Coast Guard: Cause of fire that disabled cruise ship was a leak in fuel oil return line

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA — A leak in a fuel oil return line caused the engine-room fire that disabled a Carnival cruise ship at sea, leaving 4,200 people without power or working toilets for five days, a Coast Guard official said Monday.

Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield addressed the finding in a conference call with reporters and estimated that the investigation of the disabled ship, the Carnival Triumph, would take six months.

Hatfield said the Bahamas —where the ship is registered, or flagged — is leading the investigation, with the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board representing U.S. interests in the probe. The vessel was in international waters at the time of the incident.

She said investigators have been with the ship since it arrived Thursday in Mobile. Since then, she said, interviews have been conducted with passengers and crew and forensic analysis has been performed on the ship.

She said the crew responded appropriately to the fire. “They did a very good job,” she said.