The U.S. Coast Guard issued a final report on the 2010 engine room fire aboard the Carnival Splendor, saying a critical mistake on the bridge delayed response to the blaze, allowing it to burn through electrical cables that disabled the 3,734-passenger ship.
In summarizing its 51-page report, the Coast Guard said the ship's Hi-Fog water mist fire-suppression system did not activate until 15 minutes after the fire began because a watchman on the bridge reset the fire alarm panel.
The report said this "critical error" allowed the fire to burn long enough to spread to electrical cable runs, which otherwise would likely have escaped major damage.
The report also said the failure of the ship's second carbon dioxide-based fire-suppression system and poor execution of the firefighting plan contributed to the ineffectiveness of the crew's efforts.
In a statement, Carnival said it cooperated with the investigation and has made improvements since the 2010 incident, based on its own investigation.
"We look forward to the opportunity to review the U.S. Coast Guard report in detail to fully examine the findings and recommendations," the statement said.Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.