Probe launched into cruise ship fire in Gulf of Mexico

2013-02-13 08:57:12 GMT2013-02-13 16:57:12(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HOUSTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Tuesday an investigation was launched into the cause of an engine room fire that stranded a cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into the cause of an engine room fire that occurred onboard the Carnival Triumph, Sunday," the NTSB said in a statement.

The Carnival Triumph experienced an engine room fire Sunday while on a four-day cruise and has been without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship's automatic fire extinguishing systems was activated and the fire was extinguished. It was reported that there were no injuries to guests or crew members, the NTSB said.

Earlier reports said the cruise ship, which has been floating in the Gulf of Mexico since the engine fire, will be towed to Progreso, Mexico, the land closest to the ship. However, strong currents pushed the ship another 90 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, foiling plans to tow it to Progreso. The cruise ship is being towed by tugboats to Mobile, Alabama, instead.

The joint investigation by the NTSB and the Coast Guard will focus on identifying "causal and contributing factors that led to the incident," as well as the response of the crew and effectiveness of the ship's fire fighting systems, the NTSB said.

The Carnival Triumph is a cruise ship owned by Carnival Corp. under its Carnival Cruise Lines brand.

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