MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Coast Guard officials have determined that a fuel hose leak caused the engine fire that crippled the Carnival Triumph.
Although the investigation into what happened ultimately falls on the ship's flag state of the Bahamas, the United States Coast Guard is playing a key role looking at US interests. On Monday, the Triumph was docked at BAE Systems in Mobile for repairs.
Officials are onboard and have been since Thursday conducting interviews and forensic analysis.
The ship's engine caught fire more than a week ago, causing it to lose power and setting the ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for several days.
Four days and 21 interviews with crew and passengers into the investigation, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield said a leak in a fuel oil return line caused the fire that left the Triumph dead in the water.
"The fire started in that area the fuel line sprayed up onto and made contact with a hot surface and caught fire," said Hatfield.
Hatfield says the crew quickly responded.
"The fire suppression was immediately activated by the crew first by water fog then by CO2," said Hatfield.
Investigators say they contained the fire to the small area, but it was still able to cause crippling damage.
Still, Hatfield says, the investigation so far shows the crew did a great job in its response.
The question remains, however, how did the leak happen in the first place and when was the last time the faulty flexible hose was inspected?
"That portion of the investigation is still ongoing and it will be some time before we have all of the records and all of the information to be able to answer that question," said Hatfield.
Hatfield said the investigation onboard the Triumph will wrap up this week, but sifting through all of the documentation and records could take up to six months.
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