The National Transportation Safety Board -- which examines all kinds of transportation mishaps -- launched an investigation on Thursday into a fire aboard the disabled Carnival cruise ship.
NTSB officials said in a statement that while the incident is being investigated by the nation of Panama, the country under which the vessel was flagged, the NTSB requested to join the investigation since the majority of the ships passengers were citizens of the United States. Panama has since consented to that request, according to federal officials.
"The Coast Guard requested that the National Transportation Safety Board provide them with technical assistance," stated the NTSB's statement. "The NTSB and Coast Guard frequently work together on marine accident investigations, and the NTSB responded by providing two experts to assist the Coast Guard in their involvement in Panama's investigation."
The Splendor left Long Beach on Sunday with nearly 4,500 people aboard. An engine fire aboard the 952-foot cruise liner on Monday morning knocked out power early in its seven-day trip to the Mexican Riviera, setting the ship adrift about 200 miles outside San Diego and 44 miles off the coast of Mexico.
No one was hurt, but passengers said they were jolted awake by the fire. Few of them panicked.