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Design flaw may have stranded cruise ship

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Design flaw may have stranded cruise ship
Family members and media wait for passengers to disembark the Carnival Cruise Lines cruise ship C/V Splendor after it was towed into San Diego Harbor on November 11, 2010. The luxury liner and its 3,300 vacationers was stranded off the Mexican coast by an engine-room fire on Monday. UPI Photo/Earl S. Cryer | License Photo

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Marine experts say they want to know if there is a design flaw in the Carnival Splendor cruise ship, which lost power after a fire in an engine room.

The ship was towed to San Diego Thursday after losing power as a result of the fire Monday, USA Today reported.

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"What happened makes no sense to me," said Clark Dodge, the former chief engineer for Washington State Ferries. "If things were designed properly, all the power shouldn't have gone out."

Dodge said large passenger vessels are designed so a fire won't cause a loss of all power. He said an engine-room fire and damage to a generator and switchboard shouldn't shut down the ship's other equipment.

An engine generator caught fire in the ship's aft engine room Monday, damaging a switchboard and "preventing the transmission of electricity to other machinery, including the propulsion motors," Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said.

No one was injured in the fire, which was extinguished by crew members and the ship's automatic fire-suppression system.

Because a majority of the ship's nearly 4,500 passengers were U.S. citizens, the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct the investigation into the cause of the fire.

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The nearly 1,000 foot-long ship has six engines, three in front and three in the rear, and electric cables connect each engine's generator to a pair of switchboards.

The Coast Guard has regularly inspected the ship since its initial cruise in 2008, the newspaper said.

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