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NTSB, Coast Guard looking into cruise ship fire

February 13, 2013
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National Transportation Safety BoardNo surprise- the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with the U.S. Coast Guard, will investigate the cause of an engine room fire that occurred onboard the Carnival Triumph Sunday.

What was supposed to be a four-day cruise from Galveston, TX turned into something longer when the fire left the ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion. The Triumph’s automatic fire extinguishing systems activated and the fire was extinguished. It was reported that there were no injuries to guests or crew members.

Carnival was going to tow the hobbled ship to the Mexican port of Progreso and fly passengers back to the U.S., but that plan was thwarted by strong currents that pulled the ship 90 miles north.

The ship is listing sharply, leaving passengers to walk at a tilt. They also have to contend with 90-degree heat, no air conditioning, few working toilets and dwindling food supplies.

Because the Carnival Triumph is a Bahamian flagged vessel, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the primary investigative agency. In accordance with international guidelines, the U.S. will participate in this investigation as a Marine Safety Investigative State.

Coast Guard members from both the Investigations and Cruise Ship Centers of Expertise, along with a representative from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center will lead the U.S. investigation joined by a team of five investigators from the NTSB Office of Marine Safety and the Office of Research and Engineering. The purpose of the investigation is to identify causal and contributing factors that led to the incident. Additionally both the crew response and effectiveness of fire fighting systems will be evaluated to help prevent future incidents.

The U.S. team is expected to arrive in Mobile today—one day ahead of the Triumph’s expected arrival. Results of the investigation will be released to the public once the investigation by the Bahamas Maritime Authority is complete.

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