MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Now that the cruise ship Triumph is safely in port, the investigation into the cause of the engine room fire begins.
The ship is Bahamian flagged vessel so they will lead the investigation, but United Stated agencies will also be involved. The National Transportation Safety Board and the U. S, Coast Guard will be assisting.
It was an engine room fire that crippled the Carnival Triumph off the Mexican coast Sunday night. Thankfully, the fire was extinguished and the ship and all of its passengers made it back to US soil safely. Before the ship can go in for repairs, an investigation into the cause and response is underway.
The Coast Guard sent a response team out to meet the cruise ship while it was still well offshore. Safety examiners, marine inspectors, Customs and an investigations team made up by Coast Guard and NTSB members all boarded the vessel. Part of their investigation focuses on passengers.
"By interviewing the passengers, we can get a better sense of what occurred and a timeline of events," said Cdr. Scott Mullen with the United States Coast Guard. "It also serves to fine tune and acknowledge and confirm some of the information."
Muller is Chief over the Prevention Department and has assigned some of his staff to help in the investigation. They will be talking to crew member to recreate and reestablish the conditions of the vessel before the incident.
"So, absolutely…the crew, the Chief Engineer, the Chief Mate, the ship's master…even the company's corporate office because they help with the safety management systems and maintenance programs," Muller explained.
The Coast Guard has a center of expertise out of Miami that specializes in cruise ships. Muller's crew will be assisting them. In the case of the Triumph, Muller says that the preliminary indications are that the safety systems in place appeared to work as expected, but there are still many things that can be learned.
"That's one of the things we look for during our investigation is, is that equipment properly certified," added Muller. "If it worked properly, that shows that with that success, perhaps some of the equipment standards are where they need to be."
They may also learn that some adjustments could be made to the safety management systems and maintenance programs…information that could one day save lives.
There is no time frame on when the investigation is complete and the ship turned over for repair. The Bahamian Maritime Authority is the lead on the investigation, and it will be their decision on when the case is closed.
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