipated is that most of the 522 passengers will return by air to where they came from, or if there is no available space, they will be transported by bus. The 127 crew members will stay aboard the ship.
Maza Sanchez gave little importance to the mechanical failure on the cruise ship and said that the situation “never really got serious.”
On Saturday morning cruise-ship technicians managed to reconnect the electricity, which meant the travelers had water and could bathe. They also had a normal breakfast, Salazar said.
The company’s director general, Henry Yanis, was on that cruise, the spokesman said.
The ship, brought from Europe with a capacity for more than 1,000 passengers, was on its second cruise, one that was scheduled from April 14-17.
The cruise was to last three nights and most of the passengers were Mexicans.