A faulty shut-off valve may have let diesel fuel leak into the engine room of cruise ship Tropicale, fueling a fire that left the ship disabled amid tropical storm waters, the ship's chief engineer said.
After the fire aboard the 660-foot Carnival Cruise Lines ship Sept. 19 started in the engine room's boiler compartment, crew members tried to stop the flow of fuel into the area. However, investigators determined that fuel tanks supplying fuel to the Tropicale's boilers and generators lost more than 650 gallons after the fire started. A crew member admitted that a shut-off valve to the fuel tank may not have functioned properly, resulting in fuel spilling straight into the area of the blaze, where flames leaped up to six feet high and billowed dense, black smoke. The ship's engines were automatically shut down after the fire started. Crew members contained the blaze with water, halon gas and foam.
Full article: October 6, 1999, in the Miami Herald
By Dave Bryan Associated Press