SAN DIEGO (CBS 5 /AP) — Passengers aboard the stricken cruise ship Carnival Splendor, which sailed out of San Francisco in 2009 before repositioning to Long Beach, arrived in port Thursday after being pulled back to California.

Carnival Senior Vice President Jim Berra said 2,500 passengers had disembarked since the ship was towed into San Diego Bay on Thursday morning. The rest were expected to exit by late afternoon.

The Splendor was carrying nearly 3,300 passengers and more than 1,100 crew members when an engine room fire disabled it off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday.

Passengers had been drinking cold water and waiting in line to eat sandwiches and other cold food since the fire. U.S. Navy helicopters flew in tons of food and supplies from an aircraft carrier that was diverted from maneuvers.

The U.S. Coast Guard also sent two cutters from the Bay Area to the scene to assist in the ship’s safe return, including the 225-foot-long Aspen out of San Francisco and the 378-foot Morgenthau out of Alameda.

The nearly 1,000-foot Splendor was hauled back to California by six tugs.

Berra said the ship may be able to be repaired in San Diego and return to its base in Long Beach by Monday.

Carnival has canceled Splendor’s next cruise, which was scheduled to depart Sunday. The cruise line said it would give refunds to everyone who holds reservations for that trip and offer them a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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