Engine fire stalls Carnival cruise ship in Saint Thomas

\ (KTRK) -- More than 3,000 Carnival cruise passengers are stuck in St. Thomas after a fire in the ships engine room erupted Monday.

The Carnival Liberty caught fire after docking on the island. The cruise liner department Sunday from San Juan with 3,346 guests and 1,150 crew.

"As our shuttle was taking us up on this hill to get to the other side of the island, we could see our cruise ship from afar and there was quite a bit of smoke that was coming up," said Chicago passenger Sharifa Abubaker.

Abubaker said after she and her two friends enjoyed the beach, they headed back to the ship to find out what happened. They learned about the engine fire and were told they could not board.

"There are people, someone was taken away in an ambulance. There are people there just laying on the ground," said Abubaker.

Passengers didn't have access to their luggage and Abubaker said some could not access medications. Passengers heard getting restless, some of the shouted in frustration, Abubaker said via phone.

"They haven't said anything about the ship leaving the port. And this is the first stop in the seven-day cruise. I have no idea what's happening afterwards," said Abubaker.

Late Monday, passengers were allowed back on board. According to Carnival, passengers can use the ship as a hotel and services, including air conditioning, elevators, toilets and galleys.

"There are worse places to be stuck. I completely agree. But if you saw the mess out here, how unhappy people were, I mean, it's just very frustrating," said Abubaker.

A deeper technical assessment of the engine room should be completed by Tuesday morning, according to Carnival.

Still no word on when that ship will leave St. Thomas.
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