In an announcement that raises as many questions as it answers, U.S. Coast Guard marine casualty investigation team leader, Lt. Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield, said in a conference call with reporters that the fuel oil return line in the No. 6 diesel engine on the Carnival Triumph leaked fuel oil onto a hot surface. The leaking fuel oil ignited and caused the fire which disabled the ship, stranding 4,229 passengers and crew. Lt. Cmdr. Hatfield said further than the automatic fire suppression system activated immediately and that the redundant electrical systems kicked in, yet had no explanation why the power was knocked out to the entire ship. There was also no word as to what caused the fuel oil return line to leak. The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board will likely wrap up their work on the ship by the end of the week. Because the ship is Bahamian flagged, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is leading the inquiry.
The Carnival Splendor suffered a similar disabling black-out in November 2010 after a crankcase explosion on the No. 5 diesel engine caused a fire in the after engine room which disabled the ship. Thanks to Phil Leon for contributing to this post.