Coast Guard Releases Preliminary Details Concerning Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship Fire: Accident Caused By Fuel Leak

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

The Coast Guard has released a preliminary report detailing the cause of the Carnival Triumph fire last week that left the ship crippled in the middle of the ocean. The vessel was left without power, working toilets or sufficient food for the more than 4,000 people onboard.

Investigators have been searching for answers, and while a full investigation may take several months to complete, the Coast Guard has given an explanation as to what caused the shipboard fire.

According to a Coast Guard official via The Washington Post, a leak in a fuel oil return line caused the engine-room fire onboard the Triumph. Due to the fact that the Triumph is registered in the Bahamas, the Bahamian authorities are in charge of leading the investigation, along with the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.

Coast Guard Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield added that the full investigation would take around six months, but according to the Coast Guard assessment, the Triumph’s crew handled the emergency in correct fashion.

“They did a very good job,” she said.

Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Diaz went into further detail about the incident, explaining the oil return line that leaked stretched from the ship’s No. 6 engine to the fuel tank.

Miraculously, the fire was contained in the engine room, but according to Andrew Coggins, a former Navy commander and chief engineer who now teaches at Pace University in New York, the fire could have resulted in much more serious accidents.
“The problem is the oil’s under pressure,” explained Coggins. “What happens in the case of a fuel oil leak where you have a fire like that is it leaks in such a way that it sprays out in a mist. In the engine room you have many hot surfaces, so once the mist hits a hot surface it will flash into flame.”

Had the fire not been contained, it would have likely spread and permanently disabled the Triumph.

The Coast Guard and NTSB are currently working on the ship to finalize their preliminary reports, but according to Hatfield, the agencies will be returning to their respective offices toward the end of the week to further examine the cause of the cruise ship fire accident and why the Triumph was disabled for five days.

People who were onboard the Triumph were subjected to dangerous, unsanitary conditions for five days until the vessel docked in Mobile, Alabama – which was not its homeport of Galveston, TX. Whether the crew did a good job at handling the emergency or not, the fact still remains that the fire broke out to begin with.

Anyone who was onboard the Triumph when the fire occurred has a right to seek legal help with an experienced cruise attorney. Our cruise ship lawyers are available to assist passengers, crewmembers and their loved ones in filing a case of negligence against Carnival and protecting their rights.

Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Photo Credits:

Top Right: Coast Guard Investigates Triumph Fuel Leak – business.rawsignal.com
Bottom Left: Coast Guard Further Inspects Triumph – todayonline.com