Fuel Line Leak Responsible For Cruise Ship Fire

A fuel-oil line leak was responsible for the cruise ship fire that stranded the Carnival Triumph for days. The cause was announced by a US Coast Guard official on Monday.

The Triumph’s engine fire occurred on February 10 and stranded passengers and crew for five days while a tug boat slowly took them back to Mobile, Alabama.

The New York Times reports that Lieutenant Commander Teresa Hatfield briefed the media on Monday, saying that a flexible part of a return line began to leak. She added:

“It sprayed oil onto a hot surface and caught on fire.”

The crew responded to the fire promptly and the Triumph’s fire suppression system also worked properly. But the fire also destroyed the ship’s generators after intense heat forced the crew to abandon the ship’s engine room. Commander Hatfield explained:

“Any time you have a fire, you are going to have damage because you have to … leave the room closed for a period of time to allow the engine room to cool.”

The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are working together with the Bahaman government because the ship runs under the Bahamas’ flag, notes The Los Angeles Times.

While investigators continue to look at the ship in Mobile, passengers have already filed lawsuits over the Carnival ship catastrophe. One passenger described the journey as a “horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States.” The ship also listed several times, causing sewage to spill out of toilets that wouldn’t work.

Because the ship runs under the Bahamas’ flag, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is leading the investigation. Commander Hatfield added that it will likely take six months for the American investigators to conduct their portion of the inquiry. They hope to discover why the vessel’s backup systems failed.

[Image by Roger Wollstadt (Flickr: Grand Cayman – Carnival Triumph) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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