The investigation into why the Carnival Triumph went from cruise ship to floating crisis may last six months, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.
Investigators released new insights into the early stages of how the 3,141-passenger, 1,086-crew-member Triumph became powerless and adrift last week in the Gulf of Mexico.
A fire began in the ship's engine room after a flexible hose attached to a fuel line -- running from the fuel tanks to the engine -- began to leak, Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Diaz told the Los Angeles Times.
The flexible hose apparently connects the fuel line to engine number six and is designed to prevent shock and vibration, and the fuel leaked onto a hot surface, sparking flames, Diaz said.
Investigators think the crew apparently did a good job containing the fire, but are now investigating why the ship lost power, Diaz said.
The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are working with the Bahaman government, which will be leading the investigation since the ship runs under the Bahamas' flag. U.S. involvement in the investigation is expected to last six months, Diaz said.
Investigators are still with the ship in Mobile and have interviewed crew members about the incident.
Passengers have already filed suit over the Carnival morass, with one describing a "horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States," with the ship listing several times, "causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel's floors and halls, and drip down the vessel's walls."