Stricken cruise ship Carnival Splendor with 12 British passengers on board is due to be towed into port in San Diego later today after being disabled by an engine room fire on Monday.


The 952-foot vessel with 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew on board was left largely powerless by the blaze in the engine compartment.


The cruise line’s chief executive Gerry Cahill said the ship was being towed by two tugboats and followed by three others. It is due in San Diego at midday local time.


“Guests continue to be provided food and beverage service and a limited schedule of activities,” the company said. “The toilets continue to function in most cabins and all public restrooms.”


Most of the passengers slept in their cabins but a few slept on deck, Cahill told a news conference in San Diego.


“A large Carnival team continues to work on hotel, flight and transportation arrangements for the guests and will be on the ground in San Diego when the ship arrives,” the company said.


The 113,000-ton Carnival Splendor, which entered service in July 2008, was on the first leg of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise that left Long Beach in California on Sunday.


The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.


Carnival has been forced to cancel a similar seven-day cruise due to depart from Long Beach on November 14. Passengers booked on this voyage are being offered a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs, along with a 25% discount on a future cruise.


Cahill said: “We sincerely apologise to our guests for this unfortunate situation and offer our thanks for their patience and cooperation during this challenging time.


“The safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority and we are doing everything we can to allow them to return home as quickly as possible.


“We also apologise for having to cancel the next voyage of the Carnival Splendor. We realize how much guests look forward to their vacations and we know how disheartening it is to have their plans disrupted.”