The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous began escorting the Carnival Triumph cruise ship Monday night after tugs began towing it toward Mobile, Ala., which is approximately 270 miles north.
The Triumph reported a fire in the aft engine room Sunday morning, which was extinguished by the ships fire control system. No injuries were reported.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation Tuesday into the circumstances surrounding the fire.
The Carnival Triumph experienced an engine room fire while on a four-day cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, and has been without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico since. The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing systems activated and the fire was extinguished. The ship continues to operate on backup generators.
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.
Results of the investigation will be released to the public once the investigation by the Bahamas Maritime Authority is complete.
The ship is expected to arrive in Mobile, Ala., Thursday evening.
Naval Today Staff, February 13, 2013; Image: USCG